Home' Rhythms Magazine : Rhythms March-April 2019 Contents Photos by Steve Ford
to be back at Bluesfest
performing two shows
(Saturday and Sunday) in the
Jambalaya tent around 1 pm.
As usual Brian Nankervis will be
loitering up the back of the tent
before the show, looking for audience
members keen to take part in the pre-
show quiz and maybe make it through.
Rhythms asked Brian Nankervis for some
memories of past RocKwiz shows at
Bluesfest ... and to dig into the archives
and put together twenty curly questions
from the fifteen shows they’ve done in
the Jambalaya tent since 2010.
Brian: I’ve missed our Byron adventures.
Long autumnal days that begin with
frisbee and body surfing at Clarkes
Beach and end in tents seeing amazing
artists that have inspired, shaped
lives and, in a very real way, informed
RocKwiz. I’ll never forget working my
way down the front to watch a frail but
determined B. B. King, a typically inscrutable
(but nonetheless wonderful) Bob Dylan and
Dr John and his voodoo rhythms. Bonnie
Raitt singing ‘Angel from Montgomery’
transporting me to my suburban bedroom
and a copy of Bonnie’s 1974 album,
‘Streetlights’. Lyle Lovett, Mavis Staples,
Buddy Guy, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Elvis
Costello, BookerT Jones!
I have other, indelible memories away from
the tents. Riding in a golf cart withTony Joe
White to a Rhythms interview and trying
to work out what I could possibly say to
him. Nothing, as it turned out ... it was a
quick ride. Shoveling tan bark to cover vast
puddles in front of the stage after a classic
northern NSW downpour, discovering the
Byron Bay organic donuts, running into old
and new friends at the dining tables opposite
the Indian food stall. Visiting Mullumbimby
and Brunswick Heads. Standing in the surf
with Steve Earle, his long hair all wet and
salty and strangely combed over by the
ocean, board shorts slipping dangerously
south, wearing a manic grin. “Just got
dumped! Man, I love it here. I always buy
a boogie board, use it every morning and
afternoon if I can, then before I leave, I find a
kid who looks like he could use a new boogie
board. Oh yeah.”
One of my most vivid memories is watching
the RocKwiz Orkestra rehearse with artists in
our ‘donga’.The donga (a small relocatable
tin building, often found on construction
sites or at music festivals) was where we
changed, ate, made up, brushed teeth, had
last minute meetings and, most importantly,
held rehearsals with artists who we often
met minutes before the show.The Orkestra
would have a minimal set up and away
they’d go. I loved watching the artists when
they realized how good the band was, how
prepared they were, how adept at playing
what sounded like fully realized versions of
the songs. Singers like Michael Franti, Ruthie
Foster andThe Flatlanders would invariably
begin tentatively, feeling their way into a
song. Very quickly they’d relax, smile and
take the whole thing up a level. Suddenly
the cramped room is crackling with
electric energy.You could feel everyone’s
exhilaration, mixed with relief and a whole
lotta excitement about the show that
was about to start. Such joy ... and such
pride in our hard working, brilliant band.
Unforgettable watching Steve Earle leadThe
Orkestra through ‘Copperhead Road’ ... and
when it finished he laughed and shook their
hands, saying “I don’t know why we don’t
have a show like this in America!”
RocKwiz At Bluesfest!
In front of the red velvet curtains the
show unfolds much like the television
version, with Julia working her special
magic, Dugald hoisting the score cards
and tuning and changing guitars and our
fabulous contestants furiously hitting
buzzers, sharing their first concerts and
records, demonstrating their incredible
knowledge, singing with the band and
nearly stealing the shows from a wide
range of artists. I can’t name them all here,
but personal highlights would have to
include Garland Jeffreys and Continental
Robert Suez performing ’96 Tears’, Beth
Hart singing a passionate version of ‘I’d
Rather Go Blind’ (five million views and
counting on YouTube!), Irma Thomas, Tim
Rogers playing guitar while Broderick
Smith improvised lyrics about the festival,
Trombone Shorty, Vika and Linda Bull, Tex
Perkins doing ‘Run Through the Jungle,
Barrence Whitfield and Marcia Hines doing
‘Jumping Jack Flash’, Warren Storm and Jon
Cleary trading lyrics on a Fats Domino song
from the desks while the band fell in behind
them. So many great moments ... and we
can’t wait to do it again this year! In the
meantime ... here are some questions to
get you in the mood.
1. Cold Chisel’s ‘Flame Trees’ was based on Don Walker’s memories of what town?
2. In the Paul Kelly song ‘To Her Door’, where in the north coast did the man
“spend about a year”?
3. Complete these classic blues lyrics:
They call it Stormy Monday ...
I asked her for water ...
4. True or false: Aussie TV Naturalist Harry Butler wrote a song recorded by Alice
Cooper on his 1971 LP, ‘Love It To Death’.
5. What was the iconic ballroom at Bowen Hills in Brisbane that was illegally
demolished overnight in 1982?
6. Who said “you won’t need no harem, honey, when I’m by your side. And you
won’t need no camel, when I take you for a ride”?
7. Who sang ... ‘I heard Leadbelly and Blind Lemon, on the street where I was
born, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters singing ‘I’m a Rolling
8. What sort of windows did Tina Turner sing about?
9. According to The Doors, what hissed by the window?
10. Who sang ... ‘Go away from my window, leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe, I’m not the one you need’
11. Which of the following are not Thrash Metal bands ... Crumbsuckers, Municipal
Waste, Cryptic Slaughter and Human Nature
12. During their 1964 Australian tour, The Beatles were pelted by eggs in Brisbane.
Who later admitted his involvement, calling it “an intellectual reaction against
Beatlemania”? ... Bob Dyer, Bob Menzies or Bob Katter?
13. Which Talking Head was a founding member of The Modern Lovers, alongside
14. Which of the following is NOT a blues musician ... Blind Willie McTell, Big Mama
Thornton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Jamie Redfern
15. Which of the following is NOT a Viking Metal band? Doom Ship, Enslaved,
Brain Splitter, Air Supply.
16. Which flamboyant rocker with a toothy smile and a pompadour was the
preacher at the weddings of both Tom Petty and Cindy Lauper?
17. If you catch the Rockin’ Pneumonia, what other condition are you likely to
18. Which British singer recorded with Duane Allman at Muscle Shoals,
represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest and married a Bee Gee?
19. Who was the house band at Stax Records, playing on hits by Otis Redding,
Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave?
20. Who had hits with songs like ‘I’ll Take You There’, ‘Touch A Hand, Make A
Friend’ and ‘I’ll Take You There’?
For the answers go to rhythms.com.au
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