A slightly different spin. When moving from Brisbane to Sydney 10 years ago to play in LORD, I found myself leaning on a large dosage of Australian rock from the 80s and 90s. Whilst it might seem like an unusual choice for many, it certainly provided me with inspiration reassurance.
These are a few of many songs that were the soundtrack to my first few years in Sydney, where I was trying to find my feet and carve out my own place in a big city on my own.
1. John Farnham – Reasons
– You can knock Farnsy all you want or say his only good song is ‘You’re the Voice’, but I’ll tell you with ease that John Farnham is the greatest vocalist of all time. Is this crazy talk? Maybe, but I believe it. I referenced this song in the liner notes of our ‘Ascendence’ album back in 2009, quoting ‘I’m pointing my feet in the right direction’. This track specifically was the fuel I needed to keep on a path that many felt was a little too outside-of-the-box. Fantastic song and still a great go to track for inspiration.
2. Dragon – Dreams of Ordinary Men
– Breaking the rules immediately, I’m going with an adopted Australian band from New Zealand (us Aussies tend to do this often!). Many people prefer their 70s output, but the mid to late 80s era of the band was absolutely unstoppable. These guys were the soundtrack to many a night in Sydney and Wollongong, driving between rehearsal rooms, backs of venues and the like. Highly recommend the albums ‘Body and the Beat’, ‘Dreams of Ordinary Men’ and ‘Bondi Road’.
3. 1927 – You’ll Never Know
– I became obsessed with the first two albums of 1927 for quite a lengthy period of time, especially the debut ‘…ish’. This song, like the rest of the album, is down to earth and raw. Every song is wrapped around everyday experiences which was the reassurance I needed in those moments of doubt. Their debut was highly successful in Australia, and I believe that the genuine human approach lyrically was a large part of that success. “You’ll never know. Know which choice to make. Take or break a hold. Which way to go. Say what you will. What you’re willing to give. Give or take control. Will we ever know.”
4. Ian Moss – Out of the Fire
– Women. They make and break you. No matter how shit a break up can be and how much you think that you’ll struggle to find someone as good as the last, someone better always comes around. This song is all about moving on, which I went through a number of times and in hindsight very happy that I did. Use this song as strength, not as a depressant!
5. Southern Sons – Something More
– The reality of being a musician is balancing it with earning a living. Working an office job was certainly a challenge and was very difficult at times to keep a positive frame of mind when those around you do not have the same outlook on life that you have. This song kept me pushing forward. A highly overlooked and underrated song that deserves far more attention. In some of my most difficult struggles, this track got me through.
1. Jimmy Barnes – Driving Wheels
– Not that I have ever racked up the mileage of a truck driver, but I always loved this song as I cruised up and down the Princes Highway between Sydney and Wollongong each Thursday night for rehearsals. Between an hour and an hour and a half each way with traffic. This was my weekly routine for a number of years and this track provided a somewhat soundtrack to it. Over the last 10 years I’ve certainly racked up a lot of kilometres across this large country and have grown a real love for being on the road and behind the wheel.
2. Roxus – Rock n Roll Nights
– This song is nothing but a reminder of very big, messy and late nights in Sydney. Partying in Kings Cross, Surry Hills, and the Inner West. Roxus was the perfect compliment as I bar/pub hopped across the city in the early hours of the morning (or those long walks home when you couldn’t get a taxi!).
3. Icehouse – Touch the Fire
– Late 80s Icehouse was out of this world. Man of Colours especially is one of my all time favourite albums, but Touch the Fire just seemed to get constant rotation, whether it be cassette, vinyl, CD or mp3 (yes I have it on all formats). A great guitar riff, sax solo and an open invitation to hook city. Delicious song.
4. Noiseworks – No Lies
– Seen Noiseworks soooo many times over the years. One of Australia’s best fronted by a New Zealander (remember, we adopt Kiwi’s when we like them!). Their self titled album is one of their best and No Lies is a reminder of fun, and often intoxicating, times seeing them in pubs and clubs with very rough and questionable middle-aged fans. I lost a bit of interest after their follow up album Touch, but you can’t deny those first two.
5. John Farnham – Break the Ice
– You start your mix tape with Farnsy, you finish with Farnsy. That’s my rule, anyway! Unless you’re an AOR/80s rock fan, you might not know this track. Featured on the RAD soundtrack, this is one of the best fist pumping songs out there. This one certainly got you in the mood before a big night out in the city.
How was 2015 for you musically?
From a band perspective, we released a highly successful EP entitled ‘What Tomorrow Brings’ which received great feedback from people all over the world (you can watch the video trailer HERE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMpF-tjlzHw) and lead to a fun end of year tour across Australia. Personally, I came to the realisation that Australian music at present has never been better. From a metal perspective, we have never had so many bands making huge impacts on the international front and it only appears to be getting better and better. It’s great fuel and inspiration for us and no doubt many others.
What have you got planned for 2016 and beyond?
For LORD, we have a very busy year. Whilst we’re taking a break from most touring, we will be appearing at the ProgPower USA Festival in Atlanta in September of this year. This will be our first ever US appearance, so we’re very excited to finally play to a lot of fans who have been patiently waiting for us to come over for many many years. In addition to that, we have just secured our new drummer, Darryl Murphy (video announcement here – https://youtu.be/VYtRQQZJBt0) after a long two year search (and many session drummers). Finally, we’re in the process of finalising another new release and planning for the next couple of releases over the coming 12 months. The biggest thing for us is to keep the momentum moving and we’re certainly ensuring that we stay busy.
Message for your fans…
A huge thank you for sticking with us, sharing our music amongst your friends, buying our mechandise and coming out to shows! The best thing personally for me is to see the feedback and thoughts from those who listen. While we do this for ourselves, we also take great pride in knowing that others get something out of it as well. You all keep us going and we wouldn’t be able to live our dreams without you supporting us.
Looking back and reflecting on the songs I chose for this mix tape leaves me with a great feeling of accomplishment. All of those times of doubt when I leant on some of Australia’s best song writers helped me get to where I am today. I am forever in debt to those who have and continue to inspire me, as well as those who have directly impacted the success of LORD. Thank you!