Q&A with Wally Gunn
On Sunday April 23rd, 2017, 6pm, TLSQ will be performing a set of all Australian Works at the Hawthorn Arts Centre. Included in the programme is old wounds by Wally Gunn, from his string quartet work, Blood. Wally has had an interesting journey in music; from being a singer/songwriter pop star to a sought after composer of theatre, film and concert works. Wally lives in Queens, New York but still maintains strong ties to the Melbourne music scene. Read on for an insight into this man of the world. Check out Wally's own website HERE and then book tickets for our Hawthorn Arts Centre show HERE.
When did you know that you wanted to be a musician?
In 1984, when I was 12 years old, the ABC broadcast an original Australian drama series called ‘Sweet and Sour,’ about a rock band trying to make it big in Sydney. It starred Tracy Mann with a shock of punky, asymmetrical hair as the singer and songwriter Carol, who led the band The Takeaways. Deborah Conway provided Carol’s vocals on the soundtrack. Before that series, I had sung along in harmony to Linda Ronstadt LPs, and danced by myself to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and started to wonder how music was put together after listening to The Human League’s incredible album ‘Dare.’ But I hadn’t thought about being a musician. All that changed when I saw Carol on ‘Sweet and Sour.’ I wanted to be a rock star just like her.
What was your first instrument?
All throughout my childhood I made up ‘pieces’ on the family piano, but never took lessons. Neither did I have singing lessons, but I taught myself to harmonize and yodel. The first formal music lessons I had were for clarinet from the age of 11. I was a poor student who never practiced. The first time I really dedicated myself to an instrument was when I picked up a guitar at 16.
What is the strangest music gig/job that you’ve done?
My stint playing keyboards in nothing but underpants in a raucous queer new-wave punk disco band was probably the strangest music job I’ve done, and it was also the most fun.
What is the strangest non-music job you’ve ever done?
For a year I was a waiter and llama feeder at the café of a lavender farm in the Goldfields District of Western Victoria.