Q&A Scene: Guitarists’ Special: Simon Gardner – Simon Gardner and The Big Sky

Melbourne Guitar Show

Leading up to the Melbourne Guitar Show, What’s My Scene will be celebrating GUITARISTSStay tuned for our exclusive Q&As, Vintage Guitar Scenes, Snap Scene features, and much much more.

Simon Gardner answers our questions:

How long have you been playing guitar?

I started playing guitar in 1981 so more of my life than not!….36years.

Why did you first start playing guitar?

It was originally drums, but mum thought I should give guitar a try. I have never forgotten my first lesson and my first teacher.

Which guitarist most influenced your playing?

There have been so many but the ones I keep going back to are Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson. I love their guitar playing, but really I think it is their music that really sets me free!

Describe your favourite guitar.

My favourite guitar – like my favourite player – changes a bit but in recent years it has been an Ibanez Universe from 2005 that is just super. More recently Ibanez Australia sent me a Limited Edition Premium RG 7 that is superb and it will be the one I’ll have at the Guitar Show.

How do you prepare for a show?

As you would expect lots of practice! Once I feel like I’m gellng around the tunes OK I like to do what I call the acid test – set the metronome to the song tempo and play it from start to finish without error. It’s too easy to get lost in backing tracks and sound much better than you are!

Which artist/band was/is your favourite to play guitar with?

Well, I have had some remarkable music experiences in The Big Sky that are hard to quantify or understand! Hearing my own music come to life through the hands, hearts and ears of these guys is a feeling that is inexpressible and when it’s on, it’s like a musical thunderstorm – the energy is incredible. I also recently joined a metal band in Brisbane called Devonian and that has a fantastic energy but in a less cerebral and more visceral way!

OpEonal quesEon: How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

That’s a great but very tough question…..part paleo, part spaghetti bolognese, part protein shake and double toblerone cake….and a beautiful, medium rare eye fillet steak.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

Sorry I don’t really have any that I could tell you here!

What, or who, inspires you?

Energy. I am inspired by seeing people express energy, love and joy in whatever they are doing and the way they share it – to love is to give. I also get so much from seeing people overcome obstacles to rise to greatness in their own lives. I also find dusk and dawn very inspiring creatively and spiritually.

Which song do you wish you wrote the riff for?

Another really tough one!! Whole Lotta Love, Dancing Days, Black Dog, Trademark….I can’t pick just one!

If you had unlimited money, what would your dream guitar setup be?

‘58 Les Paul or more recently a 25th Anniversary Passion and Warfare Ibanez Universe. I like my amps ATM and Line 6 Helix is fantastic.

What’s next for you?

Start pre-production on a new album and shoot some film clips with Dave Loader at Pony Studios while in Melbourne for the show.

What is the best thing about the Melbourne Guitar Show this August?

I am super excited to be able to bring my band and perform on Saturday afternoon but also to deliver an Ibanez Clinic and AMEB Rock School clinic. And, of course seeing all the great stuff that will be on display, the extreme talent of the players on show and to just be around “my people”. It’s going to be another awesome guitar show!

What’s your scene?

Family, Guitar and Ironman training…..



It was big in 2015, huge in 2016, and today the Australian Music Association has announced the 2017 return of the Melbourne Guitar Show to rock Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6 – and this year, it’ll be bigger than ever.  Proudly presented by Triple M and Australian Musician, the line-up boasts not only an incredible haul of local guitarists, but also massive international artists – UK’s legendary Steve Hackett (Genesis), Canada’s renowned Nick Johnston and UK superstar Alex Hutchings.

In addition to some killer performances, MGS will also hold a monster exhibition that will feature a gigantic variety of electric and acoustic guitars, effects pedals, amps and more state-of-the-art guitar technology, both home-grown and from around the world.  It will continue to be Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up shop…and that’s not all.  In addition to this, the Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists, including: Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles and Bob Spencer with many more to be announced.

This year will be extra special as the Melbourne Guitar Show welcomes UK guitar royalty, namely, the original Genesis guitarist and successful solo artist in his own right, Steve Hackett, in a very special premium ticketed event.  Hackett will be touring Australia for the very first time with his lavish Genesis Revisited tour, playing classic Genesis prog-rock tunes as well as selected material from his 25 solo albums.  For the Melbourne Guitar Show however, in a more eclectic and informal setting, Steve will play an exclusive up close and personal acoustic-based show featuring musical director Roger King on keyboards and woodwind/ brass virtuoso Rob Townshend.  This will be the only Australian performance by the Steve Hackett Acoustic Trio.
Genesis, only ever made it to Australia once, in 1986 – years after Steve and singer Peter Gabriel left the band, so Steve is making it up to fans by bringing some Genesis magic to our shores.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for long serving Genesis fans and aficionados of 70s prog-rock.  Steve will also participate in an onstage Q&A session following his guitar show performance. Excited about the upcoming tour, Steve says, “I’m thrilled to bring my Genesis Revisited tour to Australia.  I’ll be playing there for the first time and I’m hugely looking forward to it!  It’ll be great to meet fans and friends, and I know it’s an incredibly beautiful country.  I can’t wait!”

Another star joining the stacked line-up is the Canadian guitar virtuoso Nick Johnston.  Known for his catchy, melody-driven instrumental music Nick has been able to carve out his own unique style within a crowded landscape of instrumental guitarists.  Nick’s playing has attracted sponsorship from massive international brands including Friedman Amps, D’Addario and Schecter Guitars.  Also on board this year, we welcome world-renowned guitarist Alex Hutchings (UK), a modern fusion guitarist par extraordinaire, lauded by many as one of the finest players in the genre.  His international following has exploded in recent years thanks to millions of YouTube views via both his own channel and JamTrackCentral (alongside such contemporaries such as Guthrie Govan, Andy James and Jack Thammerat). Regularly touring around the globe, Alex performs under his own name and as an international demonstrator for BOSS/Roland.

Drawing over 5,500 guitar lovers and enthusiasts to last year’s exhibit, the Melbourne Guitar Show is gearing up for the biggest event yet.  The voice of the Australian music products industry, the Australian Music Association (AMA) will be teaming up with Australianmusician.com.au and presenting sponsors Triple M and Aon to present this year’s guitar-centric weekend.  “We are looking forward to a show this year that builds steadily based on the merit and popularity of the first two and on the presentation of the best people we can find”, says AMA executive officer and MGS organiser, Rob Walker.  Not only will the 2017 MGS provide a hands-on chance to see, hear and play a broad range of the world’s favourite brands, it will also see exhibitors offering great show deals, plus an opportunity to get close to some hand-crafted, locally made instruments and epic guitar and gear collections.  Describing the exciting developments, Rob continues, “We will have more exhibitors this year, as well as bigger stand presentations by many brands.  We are in discussions with an increasing list of players who want to be a part of it, so we are sure this show will provide great value for guitar enthusiasts once again.”

The first artist line up announcement includes: Steve Hackett (UK), Nick Johnston (Canada), Alex Hutchings (UK), Lloyd Spiegel, Nick Charles, Bob Spencer, Shannon Bourne, Lloyd Spiegel, James Ryan and many more to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6.  

Tickets are on sale now!

Online ticket prices when pre-ordered:: Adult day pass $20, adult weekend pass $30, family day pass  $35, concession day pass $10, concession weekend pass $15, premium ticket** $40

**Premium tickets include admission to Steve Hackett show – limited tickets available







About Mary Boukouvalas 1644 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.