I don’t think you can consider delivering pizzas as a dazzling job but for whatever reason for a period of time there seemed to be a floating line-up comprising of local musicians at a pub I worked at briefly in East Melbourne: a Coral Snake here, a Killjoy there and one “dude” from Luxedo. There was just a bit too much swagger, bluster and bravado, black clothes and boots going on in this joint, which seemed incongruous given the menial tasks we undertook. Combine pizza delivery with what is commonly referred to in the hospitality industry as being the “dish pig” – it was hardly the most glamorous job.
[pullquote]I’m quietly proud of that song and always treasure the inspiration that happened in that moment.[/pullquote]I’d actually gigged in this pub years before with my brother Mark in our band Chad’s Tree. I remember (apart from a very small crowd) the door girl spilling her drink all over our guest list and legendary Melbourne music fan and chef extraordinaire Julian Wu leaping up on stage to perform a cracking version of” the Triffids classic “Butterfly. We’d given up at this point and decided to leave the stage and start up an open mic night. I digress…
I had no idea there was a red light district in East Melbourne/ Collingwood until I had to deliver meals to some of the women who worked around the corner from the pub and where I was privy to some interesting conversations on occasion. A lot goes on in those back streets.
I remember having a solo gig around this time too up in North Fitzroy at a venue run by Michael Simic aka Mikelangelo and his family, now known as The Pinnacle. After settling in I noticed there was something scrawled across my face in black texta on one of the posters on the wall. Sure enough one of my compatriots from the pub had written over my solemn expression “I’ll have a small Hawaiian with mushrooms” … hilarious … thanks.
One night while driving about delivering pizzas in my beaten up Camira, my soundtrack was a newly acquired cassette of the majestic instrumental Melbourne trio The Hungry Ghosts (featuring J.P. Shilo). I was transfixed by one song – “Nowness”. At some point on Victoria Parade I felt compelled to pull over as a set of lyrics literally started to pour out inspired by the music. It was an intense stream of consciousness experience. It was as if I was just the body that occupied the thoughts and held the pen. Seriously, I’d never experienced something like this before or since. Essentially the lyrics wrote themselves … the pizzas went cold.
It became a song called “I Can’t Find You”, a collaboration of sorts with The Hungry Ghosts which I’ve been lucky enough to sing live with them and release myself on my album with Dan Luscombe “There Is Nothing Here That Belongs To You”. I’m quietly proud of that song and always treasure the inspiration that happened in that moment.
Occasionally I still walk past that pub on my way to the MCG, it seems to have become more popular and fashionable though I never go in. Then I walk past those footy vans where I too once worked before everything required official sanction from the AFL.