December 9th 1998
Supporting Sneeze @ Annandale Hotel
I remember this show coming at just the right moment in time. The band C-Minus (Adam, Wally, Martin and I) had fallen apart a week after our show with Ratcat only a month before.(Not a bad way to finish I guess). I was down in confidence thinking that everyone hated my music. It was during my first extended holiday from university and I was working a part time office job too.
Nic Dalton was playing bass in Ratcat, and of course he and Tom Morgan are Sneeze. Nic called to see if I wanted to play them and I jumped at the chance. It would be a great way to start my ‘solo’ path and play with some legends at the same time. Summer in Sydney. Hot. I recall meeting Scott McIntyre (equal best friend) in Newtown and hanging out at his girlfriend’s brother’s place. He played Belle and Sebastion who he was just discovering whilst we toggled over the soccer game FIFA ’98. We drove the short distance in the old red Ford Laser.
Sneeze had set up a tiny stage in the middle of the Annandale. At this point in time they were still a two piece and had probably only released their first album. It was a Wednesday night residency and whilst they had a loyal following, it was nothing like it would be in 2001 as I write this. I played inbetween their two sets to a modest crowd and can remember some of my friends that were there because it would be one of the last times I’d be able to play for them. (Ste and Nick Wood, possibly Natalie). I also met Robert F.Cranny for the first time.
Everytime I play with people I respect I want to impress them, musically speaking. That’s just how I am. Tom Morgan is one of maybe four or five songwriters responsible for me actually writing songs. At age 17 I first heard Smudge and by the time I was 19 I knew enough chords to start the process of songwriting. To see a local guy like Tom have success was inspirational. Nic had spent time in one of my favourite bands and is himself a gifted musician. I listened to Godstar lots. I guess I am trying to let you know that performing in this establishment with these guys was a great thing.
The set I played consisted of The Biggest Lie (Elliott Smith)/ Lainie.K./ Achin’ To Be (Replacements)/ Goofy/ Rub It In/ Moving Along/ The Moon and the Stars/ 747/ Thunder Road (Bruce Springsteen).
Even though I usually have too many originals, I love playing covers. I probably did three this evening because of the transition period that I was in. Thunder Road was for Tom because we both love the Boss. My other best friend Graeme Trewin joined me with his snare drum and brushes for four songs, and Bruno Brayovic of Peabody played keyboards as well. (Graeme would join Bruno’s band a year later). It wasn’t the greatest performance of my life but it sure meant a lot to me.
I actually got up and played with Sneeze on a really long song of theirs that went for ten minutes. Only two chords too.(E and C I think). I am thankful that this moment was captured on film.
After the show a bunch of us went to Alex Cordobes’ for pizza…Alice, Scott, myself, Andrew Raphael (the beard), Jodie Payne and some others. Andrew payed for the lot which was uncalled for but not surprising given his friendly nature.
I have been lucky enough to have played with some of my influences and heroes. The old band shared a seven inch with Smudge and had a launch at the Sando to celebrate it. I’ve already mentioned Ratcat. I have been in the company of Tom and Nic countless times since. I don’t get nervous anymore but there is still that small part of me inside thinking about how I used to sit in my bedroom and be amazed by these people.
I still do and still am. But I think that’s healthy and I think it’s OK