Ezekiel Ox is a man of that many quality words that we decided to spread his interview with Kris Peters over two articles. The first one touches on his career to date and introduces the political side of the man and where he gets his inspiration.
Ezekiel Ox is something of an enigma. He is a man who has no fear when it comes to confrontation and refuses to take a backward step either musically or in life.
He is a rare breed of musician whose passion not only centers on his art, but also the plight of those around him.
He has no agenda other than to make the world a better place and he has no ego nor need to be accepted. He simply has a need to be.
A need to be heard. A need to be taken on face value, and an insatiable need for justice.
Put bluntly, he is an Australian music legend. An icon that needs not reminding of his stature in the industry but only wants your attention.
Love him or hate him, Ezekiel Ox doesn’t care; he only asks that you listen.
With a musical history starting with rock driven Full Scale to Mammal to The Nerve to Ox and the Fury and Over Reactor, Ezekiel is now concentrating on a solo career. Not because he is bored with his other many and varied projects, but because he can.
But despite all this, when asked to describe himself and his place in the annals of Australian music, and he is typically humbled.
“I don’t really take much time to reflect on who I am,” he said sheepishly. “How do I see myself? I am probably most interested at the moment in nurturing the connections that I have and making sure I listen to Tim, my manager, and on a personal level to make sure I’m a good partner and a good father and a good brother and good son. All of the basic but important things, they’re my main focus because music just comes out. Just the other night I was sitting down with my acoustic guitar and I started writing a song from nowhere. I don’t take too much time to reflect on myself because it’s actually pretty boring.”
Ezekiel has not only made his mark in the musical world, where his lyrics are often politically motivated, but also in the streets and alongside his fellow countrymen, standing up to the Man and fighting for his rights. He says that having the ability to be able to make a stand through music is a powerful tool.
“I reckon it’s really important to have that voice,” he agreed.
“I think music is one way of doing it but I try to make sure I’m committed to being on the street as well. It’s been a big year for protests unfortunately. With the budget being introduced it brought a lot of the full on treatment straight into the mainstream; things that have been happening for ages like refugees for example, and then you have Medicare and income management for people on welfare so it’s been a really big year for Middle Australia to actually go ‘oh shit, they’re doing it to US now like they’ve been doing to the black fella for the last 226 years.”
“It’s sad that it has to come to protests but as far as politics goes, being that person trying to organize people, you also get to meet people where they’re at in life and I think there’s been a lot of fight for Australia and this year we’ve seen people out in the streets in numbers and personally I will continue to be out there and going to rally’s and doing my part. It’s important to actually put pressure back on people that are trying to hurt us because you have to push back at some point otherwise they will keep doing really bad things.”
Now embarking on a solo career, Ezekiel doesn’t feel the need to tone down his material, nor is he short of situations and events to fuel his artistic fire.
“I think this government does plenty of working me up to get that anger,” he said.
“The system maintains the rage with its complete daily insult to our sense of humanity. I’m not particularly angry as a person, I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to be able to work as a musician and I’ve been doing that for 16 years now and I’m also grateful to have support from so many amazing people in the past and to be able to continue to work with some really great people all the way down to Col (- Brock Mcdonald from Sworf), the promoter in Cairns. I didn’t know him until I booked this gig so I’ll get to meet him on this tour and I’m meeting and discussing ideas with people like yourself and people come along and are really supportive of what I’m doing and it blows your mind because we didn’t even know each other a month ago and now we’re gonna play this wonderful show together and it’s a really good job on that level. So I don’t really work myself up to get angry, I work myself up to deliver a really entertaining show that’s not about trying to get laid or how my hearts’ broken….. it’s about the power that we have to actually change things. Every time things change it’s because WE make them change.”
That attitude comes down to his lyrical content, with Ezekiel determined that no-one, not even himself, has the right to gag an opinion.
“I think censuring as an artist is really dangerous,” he warned. “You can draft and you can refine but if you start that process of censuring yourself then you run the risk of being mundane. I don’t think anything that I’ve got to say is particularly offensive. I think that to engage an audience they want to see something pure and something honest and it’s not my responsibility to make everyone like me, it’s my responsibility to show people an honest representation of my songs and to sing well and to dance well because I’m a singer fundamentally, that’s what I do and I enjoy singing and people enjoy listening so I like to make sure I’m singing in tune or I’m rapping well or I’m screaming in a way that people like to hear and I like to have good lyrics and all that stuff so my first responsibility is as an entertainer and I’m honestly pretty comfortable and confident in the fact I deliver a show worth watching. I also think your own personality is important. Not everyone is gonna get along so I guess as far as audiences go…. I have a lyric in the first song from my E.P that I’m bringing to Cairns and it says ‘When I experience culture it’s the people who move me. I’ve taken bands most times, some of them lied and then sued me. It didn’t matter whether Mammal or Full Scale Fury, I got cheered by the mob and booed by the jury’. So that last line I think….. the vast majority of crowds have, the mob, the people that I’m interested in connecting with – not the people who sit in judgment- but the people who are there to enjoy themselves, have been overwhelmingly supportive of what I do on stage. People that come expecting some sort of One Direction sanitized bullshit where I get up there and everything’s okay and everything’s peachy and why can’t we all just get along and love each other….. well you’re just not gonna get it. Times are tough out there.”
Ezekial Ox plays at the Grand Hotel on Saturday October 25 with support from Cameron Cusack, Jimmy the One, Ray-Lee, Meat Bikini, Leanne Tenant and Sworf. Doors open from 6 p.m and tickets are $10 from the Grand Hotel bottleshop. There are STRICTLY only 200 tickets being sold so get in now to avoid disappointment.
Stay tuned for part two when Ezekiel talks about his upcoming Cairns show at the Grand Hotel and delves a little more into his music, including whether or not we will see a reunion of Mammal
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