23rd - 25th AUGUST 2019
1 GREAT FESTIVAL
GET TO KNOW… GEOFF ACHINSON
Geoff Achison is an award-winning blues-roots artist from Australia known for his live performances, song-writing, and unique guitar mastery.
Q: Please tell us one thing we may not know about you.
A: I got my start in the music business as a bass-player.
Q: What is your musical background (and are you self-taught)?
A: I had a few lessons as a kid which taught me the basics but I really began learning to play when I started playing gigs. My first band was my Dad’s little dance band playing hits of the 30’s and 40’s for the oldies. Once I got handed the bass, I began to get gigs in local jazz, rock and cover bands. Mostly because I owned a bass!
Q: What kind of music were you brought up listening to?
A: My dad was a huge fan of jazz and music of the big band era whilst Mum had a great collection of classical music and 50’s rock ’n’ tool, but as a kid of the 1970’s we’d tune in to ‘Countdown’ every Sunday night and get a good dose of glam rock. I got into blues, jazz and soul music in my late teens.
Q: Who do you look up to as an artist?
A: Jeff Beck back is my favourite electric guitarist for his originality and artistry but I also love the blues pioneers such as the BB, Albert & Freddie King, Buddy Guy & Albert Collins for their unique styles and heart-felt playing. They play with absolute freedom of spirit and that’s the magic.
Q: When it comes to writing songs, what circumstances or events give you inspiration?
A: Some of the best things I’ve written were born from pretty awful situations. But, whilst a tragic turn of events can bring forth beautiful, meaningful music, I’d probably rather not go there again. The trouble with that though is that you risk feeling great and being uninspiring to others. Life is stupid like that.
Q: Which one of your songs means the most to you?
A: Golly just one! I’ve always been fond of Crazy Horse. There is a whole background story to that lyric which I doubt anyone has really grasped. I wrote it after reading a novel of Red Cloud’s war which occurred in the 1860’s. I was profoundly moved by the story and I related it to all forms of warfare. The gist of it is that both sides are human, both sides believe they have providence on their side whilst providence itself (represented by an eagle) watches from a great height wondering why these strange people are destroying each other. So lyrically it’s pretty deep and we usually follow it with a song called Rule The World which allows me to vent a little frustration over the whole war thing.
Q: In terms of your shows, what is your favourite track to perform live and why?
We have a tune called Jungle which has always been a huge fave with the crowd. There’s something about the groove switching from the rumbling tom-toms to a driving rock beat that people like to move too. It gets ‘em going, so the vibe on-stage and on the dance floor is pretty high energy when we do that one. It’s a standard in every Souldiggers gig I do.
Q: What’s been the most memorable time of your musical career?
Probably the 10 minutes I had on-stage with The Allman Brothers Band in New York City back in 2012… and yes I am namedropping! In all seriousness though, I’m from rural Australia. I grew up up in a working class town with a likely career working at a local factory. I played a bit of guitar like a few other kids, but there was no real expectation of anything more than some local gigs to come of that. I had dreams of one day travelling to the US to see my favourite bands play in these exotic sounding places. New Orleans, Mississippi, Tennessee, New York City. So to actually get up in stage and jam with one of the greatest and most influential bands in history was pretty damn cool.
Q: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
I’ve actually just come off promoting my acoustic flavoured ‘Sovereign Town’ album for the best part of a year and this UK tour will be all about our 20th Anniversary with the UK Souldiggers. So after this big ol’ tour I really am hoping to get home and take it easy for about a minute.
Q: Where can people find out more about you and your music?
Oh just ask Eric Clapton, he talks about me all the time. OK, no he doesn’t, but anytime he likes he can pop Geoff Achison into a search engine and all sorts of stuff will pop up. Get the spelling right and you’ll get the full scoop.
Q: Any travel tips for a musician? And do you enjoy the travel side of being a professional musician?
Don’t plan on carrying your instrument into the cabin. If the rules state that it will be perfectly fine don’t believe it. Also, carry muesli and fruit and buy a small camp stove to brew coffee. If you can make your own breakfast each day you’ll save bundles. I love the travel. This is the best job in the world.
Describe your musical journey in 5 words.
I’m just here to learn.
Geoff Achison & The Souldiggers play The Hippodrome | Friday | 10:15pm