Tamworth 2015, the road and the Wagon.

Last week a friend said I hadn’t added anything to the blog on the website since the 2013 tour. I thought shit, that would be right. Two Tamworth’s ago as I made that long drive home I didn’t feel to clear on the path forward regarding the band, music, song writing, the lot.

The last show at the Albert in 2013 had left a darkness in me that resulted in what was the end of The Wagon as I knew it. I don’t tell stories after the fact although I had to field my fair share of rumours and concerns from people I had never met, and certainly never had the front to approach me. That time has passed. As George Strait sings, Fool me once shame on you, Fool my twice, shame on me.Last years Tamworth went along way to wiping the memory with Scotty Dogg and Den Hanrahan joining the Hitman and me into relaunching the Wagon the way it should be played.

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Only The Hitman and myself remained as permanent members, and with a new drummer and Den Hanrahan offering to fill in I kept doing some shows even some Outlaws of Country shows, Had the pleasure of playing with Jeff Mercer, of which a finer country feel on guitar you might never find. My heart was not fully in it, but I have never been a quitter. Playing with Den Hanrahan was like a cool breeze on a hot day. Hadn’t had that much fun since playing with Kinnon Holt, the greatest Outlaw Guitar slinger in this great southern land. Hanrahan punches his way through a song, just tears solos to pieces, all with a Larakin grin, infectious love of a song that just carries you along with it.I love this guy.

I was asked after my fathers funeral, by Greg Hirst who is the Brotherhood President, and a biker minister if my old three piece Blues Rock Band, Warning could reform to play the 20th anniversary of the Silverwater Bike Show. It forced me to start back on the lead guitar, and as the show approached, my confidence grew. It was fun playing the old songs, and being with my old band was great. The stories, good laughs with old friends. It was the songs though, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, ZZ Top. BB King, BTO, SRV,George Thorougood, down home rocking blues. The show was fun, and when I got offered a BVH show which was a blow out, I took it and did it as a three piece. I was so use to the extra players in Chucks Wagon I doubted I could do it, but I did it anyway. It was better than I thought,, not as good as I wanted, but the good feeling stayed with me. I did a few that way this year, started even liking the space in the song, it could breathe, the song did the talking.

So, when Tamworth rolled around this year, three of the shows I did three piece, I knew it could work, and it was fun. We once again didn’t have a drummer, Simon Wale , had been playing back with us, but had Festival commitments, so Grunter Bedford lined up Ronny Rhindo, local Tamworth sticks man. I cant tell you the amount of times me and the Hitman have driven towards shows with drummers we hadn’t played with, meeting them at the show, it goes with the territory inbands that dont make good coin. There have been some awesome win’s . Scotty Dogg last year, Jacob Cook to name a couple, but  Ronny Rhindo though , bloody hell, he was simply a delight. Great bloke, great feel, all class. I wanted to bottle him. The shows were fun. The first night we headed to the Crabpot to relax, the craziness was soothing. The second show was better than the first and then me and Harding headed back to Sydney.My Family, my other passion, had to be served. Part of me laying low has been I have had to pay back the money on albums, film clips. my choice. my responsibility. I shook a few hands, my hand shake is good.

We had planned to only do four shows this year , on both weekends. I headed back to Sydney though with a lot of joy in my heart, knowing Ronny would be there the following week and Den at the first show.

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When we hit town again on the Friday, it was with a good vibe. Headed to Nundle to catch the Remains. The anti Tamworth Festival. at Nundle I was able to breath, listen to Mick Daly weave his dishevelled magic Country Rock and Roll with Bones and Scotty Dogg driving the bed the Leigh swaggers all around in. Hanrahan filled in the last set like a glove. He and Daley are brothers from another mother. Chewing the fat with Matt Nightingale, Pete Fidler, Gibbo floating, the adorable Adam Young, effervescent Sarah Carroll, Glenny Rae and Dougie Ball passing through to the show down at the hall. Standing underneath the verandah of pure Australian heritage. I knew i was being rejuvenated with all that was good about Rock and Roll, the real Rock and Roll.

Over the 7 years I have been playing Tamworth I have seen my favourite Blues, Boogie and Country Rock and Rollers run out of town. I have been lucky I suppose. My songs are probably a straighter country than the bands I love, and I write singer songwriter type lyrics. Not good enough to break the big end of town, and not cool enough to brake the Alternative end of town. I know who I am. I am grateful for the work. For the folks that come to my shows , regulars, not many, but they all count to me. You know who you are. I know you to. Thank you

Seeing 8 Ball and Doug Bruce  get Nominated  for Golden Guitars I felt envy and hope.Seeing Luke O’Shea win three years running after winning last year, I felt joy.

I haven’t got an idea right now how to get even close, but I was glad to see their success.

The Saturday show at The Albert Hotel was a good moment in the history of the Wagon. Den was just pumped, new amp, new guitar,  full of love and power. Ronny was  in his groove from the weekend past, and then there was Harding, The Hitman. He is my last man standing, loyal to the cause, a man of few words, plenty of road stories, but few words. He however has told me clearly he believes in the songs.This he has voted with his feet . We go back a long way, and the strength of that connection has been underestimated at times.10915151_999604133387826_3284349863194656921_n

With this behind me I strapped the guitar on, and hit out. Let the songs do the talking. It felt good and right, but what meant the most to me was looking to the back of the room and seeing David Major beaming one of his beautiful smiles at me. I am to sensitive as a man, makes me hard to get on with, hard to get to know.Easy to hurt and anger. A need to be understood, I wrote it out in Wreckless on the first album.. Having people I admire tell me what we are doing counts means an enormous amount to me. I know it should not. I see others that seem to shun it completely. Its a candour I cant muster. That Saturday was what Rock and Rolls about to me. By the time I played Family Man, it moved a room. I’ve been in those rooms, It is the reason Music is my compass, my light, my access to the spirit. It was good to be the co-creator on this occasion. The rest of the day after a gig like that is a breeze, nothing else matters. I’ve seen my surfer friends like that once they are surfed out. Giving and being given to all at once. After a feed , letting the Hipshooters do their thing right in front on my, was amazing, Anton and Billy, crackerjacks, and Ronny literally carried his kit across the street and did another three sets with them. Digging deep, doing exceptional!.

By the Sunday, the last show was a pleasure, lunchtime, , great crowd, singing original songs and some Merle Haggard and others. I was grateful for the shows, thanks Dallas Vee and the Albert Hotel for having us, giving original country music ago. Every year I head back there, new albums to sell, make some new friends, see some old ones. It’s a privilege really, to be able to play. I have fantasies of grandeur, they are elusive, but Tamworth , The Albert, well that is real. The people that make there way there every year , to have fun , hear music, that is real. Thank you for pulling up a stool, and tipping your hat in our direction. I hope we gave you something in return.10929930_1003576229657283_74814406788482607_n 10933838_999603643387875_9187512169680213791_n

Heading back from Tamworth sun going down, Jason Boland and the Stranglers, Randy Rogers Band on the stereo, and then some early Richard Clapton, Mi-Sex, Rose Tattoo , George Strait to get me home. All good, all part of my mixed up musical Aussie DNA.

2015 is just starting, two trips to the USA planned for this year, some cool connections made with Ruby Dee and the Snakehandlers on their Aussie tour. Might just take up their offer to back me in Austin, make some more magic. As REK says, The road goes on forever,,,, I pray I am that lucky.

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Life on life’s terms, the Road, Family and the Song. Year 2013

 

 

This year was tough, no way of hiding that fact, not from myself, not form anyone else. The first year I didn’t tour Texas, cancelling the shows to be by Dad’s side, there was band members leaving, birth of my second son, and then my father collapsed, and deteriorated over the year, finally passing in December. I kept playing, not as much as I would have liked, but as much as I could of under the circumstances. This is how it played out.

When I was thinking about this year it feels like it started in Brisbane just before New Year’s Eve, we  played there with Mike Errol Jnr and Corn Liquor and headed to Sydney excited for a NYE show at Matraville with Corn Liquor. We had Tex Austin sitting in on drums, and he is one of music’s great gentlemen, a hell of a lot of fun to play with, just sits in that pocket all night.  NYE was ok, but for one of the biggest shows of the year we walked out of there without a cent. That’s another story. That’s Rock and Roll.

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Then there was Tamworth, we had a strong first half of the week gigs wise then a real break till the inaugural Outlaws show at the Courthouse, and a final Alberts Hotel show. Quickly the week turned tough. The Outlaws show was a lot better than I thought it would be, and we used to drummers, Al Fisk and Mark Fairhurst. Two different stick men couldn’t be found, but both made the Wagon their own. Fisk is an uncompromising, live hard, drum harder sort of guy, man we had some fun at Wanita’s on an all-nighter after playing at Shot by Jakes, with Dave Major as well, we nuded up for a pre-dawn swim, it was a hoot. Mark is a more calculated player, worked real hard, and the Outlaws show was a success musically due to him coming up early and doing the work. Thanks man.

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It was the first time I ever ventured into the Crabpot, and Jake and I hit it off, and one night I played a three and half hour set , straight!, into a Tamworth dawn. He did a photo shoot with me. He one of Australia great larrikins, and the Crabpot will always be that weird sort of Star Wars Bar in my heart.

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The vibe went downhill over the week in the band, split loyalties and differences of opinion lead to John Wardle and Dave Turner, The Roadie, resigning. It happens. John was already playing with Benn Gunn at Tamworth, and stayed with him, so be it. He is a great player, and I wish him every success. There’s a lot more to say here, but it stays with me. Something’s are best kept unsaid. It was fun to meet long time hero Jim Lauderdale at the CMC After party!

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Luckily for me the sting of Tamworth was washed away immediately by the birth of my second son Maverick on the 6.2. 12. He was healthy and happy and as I write this he is a beautiful bouncing boy, starting to play with Little Marshal and they have become fast friends, Brothers. He is a bad sleeper though, and man I cannot remember being more tired in my whole life. Never getting a chance to catch up, he ends up in with us most mornings, and it’s pretty cool waking up with him. My mum calls him smiley, and it’s a good nick name. Kids change everything, with two boys now, and providing for them and there mum, and the band being so hard to keep together, I took a serious job, to help with bills, especially for debts I owe from film clips and albums etc. It kills me not having as much time to focus on the band, but after Maverick coming along, and then my Dad getting ill, I just had to bite the bullet.

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Had a Sydney show booked, then some shows booked down the south coast, and we needed a guitar player, and Jeff Mercer stepped in. It was amazing playing with such a talented man, he is all feel, had such an amazing touch, and yet is the coolest guy on earth. The shows where fun. We had a new drummer to, Henry. A friend of Harding’s. He wanted the job, I needed a drummer. It all worked in nicely. However it was on this trip that after setting up in Tilba at the Dromaderry Hotel. It was my mother, my father had collapsed. He had not been well for a while, but this seemed more serious. I took a risk and finished the shows, I have never wanted to cancel shows. As it was , when I got back to Sydney it was his heart and me and mum started our first night together in a waiting room, waiting while he had open heart surgery for the third time. It would not be the last time we shared a space, in over 7 hospitals in the coming 9 months. Each time he took a step forward he seemed to take two steps back. It did seem that the surgery at the time was a success, and he headed to rehab. His balance and memory were effected, eventually leading to a stroke. He recovered from the stroke, but balance and memory were worse, and he would forget he could not walk properly, and he would fall, injuring himself. Eventually he broke his hip, and kept falling, and then the wound split, he got Golden Staff, and never recovered from that. So I slept a lot at mums in the end, especially when we knew he was dying, albeit slowly, and many a night sitting in a hospital, most of the time in the dark, just holding his hand, cause I got there late, as I would come home, help out with the baby, then head off when they were asleep. With Maverick keeping us awake in the early hours and this schedule, I was always exhausted, as I had to keep working. Gigs became a nice distraction, but because we were not rehearsing or playing enough, gigs always were rough. Don’t get me wrong, there were always moments, where we were really on it, but nothing feels as good as a well-oiled working band.

 

 

After the fall out at Tamworth, mate and Troubadour Den Hanrahan said he would sit in on guitar and help me out. He was an angel for me this year. A brother I needed in a time of need. It was always going to be a different sound, but man, I had some fun, and then we started doing solo gigs, and Den started sitting in, and that was something I ended up doing more solo and duo shows this year, and I liked it a lot. He knows the struggle of the road, and bands, and his love for music is the same as mine. I look forward to this year’s Tamworth with Den up there with me. For the sake of a song.

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I even dusted off the slide guitar and did a few shows three piece, one show out at Orange and we played Johnny Winters version of Highway 61, Clapton’s Telephone song, Rollin and Tumblin, it was fun.

Also a highlight was going to the Independent Music Awards for Miss Texas Tonight for country song, and I Played Country for best Video. We didn’t win, but it was a nice change of scenery, and our first night out together since having a baby. Felt a bit human again.

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Just after Dad died, Deadwood 76 called me, Jeff Pope couldn’t make the show, so at four hours’ notice, I filled in. It was a really rough show, but I played some solo stuff, and it was the first time I dedicated Family Man to my father. It was the second single off I Play Country, I released it in September, and planned to get a film clip together for the CMC, but I simply ran out of extra cash, and Dad was really unwell at this time, and that’s when I had to cancel Texas/ Colorado Tour. I was bummed, but I didn’t want to be there worrying whether Dad did while I was away. I was worried about my mother to, as they had been married 60 years this year. How was she going to cope when he went, it was unthinkable.Image

For Dad’s eulogy, I went through a lot of old photos, and I dug this one out. He helped me build a guitar case for a huge Hollow Body I had, I glad I will have it for ever. Its built like a brick shit house!

 

 

So, here I sit, New Year’s Eve, three weeks out from Tamworth. Just a few shows this year, I look enviously at the posters of other bands doing 15 shows in 9 days, As much as it is gruelling as hell, it’s awesome to just take Tamworth on like that. This year, I’m playing the first weekend at the Albert then Im getting the hell out of there. My spirit this year has taken a battering. I need some time to get my head right, get the passion back, revision the dream, at the moment, it’s all lost in some sort of fog. I need to find my mojo, and just battling away on stage isn’t doing it. Den and I talked about doing a record, starting something new, and it’s exciting, and this coming year I am reforming my first ever band for some anniversary shows, so more three piece, and I am excited about that. As for the Wagon, well, it’s likely to go in the barn for a bit. I’m sure it will hit the road again, but until then….

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So thank you to all who came out to the shows, and choose to get some live music Chucks Wagon style. Thank you to all who bought the new album, my heart and soul is in that thing. Thank you to all the D.J’s that played I Play Country and Family Man. I will hopefully get a film clip together in the New Year.

Thank you to Heath Blows and Graham Walsh from Fender Australia. You guys have kept my amp humming. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support. Thank you to Mark Fairhurst, Al Fisk, Dave Major and Henry for sitting in on Drums. Thank you to Jeff Mercer for the Guitar licks, it’s a memory I will keep for ever. Thanks to the Mighty Den Hanrahan, who stepped into a place I needed filled by someone who believed in the music, and to Dodge Dave the Hitman Harding, for holding down the bottom end. Sorry to my USA fans for having to cancel this year. I know I will be back, be great to see you then.

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Last but not least. Thank you to my lovely wife, who knows I need to play, and sees me off with a smile, knowing she has two boys to deal with as soon as I round the bend. Thank you to all the folks that support through my father’s illness and passing. Mark Andrews, my Warning bass player helped carry the coffin. I look forward to getting Warning back on stage mate. Also to Gary Poulton, who grabbed a handle on one of the most important days of my life.

 

I’m sure I have forgotten something in all this, but to be honest I’m amazed I actually got it down at all.

See you on the road somewhere….

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Coalface 2. Country Rock and Roll Heaven

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Coalface 2, the brain child of one Mr Den Hanrahan took place on the weekend at our nation’s capital. A collection of roots music acoustic acts, finalizing with kick ass Country Rock and Roll and the Blues.
I had the pleasure of kicking the whole thing off with Den, and it was good to belt some tunes out. I needed it. Local artist Hannah Blackburn played some lovely Alt Folk after me. Mr Adam Young graced the stage with his Jay Farrar like dulcetones, which always warms me, he is a treasure, and Mr Karl Broadie, who is in the running for the Alt Country Album at Tamworth Golden Guitar awards completed the Acoustic set. Exquisite was used to sum up his song writing, That sums it up. The band set started with local Blues rockers The Derek Bone Band.
Den then took the stage with the Roadsiders, which consisted of Matt Nightingale on bass and Scotty Dog on Drums. It was simply the best I have heard Hank sound in ages. Matt has been an awesome addition to Dens music, and Scotty Dog from the Re-mains simply killed it. Hannah Blackburn joined Den for some Harmonies.
Next the Re-mains took the stage, and proved once again they are simply the best Country Rock Band in the land. Mick Daley is peerless in this genre and Leigh Ivin being back in the band adds pure class. It was a hoot seeing Hank join them for some rowdy harmonies on “I didn’t Mean it”.
The night though belonged to Leadfinger. Stew Cunningham was ragging right from the start, and this was all time legs apart rock and roll. Les Paul through a Marshal, as God intended it. I have never seen these dudes before, but man, I will never forget them.
The night finished at Dens joint with a guitar pull involving Karl, Adam, Stew, Hank and my own self. Early hours of drunken song and insanity. All in a day’s work.
Congrats Hank on pulling a great day off. Thanks to Bucky for the Sound.
5 stars boys.

Tilba, The Dromadery Hotel, and Rock and Roll

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Well Folks, I haven’t written for a while, I am fickle like that, ever since Tamworth I have had the wind knocked out of me. With the release of Family Man, I have seriously thought about calling it a day, “Chuck takes the Wagon of the road and becomes Family Man!” It has a certain ring to it. Having two small kids latter in my life has been a magnificent gift, one that just keeps giving. I have never missed being away more than I have when I go and play. If that makes me soft so be it. I heard Townes Van Zant say once that he was aware of the moment were he thought he could actually do this music thing, but he realised he would have to leave everyone behind to pursue it. When I started Chucks Wagon, it was my grumpy old man policy. I knew I had another shot in me, and that I wouldn’t be satisfied if I didn’t give it a royal old go. The rough plan was to do three albums in five years and then a live one to finish off, and then see where the lay of the land left me. Well it’s been 6 years, I’m three albums in and there’s the live one to come. I don’t count the Live in Austin, Texas, as it was an acoustic record, even though doing that tour with Kinnon Holt will remain with me till the day I die. That man is a true Outlaw.

The trouble is I just can’t seem to give it away that easily. We have Family Man out on the Radio tonight, and off this record, I Play Country, I know there are at least another single or two off it.

Tony Leach who did the film clip for I Play Country, has sent me the treatment for Family Man, and I know I have to do it.

Keeping a band together, when you don’t earn a lot form shows is one thing, keeping it all together , when you want to make records and film clips, and the band don’t earn much is a whole other story. When I got home from work my wife stated that she rang a budgeting company that advertises on TV to see if they would take us on, and after she explained were we are at, they were not interested. Now I earn money, good money, I had to take a day gig to keep the band moving forward, but now with dependants, spending all my money on Rock and Roll, well, that simply just can’t keep happening, so therefore I have to get myself out of this hole. So one last film clip, a farewell tour of the USA, and one last Tamworth and then I will have a good think about it. Well that was the plan.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” John Lennon.

Chucks Wagon has had more drummers then Spinal Tap, and nearly as many guitar players. You can’t have that many players go through a band, and blame anyone else but yourself, so the buck stops here.  After Tamworth, when major changes happened again, it was hard to keep moving forward.

“ It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, just matters how many times you get back up” Rocky Balboa- Rocky V

But, it’s not in my nature to give up, so forward it was. My buddy Den Hanrahan said he would fill in, and before him I had the pleasure to play with the wonderful Jeff Mercer, a true gentleman with a master’s touch. Den, did finally get the call up. I have been a Den Hanrahan fan before; I actually knew I was a Den Hanrahan fan. I played the very first Ben Hall Biker Ball at Forbes a scary amount of years ago, and it was in a shearing shed, and I still remember this guy soloing, and it was Den, and the band was Saddle Rash. Den these days is a consummate Troubadour, a slave to the song, and it’s his passion that impresses most folks, you simply can’t take your eyes off this guy. He put’s everything he has into his music. I still think when he plays Ft worth Blues, Steve Earle turns around somewhere and says “Hang on a minute”.

Before the show’s on the weekend, we had played two shows as a band, both ok, some hit’, some miss’s, no use lying to yourself. On Saturday we played the Gerringong Bowlo, and I love it down that way, but, country music aunt everybody’s thing, and let’s just say Gerringong didn’t have their Cowboy boots on that night, not to mention that the local supermarket got held up with a Hammer just before the show, and the cops were everywhere, including the club. It was a cold night. As with music though, after the show, the Wonderful Sue Corbett had booked us into some accommodation, about 60 klms towards our next show, we found it in about 2am, and it was an oasis of the heart, in the bush, up against the lake, two stories of country lovin. In a band the most time you spend with each other is off the stage so the hang time is important. There’s not much to it, some beer, (in my case coffee!), some tunes, and some shit talking about some other gig, some other time, some other place. Tunes keep coming, beer runs out (everyone drinks coffee now) sun comes up, people go to bed. This night seemed just what the doctor ordered. When we did get up to a beautiful winters morning, Dave and Drummer Henry went off to get some Fry up, and after Mr Harding finished his cooking duties, we sat round working the tunes up, Den on Guitar, Dobro, Banjo, Henry on brushes, and Harding playing the  bass. It felt god, timing was right, and off we headed to Tilba Tilba.

Now this truly is Paradise on the South Coast. The Dromedary Hotel is a special place, frequented by music lovers, they listen, they dance, they buy C.D’S, they dance some more, and when the nights done, everyone is stoked. Music is a funny thing, and for no apparent reason, tonight, the line up kicked out the jams. No more worrying about getting it right, amps got turned up (told by the publican to play load!)I think is the warm atmosphere, we were amongst friends, and just let it rip. Mr Hanrahan was on fire. Harding and Henry were in the zone, all I had to do was whip out the songs. Easy! When finished a bunch of encores, and the fires were dying down, it was nice to relax, and feel like we turned a corner. It was less than 24 hours before this that I was sitting on the front steps of the Gerringong Bowlo, in between sets, thinking why I do this to myself.

What a difference a day makes…

Straight after the show, I packed up quick, and decided to do the five hours back to Sydney, easier at night. Just got to watch out for the roo’s, wombats, Hanrahan said he even saw an Emu. When I was driving through Gerroa, there was a white owl sitting in the middle of the road. Good Medicine.

Family Man’s last verse sums up why I went home. Mum and Baby Maverick were sick, and mum was getting exhausted. Even though staying and waking up at Tilba would have been good for the soul, my heart belonged at home.

So, where to from here? It’s at this point a Mystery. It was good to feel the music again, not worry, and be playing it with good men, on a mission. Film to come; looking forward to seeing what Tony Leach comes up with this time. Sydney Launch at the Botany View first week of September, and next weekend we are playing with our good friends the Chickenstones.

Texas, well Big John Duer’s booking that as we speak. Looking forward to a chicken fried steak at the County Line, trying to catch Randy Rogers in between shows, and then it’s getting ready for Tamworth. Hopefully one of these singles makes something out of the Band, but there will always be a night in Tilba Tilba were four men, balls to the well tore the house down!

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Stories from the Wagon

It’s been a weird time of late. I have not even tried to write, as I have not really know were to start. Post Tamworth,  post Texas, personnel changes leaving me and The Hitman back at the helm, was one thing, a big thing. Got me and Fitzy, our manager back in the pocket again. All this though was put in perspective by the birth of our second child, Maverick. Only parents know the fatigue you get into when that new life burst’s its way in, and when there is already a magnificent two year old filling that space, well that’s a whole different level of tiredness again.With Jen begin home looking after the two boys, I also bring home the bacon. We are a good team. Before the last Texas Tour and album launch, I had to get a full on job, to earn cash to pay for the record, film clip, promotion tours for the East Coast, Tamworth Tour etc, and any time you do that as a musician, you sacrifice the time you actually get to have the instrument in your hand,( Listen to Miss Texas Tonight) but I have seen so many of my more accomplished peers, not be able to record, tour, promote etc, cause of no cash. So there is the trade off I chose to make. The purists would say I sold out. Maybe I did. I am not sure how I am meant to work that one out at this stage in the game. I saw on Facebook recently a female Australian Country artist announced she would be shutting down her band page, and was getting married and going back to school teaching. Cut and dry. I was so taken by her clarity of the decision. She got so many compliments and well wishes by her fans, and then the next day, gone. Her music is her legacy. It was an act of courage. I thought about it often for days after. I still am obviously.The fact is when I started Chucks Wagon I was committed to spend every cent I could get my hands on investing in the dream. To tour, to record, to get video’s on the Country Music Channel etc.   Then Brett Fitzsimmons came on board, and he bought in at every level, eventually managing the band. He and his wife Helen, have supported me, and organised support for me at such a level I would be embarrassed to flesh it out here. I will be forever in their debt, and not just for the financial support, but for the undying belief. They put their money were their mouth was. Thank you will never feel like enough. On top of that my own wife has supported everything I have put into this dream, always encouraging me to see it through. I started Chucks Wagon thinking it was my grumpy old man policy. I truly wanted to have a royal go before I was done, as a songwriter and a performer. I planned to do three studio album and one great live album, releasing video clips for every record, and then see after that what the lay of the land was. Well I’m three studio albums in, and that time of reassessment feels closer than ever, and the fact is, I am worried. The band has not seemed to create any real interest above the small but amazing friends I have met along the way that love and support this band. It has always meant a lot to me to know that I have moved folks with these songs. I was a fan first, always a fan. When I started to write music it just felt amazing, like it happened “to” me. I know I am not the greatest musician, or writer, but I am a passionate one. I was always inspired by the underdogs. Before I went to Texas last, and I had some cash, I bought some Kiss Tickets. I know this will not make sense to my country music loving friends, so let me explain. When I was in High School, I was in that rebellious phase, and I found Kiss. They seemed so far away from my mundane western suburbs life. When you open the cover of Kiss Alive 1, and see that crowd shot, or Kiss Alive 2, with that amazing stage on fire picture, it was just the opposite of my working class family. It was mind blowing. The music was raw, everyone hated them. This was before their Disco single and the Kiss lunch box’s.The first three records were loose and raw. Achievable to garage bands everywhere.

Image So me and Fitzy went, and they reminded me that raw energy, commitment, and just really wanting something to happen, was what was more important than skill. They still had the balls to just play to, unlike Motley Crue who opened for them, and their music was so over manipulated, you were left wondering if anyone was really playing other than old Mick Mars.

ImageKiss are proof if you work hard, and give everything you got, then maybe you will break through. The concert was fun, not their best, that I have seen, and I have seen every Australian tour, right from their first tour where I and two school friends slept out over night to get tickets.

ImageThe thing now for myself, is that I am not sure I couldn’t have worked harder than I have, how do you know for sure, the thought haunts me, did I give it everything? It’s not over, and I will always play in some capacity, but man, I feel as though I am failing at some level, but I have always kept going, and that’s my intention right now, to put out Family Man and then Miss Texas Tonight as Film clips on the CMC, play all year, hit Tamworth and then see.

I did two solo shows last week, just me, my guitar, the songs, I missed the band, but it was a relief at another level, know one to have to rely upon, worry about, it was up to me. The shows were rusty, but ok. at songwriters I was there with two duo’s as well, leaving me really out there on my own, but it felt good.

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