Good News

Good news is always good, but even more enjoyable when the news is delivered just in time! Deciding to buy a keyboard controller over here in Europe as it would be cheaper than bringing mine on the plane seemed like a fine idea until a delivery debacle meant I would be starting my first morning hunting around music stores at 9am. Not my first choice in a new Timezone. 

So I'm very pleased to announce that the replacement keyboard has arrived. And that the good news arrived 10 minutes before I have to get up! I love what I do and can't wait to get into the concerts of this tour with Sons of Korah through The Netherlands and Getmany, but I'm glad that can wait until tonight!



Answered prayers are always good news for your heart, even if that answer is just that you can stay in bed an extra couple of hours! Thank you God for the little things! (& thank you Maarten our tour manager for all these little things too!)

Project Pedalboard is go!


I usually run a few pedals playing bass and synth with Sons of Korah. None of them do anything terribly exciting to my sound (no fuzz boxes, harmonic generators or whammies) but they're all functionally important to the way I work around the rest of the band. 

Constructing and deconstructing the octopus of pedals and cables is a regular part of touring, but not necessarily a fun part. Especially at music festivals where you've typically got about 2 minutes to load onto stage and start playing. 

Bruce our wonderful lead guitarist deals with the same issue and came up with a brand new, never before seen, revolutionary answer: Let's make like a cool rock band and stick all those pedals and cables to a big plank of wood!

As soon as I saw it I was overcome with a special kind of envy. Not gear envy. Not even innovation envy.  

Productivity envy.  

I longed deep in my heart to improve the efficiency of my load in/ out procedure. I began to to despise like never before those arduous minutes spent on my knees, my back bent like an Egyptian slave. I knew there was a better way ahead. 

It was a fair fiddle and frustration putting it together (constructing solder free cables are easier than learning to solder... just...) but boy does it work well! Setup time cut by at least 5 minutes, and all of that crawling around on the floor like an animal!  

How to speak coffee at a Starbucks or "Wow, am I really that much of a snob? Yes. Yes I am."


I'm back on tour in the mid-west and it's time to sort out the priorities. Shower? Not yet. Sleep? That'll have to wait. Coffee. Let's make it happen. 

I'm sure somewhere in New York there'd be a decent coffee roaster but for the touring musician: you get Starbucks. If you're lucky. 

You'd like a latte? Sure. Would you like whipped cream with that? No jokes, that's a standard question. Ordering something other than a warmed up coffee coloured milkshake takes a little bit of practice. 

Tall, Grande or Venti? Let's stray off the menu and order a short. (Not an espresso mind you, this is just the kind of kiddie-cup they keep on hand for arrogant Australians who like to whinge)

Want it to taste like coffee as well as look like it? A double shot helps get it closer to the mark. Not exactly single origin but really, I should be over the moon it's not Blend 43!

Short Soy Latte with a double shot. It's my secret recipe that comes close to a takeaway latte from back home. Now, how do I get rid of that phantom sugar. I didn't ask for sugar, it's just there. Seems to be everywhere over here. (Ever had Vegemite on a piece of toasted cake?) Is there such a thing as anti-sweetener? Salt? Last time I put salt in a coffee my Dad got really mad. I swear it was a mixup. 

You know what's really missing though? The nose ring. And the neck tattoos. And the dreadlocks. And the playlist that inexplicably changes from Led Zepplin to The Seekers and on to Skrillex. And why is everyone here so nice? It's almost like someone told them customer service was a service industry.

Good thing I'm here for more than coffee. Now where's that pie?

Next best thing

A blast from the past... 

An old post I wrote on my way to a European tour a few years ago:

The next best thing... (in Singapore... At midnight)

I’m stopping over in Singapore airport for an hour on my way to Amsterdam. With another massive flight to Heathrow and another 7 hour stopover there before moving on I’m feeling pretty ratty and in need of sleep.

No such luck I’m afraid. 

But they have showers in the club lounge. Which is nice. Very nice. Almost as good as sleep. 

But it’s not sleep. Not even the next best thing. 

I don’t need sleep, I’ll just have a shower. 


I don’t need a shower, I’ll just wash my face. 


I don’t need breakfast, I’ll just have a quick coffee. 


I don’t need a lunch break, I’ll just eat this muesli bar while I’m working?


Is a shower supposed to be the same as sleep? How long do you reckon you can keep that up?

Rest. Sleep. Eat. Laugh. Listen to music. Pray. Meditate. Go for a walk. Whatever it is… rest. Your life, your work and most importantly your friends and family need you to rest. Not just the next best thing. 

P.s. Someone please remind me of this next time I say something silly like this.

A bass for every season

I had the pleasure of tracking some bass with producer Jared Haschek on an album he's producing for Laura Jean. He sent me some early piano demos of the songs we were going to record but apart from that I had no idea what to expect going in. 

In any kind of musical situation preparation helps, but being prepared doesn't always mean being well rehearsed, some times you're flying by the seat of your pants (most of my career has been built on these kind of situations actually!). Preparation sometimes means getting to know the people you're working with as soon as you can, getting an idea of their creative identities, influences, dreams and personalities. Preparation sometimes means getting enough food and sleep in to be able to function well. Preparation always means getting to a session or gig on time. In this case preparation meant turning up with multiple different instruments.

Sure, a good Fender P bass will work on almost anything and sometimes it's exactly the sound you need. That said, having other  instruments on hand means that rather than massaging and processing and mangling one bass sound to work with a song you can start from the right place to begin with. (& every good finished recording starts with the best recorded sound in the first place) On top of that, any musician can respond differently and uniquely with different tools to work with. 

For this session we ended up using a Fender P for an old school gospel sounding song, but the fretless 6 string worked a lot better for a soft and melodic ballad. A more aggressive part came out a lot easier on a grunty Stingray. Could we have completed the whole session with one bass? Probably, and it may have worked well. Taking 4 different basses to a session shouldn't mean you end up playing 4 different basses, but it does mean just in case that one perfect bass is proving a bit difficult on one song you don't need to settle for second best. 

Having a great producer on hand to direct the session and guide the arrangements didn't hurt either. Wink.  

Leaving home, finding home


Its been a long time between drinks, a good few months since I was last on the road with Sons of Korah. While the break over summer has been nice I’ve been really missing the guys' (and girl) company. I’ve been missing the stage as well, not so much from an ego “get me into the spotlight” sense as a sense of fulfilment and place. There’s lots to love about my life and who I get to live with but there’s not a lot of places (outside of home with my wife) where I feel truly at home as when I’m playing bass, supporting someone, lifting them up and holding the band together.  Its an uncommon experience to be in a place where I have only one thing to do, one goal to accomplish, and to have the confidence and ability to do that one thing well. When there’s only one job to do and I’m good at doing that job, I’m a happy camper.

In the middle of a song there’s only the song. The chords, the melody, the rest of the band, the room – everything becomes one in my vision. The meeting place of the drummer’s groove and the singer’s melody is at the same time a place of multiple possibilities but often an almost ethical sense of imperative. To be moving with the music and at the same time moving the music along feels like just the right kind of swimming with the current. 

When I’m in that zone the rest of the world so easily falls away and I find myself in such singular purpose I really feel at home and  at peace with my existence. Not to say that I never find peace elsewhere but this is a very centering and solidifying experience. A great sense of "home", wherever I am in the world.