THE Fly by Night Musicians Club is turning 30 in November, with a month of top acts to celebrate the auspicious occasion.
Goanna frontman Shane Howard kicks off the local icon’s celebrations, bringing his trio to the club’s new Victoria Hall home on Thursday November 3.
Howard says his “music is a gift” given to him by his mother, who was also a singer and musician who often press-ganged the family of seven kids into singing for the community.
“Music was as natural as breathing,” he says.
Howard formed The Goanna Band in 1977 and after shortening the name and going through numerous line-up changes released the seminal single Solid Rock in 1982, a protest about the treatment of Aborigines that was sparked by a trip to Uluru. It topped the charts and regularly appears high up in lists of the greatest Australian songs.
But Howard says it’s the early years of the group, not the limelight, fame or money, that he remembers most fondly.
“When the tribe were starving and trying to make things happen.”
Howard’s in Freo as part of an extended tour promoting his latest and 13th solo album Deeper South, which explores his Celtic roots.
He’s toured Ireland numerous times, playing with local musos including Mary Black, who scored a top 5 hit with one of his compositions.
“My ancestral feet go way down,” he says, adding Black opened many doors and he found himself in a country as “mad” as himself.
Earlier in the year, Howard worked on a stage show titled Exile which celebrates the impact of the Irish on Australian life.
“It is important to remind people who they are and where they come from”, he says.
Howard’s played the Fly a few times and is looking forward to reconnecting with Fremantle.
“It has good cafes and a great community. The music culture is fantastic and I just believe it is a lovely little gem of Australia, I love going there”, he said.
With a hectic life on the road, mixing audio for DVDs, maintaining his veggie garden and completing carpentry chores around the house, he says it is “hard to get the dishes done”.
by HOLLY COOMEY
Shane Howard Trio
Fly By Night Musicians Club
Thursday November 3, 8pm