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第2-3章:12 Bar Blues

发表于 2017-6-8 13:58 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Sam painting, Sydney, 1976.
My Son, Simon, and me in my Sydney apartment, having breakfast, 1976.

Right: Newspaper ad seeking singers for Jesus Christ Superstar.
Above: Jesus Christ Superstar's boys chorus, Sydney, Ausralia, 1975.
Standing Left to Right: Me, Russell, Ian Broadbent and Adriam Bayne.
Seated Left to Right: Gary Young and Jeremy Paul.

Right: The program from Jesus Christ Superstar, 1975. I met Russell May 12, 1975, the first day of rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar.

12 Bar Blues

      In 1962, I was 12 years old and had already written about 40 songs. Oddly enough, I can remember every one, even now. They were very simple and easy to digest, something I have tried to maintain in all my songs. "Keep it simple," Willie Nelson once said to me, great words of wisdom for anyone.

      I continued to write songs, usually about two or three every week. I would write them in collections with a title and perhaps 10 in each group. I found that really helped me focus, creating a theme around which to wrap the songs. I would sit down and play all the songs in a collection to anyone who would listen and then ask which ones they liked. I must say that everyone at that time always gave me positive feedback, which gave me great confidence. My school friend Tony Brough and I would sit for hours playing all the songs while shipping tea and eating digestive biscuits, courtesy of his mother. A little later, when I was 14, I began to play the drums, or I should say, the couch in our front room. I actually destroyed it, much to my dad's dismay. I got a job at Fine Fare supermarket in Sherwood on Saturdays to pay for my pride and joy, a Ludwig Acrolite snare drum. The rest of my patchwork kits was all secondhand, beaten up old drums held together with tape and string, but I learned to play them. I knew every drum fill on every Beatles song.

      I joined a band called the Nottingham Oddfellows, which was really a building society whose name we stole. We played all cover songs and some bluesy numbers. Our first real show was my sister Gloria's wedding in 1964 above the Co-op in Arnold. I loved being onstage; it just felt so familiar. After a few months, the band changed its name to Union Blues, and we played 12 bar blues that I found quite boring after just a few shows. I told the band that we should play original songs and that I had written some we could choose from. I played them a few that they really liked, but they didn't know what to do with them. Unless they were copying a record, they didn't know which parts to play, so that didn't go anywhere to my great disappointment. It was around this time that I realized I had to play my songs myself, so I began to get my guitar chops up to speed while still playing drums. I didn't like being in the back while onstage anyway, but it was the endless playing of the same ol' three-chord songs that was just too stale for me. We weren't that good, and I knew that, too. We had one guitar amp with four inputs that doubled as the PA system. It used to distort like crazy, but it was all we could afford.

      By this time, I had immigrated to Australia with my wife, Linda, and six-month-old son, Simon. The music scene is Nottingham was not offering any real opportunities, and at 18, I had to support a family. I formed or joined several bands in Melbourne, still playing drums, but I was never a good drummer. I knew that I wasn't, and knowing that was a strength, or so I believed.

      I saw a 10-minute show on ABC called Get to Know, or GTK as it was known. They had a acoustic artist sing and play one song every night. After seeing a few of them, I thought I could do that, too, while singing my own song; something no one else was doing. I called the station, and after getting the runaround for a while, I played an audition and got to appear on the show. I ended up doing it quite often and was suddenly immersed in the solo folk scene, meeting many people on a path similar to my own. At this time, I decided that I would not continue playing drums. I had found another path. I met some great artists and performers who taught me a lot about the solo scene. One of them was Graham Lowndes who had a brilliant voice and was quite the hippy hero at that time. We played the same little folk clubs, tiny dark coffee housed with dimly lit candle. The audience was mostly university students with long hair and beards, and those were the girls! (Joking, of course.) We would make $5 for a set that was about 30 minutes. These shows were clearly not enough to support a family, though I had a day job, too.

      I was taking my two children, Sam and Simon, to Poppa's Pizza in Melbourne one night and ask the manager if he had ever thought of having a solo guitarist play in the restaurant during evening. I told him I would like to come in and sing for him, and he gave me one night to try out. After a few nights, I was playing three nights a week at that place and three nights at another in a different suburb. I was making $20 a night plus free pizza and soft drinks. I had no get on the lunchtime circuit. That paid $100 for 45 minutes. I got on all the rosters and played them once every week. With other odd shows I would pick up, I was doing quite well. I still had my day job that I would finish at 7 a.m., delivering bread in a van for Homepride Bakeries. It freed me up all day to look after my children and take them to school. Then I would play at night, be back home by 10 p.m., in bed by 10:30 p.m. and up at 4 a.m. It was a full day every day, but I loved it. I was playing and writing my songs and with the family during the day. And the bread run kept me super fit.

      After about a year, I was making enough money to quit my bread run, allow me to begin recording demos and sending them to record people in Sydney. I never got anywhere, but received encouraging letters back from them. One in particluar was from Peter Dawkins, a then-successful record producer.

      There was always something missing with my songs. I truly felt that, but I just didn't know what it was. I had just written a song called "Love and Other Burises" that I knew had a beautiful haunting melody, and a lot of people made comments about it. At the same time, I was reading voraciously, very spirtual books that I couldn't digest fast enought, from Edgar Cayce to The Antideluvian World. The book were on loan from a good friend and elderly lady who was very intuitive. Her name was Dorothy Whittle, and one day she asked me, "Have you seen the paper? They are advertising auditions for Jesus Christ Superstar." I had not seen the paper at all and said that it really didn't interest me. I didn't think I was a good enough singer and knew nothing about theater. She then said if I applied for an audition, it would change my life.

      At Dorothy's suggestion, the next morning, I called the number in the paper. I didn't know it then, but Dorothy was right: my life was about to change forever!

      1962年,我12岁,已经写了40首歌了。说来也奇怪,我居然能记住每一首歌,甚至现在。这些歌都是相当简单易懂的,Willie Nelson曾经对我说过,“让他变得简单”,这句话对任何人来说都是至理名言。

      我一直在写歌,通常是每周2到3首。我喜欢把他们都写进一个合集,使用一个标题,大概10首一组。我发现这真的很帮助我集中注意力,在这些歌里创造一个主题。我会坐下来为大家演奏一个系列里的所有歌,问他们哪首最喜欢哪首。我必须说那时所有有都给我的是正面的评价,这给了我很多信心。我学校同学Tony Brough和我会坐在一起好几个小时,演奏所有的歌,一边喝着茶一边吃消化饼干,都是他的母亲提供的,太友好了。不久后,当我14岁,我开始打鼓,或者我应该说,打我家前屋里的沙发。事实上我几乎摧毁了这个沙发,我父亲失望无比。我得到了一份在谢伍德Fine Fare超市打工的机会,可以支付我的最爱,一套Ludwig Acrolite snare鼓。而我其他的设备都是二手的,老的鼓和磁带和吉他混合在一起,我试着学会如何使用。我学会了每一首Beatles歌的鼓点。

      我加入了一支名叫诺丁汉老伙计的乐队,其实这是一个社区的名字,我们拿来盗用了。我们演奏各种翻唱歌曲,和一些布鲁斯。我们第一场真正的演出是在我姐姐1964年婚礼上表演。我喜欢在舞台上的感觉,感觉相当熟悉。几个月后,乐队名字改成了Union Blues,我们在12 Bar Blues演出,几场演出后我就觉得相当无聊了。我告诉乐队成员说我们应该演绎一些我写的原创歌曲。我给他们弹了几首,他们相当喜欢。大约就在这段时间,我意识到我必须要唱我自己的歌了,所以我开始弹吉他同时也打鼓。我不喜欢在舞台的后方,但是始终弹同样的3和弦曲子对我来说太陈腐了。我们还不够好,我也知道。我们只有一个吉他放大器,加上4个输入端,那时PA系统的两倍。这通常失真的夸张,但是对我们来说已经是能够负担的最大可能了。


      在在ABC看了一场10分钟的演出,名叫Get to Know,或者人们更熟悉GTK这个名字。他们有一个木吉他一人唱歌,每晚演出一首歌曲。在看了几场之后,我确信我也可以登台,唱我自己的歌;一些别人没有做过的。我打电话给了电视台,在一阵子推诿之后,我得到了面试的机会,并且最终出现在了演出舞台上。我最终在频繁演出中结束了这一切,突然沉浸在个人民谣歌曲演绎中去了。就在这时,我决定我不再继续打鼓了。另辟蹊径,我见了许多伟大的艺人,他们教了我许多个人演出的技巧。其中一个人叫Graham Lowndes,他拥有很棒的嗓音,那时他是个嬉皮英雄 。我们一起在小民谣俱乐部演出,伴着昏暗烛光小咖啡屋。听众大多都是大学生,长发,留着胡子,竟然是女孩!(当然,开玩笑。) 我们30分钟赚5美金。这些演出很明显无法负担一个家庭,而我也有了一个工作。

      我带着两个孩子,Sam和Simon,到了墨尔本的Poppa披萨店,问经理是否我可以在餐厅晚间拥有自己的个人吉他演出。我告诉他我愿意来为他演唱,他也同意给我一晚上来试。在几个晚上之后,我在那里一周演出3场,而在另一个郊区再演出3场。我一晚上赚20美元另加免费的披萨和软饮料。我没有能够在午饭时间得到演出机会。那可以在45分钟内赚到100美金。我干的非常好。白天我依旧有我的正常工作,7点下班,给Homepride Bakeries送面包。这能在白天把我解放出来能够很好的照看我的孩子,送他们去上学。所以我宁愿在晚上演出,10点回到家。10点半上床,早上4点起床。每天都相当的充实,但我相当喜爱。一天我都在家里写歌,唱歌。面包使我超级充实。

      大约1年后,我赚够了足够的钱,足够让我录制样带,并且送到悉尼的唱片人这里。我从来没有得到任何机会,除了一些他们寄回的鼓励信。其中有一份特别的是从Peter Dawkins这里寄来的,一位之后相当成功的唱片制作人。

      我的歌里总是缺了些什么,我深信不疑,但是我就是不知道那是什么。我写了一首歌叫 "Love and Other Burises" ,我知道这是一首美妙摄人心魂的歌曲,许多人都有这样的评论。同时,我也在狼吞虎咽的进行阅读,阅读那些我无法快去参透的心灵鸡汤,从瓦雷兹到The Antideluvian World。书都是从我一位好朋友和年长的女性这里借来的。她的名字叫Dorothy Whittle,有一天她问我,"你看到过报纸上写的吗?他们正在登广告招募耶稣超级俱乐部演出的演员" 我完全没有看报纸,说那些我完全不感兴趣。我不认为我是名好歌手也对歌剧毫无兴趣。她然后说如果我去参加面试,这一定可以改变我的命运。



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