Cathartic debut

HE’S played in The Kill Devil Hills, survived cancer and has been in the music biz for decades, so Steve “Gibbo” Gibson had plenty to draw on for his debut EP Don’t Take Me Down.

A veteran of the WA music scene, Gibson started out playing bass in The Raindogs in the late 1980s before enjoying stints with bands like The Wasted Sons, Justin Walshe Folk Machine, and Los Porcheros.

But he’s probably best known for his time as vocalist and drummer with The Kill Devil Hills – writing and singing their hit song Drinking Too Much, which was voted third in RTRFM’s best WA songs of all time.

Gibson says the initial sessions for his EP started about five years ago, when he recorded a bunch of demos with acoustic guitar and guide vocals at friend Andy Hills’ home studio.

At the time, Gibson was recovering from major cancer surgery to replace his bladder.

• Veteran Fremantle muso Steve “Gibbo” Gibson has released his much-anticipated debut EP Don’t Take Me Down.

“Life got busy again and the demos got shelved and forgotten till last year when Andy came across the recordings and realised there was something special there, so we got my friends in one-by-one to flesh out the tracks and Andy and I produced it together right here in Freo,” Gibson says.

“I guess a theme emerged with one track directly addressing chemotherapy and its aftermath and others musing on the human condition when facing life’s hurdles, getting older and generally stuff that we all face and try to deal with.

“I’m generally a happy go lucky guy; I just write serious songs.”

Unsurprisingly, there’s raw introspection on tracks like Getting Old and the standout Remember the One You Love, with Gibson’s vocals teetering on the abyss.

His fragile voice is couched in a beautiful swell of country, blues and rock, with a big nod to Bob Dylan and hints of Neil Young.

“I picked up the guitar when I was a teenager after hearing Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album that came out in ‘69 after my dad brought it home from his job as a garbo. I was hooked and became obsessed with Dylan which naturally led to Woody Guthrie then Neil Young, then you go down a deep rabbit hole of folk and blues that goes on to this day. It’s a very deep well,” Gibson says.

For the Don’t Take Me Down launch gig at Clancy’s in Fremantle, Gibson assembled an all-star WA band with Greg Hitchcock, Angus Gibbs, Jason Snook, Dave Lawrence, Merle Fishwyck, Nic Johnson and Phoebe Corke. It was a poignant return to Clancy’s for Gibson – in 2016 the local community held the fundraising concert ‘Gibbofest’ at the venue to help pay for his cancer treatment.

“As far as the cancer journey changing me significantly, I don’t really notice that much except I don’t sweat the little things as much, I’m braver and I don’t suffer fools so well,” Gibson says.

“Friends and family are more important . I’ve also learnt to accept help from people in my community where before I felt like a bloody nuisance.

“Most people genuinely want to raise you up.”

Don’t Take Me Down is available on Spotify or you can contact Gibson directly at


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