Part 2 of 2 posts-
In Part 1 of this post my first crush on a lass named Joanna turned into my first song at the age of 10. And I purposely starved at school pocketing my lunch money to buy an LP every 17 days.
Since the age of 10 all I wanted to do, or even could do half right, is music. This being the great disappointment of my parents. By the early 80s I began writing electronic, dark, atmospheric songs. I left behind my junk past, as I saw it at the time and plugged into synthesizers and primitive drum machines.
Ironically perhaps to a younger generation today, at the beginning of the 80s synthesizers were an industry dirty word. But I embraced them doing an about-face on my rock guitarist teenage past. Gary Numan, John Foxx, OMD and especially Depeche Mode became my new idols.
I’ve spent many years in bands. Long hours of rehearsals, hustling for gigs. hustling for pennies of pay, lugging gear out of beer soaked pubs at 3am often with a day job waiting for me in the morning. Facing mobs of synth haters. It often killed me but I kept pushing thorough the death of a 1000 obstacles and rejections.
I lead synth driven bands in Melbourne through the 80s, often inspiring little interest within a claustrophobic guitar focused city. I still have old tapes and videos if any one’s ever interested.
Joining Real Life was a watershed moment for me and it felt like I could at last crawl out from the dark side of the moon. I could now face an excited audience with a setlist of hits.
I have to say that after everything, the high point for me has always been connecting with fans face to face. The reward touring with Real Life far from home was playing to similar minded people who come to a show to see you and only you. They know the songs, they react to cues in the songs, they take part. The night becomes a union between performer and audience.
It’s a source of energy, an affirmation that the music is connecting with ‘real’ faces ‘real’ people. Performing on the same stages with heroes such as OMD at SynthStock 2000 in the US, Howard Jones, Claudia Brücken and others remain memories I cherish.
Singles like Send Me An Angel and Catch Me I’m Falling were major hits across the world for Real Life in the 80s. The former securing itself in the hearts of millions and being covered by all manner of artists from hard rock, dance to Gregorian chanters! I fulfilled a life’s ambition of writing, recording and touring while in the band.
Alien Skin developed after decades of work in this electronic music subculture. I learned from contemporaries such as early Depeche Mode, New Order, Heaven 17, Gary Numan, OMD and Yazoo. Alternative bands like The Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division & Echo and the Bunnymen further complemented.
As a THANK YOU for being my Alien Skin subscriber I wish to give you an additional free track from my 2019 album, P.O.P. POP. The song “Isn’t It Cliche?” is a good example of my love of old school, early 80s electronic pop. Comes complete with big analogue synth strings ala Gary Numan and John Foxx.
If you like ‘Isn’t It Cliche?’ you may also be interested in the album 1980 REDUX. Released before the song, it’s the album on which I purposely sought to revive my early 80s inspirations. I couldn’t help including references to Martin Gore and David Bowie in there too. As well as Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and Syd Barrett 🙂
If you’ve been with me in spirit as you read this blog you might kindly consider checking out 1980 REDUX here.
Speak to you in a couple of days….
(‘Real Life’ photo at top, from left to right is myself, David Sterry, Alan Johnson, Danny Simcic)
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