23.5 C
Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Finding Keyes

Latest News

A win for the roughy

The battle for the 'roughy had been a tough road for conservationists and hopefully this win will be the last fight.

Other News

Interview with Dan Willis

Dan Willis brings Best of British back to the Byron Comedy Festival. It was a sellout last year, with the audience confirming it as one of the favourite shows of the program. Dan is back – this time with Rory Lowe and John Flynn, and spoke with The Echo…

Brunswick Heads surf lifesaver wins gold 

Brunswick Heads surf lifesaver Paul ‘Punchy’ Davis won gold in the 600m paddle board race

Diverse views of flood mitigation works at Lismore

Last week Lismore's Deputy Mayor Neil Marks was joined by local state MP Janelle Saffin and MLC Ben Franklin to officially cut the ribbon on the $8.2 million South Lismore Flood Mitigation Project, but there are divergent views on how best to deal with the flood threat in future.

Local teams head north under new set-up for women’s AFL 

Local women’s AFL will have a shake-up this year as the Lismore Swans join the Northern Rivers league...

West Bank apartheid

Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay The ABC’s Religion and Ethics Report this week featured an interview with former Israeli cabinet...

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 7 April, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 7 April, 2021

perry keyes
Perry Keyes

Taking his stories of growing up in inner-city working-class Sydney to the stage, Perry Keyes is a Redfern boy from the time before it was trendy.

His evocative songwriting captures time and place as effortlessly as a smooth-cornered orange-toned Kodak print, telling the story of Redfern how it used to be.

Perry reminisced back to his first guitar, laughing at the irony of the cliche. ‘It’s always how guitarists say they got their guitar!’

‘I would have been about 14 when I got a guitar from a pawn shop. It was a present from my grandmother – it’s archetypal, but it’s pretty much exactly what happened.

‘I learnt how to play it a bit and started making up songs and started to get good enough to get into bands; that didn’t happen. So I put my own bands together and started playing around the inner city of Sydney.’

Starting out Keyes mimicked what he loved. He wrote songs about trying to meet girls in secondhand versions of The Velvet Underground, or Elton John.

‘You start off mimicking all the stuff you like,’ says Keyes. ‘I was pretty eclectic as a kid. I actually remember when I found out what I wanted to write about. There is a council pool in Botany and I used to catch the bus out there when I was about 16. I hopped on the 309 for Circular Quay and I thought, I am going to write a song about everything I see between here and the city. I like movies by John Ford and Martin Scorcese, I love the shifts in perspective, but that it’s always told in the same place with different types of people.’

Keyes reflects on everyday stories of struggle and hardship of a faded Sydney, a Sydney a little less fabulous than it is now. ‘There is a song called 1982, which is pretty well word for word what happened and I was doing a show the other night and I laughed and realised that I am the only one of the three people in that song that are still alive. A song like that when you hear the voices of people that aren’t there to tell their stories. I like a song that I am able to tell that in – that is the story of this person, that album is the story of those people – the people who weren’t here to tell their story.’

While Keyes certainly tells the stories from his past he is careful not to become a nostalgia junkie. ‘I have to be careful with looking back; you don’t want it to be too sentimental or just nostalgic for the sake of it.’

Although he picked up the guitar at 14, Keyes didn’t make his first album until the ripe old age of 38. ‘It was surprising – I didn’t expect that to happen and I am still surprised that I have made albums. Songwriting was something I like to do; playing bands and shows was a social endeavour, so it was something I did anyhow. If I stopped making records now I would keep writing songs regardless just because it’s what I have always loved doing.’

Perry Keyes plays the Rails on Saturday.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Maybe Canberra needs a bit of distraction biff

Mick breathed in but his Cronulla Sharks football jersey struggled to contain his well-insulated six-pack and he held up his hand as he approached Bazza in the front bar of the Top Pub.

Council crews working hard to repair potholes

Tweed Shire Council road maintenance crews are out across the Tweed's road network repairing potholes and other damage caused by the recent prolonged rainfall and previous flood events.

Poor Pauline

Bob Vinnicombe, Sefton A lot of hypocrisy from Labor and The Greens about respect for women. Look at the treatment they dished out to Pauline...

New film celebrates getting back outside

'Free From Lockdown: Back Out in Nature' is a new short film in which a group of disabled and non-disabled performers from the Northern Rivers celebrate being in nature after COVID lockdown.