Bamboos test new shoots
ANCE Ferguson is considering adopting a 10th family member to help out on The Bamboos’ next record – eccentric You Am I frontman Tim Rogers.
Guitarist and band leader Ferguson formed the ninepiece soul-funk band in Melbourne in 2000.
Ferguson says he and Rogers hit it off back-stage on a Big Day Out tour after discovering they shared a ‘‘rapport of being music nerds’’. Ferguson invited Rogers to collaborate on I Got Burned, a soul-infused track from The Bamboos’ fifth record, Medicine Man.
‘‘It’s a lot of fun writing music with the guy. He’s pretty much already one of the family,’’ Ferguson says.
‘‘We just did a tour with him and I want to write an album together. He’s a busy guy so realistically it wouldn’t happen until the end of the year.’’
Ferguson describes his Bamboos bandmates as a great bunch of people.
‘‘We have a great time together. They are like my family. We are looking at exploring psychedelic and rock sounds on the next record. I like to take the band on tangents and still make it sound like us,’’ he says.
Ferguson enlisted the help of several guest vocalists to record more than half the tracks on Medicine Man, with the band’s resident singers, Kylie Auldist and Ella Thompson, taking over vocal duties at live shows. It’s a task that requires them to take over vocal lines recorded by singers as diverse as Rogers, Aloe Blacc, Megan Washington, Bobby Flynn and Daniel Merriweather.
‘‘It’s hard for a singer to do what they do – but to their credit they do own the songs,’’ Ferguson says.
Aside from being drawn to Rogers – in particular for his ability to cross genres so easily – Ferguson says he wants the band to stand its ground on the next record.
‘‘The Bamboos are known for collaborations but I want to pull back on the next record,’’ he says.
‘‘I want to concentrate on the band’s strength and sounds. I am not ruling collaborating out. I just want to start with the core band members.’’
Ferguson copped flak from long-term Bamboos’ fans for Medicine Man’s more commercial sound – something he says came about by accident, not design.
‘‘When I get in the studio and write a song it comes from an honest and sincere place,’’ he says.
‘‘In terms of being criticised for the commercial element, it wasn’t intentional. I want to make music that means something – for me it’s a personal story – but what happens down the track is often out of my hands.’’
The Bamboos and Benny & The Dukes play Live at Bond, at Bond University’s ADCO Amphitheatre, on Sunday at 3pm. Entry is free. The Bamboos play the Byron Bay Bluesfest on March 31 and April 1.
The Bamboos’ guitarist and band leader, Lance Ferguson.