Archie Roach has certainly lived a life full of adversity, and emerged a compelling artist. He is lauded by luminaries such as Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan, Pattie Smith, Billy Brag, Joan Armatrading and more. His landmark song “Took The Children Away”, won two Aria Awards and a listing in the US Rolling Stone Top 50 Albums for 1992, he then went on to release four seminal albums in all by 2002. NQMP’s Todd Macalpine catches up with Archie ahead of his show at the Tanks on Saturday the 12th of July.
Off the bat, Archie was keen to tell us about his new box set “Creation”. Archie enthused “It’s a box set of my first four albums that have been remastered, it’s also got some bonus tracks of live recordings, along with demo tracks that never made it onto the albums that we decided to add to this box set” He went on to elaborate, “They are good demo’s remastered especially for the box set, when you go in to do a demo, you are trying to do the best one you can”
I suggested to Archie that sometimes the intent of the original demo is sometimes hard to capture again later in the studio to which he replied “Well yeah, that’s right, you go into the studio with a raw song, it’s there, it’s the guts of it before you add any other stuff to it, and it’s pretty real”
When Archie was starting out, he was influenced by artists like Billie Holiday, The Ink Spots, The Drifters, Nat King Cole, and surprisingly, old Scottish ballads, I asked Archie to explain “I was brought up in three foster families, and in the last family I was with, my old foster dad was a Scotsman who was a merchant seaman that had married an Australian girl (my old foster mum). He had a great collection of old L.P records.”
When Archie’s late wife, Ruby Hunter was alive, their own family home used to double as an open house for disadvantaged kids. I asked Archie how this came about to which he replied “It was basically a place for young fellas to go, and young people to hang out. We always had a lot of tucker in the fridge and the cupboard and would cook up feeds, make them music, sometimes they just needed a bit of a break, so they would stay a couple of days until they went back home, or got somewhere else to stay. I remember when I was a kid I was a street kid, so I could understand what some of them were going through.”
No stranger to North QLD, Archie commented on what a great venue the Tanks was, being in the middle of a garden, I took the opportunity to ask him about the band he is bringing with him this time. “We’ve got Steve Hadley on bass, another guitarist Craig, who produced my last album “In The Bloodstream” and a lady by the name of Jen Anderson who plays fiddle, mandolin and ukelele”
Another Australian songwriting legend, Paul Kelly was instrumental in starting Archie Roach’s recording career, Archie went on to say “Yeah, if it wasn’t for Paul, I may not be doing this at all. I may have someday, but it was Paul that really got me started recording. We still see each other now and then, but not as much as we used too”
And what does Archie Roach have planned for the future? “I have to think about maybe doing another album, and that may be an album of duets. Not necesarilly singing duets, but also instrumental duets, maybe with someone like Tommy Emmanual or someone else. Maybe even something like putting music to some of my favourite poems. Of course there would be singing duets as well, someone like Troy Cassar Daley possibly. I did an interview and a song with Colin Hay recently on radio, I would like to get together with him and do something again”
NQ Music Press has 2 double tickets to the Archie Roach show at the Tanks to give away to NQMP readers. Find out to get your hands on these HERE.
COST: $40 / $35 (CONC)
DOORS / BAR: 6:30pm
SHOW STARTS: 7.30pm
VENUE: Tank 5 | Seated & Standing
SUPPORT: Voices of Austranesia
Ticketlink www.ticketlink.com.au or phone 1300 855 835