Q&A: The Simon Wright Band
So you're playing Alcatraz this Thursday night at The GH. Have you seen the venue since it's multi-million dollar transformation?
Not with my own eyes. I wanted to be there last week as my brother's band was playing (Engine Three Seven) but I was otherwise committed. I saw the photos, the place looks amazing, and the boys told me the sound there is next level. I'm looking forward to seeing Sir Apples on that stage. I've been watching his set come to life for years, it will be great to see it with all the smoke and mirrors. I'm really excited about the show and the venue. I'm always a little excited to see the birth of a new spot.
As Simon Wright & The Eclective (and with residencies at The Night Cat and The Evelyn) you've built a loyal following in Melbourne. Tell us how The Simon Wright Band differs to 'The Eclective in sound and setup?
When I first moved to Melbourne I put together my dream band, The Eclective. It was made up of some of the finest players I could find. Friendship came as a symptom to the music. With the new group the music is a symptom of the friendship. I've known Shane Evans (drums) since we were kids growing up in Byron Bay and Nick Ohlson (bass), I met 10 years ago doing the circuit with Marshal And The Fro, another Byron band. The Eclective was a seven piece band with soul-funk instrumentation, while The Simon Wright Band, a three piece, is much more rootsy with a blues rock undertone.
You've just returned back from an east coast run of shows. Where were the shows and what were the highlights?
We had a ball, it's always fun to go back to Byron. I played the Byron Reggae Festival solo, then the boys joined me for the Beach Hotel (Byron Bay), The Joint (Brisbane), The Rails (Byron Bay) and the Pacific Hotel (Yamba). The Beach Hotel would have to be the highlight. A huge turn out and they just wanted to party. My dad played guitar with us that night- he used to play at The Beach Hotel when I was just a kid, and boy, can that man strum an axe. It's a good feeling getting drunk on stage in front of a thousand people with your dad standing over your shoulder saying "Nice work son!".
We hear your drummer Shano is a bit of a party animal on the road. Any shameful incidents from your recent tour?
Ha, there were many. Most of which I can't mention as they may be incriminating. One of which involved scaring the shirt off a random Irish backpacker, and another taking the shirt off a bridesmaid on the side of the highway. Slightly less illegal though is a character that has come to life on tour we call 'Shaneomatapia'. He only comes out once Shane is completely inebriated. He is an Aussie hip-hop legend from the Adelaide Hills, self proclaimed 'Oz's best MC'. There are a couple of clips on our Facebook page if you want to check him out for yourself.
And finally, what would you consider to be your Best... Gig... Ever.
There has been so many memorable ones over the years, but I'd have to say for us, as a new band, was the first ever show we did together, Folk Rhythm and Life Festival last year. I was booked to play the festival with The Eclective, but due to reasons I won't get into, the boys cancelled on me days before the gig. I was not going to let the experience go to waste so I asked my good friend Shaneo to come do the show. Once we arrived at the festival we started scouting players from other bands on the bill. We ended up with an all-star cast including; Gilly G and Lee Morgan on guitars, Ben Harrison on trumpet, Will Morrissey on sax and of course the new bass player Nick Ohlson. With no rehearsal we rocked the headline spot on the Campers stage to a bunch of loose, weekend hippies, it was awesome. I love when it just works like that.
The Simon Wright Band play Thursday October 20 at Alcatraz At The GH: St Kilda's newest Thursday night out! Also playing are three-piece rockers Sir Apples. Doors open 8pm until midnight. On stage 10pm. Entry is only $6 if you mention the band.