This story appeared in the late 2011 edition of the Melbourne Review, which is a new relation of the long running Adelaide Review. I thought my contributions had to relate the two places. They usually get edited a fair bit due to space. This is the full whack.
We had talked about it on the way over in the van. The way over from Melbourne to Adelaide. Two of us were making the trip in the van and the other two would fly later. I’m loathe to say who was driving and who was flying as I’ve learned, from previously relating the logistical minutiae of our travel arrangements to others, that people can bring very judgmental attitudes to bear on the situation. Snobbish attitudes to the differing modes of transport. Just say i was siting in whatever vehicle impresses you most. I’m most happiest when upgraded to the heights of your opinion. Anyway, the talk was around an idea to busk our way into some Adelaide dollars on a stray afternoon while we were there. As opposed to sitting in the hotel and playing guitars we might as well move out onto the street. Get some folding or jangling stuff to blow at the last remaining pie cart or at the all night caff attached to Villis bakery which we’d only just heard about. (Adelaide people like to keep their secrets secret). Two of us carried on the conversation in the old fashioned verbal style and we thumbed words through the air to the others. As happens in all real life situations those doing the verballing got to write out the rules of engagement and to set the coordinates for the fields of battle.Also, what the tempo, time and duration of said hostilities would take place around. Sorry to immediately use the word “hostilities” but thats what all entertainment is to me. A firefight, deep inside enemy lines. Surrounded by savage hostiles.
Rundle Mall was to be the setting . Well, half of it. the mouth. Where it spills out to King William street and looks across to the wild rapids of Hindley street. We each had a corner and battle commenced on a Saturday afternoon at 2pm. Stu Thomas won the toss and started off strongly with a clarion call of Chris De Burghs’ “the lady in red”. Stu played only the trumpet on his corner and his strategy was hard to fathom at first. I returned fire with Bob Segers “Hollywood Nights”. hoping to douse his daring softness and sensitivity with some cods out stadium tones. Clare Moore had set up her entire drum kit and had already charged - quite illegally and at the very least, quite at odds with the spirit of the game and all decent rules of war, with her faithful to Bonzo interpretation of Led Zeppelins “Moby Dick”. Stu Perera gathered a crowd of lissome Latin American students from seemingly thin air as he pulled the sweet tones of Jobims “the waters of March” from his battered junk shop nylon string guitar. Stu Thomas strode further into whatever moist regions he was summoning with a stunningly static run through of Eric Claptons “ wonderful tonight”. Grown women turned, tears in their eyes and kissed their bemused boyfriends all around him. I let loose in reply with LRBs’ “playing to win” before he had wrung out the last timid chord. People heard the bell cymbal in their minds. An old trick of which I had learned talk of in a doctors waiting room. Previously only theory - going live with it now. Clare Moore was still on at “Moby Dick” and had the biggest crowd. All males in black t shirts. Stu Perera launched his own offensive, more on Stu Thomas’s flank , with Paul Mauriats’ “love is blue” (after Jeff Beck) and was hit heavily on his hands and head by the attendant rain of gold coins. Stu Thomas needed something big and returned soft fire with a bathetic reading of “the killing of Georgie parts I and II”. people cried openly as they emptied the deepest recesses of their wallets. A man in a cafe put his hand down the back of his couch in a desperate search for a coin to join the sad love fest. The pink dollars flew like bees returning to the hive as they flew directly to Stu’s trumpet case. I got my corner jumping with a sharp run through of Kansas’ “carry on my wayward son”. People were amazed as to how I could pump out such dazzling pyrotechnical pomp with just a small wooden guitar. I was simply playing that old waiting room game of letting them hear what they wanted to. Clare Moore was still at that damn “Moby Dick” and could now not be seen at all , such was the throng headbanging Adelaide yobboes around her. She had brought them home! Stu Perera was still nagging at Thomas’s weak flank with a lovely reading of Eltons “song for Guy”. Easily matching “the Killing of Georgie” for sheer volume of lavender soap suds. . Time was tight as we had a gig to do across town. Stu Thomas played it hardcore, closing out his set with a syrupy, lachrymose version of Mike and the Mechanics “ the living years” People slumped and went into a floppy mexican sigh, unable to even reach into their pockets. His commercial gene kicked in and he quickly segued into Foreigners “ I wanna know what love is” to bring them back to fully open top shelf Thetan consciousness and the money flowed again. Like Golden Syrup. I matched him with Foreigners “cold as ice” and ended my set with the Climax Blues Bands’ “couldn’t get it right”. Clare Moore was taking a Masterclass in packing up a drum kit, issuing orders volubly to her faithful army of black to shirt/cut off denim jacketed metalheadz and punching their credit card donations into her laptop from inside Haighs Chocolate shop on the Beehive corner of Rundle Street. Stu Perera was into his thirteenth chorus of “Classical Gas” when he blind turned on a dime into “the william tell overture”, playing a la Glen campbell with the guitar alternately behind his back or with his teeth. Those aimless , drifting rubes ate that hokey shit up!
We threw all our junk into a shopping trolley and rolled down the hill to Thebarton where our gig was at. We were now going to be playing to an altogether sharper crowd who knew our form and had come to the joint under their own steam with knowledge of short cuts to and from the venue in mind and also ideas about what to expect and the likelihood of us playing ball with said assumed ideas. Yes, we had to get our twisted brains and sleeping mode bodies into shape. We watched a video on how to act poor before we played our real set . Ostentatious confidence and displays of having eaten well and the lack of any anxiety in regard to the direction the next meal will approach from are attitudes that are not welcome in the general area of rock music. We banished that cheese eating state of mind from our visible chops and made with the rolling mopes. Not really, playing music makes you feel rich.Whatever!
On the way back to Melbourne we distributed said gold coins among the struggling pastry shop owners of the long strip, saving the best coins for the shop nestled in the groin of the big koala at Dadswells Bridge. Doing our bit for other travellers along this piece of road, keeping the piecarts open. Putting something back in.
- dave graney
- WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Charlie Christian or Grant Green -but not in this lifetime, I know.
2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail
you've been in my mind
June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp
SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL
also available as a digital album
Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20
available as a digital album too
We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album
Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release