The Story So Far...
Taking place each Sunday throughout July and set to the backdrop of a wintry Melbourne afternoon, The Story So Far… is a live talk show featuring intimate conversations and performances by some of this country’s finest musicians. The freewheeling lifestyle of the rock n’ roll musician has always had a certain kind of mystique about it. The touring, the late nights, the after parties; together it can conjure up some pretty fascinating and intriguing images. And that’s where The Story So Far…comes in. The concept was born out of a want to get to know some of our best and most well respected musicians on a more intimate level and learn of some of the stories they have collected along their journey.
Hosted by Sunny Leunig and Triple R’s Jacinta Parsons, the show aims to delve deep into the hearts and minds of its guests and uncover some of those tales that fascinate us so much. “It was actually the producer; Nat Camilleri who came up with the idea,” says Leunig on how the concept for the show came about. “She’s been around the industry for a long time, her father is Joe Camilleri from Black Sorrows so she’s grown up in a musical household and she’s also married to drummer Pete Luscombe who’s from RockWiz and Paul Kelly. So I guess she hasn’t been able to escape the music industry her whole life so she’s grown up listening to stories of musicians, you know great touring stories and all that kind of thing, and I think she has just always been fascinated with the stories that songwriters have to tell.”
Not content with simply scratching the surface, The Story So Far… aims to uncover the real gems; the anecdotes and stories that can only come from a life on the road, stories which have perhaps been laid dormant for years. Already two weeks into the program, so far Leunig is quite pleased with how the show has been received. “It’s been great. We’ve been really surprised at how open our guests have been,” he says. “Angie Heart spoke about some really confronting stuff which was really beautiful. Joe Camillleri last week just really opened up and talked about early childhood. Just really entertaining stuff for the crowd and heartfelt stuff as well which has been great for everyone involved.”
For Leunig and co-host Parsons, the idea is to have a real conversation with their guests as opposed to simply interviewing them and to just see where it takes them. “We map out a sort of narrative; the way the interview might go,” he muses. “But if it doesn’t go to that then we just chat. I think we want to make it more conversational rather than ‘What was the first band you played in?’ So encouraging anecdotes I guess is what our aim is.”
The Story So Far… is yet another creative outlet for the extremely busy Leunig. A self-described musician, filmmaker, actor, magician and philosopher, it seems that he just can’t say no to creativity. “I guess you work out what you value in life and for me creativity is something that I put at the top of the food chain,” he says. “I guess you just make time, dedicate your time to being creative. I mean the definition of creativity is to produce something from nothing. I guess that’s what I’m constantly doing and it does take up many hours of the day but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Being co-host of a live chat show has not only thrown up a new set of challenges it has also been an entirely new experience for Leunig. “I’ve found it to be less intimidating than I thought because the guests have been so open that it’s made my job a lot easier,” he says. “And of course Jacinta is there as well who’s a great co-host. Just the idea of bouncing of each other is a less intimidating notion I guess.”
As well as the conversations and live performances there are also a number of segments that are designed to keep the show rolling and keeping an eye on all of these components has proved quite the challenge. “That’s been the biggest challenge just kind of moving it along and making sure we cover all our segments,” admits Leunig. “We’ve got segments like ‘Songs they wish they had of written’. Another one is called ‘Desert Island 3’ which is three songs they would take if they were stuck on a desert island. So we’ve got little segments just to break it up a bit.”
Through their in-depth research, The Story So Far… has allowed its hosts to discover a great deal more about their guests then they would have ordinarily and for Leunig it has been one of the most rewarding aspects about his role. “That’s the great thing about it is because I’m more familiar with some of them than others but then when we can delve into them and research them, Jacinta and myself have been putting a lot of research into it, you’re sort of living in their world for a while so each then becomes really fascinating. So even guests that I wasn’t as familiar with, you just end up uncovering all these treasures.”
BY JAMES NICOLI
The Story So Far… takes place each Sunday in July from 3pm at Bella Union, with Lisa Miller and Kevin Mitchell featuring on Sunday July 22 and Tim Rogers and Jane Clifton on Sunday July 29.