Last night I had the honour, I guess you’d say, of taking part in a panel discussion on the future of live music in Sydney along with Laughing Outlaw Records head honcho, Stuart Coupe, esteemed author & journo, Clinton Walker, and tireless advocate for live music, John Wardell. It was an interesting, if sparcely attended, event which threw up some thoughtful perspectives.
Afterwards I got talking to someone who asked me, somewhat challengingly, how, past 40, a songwriter could possibly have anything relevant to say. Notwithstanding the fact that this proposition effectively writes off the opinion of anyone over that age, I resisted the temptation to be argumentative & gave it some thought…
“Relevant”? …to what & to whom? My band… we’re all over 50, most of our friends, if not fellow musicians, are mums & dads of our kids’ friends at school &, like most middle-aged people, music isn’t necessarily that important to them any more; if it is, they’re likely listening to what makes them feel good about themselves – stuff that drove them in their youth (why else the explosion of dinosaur rockers on reunion tours & a growing market for them?). Most have an idea that we are musicians but haven’t a clue what we actually do & aren’t really interested which is fair enough. Our wives largely think we should grow up & get real but are resigned to partners suffering a case of terminal adolescence. As for our kids & the generations of younger musicians in between- what could we possibly have to say to them that they don’t either plan to work out for themselves, or would actively deny or disagree with on principle anyway?
Due to a combination of employment & family responsibilities, as well as complete incompetence as bookers, we’ve yet to tour outside of the occasional festival & trip up the highway a ways, so we’re not exactly a household name, but, for myself at least, this is hands down, the most rewarding creative period of my life & I wouldn’t swop it for anything. Sure, I’d like to reach a larger audience but really this is for us & the vagaries of fads & fashions are not part of the Dead Setters mind set. It’s all (hats off to Townes)…for the sake of the song.
So… relevant? I don’t give a fuck. It’s only rock’n’roll, or folk music, or alt country (whatever that is) or just cheaper than therapy…whatever. It makes me happy
and I hope that, occasionally at least, we strike a chord with other folk too.
Now this’ll be fun- we head to Bondi Beach to celebrate the end of summer with a month of April Thursdays at Ravesis Hotel.
The band will be in acoustic mode digging deep into the catalog with songs from my first two Laughing Outlaw Records solo albums, current Laughing Outlaw release, “Putting on the Dog”, & the two albums recorded in the wilderness between. These will be some of the last gigs before we take time out to record a whole swag of new material for a new Dead Setters album & I start work on a more intimate solo project.
The weather was a little against us on this run – James never made the Friday night due to car trouble & I only just managed the Newcastle end thanks to
torrential rain on the freeway but a fine time was had by all. Opening act De’May was a sweet revelation on eclectic electric resonator.
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