Story & photo Eve Jeffery
Despite Byron Shire being a world away from 10cc’s Jamaica, rock guitarist Rick Fenn has opted for a permanent dreadlock holiday and has been for the last ten years a resident of the Bay.
‘I came on holiday here, right after the millennium’, says Rick. ‘A fellow guitarist and good friend Alan Limbrick had just built a house in Byron.
‘I fell in love with the town and bought a house.’
Though Fenn still tours with the lads from his homeland in the UK, he has plenty of time to collaborate with the who’s who of international music masters with some spare time for some rock and a cappella in the Shire.
‘Since I joined 10cc a little over 35 years ago, I have been very fortunate that music has provided me with a respectable living,’ says Rick.
‘There have been a number of periods of little or no activity for 10cc, and because of the status of the band, I have been privileged to meet and work with a number of high-profile musicians such as Mike Oldfield, Rick Wakeman, Jack Bruce, and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason.’
Fenn has toured and recorded with all of them and has worked on other albums and film scores. ‘I went on to work principally as a composer for TV and film in the UK through the 80s and 90s.’
From about 1982, 10cc went fairly dormant and, through so-so albums and member disharmony and break-ups, the band took some time to feel okay about touring again.
‘Now there are just three of the band that first came out to Australia in 1977,’ says Rick.
‘Graham Gouldman, Paul Burgess and myself. The two other players have been with us for 12 years or so.’
Rick says that he had a party band in the UK for 20 years called the Feramones which he and two mates, who now also live in Australia, had played in sporadically.
‘It seemed like a good idea to re-assemble it here with some good Aussie blood, and we now play the Beach Hotel when we’re all in town. I think we do a fair job of pounding out UK/US rock classics from the 60/70/80s and it’s one of the most fun things I do.’
Rick will soon be again donning his 10cc hat as the band is about to tour in celebration of their 40th birthday.
‘Last year we did about 70 gigs in Europe and this year for our 40th we will probably do about the same. We’ve got gigs in South Africa, Iceland, Scandinavia and the UK as well as Australia over the next four months. We shamelessly present a show of 10cc’s great catalogue of hits and, in my opinion, it has never sounded better. We are a very happy band and I believe it shows.’