& the Beanstalk, first gig
Saturday 9 July 1994
It was 10 years ago... without wanting to be overly sentimental I'll do this in the interests of posterity.
The Stonemasons split in early 1994 mainly because I wanted more control over what I was doing and there was also this 'rock' thing happening with the band that wasn't really sitting well with me. I had discovered the Lemonheads through the 'Shame About Ray' album and this was having a huge impact on me, especially when I found out that Evan Dando was also into Gram Parsons. After a period of recording and performing solo/acoustic I decided I wanted a band with strummy chords and a simple line-up playing pop music. Rick Pomponio (drums) and Shane Bender (bass) were in a band called Myriad and were part of my brother's circle of friends. They were younger than me and keen to play, after just a handful of rehearsals we got together for my brother's 21st birthday and then did an impromptu performance at the Club Original (the back room at the Grosvenor Hotel).
There was nothing particularly special that I remember about this gig except that I was pleased that we just spontaneously got up to play. I was happy that we got a review as we also did for our first 3 gigs. I think that this would be something difficult to achieve in the local music media today.
I prefer this demo tape to anything that I ever did with the Stonemasons. They were actually all songs that the Stonemasons had played except for 'Doggy' which is the first song I ever wrote for Jack.
It was raw and energetic like all good demos should be. When we re-recorded 'Gram Parson' for our first single I felt it was missing a certain edge that we captured on this demo.
Our first official gig was one of the best I've ever played and indeed was one of the highlights of my life.
To put everything in context I was 25 years old and had a established a bit of name for myself over the previous 12 months. There was the feeling of a real scene happening in Perth at the time with Ammonia being signed and all of a sudden musicians had somewhere to hang out in the form of the Loft nightclub in East Perth. I was brimming with confidence and I think that really showed at this gig. We had a great crowd that really pulsed along with our performance. I was happy with my shoes, clothes, haircut, guitars, songs, singing, performance fee, free drinks and accolades I received.
If we had split after this gig, everything would have been perfect, it would have been the perfect band. Of course we didn't and I don't regret that because many great things were still to follow but by the time 1995 rolled around the whole affair became more serious and that excitement that had existed in 1994 was somehow gone.
Rock n' roll (and the Loft nightclub) I gave you the best years of my life.
Joe, July 2004