Alan Simpson (V-Capri/Magnificent Seven), Gary Dunn (Hooker/The Night After), Mark Whitehouse and Phil Strachan have spent the last two years documenting the WA music scene of the the ’70s/’80s on their web series, The Profile. They’re holding a fundraising show for the series tonight at the Charles Hotel. Alan Simpson spoke to ATS about the sald days and the challenges ahead.
You’ve produced many episodes of The Profile over the last two years. How important to you has it been to document the stories told and memories shared on the show?
The people we have interviewed all have one thing in common; they all fell in love with music. As time moved on, it’s very obvious they still have a childhood crush on it. Like all great relationships it gets hard from time to time. True love travels down a gravel road and it does get quite rough when the road gets old.
The ‘70s/’80s were very different times socially and culturally and a period when musicians and crews had plenty of work. What were personal highlights for you?
In the ‘70s and the ‘80s music was everything. We couldn’t wait for the weekend to either entertain or be entertained. Radio, magazines, TV and concerts were everything. Today the young have too many distractions and music has become cheap and a throwaway commodity. If the internet was shut down music would rise again. You would think it would help music, but it hasn’t. Too much information; too many cheap programs that anyone can record at home has dropped the quality of music. Free streaming must stop. It’s all about the videos today, the ruder or violent the better… it’s about the views.
The interviews and the gigs you’ve put on reveal a lot of friendship and camaraderie, how competitive was it back then?
Interviewing these 60 people have rejoined people’s friendships. Once the egos of youth have faded you find out we’re all the same when we stand naked. Having an insight into someone’s upbringing can explain a lot as to why people didn’t get on when in a band. Everyone has a story why they first picked up that guitar or microphone. We are fortunate now to get people that haven’t spoken to each other for many years to talk again and even perform on stage together. For this show we have over 30 performers volunteering their time for free to raise money to continue the interviews.
What are the challenges of producing The Profile and what looks to be its future?
The Profile has no funding at all; all 60 interviews have been done for free. Labour of love for Mark Whitehouse, Phil Strahan, Gary Dunn and myself. Pro-copy needs to survive, if they go under our music history will be lost. We have a window of opportunity to get this information; bands from the 60s to the 90s need to be documented for future family members, punters and future artists to enjoy. We have approached ScreenWest who liked the project but had no funding for us. We have had three meetings with WAM and are very disappointed with their response. I personally thought they would be desperate to get this sorted and to have this handed on a plate and rejected is something I don’t understand. After interviewing the 60 musicians they all have no faith in WAM. This is a problem for WA music as there seems to be a big rift between the two parties. I recently applied to get on the board of WAM to help sort this problem out but was told ‘no thanks’.
What’s the Sunday, June 3, show hold in store?
The Sunday will showcase the older musicians. Three great drummers Ric Whittle, Vinnie Crea and Gus Warburton. These three alone have played in so many bands. Guitarists like John Meyer, Steve Garde, Jaime Page, Lindsay Wells, Aaron Woolley, Dave Hole, Gary Dunn, are world-class performers. Singers Richard Roberts, Lisa Hill, John Worrall, Craig Pinkney, Maree Daniels, Frank Genovese, Wayne Green, Greg Keanu and Brendon Fosdike are all incredible performers. To have this amount of firepower on stage at the one time is a musical feast. As they all get older this won’t be possible in a few years’ time. If you remember the great life we had thru the 70’s and the 80’s in pubs, the mates we made, the girlfriends, we had the lights, volume and even the sticky carpet. I urge you all to re unite at the Charles one more time. You don’t many chances these days to relive a long weekend like the old days. Doors open at 6.30pm thru to 12pm. Bands start at 8.00pm.
Return Of The Champions happens at the Charles Hotel on June 3. Full details at www.facebook.com/events/183969522183483/