Heroes up close

• Bob Gordon (centre) with Jim and Tom Fisher from his Local Heroes interviews.

BOB GORDON’S funny, sad and always interesting Local Heroes interviews are back again for 2023 at The Local Hotel in South Fremantle. For his first outing on April 13, he’s got someone pretty close to home, to talk about second chances with him. 

THERE’S something about the art of the interview that has always fascinated me. 

Long before I became a journalist, in fact when I was just a kid, I would stay up late watching talk shows such as Don Lane, Michael Parkinson, David Frost (also David Letterman as the years went on) and be drawn in by the rhythm of the conversation. 

At this time I was also becoming obsessed with music, raiding my older sisters’ record collection and loyally watching Countdown. 

When I left school I worked in a bank for six years, but it was destiny that I left that career to go to uni and emerge with a journalism degree. 

I became staff writer then eventually editor of X-Press Magazine where I would often conduct up to 10 interviews a week – on the phone and in person – speaking to the famous, those who wanted to be famous and those who couldn’t care less about fame but were simply very good at what they did. 

I especially loved interviewing local musicians and creatives, finding out what drove them and endeavouring to evoke at least some of their essence on the page. 

These were people who didn’t get the media saturation that the high-profile players get, but had a story to tell, nonetheless. 

In more recent years I have taken the act of the interview into live audience settings. 

It started with keynote interviews at music conferences, then my own events at venues around Perth. 

In 2018 Phil Thompson from the Local Hotel in South Freo asked if I’d be interested in hosting an event that featured Fremantle musicians in conversation and performance. 

I jumped at the chance and Local Heroes was born.

The name practically wrote itself. For seven weeks I interviewed musicians such as Jim Fisher, Rose Parker, Dilip Parekh, Shiny Joe Ryan, Vin Simpson, Lee Sappho and Carus Thompson and I believe they found it as enjoyable as I did. 


After a few years living up near Scarborough I returned to Fremantle in the winter of 2020 and by October of that year Local Heroes With Bob Gordon was back on Thursdays in The Garage at the beloved Local Hotel.

Since then I’ve hosted over 60 evenings of conversation and performance, threading the interview around the guest’s songs. 

Running at around two hours it’s about half and half of each, so the interviews are in-depth and while research and preparation is all important, they can go very off-the-cuff too. 

Longform interviewing isn’t something you see a whole lot of these days, and in this format it is certainly the most that the guests have ever been interviewed. 

Some guests are nervous but they really don’t need to be, as it’s an embrace rather than an interrogation. 

There’s sincerity, absurdity, serious vibes, laughs and on occasion a few tears during these conversations. 

The guests have spanned all ages, personalities and styles of music. 

Tom Fisher was one of the first interviewees upon the event’s return and late last year joined his father Jim for an intergenerational conversation and performance. 

Other guests have included Noah Dillon, Grace Barbe, Abbe May, Brendon Humphries, Nicholas Allbrook, Peter Bibby, Donna Simpson, Lincoln MacKinnon, Carla Geneve, Siobhan Cotchin, Nelson Mondlane, Jack Davies, Nick Sheppard & Greg Hitchcock, Kav Temperley, David Hyams, Dave Johnson, Timothy Nelson, Banjo Lucia and Wayne Green.

The list goes on and it will do so in the first instalment for this year on Thursday, April 13. 

I’m changing things up a little for the return. 

My partner Selena’s parents are visiting from Scotland for the first time since the pandemic. 

They love Freo dearly and her father Pat McLaughlin  recently published his first novel, Second Chances Don’t Grow On Trees, so this edition of Local Heroes will celebrate the book over a conversation with Pat about this real-life story, with some Irish music courtesy of Shane Corry & Friends. 

Speaking of books, I intend to publish one based on these Local Heroes conversations further down the track.

Pop by Thursdays for chats and tunes. 8pm start, $10 entry.

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