PHOTO: KEV HOWLETT
‘An Evening with Models’ Tour kicked off a couple of weeks ago at Melbourne’s Memo Music Hall in St. Kilda and after heading north to Sydney and then to Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers, where they headlined a show with Eurogliders and The Chantoozies, this weekend the boys are back in their hometown of Melbourne and this time fans on the north side will have the pleasure of their company when they take the stage at Northcote Social Club on Saturday, with Ron Peno and Cam Butler supporting.
And there is something for all fans in the current set list, according to bass player Mark Ferrie. “All stages and phases are represented in the current repertoire,” he tells me during our recent chat. “These shows encompass all eras of the Models recordings and some new stuff that we’ve released in the last few years.”
The band has been known to mix it up a bit at some of their shows with a few gigs in recent years focussing specifically on a particular album. There was the launch of the remastered and repackaged combined AlphaBravoCharlieDeltaFoxtrotGolf/Cut Lunch’ CD at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne a couple of years ago and two shows at the Flying Saucer Club that showcased the albums ‘Local and/or General’ and ‘Pleasure of Your Company’ respectively, where the band played the two albums in their entirety. As Mark explains, “It gives us a chance to reappraise some old material and see how it sounds with a new line-up and also just to reappraise some of the songs.” Some of which had not been played for years.
“Some of them,” he says, “had not been played at all apart from when they were recorded. We are more confident at doing that kind of thing now. Way, way back if something had a bit of space in it, if it wasn’t being played at full pelt, it was a bit scary. But we are more confident players now and we can deal with more spacious arrangements. The thing about the band is that there are a number of different recordings that people know us for. The recordings are mostly the producer or engineer’s take on what the band sounds like and beyond that, there is a kind of consistent sound to the band especially with Sean, Andrew and myself; we can’t play any other way than the way we play. It all comes together and sounds like the Models to me anyway and I think to a lot of other people too because as soon as they hear us playing ‘live’, it kind of transports them back to that time if they were there in the day. It wasn’t a sound that was particularly ever captured on record. Like I said, most recordings are a producer’s or an engineer’s attempt at defining the sound. Whereas there is kind of a coherent, consistent live sound that the band’s always had and that’s what people hear when they come to the show.”
While the band is known mostly for their string of hits in the 80s, Models have recorded two EPs of new recordings in the last three years including the Models Memo CD which was released last year to coincide with their show at Memo at the time. “We put out an EP called Models Memo and played all the songs off that and some people got a bit disturbed that there was so much new material. I think that, rather than getting your ear chewed off at the end of the gig, it’s good that we have a few songs that we can continue with but there will always be new stuff. That’s why we keep playing.”
And while we are on the subject of ‘new stuff’, is there any more new material in the pipeline? “There’s always something. We get together at Andrew Duffield’s studio which is kind of like the Models’ Club House and we’re lucky to have that facility to give us a chance to blow off some musical steam and try some new things. And it’s good having Ash Davies playing drums with us like we have at the moment. He’s fitting in really well both personally and musically. What I’ve observed is that he actually allows us to play the breadth of material from different eras of the band because he kind of goes back and studies the records and he can take his style from different people whose drum style he emulates.”
Mark says that he has known Ash for many years. “We play in a band called the JVG Guitar Method but I play guitar in that band so it’s slightly different. We’ve been playing in that band for about five or six years now.” Mark and Ash also work on another project together. “We work on the soundtrack of a TV show called ‘Please Like Me’. A woman called Bryony Marks who is a screen composer, gets us in to ‘flesh out’ her compositions for this particular TV show that’s on the ABC and we’re just about to start the fourth series of that.”
And, of course, many music fans will be familiar with Mark’s work as part of the RocKwiz Orchestra which also keeps him very busy. Aside from recording the TV series each year, the show also tours the country regularly with different formats like the RocKwiz Live! Christmas(ish) Show which goes on the road in December.
Then in February 2017, Mark will be back on the road yet again with Models, touring the country for a series of A Day on the Green concerts with Simple Minds and the B-52s and he is really looking forward to that. “The Day on the Green gig is great. We’ve done a few of them. We did a similar kind of lap of the map with Devo and Simple Minds quite a few years ago and that was great.”
And it sounds like the prospects for more Models shows in the future are looking promising.
“We’ve actually got a new manager in place now,” he explains. “A guy that’s a bit younger than us who manages a few other people as well and he’s plotting out a future for us. With this new guy on board as manager, instead of just doing sporadic gigs, I think there will be a bit more direction in the live work. Hopefully, it will build in to something. He’s a young guy with his finger on the pulse.”
I’m sure people will be very happy to hear that the band will be playing more regularly.
“I hope so,” he agrees. “We enjoy playing and I think if we enjoy it, it’s easy for everyone else to as well. We play as a dynamic live band really. Bands are out there rehashing their Eighties glory days and they think that people just want to hear a performance exactly like the record but we’re not like that. We don’t just play note for note renditions of everything. We kind of play a bit more ‘in the moment’. And that’s what keeps people coming back, I reckon.”
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by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016. All rights reserved
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Last updated by Sharyn Hamey Sep 23, 2016.