So far I've blogged about a lot of creative stuff but not really art
However, I'ma have a little humblebrag. I've been a guitarist/bassist and songwriter since I was 9, I'm 61 next month. That's 52 years. If I still had the cassette tape of "Haunted House" (Jay/Dean/Dean) I'd probably destroy it. Phillip was playing drums on a vinyl upholstered draftsman's stool, I was playing guitar, Andrew, Phillip's yonger brother, was vocals(???) It was a start. I remember it fondly.
My first real foray into any sort of musical career was in high school, with the high school rock band. We had semi-formal recognition as such, largely because the school's senior music teacher was the instigator of practical music in Tasmania's school curriculum, and my high school was one of the first to trial it. So it was that Stu, me, Eileen, Sharon, Helen (??? sorry), Tim and Tim came to play at school socials and even performed at the school eistedfords one year
My adult musical experience begins with Bullet Proof, fronted by the late, great Launceston legend, Alan Knight, moves into The Never Dead, Launceston's first punk band, with me on guitar and vocals. 3 gigs before that failed. Is it better, Stephen? Is it better to front your own band than sit quietly in somebody else's raking in the money? Well, for art, yes. For money, no. So, for art, The Never Dead gave me "Blown Shack", a 3 way co-write between Me, Rod and Ben. For our 3 short gigs, "Blown Shack" was our instrumental play-on piece before launching into me screaming The Exploited's "Alternatives" more tunelessly than they did, while trying to sit my overdriven telecaster in Rod and Ben's pocket. I'd wanted form a blues band, Ben had wanted to play metal and Rod was the punk. What happened drew me out of my punk closet, and cost me work for a long time. If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.
In "matric" (senior high school for any "seppos*" reading this) I met a guy who I won't dead name, largely because he's better know in Tassy by his legally adopted name, Informal. In the years that ensued, he went from being maybe the worst guitarist on the planet (after me) to the equal of Rose Tattoo's Dave Wells. We had Cryptic Posters and Bottleneck. We did hard rock'n'boogie, bluesy AF! In Cryptic Posters, we had Rog on drums and "Topsy" on vocals, while Informal did wild, distorted slide guitar and I played bass. CP split up because "Topsy" was sick of my "pornographic lyrics" (I was ahead of the sweary curve in modern music) and her best mate and chaperone were a bit fed up with sexist jokes surrounding a Frank Zappa song about a groupie. Lesson learned, band over.
A few years later I bought an Alesis HR16 drum machine, and Informal and I refined the Cryptic Posters songs, added a few classic blues rock tunes and called the act, Bottleneck. The reactions were wierd, "You need a real drummer!" every gig became, "DON'T GET A REAL DRUMMER!" The Alesis was that good. Then Wayne heard I was in town.
I mentioned Alan Knight before. As well as being a great friend and a Launceston legend, Alan is also the guy who intruduced me to Wayne Crisp, of The Breed. Tasmania, the entire state, is a small town, and Wayne had been in a band with Rod after Rod left the Never Dead. Alan (vocals) knew Wayne (guitar) from high school and had invited him and me (bass) and a guy called Chris (drums) to put a top 40 covers band together. That band failed, but Wayne and Alan always chatted on the phone and Alan told Wayne I'd moved to Hobart, and Wayne started ringing me, "I really like your feel, you'd be perfect for my 60s band." Bottleneck started lose its novelty in a bit of a dying music scene, so I eventually said yes. the rest is 20 years of Hobart music history, on and off
Meanwhile, I helped raise 3 kids, broke up with my wife, met a woman in Melbourne, moved here, and married her. After a year with T-Six, a Melbourne covers band that one a local covers band semifinal and came third in the final, a band I was never a good musical fit in, I joined Alex Capelli's "The Collectables." We were starting to take off, Alex (guitar, piano and vocals), Tony (drums) and me (bass, upright bass, melodica and vocals), doing mostly Alex's songs and one by me, "The Fireplace." We're still on youtube. Sadly, and ironically, Alex had to move to Tasmania.
Now, I'm an online solo artist sporadically, Secrets of The Hand. I have one online album, roughly 7.8 billion people have never heard of me. I still make music.
This is part of my artistic journey. Next time I want to talk about MacIDOL.com
- Secrets of The Hand (bandcamp)
- The Breed, Fab, Far Out and Groovy.
- My Sketchpad and archive on Soundcloud.
* "seppo": rhyming slang, septic tank, eg yank.