Debut album’s in the bag
NE of the Gold Coast’s newest bands, Mamas New Bag boasts some of the country’s most experienced ‘‘old soul’’ blues rock musicians. But don’t be fooled – despite their lifetimes of experiences touring the world in some of the country’s most popular bands, Mamas New Bag are as excited about their CD launch as any new teenage band would be.
A clock on their website mamasnewbag.com.au is counting down the hours to the group’s first big gig at Coolangatta Hotel on Saturday.
The band takes the stage armed with their slickly crafted debut album, a swag of merchandise and what bass guitarist Geordie Leach tips to be a killer rhythm and blues setlist. ‘‘Music is life for me,’’ he says. After some low-key warm-up gigs, Leach and bandmates Terry Gascoigne, Ray Oliver, Andrea Szabo and Jackie McDonald – and some special guest musical friends – recently signed off on their rocking collection of covers and an original that indicates what’s to come.
A long-time member of Rose Tattoo, Leach and his bandmates boast an A-list musical pedigree playing with everyone from Renee Geyer to Moving Pictures.
‘‘It’s been a different experience because it’s been all hands on for me, as opposed to Rose Tattoo, where we had management and outsiders,’’ Lynch says.
‘‘This is all in-house – all aspects have been done by Andrea and myself, really.’’
A popular performer on the local live music scene, experienced cabaret performer and vocal powerhouse Szabo has worked in radio, as an actress and comedian and as a vocal teacher and choir director.
Mexican-born guitarist McDonald has played with Latin and rock bands on both sides of the world while fellow blues/jazz axeman Oliver, who features in the Who’s Who of Australian Rock, has been a member of The Light, Blackfeather, King Harvest and Friends and has toured with the Pink Floyd show Beyond the Darkside.
Drummer Gascoigne has played with everyone from Jeff St John and Ray Burton to Richard Clapton, Phil Emmanuel, Blackfeather and Bullamakanka and supported Eric Clapton, Freddie King and The Rolling Stones on tour.
– Picture: BRENDAN RADKE
OThe former owner of Padded Cell Productions, Leach, who was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame with Rose Tattoo in 2006, says Mamas New Bag’s debut album has been 18 months in the making.
‘‘I mastered (vocalist) Andrea’s album back in 2007 and we remained friends and did a few walk-up start shows together,’’ he says.
E´ ‘‘Then we decided to put an act together of some description. We both like aspects of the blues so we decided to make that the common ground. That was 18 months ago that we decided to do something seriously.’’ Leach says they began ‘‘picking tunes’’ in the blues genre. ‘‘It was a matter of deciding what style of blues to play. The more we looked at it, there were too many good ones. We just picked songs that we liked in the end – and that covered everything from west coast to east coast to Texas blues – all sorts of blues. We’ve got T Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, BB King, Koko Taylor.’’
Dedicated to keeping rhythm and blues music alive and entertaining, Leach says the group spent 12 months recording ‘‘in between other things’’. ‘‘I was still finishing up with Rose Tattoo,’’ he says. ‘‘With (frontman) Angry (Anderson) going into politics, I thought it would be kind of nice to do my own thing. There’s only Angry and myself left as original members – I replaced the original bass player when he left back in 1977.’’
Leach says he first began working with Anderson in 1973 in Buster Brown. When Rose Tattoo’s European tours ‘‘dried up a little bit’’, Leach turned his hand to running his own recording studios.
‘‘After a while, that was taking me nowhere musically or inspiration wise. I was helping other people with their stuff and got to the point where I thought ‘I’ve got to do it for myself now’. I had mastered Andrea’s album and liked her voice and thought let’s use it. It’s time to get out and show the world what we’re all about.’’
– SUZANNE SIMONOT
Mamas New Bag and Moo Moo Pappa play the Coolangatta Hotel on Saturday. Doors open 8pm. Tickets are $20.
New Gold Coast band Mamas New Bag (from left): Terry Gascoigne, Ray Oliver, Andrea Szabo, Geordie Leach and Jackie McDonald.