We had a chance to talk to Rhett May
Growing up in India, who influenced you musically early on?
The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Hollies, Monkees, Jimi Hendrix, a lot of the early British and American bandsÖplus people like Elvis, Fabian, Cliff Richards. I listened to a lot of old records that my father and mother danced to, The Platters, and The Ink Spots. I had a wide spread of influences including Ravi Shankar.
At what age did you move to Australia?
At the age of 19 yrs my parents and 6 of us (2 boys + 4 girls ), migrated to Perth.
What is the music scene like there?
Pretty healthy at the moment, but most of the music being played today is far removed from the Classic
Rock of when the van is rockiní donít come knockiní, that is part of the fun of growing up as a teenager in the Classic Rock era of the sixties and seventies. Everyone sounds the same and there are not the personalities that forged change, blazed a trail, the passion for rock is totally different today. Thatís why Iím writing songs that are MELODIC, FUN, FRESH, and that grooves!
How many instruments do you play? Which one was the hardest to learn?
I play keyboards and guitar and some percussion. Iíve taught myself to play through necessity.
All Iíve ever wanted to do was write songs. They are overflowing through my mind, my soul, and being part of a band for all my formative years, I relied on the two main guitarists to work with my ideas. However, since moving away from my circle of musician friends and buddies, I needed to start all over again in by myself.I bought a guitar again, and it just took off from there. The genie was out of the bottle and flying high!
Let's talk about the Wooly Bullys. That was your first band. Did that experience teach you anything musically, that you use today?
The Wooly Bullys (title of a song by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs) was a three piece Rock harmony group, much the same as Crosby Stills Nash, but doing simple Beatles, Dave Clarke Five, The Monkees, and more. It taught me about how to co-ordinate, structure and become flexible with vocals and harmonising. Also how to appreciate the melody of a song and the intricacies of working with two or three voices in unison, to create an even more beautiful sound. So much so that when I hear a lead vocal, I can automatically feel when a lower or upper 3rd, 5th, or an octave is required. Even a chorus, it just happens. And when one can add the raunch and drive of a guitar, bass, and drums behind you like Queen did, wow!
Where do you currently record?
Iíve built a basement studio at home in Black Rock, where Iím up till early 3.30 to 4:30 AM at least four mornings/nights every week. I am doing my demos, but I also use Sing Sing Studios in Richmond/Melbourne Australia, and Musik and Film in Florida, USA.
What is the story behind your song Cocktails and Cannabis?
Very simple, a lady who followed me around in the seventies, who had a propensity to get extremely sensual/sexual when sheíd had a few, regardless of where and when. Fun times!
Have you played live lately?
The last gig was an impromptu session in Perth when I popped over to see my family and got together with all the lads from the old band Lucifer. Iím much of a recluse these days. I love playing with a passion, but too comfortable writing, recording, and creating.
What type of music do you listen to in your spare time?
I listen to everything from Classical to Jazz. I listen to YES, Pink Floyd, Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Eagles, Santana, Led Zepplin, Buble, Queen, a lot of Latin rhythms, Indian Ragas, and sitar music. I listen to the whole spectrum, except Rap or Hip Hop, and stuff that goes DOUFF DOUFF.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Iím working on 9 songs for an album called FAST CARS & SITARS. They are Rock based with slight Indian influences. Also, melodic with a floaty Beatles/Floyd/Earthy feel, very different to whatís around today.
I think that most people globally are sick to death about whatís being played on commercial radio and pushed down teenagerís throats as a substitute for music. Iíd like to start a revolution that takes us back to music that is fun, passionate, and all about having a good time !!
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