Byron Guitar Festival | Byron Brewery | 6 & 7 October
The Byron Guitar Festival is just a month away and tuning up for some epic playing is Steve Merry of the Fumes.
Steve doesn’t really like talking about music that much, because, well, to be plain, he just plays the fuck out of it.
The Fumes have been his go-to music act since he was in his 20s.
Merry is in his 40s and the Fumes have grown and adapted with the man. Initially deeply rooted in punk stylings with Joel Battersby, who departed from the musical partnership six years ago, these days the Fumes are still indie rock but they’re not in any hurry.
Fumes has teamed up with drummer Pete Wilkins to reignite The Fumes as a two-piece that’s less about blistering rock and more about the groove of a funk band.
‘We just sit in the pocket,’ says Merry. ‘It’s a lot less structure. I really enjoy it.’
I ask about their sessions together.
Steve’s pretty matter of fact. He’s not a dude who talks it up.
‘Pete comes over, we have a few beers, then we start jamming and then we go home.’
That’s probably the most honest answer I’ve had to that question in the 17 years of interviewing musicians.
The Byron Guitar festival is about celebrating the incredible guitarists and their incredible guitars.
So what’s Steve’s six-string soft spot?
‘I play an Ibanez Thinline Telecaster. But I’m not a gear nerd.’
So who’s his guitar hero?
‘Lightning Hopkins. He’s an old blues player. A legend.’
Catch the Fumes when Steve Merry takes his Telecaster to the task with Wilkins’s drums. Byron Guitar Festival – 6 and 7 October at the Byron Brewery. Tix at www.byronbayguitarfestival.com.