Back to the fun end

FREMANTLE music man Dave Johnson has been behind the mixing desk for a while, but is about to step back in front of the mic with his mellow new solo album On a Clear Day.

“Travelling to the more fun end of the room,” he laughs.

In recent years Johnson had become the face of the Starlight Hotel Choir taking a bunch of homeless folk to musical heights.

“I was lucky in working with music and bringing fun and joy into that experience,” he tells the Herald. A “productive” year writing music triggered a desire to step back into the spotlight: “I was definitely due to play more, rather than doing the day job–and the night job.”

When he’s not writing music Johnson works with the SHC and a musical mental health program at Challenger Tafe.

He also uses music to teach literacy skills at the Cockburn Youth Centre, where youths with poor reading skills are enthusiastically writing songs.

18. 20ARTS1

Johnson’s new CD ranges from the “deeply personal” to the philosophical, “telling one man’s truth through emotion and stories”. Working with St Pat’s was an insight into how easy it is to fall on hard times, Johnson says: “I’m sure some of that has infiltrated into my songs.” Others are personal, and some imagined from a combination of sources: “You are influenced by what is around you,” Johnson says. The CD’s title song is a metaphor, “for waiting out the storm” and not giving in to despair. “Maybe on a clear day you can see a long way. When you are having a hard day you don’t see the future past what you are going through,” he sings.

Fronting several bands over the years, including The Fling (with whom he recently reunited for a gig at the old Fly) and The True Believers, Johnson released his first solo album in 2002.

He’s joined on On a Clear Day by friends Arunachala Satgunasingam, Angus Diggs, John Wilson, Phoebe Corke, John Reed, Tony Burke, Jean Guy, Shannon Puig, Kate House and Kate Kelly. They’ll be at Clancy’s in Princess May Park for the CD launch, Saturday May 30, 8.30pm. Tix $15 at the door, $30 with CD.



Leave a Reply