Sergio Ercole answers our questions:
How long have you been playing guitar? Why did you first start playing guitar?
I have been playing for about 37 years. I started when I was 8 years old not long after my family moved to Melbourne from Florence. My dad played a little and he would show me a few things. The school I went to offered guitar lessons so I began learning formally at school. I continued learning guitar all the way through my schooling and also played in various bands though high school and university.
Which guitarist most influenced your playing?
I would say John Williams. My parents had many of his records and I marveled at his control of the classical guitar. I eventually got to play for him in the 90s when he visited Melbourne Uni, I have also interviewed him for my podcast Guitar Conversations.
Describe your favourite guitar.
I have a beautiful Richard Howell hand-made cedar top guitar with rosewood back and sides which is my current favourite. I also dream about owning an Ignatio Fleta guitar one day.
How do you prepare for a show?
I need to be match fit, so I play as much as I can in the weeks leading up to a show. This can be difficult with teaching and family commitments but I really enjoy preparing for a performance. As well as my general tech workout (scales etc) and working through challenging phrases I also do quite a bit of memory work.
Which artist/band was/is your favourite to play guitar with?
I had the opportunity to do some recording and touring with The Cat Empire some years ago. They are great musicians and their show is high energy. I really enjoyed being part of their stage experience. They are also easy fun not be around.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
My youngest son Luca was born the night of one of the gigs I did with Cat Empire. The show was at the Myer Music Bowl. My wife Paula was dancing a lot, and Luca was born a few hours later. It was quite a night.
What, or who, inspires you?
I am inspired by great artistry in any field. I live on the Mornington peninsula which is full of fantastic artists. These include painters, photographers, musicians, and various artisans. I am inspired by people’s life stories which I read about or watch documentaries about. I also like to listen to inspiring interviews on my podcast app.
Which song do you wish you wrote the riff for?
There is an amazing 13 minute piece by Carlo Domeniconi called Koyunbaba.
If you had unlimited money, what would your dream guitar setup be?
One can always do with more guitars. I would have some more hand-made guitars made for me.
What’s next for you?
I will be performing quite a bit in August, including playing at Bird’s Basement and the Melbourne Recital Centre. Then in early September I will be traveling to Italy to perform at Festival di Due Cittá (Festival of two cities) near Venice.
What is the best thing about the Melbourne Guitar Show this August?
There’s such a diversity of talent and instruments. I like that it brings together guitarists from different styles. You also have the opportunity to try out lots of great gear.
What’s your scene?
I like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks but I also have my own podcast called Guitar Conversations where I enjoy interviewing local and international guitarist and a blog called Latin Guitar Mastery. I like jamming with my kids or walking with them on Fishermans’ Beach. I also enjoy the occasional poker match with friends in Flinders.
For more info: Sergio Ercole
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
MELBOURNE GUITAR SHOW DETAILS
SATURDAY AUG 5 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE |10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS
SUNDAY AUG 6 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE | 10.00am – 6.00pm | TICKETS