Q&A Scene: Dave Warner


Tell us about your current tour…
I have a mixture of shows over the next three months. CHARLES HOTEL PERTH FRI JAN 23 will be a gig of Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs with original Suburb Tony Durant and my long time guitarist collaborator Martin Cilia. Lloyd Gyi drums, Phil Bailey – who played on the This Is My Planet album – is on bass. We’ll be doing Suburbs classics; a few arcane ones for those from the early Suburbs days (These Parts) and perennials like Mugs Game and Convict Streak for a very Australian celebration of Australia Day.   The same line-up but with GREG MACAINSH (from Skyhooks) on bass will play CARAVAN CLUB MELB SUN MAR 8.

A more acoustic Warner will play THU MAR 12 at the Django Bar in Marrickville Sydney.  This version of the show will include readings from my various prose writings and some of my mammoth performance poems. It’s a little more laid back and will also delve into the vaults to bring out some little known early Warner tunes.

From Feb17-22 I will be performing in my little musical THE KING AND ME at the VELVELT LOUNGE MT LAWLEY PERTH  for Perth Fringe. I wrote the play and Martin Cilia and I wrote the songs.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
I guess in my best form I’d like to think it was original, Australian rock with a lot of energy and covering a wide range of styles from in your face satire to pub rock to melodic melancholia.

Which song resonates most strongly and why?
This varies from gig to gig depending on my mood but Suburban Boy, John Arlott Makes Me Chuckle and Half-Time At The Football are favourites. Suburban Boy because it was a statement of veracity that still strikes a chord with the audience, John Arlott because it’s a personal reflection on the dilemma of balancing the pursuit of success with contentment and normality, Half Time At The Football because it’s as close as I’ll get to being Thomas Pynchon to music.

Any on the road anecdotes?
Many from the past but I still get a chuckle from the time Premier Artists in Melbourne would not pay us for gigs we’d done, wanting us to wait till the cheques from venues cleared. The problem was we had to be in Sydney for a gig that night and needed money for petrol and a stroppy road crew. My solution was to get the roadies to immure Philip Jacobsen the accountant in his office by completely blocking the doorway with 45/60s [Note: huge PA speaker boxes]. There was no window, no toilet so Philip was entombed until we were paid.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Half the time I don’t know, something just pops into my head – sometimes its personal; I’m angry or frustrated or sad (not one for happy as an inspiration usually because if you’re happy what the hell are you doing stuck in a room with a keyboard. Actually first time I’ve thought of that: keyboard songs will tend to be sad because you’re on your own, but guitars can be grabbed and played in a social situation or with a fellow writer, more chance for upbeat) I think the concepts that inspire my songs often spring from literature – I mentioned Thomas Pynchon, then also Flann O’Brien, Gunther Grasse, Robert Browning, Richard Brautigan – and musically from  everything I’ve ever heard, Doors, Kinks, stupid pop songs, King Crimson, Julie London.

What’s next for you?
I very much want to record a new album. I have a number of new songs and three or four older songs which I want to re-record with new arrangements.

What’s your scene?
I’m in with the Out-Crowd

About Dave Warner

HAILING FROM PERTH in Western Australia, Dave Warner formed Australia’s first punk band PUS back in the early 1970s. By the time The Sex Pistols had formed, Warner had already moved on to a new phase of music and social commentary which he dubbed Suburban Rock. His band Dave Warner’s From The Suburbs was a major Australian pub band playing with the likes of Men At Work, Midnight Oil, INXS, Dragon and Skyhooks. His albums were highly original and successful, tapping into the psyche of the ordinary Aussie boy and girl. By the mid-80s, tired of touring Warner began writing in other forms. In 1997 his debut novel City of Light, a sweeping crime saga, won the Premier’s West Australian Literary Award. He continues to write novels and non-fiction books.

Dave has also written screenplays – two that have been made into films are Cut (1999), starring Molly Ringwald and Kylie Minogue, and Garage Days, co-written and directed by Alex Proyas. Warner still plays the occasional live show, sometimes with the full band, sometimes with a scaled down version, and often including live readings from his novels, plays and performance poetry.

Find Dave on Twitter @SuburbanWarner

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