We chat with Rich Davies And The Devil’s Union
Sure we’ve heard about you before, but we think it’s time for Tone Deaf to get to know you a little better. Slip in to something comfortable while we put on some music, pour us a couple of drinks and turn the lights down low. So, tell us about yourselves…Who are you – who who? We really wanna know….
Who are you and what do you do in your act?
My name is Rich and I assume the role of singer-songwriter-guitarist.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
I can only remember 3 and thankfully for the sake of this Q & A they are all albums I stand by to this day. They were all Greatest Hits albums by Bob Dylan, The Byrds and Bruce Springsteen. I don’t know if I was ever busted for it… I suppose I am now!
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
To be honest at the moment I’m in a bit of a rut, for the last 6 months if I hadn’t been listening to rough cuts as I was finishing our own album, I’d be listening heavily to Ennio Morricone or Bruce Springsteen and maybe Dylan too. I really need to have a bit of a revolution on my iPod but I’ve been so busy and I just always just go back to one of those.
‘Home taping is killing the music business was the catch-cry of the record industry in the 1970s, but it managed to survive until now. What do you think is the difference between mates taping copies of friend’s records back in the 80s and 90s and file sharing now?
Music is in a state of flux, the old industry is shitting it’s self because they can’t predict what is going to happen like they thought they could in their heyday. Hell, in their heyday they could effectively force feed the public what was going to be a hit and the public just had to accept it. What the public now have is greater choice.
Right now is an exciting time for independent artists. I see shops like Thornbury Records doing well selling vinyl to real music lovers. People still want to buy music and there is an increasing high quality of music available now that is a lot easier to find than in the old days. I’ve got no idea what is going to happen but I think there is a new music industry starting to emerge led by dynamic creative thinkers from the underground. Music is never going to die but fat cats may get hungry.
On a side note I think the irony of the disposable pop thing is comical, the old industry churned out shite like Spice Girls or whatever with horrible songwriting and production values and your average Joe Blogs punter places so little value on it that when the technology comes along and gives them the means to steal it, of course that is what they are going to do. If the product was of worth maybe they wouldn’t. I reckon a lot of the damage to the old industry is being done by non-music lovers stealing Pink and Britany Spears from Pirate Bay. Why the fuck would you want to pay for that shit anyway!
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What was the first gig you went to.?Where was it and what was the venue?
I grew up in sound checks and folk clubs, the first tour I went on was around Germany with my Dad’s folk group at age 5. I can’t remember what my first gig was, I just remember a childhood of men with beards drinking Guiness as I tried to reach up to play on pool tables as my Dad was sound checking and millions of traditional folk songs. It was awesome, it is funny to me that my life hasn’t really changed at all other than that it is now me with a beard drinking Guiness at my own sound check… and I can now reach the pool table!
What’s your favourite site to download music from and do you ever pay for it? Can we find any of your releases there?
For our new record we have gotten involved with Gretson Records. I’m really interested by their innovative approach to being a label. They have just this week set up a wicked web-shop where you can download tracks by their artists which includes Alysia Manceau’s wicked album that she released earlier this year, the upcoming surftastic release from The Velocettes and our new record.
What artist made you want to pick up an instrument and/or sing?
I think most of the stuff that set my world alight as a young kid was the early rock’n'roll stuff like Elvis and garage rock, I remember the first time I heard “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, that definitely changed my life. Into my teens I got into a lot of singer-songwriter folk revival type stuff and I devoured the Beatles catalogue. I think if there was any one artist that kind of sums up all the things that inspired me it would be John Lennon. He has the soul and the balls, totally unpretentious and pretentious at exactly the same time! Yep, definitely Lennon.
Have you ever been arrested?
I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
I withdraw a little as I focus. It kind of annoys me sometimes but that is just how I am. I often wish my band members the best for a good gig. Nothing terribly special like voodoo or anything, maybe if we advance to getting dressing rooms of our own, who knows what crazy shit we could get into!
What’s been your most outrageous rider request?
I managed to get Laphroaig, single malt on a rider recently… sadly that is as wild as I have managed to get so far, but honestly, I’m pretty happy with a pots and a red wine. It would be nice to get personal masseuse and a three course meal of course, maybe I’ll ask Joel and Liam at The Old Bar about that haha!
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
I’ve been lucky enough to work in the past with one of my good friends Dom Byrne of Little Red and Greasers. He really is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever met. Totally eccentric and awesome. It’s been a while since we have worked together as he is usually off galavanting around the world the last few years, but I’d love to work with him again in some way. I learned a lot from him about letting it flow.
Right, let’s get really intimate. Tell us what releases you have that we can listen to with the lights down low, or even better, where we can see you play in person next.
Our new album, Rich Davies & The Devil’s Union is in stores now and available on the web.
We have a Melbourne Launch gig this Friday 18th November at The Retreat Hotel in Brunswick.