Strike a chord with veteran rocker and artist Reg Mombassa
THIS artist and musician has been a mainstay of Australian pop culture for more than 40 years. He is best known as former guitarist and vocalist with rock band Mental as Anything and for his art that has adorned T-shirts and posters for surf and street-clothing label Mambo. He is a co-founder and member of rock band Dog Trumpet with brother Peter O’Doherty and is in blues band The Pinks. He is also a landscape artist and has had a retrospective of his works featured in a book, The Landscapes of Reg Mombassa.
“People mainly know me for being in Mental as Anything or for doing weird Mambo-style stuff, but I’ve actually been painting landscapes since I was about 15,” he said.
Mombassa was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia with his family when he was 17. His real name is Chris O’Doherty.
“Reg Mombassa is a stage name I made up in 1978, which I didn’t think would stick,” he said. “It struck me as amusing having Reg as like a truck driver’s name, with an exotic surname.”
Mombassa’s twin talents of artist and musician will be on show at the Port Fairy Folk Festival (March 1013). He designed the festival’s 2017 poster and will perform with Dog Trumpet and The Pinks.
Mombassa lives with wife Martina in Sydney. They have three adult children: Darcy, Claudia and Lucy.
Typical Saturday morning
I read the Saturday papers and then get back to work. I generally work seven days a week, so weekends are no different to any other day. Although there is slightly more newspaper to read on Saturday.
On my bedside table
At the moment, I have a copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I enjoy reading history and science. Apart from that, I have no hobbies. I don’t do anything apart from work. I don’t go to the beach. I rarely go to the pictures, or see bands or go to the theatre. I stay home, read a bit, watch TV.
Secret domestic skill
I can make good mashed potato. I like potatoes because of my Irish heritage. I don’t do recipes but I have a few basic meals I can produce reasonably competently. I do about half the cooking.
Ideal night in
Play the guitar — I might be working on a song. Have dinner that my wife or I have cooked. Watch a bit of TV — a history, science or art show. Then I might talk to the cat for a couple of minutes.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Don’t be such a reckless anti-social idiot. I did a lot of risky things that unfortunately many young men do. But at the time, I probably wouldn’t have listened to this good advice. I would have said mind your own business.