There are few singers in this country who have the kind of loyal following that Daryl Braithwaite has enjoyed ever since those glory days as lead vocalist for Sherbet in the 70s. His career has taken a few twists and turns along the way but still, four decades later, his popularity has not waned. And, to his credit, a whole new legion of younger fans has now discovered the voice that brought him to the attention of music lovers all those years ago. He is still constantly travelling the length and breadth of the country, playing to crowded venues and, to my mind, sounding better than ever.
Daryl recently took the time for a chat about his music and his busy work schedule, including next month’s Lakeside Twilights concert, where Daryl will be one of the headline acts, along with his long-time friend, James Reyne and the lovely sisters, Vika and Linda Bull. The Lake Wendouree Foreshore in Ballarat, Victoria, is the setting for the first Lakeside Twilights concert. The team behind this event will be hoping it is just the first of many such concerts, taking full advantage of scenic lakeside locations around regional Victoria during the balmy summer months, featuring some of Australia’s best and most popular singers and musicians. The first series of four concerts will be in Ballarat and there are plans to expand to Bendigo and Shepparton next year.
Daryl Braithwaite is happy to be a part of this debut event for Lakeside Twilights and eager to play in Ballarat again. “I’ve played there many times over the years but this one in particular will be really good because it’s on the lake. It should be fantastic.” Certainly, the concert’s organisers are hopeful it will be a success and become a regular event. Daryl would also like to see this happen. “It would be nice to think it could take off and they’ll have it at Bendigo and Shepparton as well.”
Seems like a nice way to round off what has been yet another very busy year for Daryl and the band. They have been touring constantly throughout the year and Daryl has lost track of the number of gigs they’ve done. “We’ve done nearly a hundred or more so far,” he tells me. “We just got back from Perth last week and last weekend we were over there for the Telethon and a gig as well and then a week before that we were in Mudgee and a week before that, we were in Cairns, then the next day in Perth again.” A hectic schedule for anyone but, for Daryl Braithwaite, it is nothing out of the ordinary. “It keeps you off the streets, so to speak,” he laughs. “I guess you get used to it. When you’ve been doing it for four decades or more, it’s instilled in you what to do.”
And those gigs have been attracting good crowds all around the country, including an increasing number of young people in the audience. “That’s been happening, from what I’ve noticed, for the last five years or so,” Daryl observes. “It’s quite invigorating to have the young people there. You can’t really slacken off because their attention span is about a minute.”
Realising that many of these younger fans were not even born when he was lead singer of the very popular 70s band, Sherbet, the singer is often taken aback when they appear to know every word to some of the Sherbet classics, like ‘Howzat’. “It’s quite incredible,” he tells me, relating the story of a recent gig where he and the band played to a university crowd of around 500 people. “We were playing to a young audience. It’s a sort of ‘uni’ night. We went on at about midnight and we only get to play four songs. After we’d done the second song, they were yelling out for ‘Howzat’! I said ‘Where did you get that from?!’ ” Daryl theorises that perhaps they had heard the song recently when it featured on the mini-series, of the same name, about Kerry Packer. But, for whatever reason, the kids were very familiar with it and obviously loved the song. They sang along, word for word, and Daryl was quite impressed.
It must feel good to know that something you did so long ago still resonates with people so many years after it was first released, even those who weren’t around at the time.
“That’s right,” he agrees. “I think Garth and Tony (Garth Porter and Tony Mitchell, who wrote the song) would be happy to know that. In fact, even after I finish this, I might give them a call and let them know. I’ve been meaning to do it. We did a gig about a year or two ago up in Sydney and they liked it and the people sang and all that stuff. It’s encouraging for someone who’s been doing it so long to still have that support. You think, whatever you’ve done, you’re doing it right.”
Daryl has incorporated a few other Sherbet songs into his set, including ‘Blueswalkin’ and, sometimes ‘Summer Love’, depending on the crowd and the show. “But we have dropped ‘You’ve Got the Gun. We had been doing that for a long time as well.”
Another song in Daryl’s set that never fails to inspire audience participation is ‘Horses’. Daryl is not too sure what to make of the success he has had with that song. “I’ve tried to contact the writers of the song, Rickie Lee Jones and Walter Becker, to tell them how successful the song has been here for me but I’ve had no response,” he says. “And that’s a shame, in a way.”
Sometimes being on the road allows him to be in the right place at the right time. Take, for instance, the band’s recent visit to Perth for the Telethon. While there, Daryl went along to the Matchbox 20/INXS show at The Arena. “And, lo and behold,” he laughs, “it was INXS’s last gig! It came as a surprise to us in the audience when one of the Ferris brothers said ‘We were born in Perth and it seems fitting that we end here.’ Anyway, I actually got to meet them after they finished and I asked the Ferris boy and he said ‘Oh yeah… maybe’. It’s interesting because the next day it was in the paper so I guess it is true. It’s probably just the way they broke it to the audience. I was only reading about it again this morning in the paper. It’s a shame really. They sounded really good but I guess if they feel that way, then it’s the appropriate thing to do.”
Daryl has just finished recording an EP and expects it to be released early in 2013. “It’s called ‘Forever the Tourist’ and there are six songs including ‘Beautiful Feeling’, which was originally released as a single a couple of years ago. It virtually got no airplay at all so Oliver and I (Oliver Jones who co-wrote that song and others with Daryl) decided that we’ll put it on the EP, along with five other new tracks so that will be out in January of next year.” It seems a pity that the single never received the recognition it deserved when it was first released, but Daryl is philosophical. Like the rest of us who have seen the changing face of the music industry over recent years, he is well aware that, these days, the music business is a whole different ball game. “I’m sure that there’s a lot of bands out there that suffer the same consequence. The whole thing has changed to a degree.”
Braithwaite and his band are not short of work and 2013 is shaping up to be another big one. “We have more gigs than you can poke a stick at and we’d really love to go overseas somewhere to play,” he reveals. However, he stresses that they are not necessarily chasing international success but just to enjoy the experience of playing in another country. “It would be nice to go to London, just to play new gigs, to a new audience, even if they are just small, intimate venues. We all like travelling, which is great. It just brings with it a different attraction and excitement, I think, because you don’t know what to expect.” Just like the title of his new EP, it seems that Daryl Braithwaite is ‘Forever the Tourist’.
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © 2012 Sharyn Hamey All Rights Reserved.
LakesideTwilights, featuring Daryl Braithwaite, James Reyne and Vika and Linda Bull, is at the Wendouree Foreshore, Ballarat Victoria on Saturday, 15th December 2012 from 3pm.
Tickets are $49.90 (children under 12 free with a paying adult)
from the following outlets:
Ticketmaster 136 100
Regent Cinemas Ballarat (03) 5330 5555 |
Re Discovery CDs & Records Ballarat (03) 5331 5153
For more information, please visit www.lakesidetwilights.com.au