Personalities in harmony
TWO very different personalities of Aussie musical comedy are harmonising in a stage show of original songs.
Steven ‘Gatesy’ Gates, of Tripod – laid-back, friendly and rather unassuming – and Paul Mcdermott, of Doug Anthony All Stars – eccentric, enigmatic and somewhat intimidating – sing of beauty, heartbreak, squabbles and nonsense. So how do they gel? Gates calls himself “the sponge”, and Mcdermott, “the spillage.”
“I’ve just got to kind of mop it (Dermott’s creative juices) up and make sense of it all,” Gates said. “Paul is what I would call a true artist; he expresses, and even before we have finished a song he will come at me with a new one, whereas I would say I’m more analytical or a synthesiser of ideas.
“He’s constantly creating and I think I’m lazier than that.
“He’s also an absolute nut bag.”
Gates said the duo and good friends, after meeting at the ’99 ARIA Awards, might surprise audience members with their repertoire.
“There are a couple of funny songs but most are just pretty songs, many about Paul’s childhood: he’s at an age now where he’s looking back a lot, which is what happens to middle-aged people,” Gates said.
“We didn’t know what the show was at the beginning and I was very careful because we bring expectation: you’ve got the middle men from Tripod and Dougs and people have wanted to see us together on stage and wondered what that would be like.
“Well, we didn’t know either. We didn’t put any expectation on ourselves to do a certain thing; we just saw where the art – yes, it’s **** ing art – took us.”
The show debuted at the 2017 Ballarat Cabaret Festival, an ideal place for the singersongwriters to start, as people weren’t expecting laughs.
“If we’d done a comedy festival, people would have been going: ‘Well, hang on, what’s funny about this?” Gates said.
“That said, the gigs we’ve done since have been really funny. The songs have been beautiful and it is really musical, but in between Paul can’t help himself and I can’t help myself through Paul.”
Perth comedy fans recently saw the Melbournian go solo, opening for Arj Barker’s Organic show in May.
“There’s nothing quite like being on stage by yourself and having command of the timing and energy – I can see why it’s kind of like crack, as it gives you a very powerful feeling,” Gates said.
“For a living, I’m always standing on stage with two friends; that’s my barrier and music is another barrier.
“Even with Paul, there’s just two of us and that ‘duo energy’ is fascinating; you’re basically
WHEN: WHERE: TICKETS: just filling in the gaps when the other person isn’t talking.”
Steven Gates and Paul Mcdermott.