KEEP ON ROCKIN’ ME BABY
So much for rock ’n’ roll being a short-lived fad that would fade away – The Delltones can still do doo-wop with the best of them 50 years on
IT certainly takes guts for a band to keep going after being told “don’t give up your day jobs, this music is not going to last’’. But Aussie legends The Delltones knew back in 1958 they could make their mark.
“When we first started in 1958, a lot of people were telling us that we might as well enjoy ourselves while we could because that music wasn’t going to last – rock ’n’ roll was a passing fad which would soon disappear,” says the only original man standing, Ian “Peewee’’ Wilson.
Fast-forward to 2014 and the group is still rocking stages across the country, including a show on the Gold Coast this weekend, proving wrong anyone who ever doubted them.
“To hear those words all that time ago and still be around with an audience now is very humbling,” Wilson says. “Obviously that audience has changed, I think if we only had our original audience supporting us, the Dellies wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now.” The quartet will be in their element this weekend as one of the headliners for ’50s and ’60s nostalgia festival Cooly Rocks On. The 11-day festival features an extensive collection of vintage and classic cars on display, including hot rods, cruisers and coupes. The Delltones will be joined by more than 50 rock ’n’ roll bands and performers – including Slim Jim Phantom, Jack Baymore and the Bandits, Denise Drysdale and Frankie J Holden & Wilbur Wilde.
Known for their “harmony and rock ’n’ roll that’s good for the soul”, Wilson says the fourpart harmony band have survived a lot of changes.
“Also, I think we’re the only guys in Australia still singing doo-wop and people love it,” he says. “To earn a living out of something you love after more than five decades is just fantastic. We see new and younger faces all the time.”
The original line-up included Wilson and his three gangly young mates Noel Widerberg, Brian Perkins and Warren Lucas. They were lifesavers at Sydney’s Bronte Beach who realised they could not only sing but harmonised well. Today, Wilson is joined by lead guitarist Woody Finlayson, bassist Owen Booth and drummer Merv Dick.
“Back in 1958, our music was an explosion of youth, it was new and everyone loved it,” Wilson says. “It really was the start of popular music. The four of us put in our all on stage and do our best to make the music sound as it did in the early years.”
The Delltones present the first half of the show unplugged performing wellloved songs from their early years Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands, Come A Little Bit Closer, Hangin’ Five and Gee.
The second half consists of songs reflecting their fullblown revival in the mid ’80s from their best selling rock ’n’ roll albums Bop Til Ya Drop and Ticked Pink.
Wilson says The Delltones sound is “aimed at the heart and feet”. “I’ve always wanted to do music that reflected romance and humour. The bottom line for the Dellies is entertainment.’’
After more than 50 years on the music scene, The Delltones are still rocking out.