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Rock Club 40 chats with PAUL CHRISTIE

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Last year, Mondo Rock embarked on their first national tour in 24 years, to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of their iconic ‘Chemistry’ album. Well, that tour was such a great success, the guys are doing it again in 2015. This time, it’s the Besto Mondo Tour and we have been chatting with bass player, Paul Christie, about the band’s upcoming shows.

“The tour is called Besto Mondo which means that we will actually play all the singles that we released over all those years,” he explains. “And that’s coinciding with an album called ‘Besto Mondo’ which has all those songs we’ll be playing.”

The album, ‘Besto Mondo – Greatest Hits Collection’ will be released through Aztec Records on limited edition CD and digitally from 7th August. And yes, Paul assures me, it will be available to purchase at the shows.

The Besto Mondo tour kicks off this weekend with a show at QPAC in Brisbane on the 1st August. It hits Sydney’s State Theatre on the 21ST August and the final show will be held at The Palais Theatre in Melbourne on the 22nd August.  It’s a whirlwind tour but the band will be packing a lot into those three dates.  As Paul said, they will be playing all the hits and as any Australian music fan would know, there are a lot of them! And we will be seeing the original line-up of the band with Ross Wilson on vocals, James Black on keyboards, Paul on bass, Eric McCusker on guitar and vocals and Gil Matthews on drums.

Like the other members of the band, Paul is also involved in various other projects. “But we come together for Mondo,” he says. “And Mondo is one of my favourite things to do. We’re very old friends and the songs are terrific and it’s great!”

Supporting Mondo Rock for all three shows will be Mi-Sex and Paul says he couldn’t be happier. “They’re old friends and we’re happy to have them on the tour. I’ve seen them recently and they’re playing fantastically well so it will be a great show. I’m particularly good friends with Steve, the singer and Murray the keyboard player and I’m a great admirer of Paul Dunningham, their drummer. He’s a fantastic drummer.  They’re doing really well. They pump it out so it will be a great night.”

Paul is particularly looking forward to going back to Brisbane. “It’s my home town,” he says proudly and tells me that he is trying to organise a reunion of sorts with his old school friends. “I don’t know how many of my old friends listen to mainstream media. I put a post on the old school page and it’s been broadcast across the radio so we’ll see what happens.”

Mondo Rock has quite an impressive catalogue of music, having had numerous hits over the years, most of which are still heard on radio today. So there is certainly more than enough material to choose from for a ‘Besto’ show but is there a favourite to perform ‘live’?  Paul thinks for a moment. “There’s a song that we don’t play very often that Eric sings called ‘Out the Window’ which is one of my favourite things to do. It’s great fun. You can go back in time and sort of pin your hat on a particular era from the different songs and different songs bring back memories of different tours and the places that you played in and the places you visited. And every time you play a song, another memory seems to pop up which is enjoyable.”

I ask Paul if he would like to share a couple of those memories with us. “There were some particularly great memorable moments,” he recalls. “Once we played in Broken Hill and I organised a trip to the Pro Hart Gallery and then I suggested that we also do a mine inspection because there were a whole lot of miners there so, sure enough, we go and put the hard hats on and the grey coats and little did we know that you go in this cage that goes half a mile underground. It was quite shocking. Some of us were like ‘What are we doing? Let’s go back.’ We finally got right down the bottom of this mine. Well, the mine was like a freeway. There were these huge trucks… and I don’t know how they got them down there. It was quite impressive but very, very scary if you hadn’t done that before.”

“And then there was another time when we were playing on the east coast. We were playing at Yamba. We were very popular with the surf culture and I was talking to a couple of surfies after the gig and they were saying ‘There’s going to be a great swell tomorrow. When are you leaving?’ There was this famous surfing spot called Angourie so I thought ‘Well I’m here. I’m going to jump in.’ I jumped in and it was like these huge 8 or 10 foot waves so I paddled out and, sure enough, I saw this great wave coming straight away. I got on it and I was yelling to everybody ‘Eeeyah’ and off I went hundreds and hundreds of metres and these guys were yelling out ‘You beauty!’  and cheering me on. They were all giving me the thumbs up. I’d conquered that very famous surf spot!  There are just a million different experiences; good ones, bad ones, astonishing ones… that’s the life.”

Well, it was the life… so, does he miss those days?

Paul is philosophical. “I have this belief that, of all the millions of years that my fate had me conceived,” he reflects, “I could have been conceived in the Middle Ages, The Dark Ages, or BC but to be born in 1953, and to have musical parents and to be able to walk into the very start of the Australian pub rock environment, when there were bands long before the internet, long before people would just stare at their phones and they don’t really talk anymore. It was just fantastic to be put on Earth at that point of time and to be able to go and play literally seven nights a week if you wanted to and that lasted from almost mid-seventies until early nineties; fifteen years of just incredible amounts of playing and all sorts of fantastic experiences.”

Yep… that’s the life…

The Besto Mondo Tour starts this Saturday, 1st August at QPAC in Brisbane. For full details of dates and venues and to book your tickets, see below…

 

by Sharyn Hamey

Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2015.  All rights reserved

MONDO ROCK TOUR DATES

Saturday 1st August 2015

QPAC

Brisbane Qld

Buy tickets here

Friday 21st August 2015

State Theatre

Sydney NSW

Buy tickets here

Saturday 22nd August 2015

Palais Theatre

Melbourne Vic

Buy tickets here

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