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Loyal Subject

Cityscape chats with the national treasure/epic legend that is Dave Dobbyn, who last year celebrated 40 years of making killer music, and headlines The Great Kiwi Beer Festival this month.

What has been your continuing attraction with music over the years?
Well, it’s like water for me. Just got to have it. There’s always something ringing in my head, just aching to get out.

How did Th’ Dudes come about?
Three of us were pals from school and formed in 1976. Peter Urlich, Ian Morris and me, then came Bruce Hambling and Les White.

‘Be Mine Tonight’ smashed it at the 1979 National Music Awards – what was that moment like?
It was a blast to win at the awards. We were all on a high. We’d got better at playing from so many gigs. So when we recorded, it was primarily to get our songs to radio.

If you could go back and give young Dave some advice the morning after the awards, what would it be?
Get a haircut and a job, man.

Back then, what was the plan?
No plan. Just play and play and record and play some more. I thought we were in it for life.

If you had to pick a favourite track from your epic back catalogue, what would it be?
That’s hard. But for the exercise I’d say ‘Welcome Home’, because it seemed to give people a voice.

‘Loyal’ is one of the many national anthems you’ve penned – what’s it like having an entire audience sing along with you?
Amazing feeling really, and one I never take for granted – you know you have to earn it.

Can you Tell us about your weirdest fan request?
Yes. “Could you please sign my microwave”, Taihape 2008.

You’re one of New Zealand’s most awarded musicians – do you have a Castle-style Pool Room you keep them all in?
No, but I’d like one!

You’re headlining The Great Kiwi Beer Festival – what have you got in store for us?
We will definitely rock you! I’ve got a sure-fire set that’s full of favourites. No obscure jazz tunes this time.

Where is your slice of heaven?
She’s in bed with a shocking cold at the moment.

What album do you have on high-rotation at the moment?
Township Jazz ‘N’ Jive. It makes the family happy.

Tell us about your favourite musical colab.
Definitely working with Sam Scott and Luke Buda on my last album Harmony House. We co-wrote some songs and I have a huge amount of respect for them.

Have you ever suffered stage fright?
Yes, terribly. Then someone told me that stage fright is just excitement plus adrenaline. Bingo, cured!

What are you looking forward to doing while you’re in Christchurch?
I will be very focused on the festival show. That’s everything.

The Great Kiwi Beer Festival
Sat Jan 27

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