12 Jun 2004, Comments (0)

You’re gonna carry that weight

Author: Helen

Now that Peter Garrett is in the news again I’m reminded of my once-only brush with the great man of Complaint Rock’n’roll.

Before I was a blogger, I was a drummer. Yes, the transition from hitting big things with wooden sticks to tiptoeing over keyboards, putting in delicately unforgiving HTML tags, is a strange one. In 1981 I was playing in my first band, a wouldbe experimental but satisfyingly loud outfit which sank without trace the year after. Beside ourselves with excitement, we were on our first overseas tour— to Tasmania University to play a support gig for Midnight Oil. This was a definite step on our quest for rock star cool.

I’d never taken my drums on a plane before, and of course their bulkiness was an issue. In those days, for some reason which is lost in the mists of time and conflicting bad advice, I didn’t have bottom skins on them. So, to transport them, I put them one inside the other in the biggest (bass drum) case, like Russian dolls. This was compact, but very heavy. I would need to half-lift, half-drag the thing in a painfully slow shuffle, with frequent rest stops.

I didn’t mind. We’d be famous one day and we’d have roadies. Until then, I was Paying my Dooes.

The night didn’t disappoint. We got to play to the biggest crowd we’d ever played to and we played OK and didn’t stuff it up, so we could relax and watch the Oils. Rob Hirst was awesome. I made a mental note to practice for an extra hour a day to try to emulate that kind of awesomeness.

Came that time when everyone has gone home, and only a few people are still lugging out various black boxes and guitar cases to vehicles. I started my Quasimodo shuffle across a big, empty courtyard to our rented van. (Trolley? What? That would have been too sensible. This was the early 80s, remember.) I was halfway across the quiet, sodium lit space when I heard footsteps behind me and a low voice muttered, “Oh, I can’t stand to watch this.” A tall, bald figure whooshed past, scooping up my bass case in one easy movement, carried it to the van and tossed it in as if it was a hat box.

And before I could thank him, he had disappeared into the sodium night.

Comments (0)

  • cs says:

    Cool Helen.

  • David Tiley says:

    That’s great… MAYBE…. that’s how he sees Australia now.

    Dream on David, dream on..

  • helen says:

    “MAYBE…. that’s how he sees Australia now.”

    You mean, like a big, heavy, unwieldy black object with god knows what inside?

    I’ve just bought Willies Bar & Grill, by Rob Hirst, to read on the long weekend. Do you know PG once impersonated Burt Reynolds? What are Downer and tim Blair going to make out of THAT one?!

  • Sedgwick says:

    “Do you know PG once impersonated Burt Reynolds?”

    Perhaps “imitated” … by putting on a wig.

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