After 15 years local rock band Cotton Sidewalk will call it a day with a special celebration at Adamstown Uniting Church on November 8. Performing their album, ‘Evil Versus People’ in it’s entirety, with complete instrumentation the band hope to raise money for the ‘Joseph Astro Price Memorial Fund’ that supports the NICU at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.
We chatted with Adam Mark Price from the band ahead of this final show.
After 15 years of playing, the band have decided to call it a day. Why now?
Adam: We’re getting on, we can’t keep up with the sex and drugs anymore. The band began when my best mate Davus and I were in high school. Davus left the band some time ago, but since then I’ve still had the desire in my belly to keep things going. I really thought Cotton Sidewalk would be as big as The Who or something, I thought it was my destiny. The desire to create and perform music is still there, but the goal has changed. I’ve grown up spiritually and creatively, and it feels like the right time to end the high school band.
What have you noticed changing in the industry since you started out?
Adam: The rise of independent music. When we started out, the only acts being unleashed were signed to some kind of big wig record label. I remember attempting to woo BMI because they showed interest in us. These days, with hard work and sweet entrepreneurial skills, it seems as possible to unleash your music project on your own as it is to say, open an espresso bar.
What’s been the highlight of your time with Cotton Sidewalk?
Adam: I couldn’t narrow it down to one highlight. There was a plethora of good times. I didn’t know it back then, I guess I took it for granted. Definitely the mateship, collaborative moments writing songs and the euphoria associated with playing live (we used to go nuts on stage).
Has there been any low points?
Adam: Yep. The five of us moved to Melbourne in 2008, which was supposed to open up all sorts of opportunities. In the end it did, but by 2009 I was the only original member of the band left. I had an agenda of recording the best album in the history of music and taking over the world, but there was also no mistaking the loss I experienced. I missed my friends. I had to realise my dream though, so nothing was going to get in my way. I rebuilt and kept going.
How did you all meet?
Adam: Davus and the original members all met at high school (St Mary’s, Gateshead & St Francis Xavier, Hamilton). The current line-up consists of Sullo, whom I met at a gig at The Northern Star; Caino I met at a Newcastle music brothel; and my brothers, Luke and Andy whom I met at a hospital I think.
If one of your songs could encapsulate the band, what would it be?
Adam: Ride Spider Ride. A 6 minute epic adventure. If you could change the music of the song into words, that would be the band’s biography.
How did (producer) Corey Sleap help the band with it’s sound?
Adam: Well, not many people know this, but Corey used to be the best thing in the Newcastle music world. He was way better than any Jets or Chairs. But the big time never came for him in Newcastle and we lost him to Melbourne. Cotton Sidewalk worked with him in 2001 on our first record ‘Mass Transit Radio’. Corey is one of those annoying people who is good at anything he does, including being a music producer. He brought the best out of us, taught us new bo staff skills, prevented us from sounding like ever other band and generally inspired us to make a good little record. I enlisted him for the same for the making of our album ‘Evil Versus People’ in 2007. This was after he’d moved to Melbourne and had worked with one too many emo bands. He was over it. Music, that is. He was jaded. This affected me, as I thought, “if Corey is giving up on music, then what the hell is the point?” Again, I pushed on toward my “destiny” to become the next Michael Jackson and, using some of the skills passed down from Corey, produced ‘Evil Versus People’ myself.
A lot of your lyrics obviously come from a very emotional place. How do you get through a live performance when you sining about emotional moments in your life.
Adam: Performing is different to writing. It’s not often that my mindset is focused on the emotional content of the song I am performing. I can’t really do 2 things at once. There have been occasions when I’ve semi-broken down during a performance, but shit man, I’z got’z to be professional and pull that shit together.
You said in 2013 that “at this stage, mini EP’s and singles are how it’s gonna be”. Do you think the album is dead.
Adam: No way. Albums are the way of the future. For me last year, life itself overwhelmed me. I couldn’t see a realistic way for me to ever produce another record. I call albums records. Personally, I just want to build my song catalogue to 29 billion songs and have other people arrange/perform/record their own versions of my songs. Single/EP/album, I don’t care. Thanks to technology, in the future I can also see myself being able to release my own new project’s records and produce other people’s project’s records. Big, epic, expensive sounding records, without the big expense.
All profits from the show will be donated to the ‘Joseph Astro Price Memorial Fund’. What is the connection the band has with this particular charity?
Adam: During the mixing phase of ‘Evil Versus People’, and only months before the album was due to be released, my first born son, Joseph Astro Price, was born prematurely (24 weeks gestation). He died six days later. This hit me so hard I finally dropped the persistent drive that I had toward my “rock star destiny”. I was stunned, as was my supporting family. This changed the course of the album and the band. I knew ‘Evil Versus People’ had to be released, but it was different after Joseph. The album was dedicated to Joseph and all three sell-out launches (Newcastle, Melbourne and Sydney) were donated to the ‘Joseph Astro Price Memorial Fund’. Joseph’s fund supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. They cared for us at the most difficult time in our lives and we wanted to give something back so they can do the same for other families too. All profits from the ‘Cotton Sidewalk Finale’ (where the band, which at some points will consist of more than 20 people, will perform the 5 year old album ‘Evil Versus People’ in it’s complete entirety) will again be donated to the ‘Joseph Astro Memorial Fund’ as a tribute to the album’s dedicatee.