Hi Martin! Thanks for taking time out to talk with me.
The last time we met was at the Charles hotel in a Perth, it’s such a good venue with so much history of great bands.
It’s great to talk to you again!
1.You were born in Rochford, Essex in England before moving to Perth, Australia to live. Do you have many great memories over in the UK before moving to Perth? and how did you feel about that big move then, can you still remember that clearly?
We moved to Perth in January 1968 and I was 9 years old and I remember it reasonably well. I can remember seeing The Beatles on TV in early 1964. My father worked with electronics, so we had a reel to reel tape recorder and he would record things from the television like The Beatles, Cliff Richard and The Shadows and the Rolling Stones, so we had that music on hand. We lived about 45 miles from London – and London sure was a happening place in the 60s.
2.I pretty much did it in the reverse to you with growing up in Perth then moving to London for 13 years..but then came back to Perth. I was based south of the river and you were based North of the river and you also went to Morley high school would that be correct? How were your school days and was that a good experience for you?
I didn’t like going to school, although I got reasonable marks it didn’t really make much sense to me. In fact I only ever got one NA on my report card and that was for music – guitar in particular – but that’s another story.
It was at Morley High School that I formed my first band with some school mates and we played at school concerts. While still at school we were out working professionally in hotels and at dances. A great apprenticeship.
3.When did you first learn how to play the guitar and what was the first guitar you purchased?
I would’ve been around 11 years old when my Dad bought a cheap acoustic nylon string guitar. This was from his apprentice, who also played in a band. He showed me 2 chords – G & C. Then things went from there.
A few years later I got my first electric guitar, a red Japanese made Tiesco which we swapped for a radio.
4.You were in ‘The Flying Fonzarellis’ and held the number one spot in Perth for a few weeks how did that feel at the time?
The Flying Fonzarellis had around 2 1/2 good years. There was always a large crowd when we played, so we had a large following, and they would buy our records from the record stores. I can remember walking through Perth City one morning and just inside the main doors of a major retail shop was a huge display of our 12” record “Having a Party”. It’s always good to be number one.
Do you know that I have absolutely no idea how many records we actually sold.
5.You then played with ‘Dave Warner’ and then on with ‘The Atlantics’ is it true your songs have been used on the PlayStation games?
A song I wrote for The Atlantics called “Flight of the Surf Guitar” is the most popular one, it’s appeared in games as well as being covered by other bands internationally many times. My song “Nightstar” appeared in the Playboy Mansion Playstation game.
It’s always interesting to see how others interpret a song you’ve written. A a gig in Melbourne one time someone said to me after I’d played it that it was the best cover version of that song they’d ever heard.
- In 2007, you released your first solo album Revenge Of The Surf Guitar, how was it for you going solo, and how was the response from the album?
I was never planning on going solo, but The Atlantics weren’t recording and I was sorta the last man standing. The record company (Bombora Creative) approached me and said “What’s it going to take to get a solo album from you?”. The album did very well and is still popular and sells well today.
7.After a few more albums and loads more touring you then joined Mental as Anything, how did that come about and where did you guys meet?
I’d crossed paths with Mentals many times over the years. Greedy Smith is also a fan of Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs.
In late 2013 The Atlantics had just finished a tour of Europe. We decided to retire the band from touring and at that time Mentals were looking for a guitar player. I got a call saying “the Mentals are looking for you”. It was great timing. I started in January 2014.
8.I have seen some great food uploads from you and the band on your travels, what’s your favourite food and do you have a favourite place/restaurant to visit on your travels?
Yeah we get to experience many different eating places but top of the list would be Friends Restaurant in Perth, the food and wine is always exceptional there.
9.Do you have any new material coming out in the next year or so with Mental as Anything? and what other avenues do you see your solo work go down – TV adverts, movies or any more games possibly?
I just released another solo album this year, called “Shadowman”.
Mental As Anything are planning a new original album for next year. We released a live album earlier this year called “Mentals At Play”, that includes a song I co-wrote with Greedy called “Get to Kiss”.
I’m working on some new material at the moment. I’ll keep on doing more solo albums as long as people keep buying them.
10.What do you think of the music out there today? and apart from everyone holding up their phones in the crowds now what else seems different from say 30 years ago at the shows?
Music changes with technology and fashion. At the moment on the live circuit I’m seeing loopers, stomp boxes, acoustic guitars, harmoniser machines.
Of the popular music on the radio it would seem that most are using sounds from the same sound source and there is not as much originality as in the past.
It’s been great catching up with you Martin!
JDMP wishes you all the best for the rest of 2019 and nothing but great things for 2020 #JDMPINT7