Book of Funk frontman Alistair Moffat jokes it’s been so long since they’ve belted out a tune they might sound like a cover band playing a tribute to themselves.
The former six-piece outfit hasn’t graced the stage with its “groovy soup of musical styles” for 20 years but is dusting off the instruments for a one-off reunion as part of the Hidden Treasures Winter Music Series.
“Someone from council approached the sax player about playing in Hidden Treasures last year but it was just after guitarist Throbbing Willy Pearce (Cameron Kinsella) passed away,” Moffat, aka WD bates, told the Herald.
“So this year we said yes and after a beer and chat we decided we’d wouldn’t get anyone to fill in and do it with the five of us.
“I guess the only major decision was we wanted to sound good. We have been rehearsing for four months and getting a bit of energy back.”
Moffat, who plays harp, tin whistle and didgeridoo, says at the first few jams everybody was a “little fuzzy at the edges”.
“I was just trying to remember the songs, because we had nothing recorded.
“But by the third rehearsal it started to feel good. We’ve had to tweak a few things and the sound is going to be a little bit different, but I think people will be surprised.”
The Hamilton Hill local says there was no “ugly band break-up yarn”: The group simply parted ways after moving to Sydney in the early ‘90s.
“We did what a lot of Perth bands did those days and we went over there to have a crack at making it. For about three months we did the university circuit, but the day-to-day existence of being in a band got too much.”
Moffat says during the band’s heyday there weren’t any other groups playing the unique brand of country, funk, folk and world music.
“We weren’t really an indie band and you couldn’t really shoebox us into any genre. There weren’t may bands like it—we had a pretty eclectic sound—we had four singers, so the audience didn’t get bored.”
Moffat hasn’t ruled out the band reforming after its comeback show at the Buffalo Club on July 25.
“I don’t know, we will have to wait and see,” he says. “It’s a bit hard these days because we have families and commitments. Not like the good old days when we could float around like free spirits.”
BoF will be joined by a treasure trove of past and present artists who all call Fremantle home.
There will be a “plethora of musical treasures” such as Pimps of Sound, Mama Says Yes, Axe Girl, The Crux, Mister and Sunbird, Leon Osborn, Valiant, Bass Reflex, Tashi and more.
Music-goers can get toasty at the Buffalo, Workers and Navy Clubs and Merenda Gallery on every Thursday night during July.
$10 tickets for all shows available on the door except Nick Allbrook’s July 18 show at the Navy Club. Tix for this show only are available from http://www.oztix.com.au.
Members of the clubs will gain free entry to that venue. Enquiries 9432 9999 visit http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/festivals.
by BRENDAN FOSTER