Recorded and Mixed by Newcastle’s Mark Tinson and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, Trevor Dare’s debut, “With A Little Help From My Friends” will be launched at Lizotte’s on October 10. We caught up with him ahead of the show.
NL: Trevor, you’ve been involved in the Newcastle Music Industry for a significant time – can you give readers a snapshot of your history, and the bands and artists you’ve played with?
TD: I was born and bred in Gloucester and raised on country music from my parents. The house was always full of Tex Morton, Buddy Williams, Slim Dusty etc….then I discovered The Beatles!! I moved to Newcastle in the 70’s. My first band was called Pacific Union – the singer was a guy called Paul Newey, who still is a good friend after 40yrs. We were a dreadful band but we had fun – we even did a gig in front of people once! . . . Haha. Some of the bands I’ve been in are: 30-0-Six, Vambo Rools, The Idols, Mirage, Coloured Jumpers, The Fabulous Dodgey Bros, Anvil Chorus, The Strikers, In The Red, The Greg Lee Band, ,Trademark, Big Bad Bees, Backfire, Dave Gleeson & The Stilsons, Tug. I’ve also been fortunate enough to play with some amazing muso’s over the years like Mark Tinson (Heroes,Swanee,Rabbit), Rob Riley(Rose Tattoo), Mark Evans(AC/DC), Kerry Jacobson (Dragon), Justin Ngariki, Dave Gleeson (Screaming Jets), Dave Evans, Andy Cichon (Billy Joel), Greg Bryce, Ronnie Peel, Steve Mac McLennan, Craig Foster, etc. I was invited to play with The Heroes at their CD launch and that was a big thrill, me being a huge fan. I was also invited up to play with DV8 – another huge thrill for me – 2 legendary Newcastle bands!
NL: Can you remember the moment when you first were captured by music – was it a particular song you heard, a band you saw live or something else?
TD: The Beatles in Australia…I remember I was with my parents visiting their friends. I would have been 7 years old and their kids (2 teenage girls) were screaming at the TV. It was 1964 and The Beatles were live on TV arriving in Melbourne. It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen then or since. I heard She Loves You and I became a fan for life!! She Loves You still sounds exciting when I play it after 50 years!
NL: The aptly titled “With A Little Help From My Friends” is your debut album and is a wonderful concept involving great songs and artists? How did the whole thing come about and how did you go about selecting the songs you wanted to record?
TD: I’ve always wanted to record a few Beatle songs just for myself and a few friends, not thinking about releasing it. I’d been talking about it for years to Mark (Tinson) and he said one day “Let’s do it! I can’t thank Mark enough. Picking the songs was a lot harder than I thought. There are so many great songs to choose from. I didn’t want to do songs that I know I can play well. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and do songs that are a lot harder to play. I finally picked the songs that have some sort of meaning for me during my life. 12 songs later I had a CD. Looking for a name to call the CD, my wife Wendy suggested “With A Little Help From My Friends” as the title. I thought what a perfect name for this project. I even put a Beatle reference on the front cover. See how many can pick it.
NL: The album features some amazing vocalists, including Choc Eriwata, Mike Vee, Dave Carter, Jarrod Daunt, Ty Penshorn, Pam Gully, David Patten and Mick Standen – how did you go about selecting the voices and matching them with the right songs?
TD: As I was recording the songs, I knew what voice would suit which track in my head. We have so many great vocalists in Newcastle and I’m lucky to have worked with many of them before and be friends with most of them. I just rang and asked would they sing – it was that easy. Not one person said they wouldn’t do it. I feel very humble.
NL: As well as all of these great vocalists, the legendary Rockwell T. James (from JPY’s Allstars) appears on the album. How did that come about?
TD: I’m a big fan of Rockwell’s (Ronnie). I first heard of Ronnie from Paul McCartney & Wings – Jimmy McCulloch was the guitarist in Wings who I became a fan of. So I found out what bands Jimmy played in before Wings. Thunderclap Newman was a band he was in. I remember the song Something In The Air was a huge hit and Ronnie Peel’s name came up as the bass player in that band… Ronnie’s name kept coming up in different bands over the years. He was in the La De Das, The Stevie Wright Band, John Paul Young and the All Stars. I saw him on Countdown as Rockwell T. James a few times and became an even bigger fan. I went out and bought the Come On Home and Roxanne singles. When I recorded Jumpin’ Jack Flash for my CD, I hadn’t yet had anyone in mind to do the vocals. Mark suggested Ronnie for the track. Wow! Ronnie said yes and I’m one very happy man! I’ve met Ronnie a few times but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d have Rockwell T James on my CD… An absolute legend! I asked Ronnie (very nervously) if he’d do Roxanne for me at my CD launch and he said yes! Can it get any better?
NL: Given there are so many people appearing on the album, was it difficult getting everyone to fit into your schedule? What were the challenges?
TD: To tell you the truth it was one of the easiest things I’ve done. I just rang and told them what day and time and they were there ready to roll.
The album contains some amazing performances – was there any particular session or moment in the studio that stands out for you?
I have so many great memories of making the CD. Watching Mac, Craig and Dave do the backing tracks was amazing. When those guys get serious, you better hit the record button and stand back. World-class musicians and even better mates.
NL: Is it true that you made the pilgrimage to the famed Abbey Road studios to master one of the tracks from the album? Which track was it and what was the experience of being at the Beatles fabled studio like for you?
TD: I wish!! No, I didn’t go to Abbey Road Studios but I did send them some songs to get mastered. Something I had to do being a Beatle freak…Which tracks?…I leave that up to you guys to pick
NL: Speaking of studios, do you have a home studio set up and, if so, what gear do you use?
TD: No home studio…(as yet)
NL: There are Fender guys, Gibson guys, Gretsch guys and so on – do you have a favourite guitar and, if so, what is it and why?
TD: Gibson Les Paul. As soon as I put on a Les Paul I knew that was the one (plus George Harrison played one). I love the sound you can get from a Les Paul and Marshall.
NL: You’ve been a part of the Newcastle Music Industry for years – what are the biggest changes you’ve seen on the local front over the decades you’ve been performing and recording?
TD: The lack of venues!! Newcastle had some of the best live music venues around. We used to work 7 nights a week back in 1979-81. Sometimes 9 gigs a week working Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon and that night somewhere else… I’m glad I’m not starting out in bands today.
NL: Your gig at Lizottes on Tuesday October 10 is a double bill – your 60th birthday and the release of your debut album! How does it feel to be putting together such a milestone show and what can punters expect?
TD: Well I never thought I’d even make it to 60 let alone having my own CD launch. It feels a bit weird I must confess but exciting at the same time. The punters can expect a night of great songs they know and love played by world-class musicians and some of the best vocalists around. And a few surprises thrown in as well . . .
Trevor Dare launches his debut, “With A Little Help From My Friends”, at Lizotte’s on October 10. Tickets on sale now.
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