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JOHN PATRICK MAKES A KEEPER
Who knows when and where your big break will occur. For
Melbourne singer-songwriter John Patrick it happened while
he was tour managing American band The Flatlanders, featuring
the legendary Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.
By the time they got to Ballina, John and the band had bonded.
They had a quiet drink in a hotel room, and John played
a tune when they passed a guitar around. "Fantastic song,"
Butch Hancock said, "who wrote that?" "I did," John replied.
"Wow," drummer Pat Manske said, "we should look at making
a record." Not long after, John was flying to Austin to
record with Pat and Flatlanders guitarist Robbie Gjersoe.
And the song that John played that night, Short Stout Woman,
became the opening track on John Patrick & The Keepers'
debut EP, In Memory Of Pa (available now on iTunes), which
they're launching at the Evelyn on Thursday.
"It was all a little bit surreal," John says. "Really humbling
and a bit embarrassing, with all these amazing musicians
putting their touch on my songs." As well as Pat and Robbie,
the EP features bass player Glenn Fukunaga, who has played
with Dylan and the Dixie Chicks. John's wild ride didn't
end there. Robbie gave a CD to his good friends The Greencards,
the Grammy-nominated, Nashville-based bluegrass band featuring
two Aussies, Kym Warner and Carol Young. They were about
to start recording their fifth album, The Brick Album, and
they got in touch with Robbie: "Can we use these songs?"
Suddenly, John had two songs - Naked On The River and Here
Lies John - on a Top 10 album on the US Bluegrass chart.
Are the royalties rolling in? "I wish," John laughs. "I
did get a cheque in December for $11. Hopefully that's the
tip of the iceberg. But seriously, I was just so happy to
have a band like The Greencards cover a couple of my songs,
and hopefully it will lead to other opportunities."
John's EP has also attracted the attention of David Bowie's
manager, David Whitehead, who said: "He has a curious, fragile
voice that you think is going to break at any time." It
helps make In Memory Of Pa stand out in the crowded marketplace.
As for the title, the EP is dedicated to John's grandfather,
who died last December. "The CD is a tribute to him and
his 91 years of life." Pa got to hear the EP, "but he was
engulfed by Alzheimer's, so I'm not sure what it meant.
But it's nice that grandma got to play it for him and say,
'This record is for you.'"
Howzat! would regularly have lunch with Zoran Romic and
his best buddy and business partner, Darren Danielson. After
Chocolate Starfish, Zoz and Darren focused on music management,
forming the FUR Group. We'd talk footy (Zoz was a Hawthorn
fan), music matters and reminisce a little about the old
days. I valued their honesty and insight - these were managers
who knew what it was like to be in a big band. Early last
year, when I was thinking, "I haven't seen Zoz and Darren
for a while", I got an email: "It's time for one of our
lunches, we also need to tell you about the Starfish reunion."
Darren sent me a link to Starfish performing Head at the
1994 Australian Music Awards, which was one of Zoran's favourite
moments. "How could we not put the band back together,"
Darren said, "I want to see Zoz in the leather pants again!"
When Zoz appeared at our lunch, I pointed to his bald head
and said, "Have you done that as a tribute to your old singer
[Adam Thompson, who shaved his head during the Starfish
days]?" "No," he replied, "I've had cancer." It was a horrible
moment, but Zoz had a knack for being able to put people
at ease. "Not to worry, mate," he smiled, "you weren't to
know. Hopefully I'll be okay."
Zoran's private battle became public when he was unable
to do the planned reunion shows. Instead, his mates organised
a benefit - "One Night In October - A Concert For Zoz".
It was a remarkable night. A full house, and Zoz got to
do one more Starfish gig. Afterwards, he was exhausted,
but you could tell he was happy. Sadly, Zoz died last Saturday.
He is survived by his wife, Linda, and their two daughters.
The pain would be lessened if I could find a bad word to
say about Zoran, but I can't. As Noise11.com's Paul Cashmere
said, "Zoran will be remembered by all who knew him as one
of the nicest guys in the business." Starfish's biggest
hit, Mountain - which Zoran co-wrote - includes the line,
"I am for now, you are forever." That's how I feel about
Timomatic scores his second hit.
Boys Like You 360 & GOSSLING (number 11)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (13)
If Looks Could Kill TIMOMATIC (16, debut)
Set It Off TIMOMATIC (22)
Music Won't Break Your Heart STAN WALKER (35, debut)
I Love It HILLTOP HOODS & SIA (36)
100% No Modern Talking EP KNIFE PARTY (37)
Madonna knocks off Hilltop Hoods.
Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (number three)
Falling & Flying 360 (11)
Vows KIMBRA (21)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (32)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (37)
Gold Watch HOODOO GURUS (39)
Nova Scotia JOHN PATRICK & THE KEEPERS
Good Clean Fun JAMES REYNE
The Preacher JULITHA RYAN
Crocodile ALEKS AND THE RAMPS
Mountain CHOCOLATE STARFISH
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