Tag Archives: Paul McDermott

Doug Anthony Allstars – Paul McDermott

The Cripple, The Pensioner, and The Fellow With Such A Sweet Singing Voice.

As far as musical comedy goes, it’s rare for an act to have much more success than playing the local comedy club. These acts are usually considered more of a pastime for performing arts students, than as a predecessor to any real success. However for the three gentlemen that make up The Doug Anthony Allstars this is definitely not the case. The band consists of members Paul Mcdermott, Tim Ferguson and Richard Fidler, with Fidler being replaced by Paul Livingston for their upcoming show in Cairns.

The Doug Anthony Allstars, often referred to as DAAS, were formed in Canberra in 1984 and have gone on to become remarkably successful musical comedy act, especially in the world of television They became regulars on Australian comedy show The Big Gig and their popularity led to the creation of their own ABC show, DAAS Kapital.

The band have always been know for being spontaneous, vulgar and controversial. Shows reguarly include audience involvement, usually with minimal consent from the audience member. With popular songs such as ”I  F*** Dogs” and ”I Want To Spill The Blood Of A Hippy” it’s not surprising that the band once had an album banned in the U.K.

In 1994 DAAS called it a day and continued their respective careers in comedy and television. McDermott and Ferguson continued to specifically focus on television, hosting shows such as Good News Week and Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush and Fidler moved on to work in radio.

However in 2013 for their 30th anniversary, the boys have packed up and hit the road for the first time in twenty years and they’ll be in Cairns on Friday the 24th of July

Paul McDermott is famous for randomly bursting into song, so it was with great apprehension that I sat down for a chat with him…

Wil: Did you guys start off as comedians playing music, or were you musicians who worked out that you were funny?

Paul: Definitely the other way around. We are musicians who worked out we were funny. Richard used to busk with his guitar in Canberra. There was a crazy bearded sixteen year old who used to sing with him sometimes. Richard noticed that when this guy played with him they made a lot more money and this guy happened to be Tim Ferguson. Then I came along and suddenly the group flourished. We certainly come from a musical background but often we didn’t take the music that seriously.  That’s where all the talking came from. There was almost an ”anti-music” vibe in the world at the time. There was this sort of post-punk thing that we were apart of,  so were were focusing on topics that were immediate. We got a bit caught up in it when we were young….”

Wil: Just after you guys started to take off in Australia you had some huge success in Britain. How did that come to happen?

Paul: We definitely had a lot of success at festivals in Australia. When we went to play at the Adelaide Festival we were pretty much straight off the streets. We didn’t expect to be as popular as we were but we were doing a lot of hard work. We would go out and busk and play three times in the day just to fill our venue at night. Eventually we were filling 300 to 400 seats and that was the first week. We never thought we would fill that many seats. Word of mouth spread and eventually every night it was selling out.

The way we broke it in England was because we got on television over there. We got on to a show called Friday Night Live and that’s what made us incredibly large, basically overnight. When we got back to Australia, that show was used as the template for an Australian show called The Big Gig.

Wil: With the exception of a few one-off shows, it had basically been twenty years since DAAS played together. What was the reason for the official reformation?

Paul: It was the release of the DAAS Kapital series on the ABC. They wanted us to do a promotional gig and we were shocked by the amount of tickets we sold. It was sold out within hours and there was no publicity or promotion for it, they just went like hot cakes. I thought that would be it for us but a few weeks later I got a call from Tim asking if I wanted to go back on the road and get the group back together. It was a surprising question, but I thought, ”Well if Tim wants to do it, I’ll do it.”

Wil: I’ve heard that the last time DAAS played in Cairns there was an incident. For all the googling in the world, I can’t work out what it was. Can you enlighten me?

Paul: Which incident? There were many incidents in Cairns. Once, Tim got headbutted by a dwarf in the neck. Tim is quite tall and this guy was a dwarf, well more like a tall dwarf. We were walking along late at night and this guy was saying something about Tommy Diesel. Tim said something about Tommy Diesel changing his name and this caused offense to the overly tall dwarf. The dwarf tried to headbutt him but he was so short that he just sort of ended up headbutting his neck. That might have been your incident.

Wil: What are you most looking forward to about your show in Cairns?

Paul: Everything. I’m enjoying myself now probably more than I ever did when were were younger. There is an element of time which has galvanized us. I don’t think there is any other band in the world that has a cripple, a pensioner and a fellow with such a sweet singing voice, that is doing vulgar comedy. It’s just going to be magic.

He didn’t burst into song.

Wil Carroll

Doug Anthony Allstars play The Tanks on Friday the 24th of July. Tickets available through Ticketlink

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