Dave Graney has been described as a “cryptic rock voyager”. In other truth he is a storyteller, songwriter and singer with few peers in the Australian music scene.
‘Everything Was Legendary With Robert’ is the first single from Dave’s new art pop solo album, Fearful Wiggings out May 2 on Cockaigne/Fuse.
Featuring wild pop dynamics, the voice right out front like a 60s Country star should and massed, reverbed harmonies, the video for ‘Everything Was Legendary With Robert’ was directed by Donna McRae & Michael Vale.
To celebrate the release of Fearful Wiggings, Dave Graney is setting out on a tour which is called IN CONCERT. No matter if it’s a concert hall, a cafe or a bookshop, it’ll be a CONCERT performance. Joining Dave will be Clare Moore, who is all over the album and will be playing keys, percussion and singing. Stu Thomas will also be playing on baritone guitar, vocals and bass.
Dave was gracious enough to take a quick moment to answer a few questions, in the lead up to his performance at Solbar on July 19.
Hello Dave. Congratulations on the release of ‘Fearful Wiggings’. That’s a pretty big album (your 28th offering in your career so far). It’s slightly more laid back compared to previous releases, so why the change of pace, and why did you decide to go solo with this album (which is your second solo album, I believe)?
I really loved some recent music by the American artist Bill Callahan. His albums DREAM RIVER and MY APOCALYPSE. Found it fascinating as to how little instrumentation there was and how much room it left for the voice. Still remaining full of power and dynamics. Started recording early last year with my acoustic, knowing I’d be working with Clare’s band the DAMES (in which I play guitar) and HARRY HOWARD and the NDE (in which I play bass) for the rest of that year. Had time to spend on my album. Felt like doing something different. Our 2012 album “You’ve been in my mind” was a real high point for our up tempo pop rock songs. Did it in the same studio as 2011s “rock’n’roll is where I hide” album so I just felt we’d exhausted that tip for a while.
You’re in your 4th decade of writing and performing songs. In an industry where longevity seems to be less common occurrence (particularly with younger musicians), how do you keep challenging yourself to come up with new material, and not burn out?
Enjoy yourself! Play with people who love to play too. What else? Don’t worry about people who think they run the show. Musicians rule! Its good to have being a musician to fall back on! Actually, I really can’t do anything else, there is no retiring in this business. Once you accept that , you can relax and get in a groove.
I love the clip to the first single ‘Everything Was Legendary with Robert’ (the whole séance theme you went with was very cool), but I do have to ask exactly why everything was legendary with Robert?
I did a song called “You wanna be there but you don’t wanna travel” in the 90s. I loved it so much I recorded it twice- in 1990 and 1994. It was about the same sort of character. A legend in his own share house kitchen. Never looking you in the eye, always off somewhere else. Waiting for his real life to start. I’ve been that type of person myself. The video was directed and shot by Donna McRae and Michael Vale. They thought up the whole visual idea. Based around an early French film maker called George Melies.
In 1996, you won the ARIA for Best Male Artist, in which you slyly declared yourself ‘King of Pop’ (referencing 70’s teen magazine, Go-Set’s pop award… I still remember that, by the way – pure brilliance). How relevant do you think awards like the ARIAs are to our music industry in Australia?
Well they’re pretty good if they recognise people’s work . Pity it’s just bought and sold by different TV channels. I always thought it’d be better to be exclusive and behind closed doors- for insiders only. Then the TV channels would have to report it on the News – either fights or gossip. Make it more of a glamorous – forbidden thing. Would be more fun for the players too. I haven’t been near one in decades.
The relationship you have with your wife and musical partner, Clare Moore, is a rare and enviable one. What’s your secret to a happy, creative partnership? How much do you influence each other with your respective musical projects (Clare’s résumé is amazing!) ?
Clare’s playing keys on a lot of these dates though she’ll be behind the kit at the SolBar. We have experienced a lot of stuff. We know what each other is talking about. I love playing with the Dames too and can’t wait to do another Clare Moore album. We do some film and TV soundtrack work together (though not as much as we like) and Clare is amazing with that stuff. Editing and playing keys and organising the pieces for the timing of the film. She’s great with harmony and also keeping Stu and Stuart informed of things. That’s important, communicating with each other. The guys have to leave their lives behind when we go on tour, we take ours with us.
What is the one main thing you want your audience to take away with them after a live Dave Graney performance (apart from a copy of the album, that is)?
Well, we’d like them to think they’ve seen and heard something unique. Something you can’t get anywhere else. We don’t do other people’s songs. It’s all my stuff. I like sensation, goofy stuff. Street language and grooves. So its kind of a balance between throwaway show business foolishness and madly ambitious flights of the imagination. Sometimes the two are the same thing and that’s really great.
And finally, from one hat aficionado to another, how many hats do you actually own?
Not enough. It’s hard to get hats to go with different outfits. I’ve only had one I really liked and that’s really stuffed. I need another one. They’re annoying, they give you an attitude.
Thank you so much for your time, Dave. Have a great gig at Solbar on July 19.