Instrumental is a series of conversations with some of Australia's most successful musicians in which host Amber Petty explores the mystery of how her guests have transcended beyond their simple love of music to realising a musical dream come true, often beyond their wildest, rock 'n' roll dreams. At the heart of each episode are the relationships these musicians have with one particular instrument. We explore why these great love affairs have been so 'instrumental' to them personally and professionally.
Coming up in this series we chat to- Sarah McLeod (The Superjesus), Simon Mavin (Hiatus Kaiyote), Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil), Harry Angus James (The Cat Empire), Peter Luscombe (Paul Kelly band), Cash Savage (Cash Savage & The Last Drinks), Pat Davern (Grinspoon) and Sarah Blasko.
Episode 1. SARAH MCLEOD, THE SUPERJESUS – guitarist, composer, singer.
Amber catches up with Sarah at the Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood on a typically rainy Melbourne afternoon. Over a glass (or two) of red Sarah recounts her gravitation towards music and guitar, which lead her into a joint record deal in the US and Australia. Her passion for creativity comes from deep within her, which is why she has a sacrificial ritual when releasing (birthing) new music into the world. Sarah admits she's been "cheating" on her guitar recently. She has no idea where this new 'relationship' is going, but like all budding romances, she's excited about where it might lead.
Episode 2. SIMON MAVIN, HIATUS KAIYOTE - pianist, keyboardist and composer with the twice Grammy-nominated band.
Simon remembers hearing his mother playing classical piano at age three or four, a memory he says was "comforting and beautiful". It was perhaps this magical spell that leads him to begin exploring the piano soon after. By five years old, people around him recognised he had a talent way beyond his years. After years of classical music lessons, his connection to music deepened as he began playing with other people in his university years. It was the "tingle down my spine" moment that became the "drug" - he knew he wanted more. He could never know how far that "more" would take him, joining a band that would go on to be nominated for two Grammys, and be sampled by Jay Z and Beyonce, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
Episode 3. ROB HIRST, MIDNIGHT OIL – drummer, composer, singer.
Rob joins Amber for tea and biscuits at Babworth House in Sydney for a reflective look at his career; as a founding member of one of the most successful and famous Aussie bands of all time, Midnight Oil. Rob reveals why growing up in the 60s was a "great time for drummers" Rob's intense fascination with Ringo Starr enabled him to block out the sounds of screaming girls when he went to see The Beatles movie, A Hard Day's Night. Rob's love affair with the drums began early when his parents gave him his first drumsticks; a decision they instantly regretted. They weren't to know, however, just how far these two sticks of wood would take him.
Episode 4. PETER LUSCOMBE- PAUL KELLY BAND, STEPHEN CUMMINGS BAND, THE BLACK SORROWS, CHRISTINA ANU, ARCHIE ROACH, REBECCA'S EMPIRE & PROFESSOR RATBAGGY - drummer, composer.
Peter is a great storyteller (as well as a world-class drummer), who's been part of a string of iconic Aussie bands spanning several decades. In his early days, he worked at a pickle factory and a bank, with the latter resulting in him being sacked for a 'bad attitude'. Peter threw himself into music lessons at the insistence of his father. Fast forward three years and he realised that everything he'd ever learned, he needed to un-learn if he was ever to be accepted into the world of rock. Peter admits to some shallowness in his motivation play in rock bands, saying "I wanted someone to set up my drums for me. And I wanted girls at our gigs."
Episode 5. CASH SAVAGE, CASH SAVAGE & THE LASTDRINKS– guitarist, composer, singer
Amber catches up with Cash at the Grace Darling, 24 hours after the news is announced that her legendary uncle, Conway Savage (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) has passed away. With a sense of nostalgia circling her, Cash shares her memories of the first pangs of love for her guitar. An aggressive, perhaps, child-like love developing in the early days, resulting in her smashing her first guitar against a woodpile "just for fun". She's since learned to savour her guitars since then, admitting to not being able to get rid of any of them. A memory of time spent with her dad as he taught his young daughter chords to her favourite songs, set up her for the trajectory she's on now; with a fan base spreading across Europe and a growing Australian audience acknowledging her as an Australian rock legend in the making.
Episode 6. HARRY ANGUS JAMES, THE CAT EMPIRE – trumpet, guitarist, singer, composer.
Amber joins Harry at The Jazz Lab in Melbourne, before he takes to the stage to perform his A Struggle with Glory album. Harry admits it was an accident that he began with the trumpet, but one that has been a union that has taken him all over the globe with The Cat Empire. Despite the magic of this affair, he says it's one of love/hate at times. Like many great love stories, Harry admits he's suffered guilt along the way, over the way he's treated this great musical partner.
Episode 7. PAT DAVERN, GRINSPOON – guitarist, composer.
From high school bands, to the musical dots connecting Pat to Grinspoon; a band that went on to sell over 250,000 albums and play alongside bands like Queen and Anthrax in New York. Pat's music career has been the wild ride millions of young (and older) guitarists only dream of. As Pat gets to read to re-join Grinspoon for a string of festival dates, he's secretly getting ready to hit the stage for this kid's school fundraiser in his hometown of Byron; a show that will include local rockstar dads like Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger), Pete Murray, Jon Farris (INXS) and Andrew Stockdale (Wolfmother).
Episode 8. SARAH BLASKO – pianist (among others), singer, composer
Sarah Blasko has had many love affairs; with instruments that is. In today's episode, we explore one of her most significant relationships so far; the one between Sarah and her beloved piano. She also shares with Amber, who the woman she credits for inspiring her to sing and learn the piano - a musical "a-ah" moment born from rather humorous misfortune. And what does bedtime for a three-year-old look (or sound) like, when your mum happens to be Sarah Blasko? Join Amber Petty in this episode, to find out.
You can listen to the show now on iTunes, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.