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Byron Shire
July 4, 2022

Behind the Velvet Curtain with Diesel

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Mandy Nolan

With a career spanning 25 years and record sales edging one million Diesel takes his guitar back to the stage for his The Velvet Curtain Tour – an intimate encounter with one of our musical journeymen.

Now onto his 13th album – well at least he thinks it’s that many; ‘I lose count,’ he jokes – Diesel admits that being a prolific songwriter can have its downside.

‘There are songs that I absolutely forget about,’ laughs Diesel, ‘but you’ll find it again and start playing it and it becomes a bit of an obsession. It’s like you become the song’s biggest fan again.’

Unlike most artists who build towards their careers, Diesel’s career happened in an instant.

‘It was an explosive start to my career. I wondered if anything was going to happen in my career. By the age of 19 I was jaded thinking this is it – it’s over; but I guess nowadays I still feel that there was that big explosion and a lot of people who come to my shows still come to this day. I know they have a lot of expectation with this one indelible memory, whatever I was good at then – I am still good at it – it’s been a work in progress for me.’

A work in progress that happened very much in the public eye.

‘Every time you get up there, it’s trying for perfection. I know it doesn’t exist – you do have shows where it feels wow, something went beyond what I am capable of doing. You’ll be sailing on that moment. It’s like flying.’

Creative slipstream is something that Diesel believes you can’t predict or premeditate.

‘Many times it’s happened to me where I am incredibly, incredibly tired or I am strung out, and I am past tired, I have gone to somewhere else and it’s the best gig because you have nothing left and you aren’t thinking about anything. It’s a great release. It’s the best medicine. You feel better instantly.’

This time round Diesel has chosen regional theatres to house his solo shows. So why the Velvet Curtain tour?

‘I have been going past these venues forever. I have always wondered beyond the usual theatre productions, why can’t I play there? The usual venues – well a lot have them been refurbished and made more modern, but they don’t always work as gigs anymore.’

One of the great things about the theatre shows is the sound. The silences, and the space to really hear the guitar.

‘I literally can play parts and areas of the guitar and do things that you couldn’t do in a noisy environment. It gives me a lot of blank canvas to make use of. I get to play songs I wouldn’t get to do if there were 90bps of rhubarb going on. It’s also earlier show time and that’s good too! I did a gig at quarter to 12 a while back. That’s late for a solo show – they are tired, they are drunk, they are ready to fall over. Going on earlier, having people listen is really civilised and the thing I have been noticing is all the ages, people bringing their kids – for a solo artist you want all those elements stacked on your side, that and the fact that the theatre is acoustically so nice!’

Diesel plays the Star Court Theatre in Lismore on Friday at 8pm.

 

 


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