"My dream is to take a photo that when someone looks at it they hear a note, loud and clear, " says photographer Zo Gay, better known as Zo Damage.
If you’ve been kicking around the Melbourne live music circuit at all in the past few years, you’ve probably crossed paths with Zo inching, shot-by-shot, closer to that goal. The woman is a veteran of the scene. On 25 February 2016 she set herself the challenge of photographing a band (or more) every day for a full year. Turns out it was a leap year, so the 365 Day Project actually took 366 days to complete. The project is now being released as a book, The Damage Report, with launches and exhibitions to take place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We chatted to Zo about life on the far side of the lens.
Pete Cullen is driving up the coast. He should be listening to the mixes the sound engineer has sent him of his new albums but he left the cord for the car stereo at home. Instead he’s listening to the insistent high-pitched whistling of his roof rack. And, let me assure you, the output of Pete Cullen’s whistling roof rack is prolific.
Pete Cullen’s own output is about to be fairly enthusiastic as well. He’s simultaneously set to release a new record under his own name, “an alt-country, southern rock kind of album” and the other for his old time rock n' roll/rockabilly side project, P.C. and the Biffs. His mates at Lefty’s (where he plays on the regular) describe, “He's like a piece of old furniture around here at Lefty's Old Time Music Hall, like a mouldy old chair that you can't bring yourself to throw out, but damn Pete Cullen has got some tunes.” Damn, if we don’t agree!
If you’ve been hanging around Sydney's Inner West you may have heard of the Sausage Queen. That’s Chrissy Flanagan, a full-blown sausage obsessive. She's the type of lady who should be the lead in a foodie foreign film called 'Like Water for Sausages' or perhaps simply 'Femme de Saucisse'.
A former vegetarian, she's now on a one woman mission to change the stigma around snags as a ‘guilty pleasure’ by making them out of proper meat and quality ingredients. She’s now set up shop in Dulwich Hill, unveiling her ’Sausage Factory’ to the hungry hordes. Her dedication even extends to hand-knitting smallgoods to adorn her shop window.
Pat Davern is knee-deep in rehearsals with Grinspoon when we speak to him. He and his fellow Grinners are about to embark on a 27 date national tour to mark the 20th anniversary of Guide to Better Living. But that's not all he's got on his plate.
Since 2009 Pat’s been a resident of the north coast of New South Wales again, now with his young family and a local store called The Finders Club. In 2015 he wrote a children’s book and album, which has been optioned for a television series. Which means a script-writing workshop ahead of writing the pilot. Then there's also the recording studio in Byron.
Patrick Davern, your modern day renaissance man, a real Swiss army knife of a guy.
Meet Amelia and Sam. They’ve been best friends since the age of 12 and have lived together in the inner-west of Sydney for the past three years. Perfect training to spend 50+ hours driving a rust bucket over some of Australia’s roughest roads, all in the name of raising money to help beat cancer.
“There's no point going into the doom and gloom of why this rally means so much to [us] and what it means to have helped to raise over 1.6 million for the Cancer Council for this rally alone - because let's face it - we ALL have a cancer story and that's what makes events like this and the work the Cancer Council does so profound,” Sam tells us.
The Shitbox Rally is an annual fundraising drive started by James Freeman in 2011 after losing both his parents to cancer. (Hear more about James's story and the rally here). To compete in the rally you need a minimum of $4000 to even get to the start line. Sam and Amelia held garage sales and bake sales and even threw a house party and charged entry but were still falling short of their goal so hit up Young Henrys to come on board as a sponsor, which we happily did to see these legends get on the road.
The great Australian bowling club. We all love ‘em, but so many have been languishing dangerously close to financial strife. Thankfully, new life is being breathed into a bunch - with good food, better beer and a renewed focus on live music and community.
We visited Shane Ironside at The Bowlo in Bangalow to see how they're paving the way. Literally. When we visited Shane was actually paving the outside area, you can see the paving dust on his t-shirt. You can't stop progress!
Some tourists come to Australia and pick up a couple of souvenirs - maybe a cuddly toy koala or a hat with corks on it, or a coat hanger in the shape of the Harbour Bridge. Scottish lass Gillian Letham arrived down under in 2003 and ended up picking up a couple of bars in Brissie, and just never left. We chat to her about The Mill on Constance and the Oxford Taphouse and how having a foreign accent makes you 25% more interesting…
Meet Kentaro Yoshida. He hails from a fishing village in Toyama, Japan and moved to Sydney when he was 18. These days he lives in Manly where he surfs, makes art, drinks beer, and sometimes combines the latter and drinks art. No wait, sorry, he draws beer sometimes. Kentaro’s been working on our latest homage to the froth in t-shirt form (watch this space). In the meantime, you can check out his work at his upcoming exhibition, RUMBLE, with Ben Brown at Goodspace on 31st May.
Ollie Margan is the young gun who runs and co-owns Maybe Mae and Bread & Bone; the moody cocktail den and its big brother grill restaurant in Adelaide’s Peel Street. “I guess I was somewhat pre-programmed to end up doing what I do now,” Ollie tells us. Originally from the Hunter Valley, Ollie grew up in a restaurateur/winemaking family. Really, it’s a wonder he’s not permanently over the limit, with booze like that in his blood. We had a quick yarn to find out how things are ticking along down south…
Hold on to your hats, Melbourne GOOD BEER WEEK is almost upon us. Luckily, we’ve been training for this since last year. That’s right, ’training’. Strengthening our drinking arm. Repetitively. Every day. Circuit training between event locations. Working on our Personal Bests. And most importantly working with our man on the ground, Ryan Kemp, to compile this itinerary for GBW with built in pitstops to ensure your stomach is lined, your caffeine levels topped up and your sanity maintained. This is not a drill.