Filmed by Laura McGuire
Audio recorded and mixed by Tom Hutchens
Produced and edited by Natalie Taylor & Alastair Burns
"Is this your son?"
My mother tells me that as soon as I could walk, if she turned her head for a second, I was brought back by strangers. Such a problem that, on camping trips, the family tied me to a tree. With the length of lead, I would run from the roots, fearless of boundaries, and strain the twine taught. I was born wandering.
I learnt piano and swapped it for my sisters guitar - in which I graffiti'd - before i ever heard Nirvana. I sat on fences to hear neighbours play foreign radio. Dad gave me Neil Young for christmas and I was upset... until i played it. My playground was after church each Sunday, jumping from instrument to instrument. If the band had enough time, they would show me scales and rhythms before people came and after the holy ghost left.
I soaked up all that my ears could handle until it got so saturated, my own melodies and tunes came and I wrung out my adolescent trials and tribulations.
A blinding friendship with a man twice my age taught me the finer lessons of blues, country and bluegrass. We would be in the kitchen or backyard and pick and throw songs around for hours and hours. Drinking litre after litre of Coca Cola through those amber evenings, as he had been sober for 15 years and I was too young to drink. A true friend that forced me to sing from the heart, and Loud. A good American, to say that if the song has meaning without any feeling then its purpose would be useless.
I finished my trade in carpentry by 21, and I built and demolished, scrapped and polished songs the way I had done houses, buildings, schools and furniture. With a motley gang the same age as Jack, we formed the "Midnight Express", and I don't mind saying we gave it hell. But my mind was on travel and distant lights. Stoned driving, with trunk to brim and "Blonde On Blonde" played way too many times.
There are many chapters I could tell. The chapters tell many a story, but what was left were more songs and scars, oceans and deserts. Countless trains and aeroplanes, jumping from cars and boats, all the towns and cities colliding. Tough tears and good time addiction, best friends reaped in harvest.
I've been lucky, I'm still wandering. Allowed to be lost and finding than be known and tied. I walk tender in this world.
We dance with stories to remember. Some dance to make sense of their consciousness - I dance to lose it. When I walk on stage, I go to dance. With chemical, reactional, irrational, political, physical, environmental. To face pictures that have changed, like notes and words in new meaning. In the immediate freight train moments that are full or forgiveness, hope and loss of inhibition. That I can share that with people together is an honor. To share in change is life itself.
"For the best are always the merry" - says Keats
"For to Love is to Release" - I say that. Nice to meet you.