El Duende!
. . . the dark spirit pervades . . .
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It was late 2002 and I'd been singing a guest spot with the Cannanes for a while (on their song "Parade Time", off the album "Living the Dream"). Hairy had mentioned that he wanted to do some more trumpet work, and that if got a band together he'd be happy to play trumpet, and that he knew someone else (turned out to be Penny) who could join him.

The idea was tantalising: I'd been a fan of good horn sections for some time, never really had one in a band ( the Fops had Matthew Crosby playing alto sax for a while, but as good as he was, there was only one of him ). I had been dying to get a band together for some time, but due to a back injury and a resulting career change (from set-building to web development), I'd been unable to. But by this time my back was a fair bit better, and I'd finished my course of study, so the time was right.

I met Penny, and went down to the Townie in Newtown to see her band the Hoo-Hahs, to check her out. I was suitably impressed, and I was talking to Bob Blunt afterwards, and I asked him if he knew any good drummers. He pointed at John Fenton, who was standing there looking fine in a suit, and said "Why don't you ask him?"

I'd known John for years, his band Crow and the Fops had played together a few times, and he'd been a big fan of the Godbotherers, and it was so obvious what a good choice he'd be, if he wanted to do it. Luckily he did.

Then the search was on for a bass player, and after a bit of hunting we came up with Garry Manley, who I knew through my wife Nicky. They'd both played in Tactics, and I'd seen Garry play more recently with Dave Studdert in the Inside Up, a startling conglomerate of drummers, Africans, Angels and other mad things. He was a feature of the band, playing some beautiful bass lines and probably the only one holding the thing down. Apart from that he has a major sense of humour and a big heart, so a very good man to get.

After that

We played early gigs at the Townie and the Warren View Hotel in Enmore, which weren't the best sound systems, but they were nice and intimate. There was no separation between audience and band, which is the way I've always liked it best.

I was so happy to be in a band again that I nearly crashed my car the day after our second gig. I was driving down a country freeway, and I suddenly got so giddy with joy that I had to stop the car.

I had plenty of songs to play so it wasn't long before we had a pretty strong set. I'd set up a home recording studio, and Hairy suggested recording an album. We recorded the band in Aug 2003 at Damien Gerard at Rozelle, and then did overdubs at my place. After about six months we were happy enough to mix it back at DG, and then mastered it with William Baldwin. Then we looked around for someone to put it out and eventually got it out via the good people at Reverberation.

We launched it at the Hopetoun in September 2005, supported by Genevieve Maynard amongst others. She was an old friend, and would become our producer for our second album, which we started recording in Dec 2005 at Megaphon.

This one would be a progression on Overcome, as I'd put in a fair amount of learning about recording, arranging and producing in the ensuing time, and in using the home studio. I'd also been doing vocal training with Michael Dale, who is an incredible vocal coach.

We got some very talented guests in to join us for the overdubs, including Glad Reid (Trombone), Jason Morphett(Sax, my cousin) and Peter Hollo(Cello). I'd also been developing some keyboard skills, so the whole aural landscape got a lot broader.

We advertised for a trumpet player, and Virgil Reality turned up. He turned out to be a very talented player, and a great asset to the band. Unfortunately at the same time we lost John Fenton. He decided he didn't want to play drums anymore. So one door opens, one closes.