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March 6, 2021

Interview with Grace Knight

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

My dear friend, Philip Rubinstein 1934–2021

I first met Phil on a rain-soaked day outside my house in Brunswick Terrace, Mullum. It was an accidental encounter, but we soon got stuck into a conversation about the parlous state of Australian universities.

Grace Knight on at Club Mullum, Mullumbimby Ex-Services on Sat 2 March at 8pm.

Club Mullum – Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club | Saturday 2 March | 8pm | $35

She’s got a voice that just leaves you spellbound. Acclaimed for her live performances, Grace Knight is without a doubt one of the finest interpreters of popular music in the country. Ms Knight is also lauded for her high-energy role as frontwoman for the Eurogliders, one of the seminal synth-based pop acts of the 1980s. Now living in Melbourne, until about a decade ago Grace Knight lived here, so coming back for a show holds a special thrill for her.

‘I really do have a sense of home,’ she says. ‘I have such amazing memories. My son’s memories too are connected with Byron Bay. It was a really, really happy time. Whenever I drive over Coolamon Scenic Drive to Federal I love it. I have kept a house there, got to keep a finger in the pie!’

Grace is returning to play a solo gig at the Mullum Ex-Services. It’s something you shouldn’t miss. Especially if you love a super-talented, funny, vibrant woman with a who-gives-a-rat’s attitude and a voice that drips like honey!

‘I am at the age that I don’t give a fuck. I am not going to die wondering, so failure isn’t failure any more; it’s become something that I’ve tried and don’t want to pursue; it’s not a failure, it’s a cue to move on to the next thing… I have never been one who chases perfection; I am not someone who does; I make a lot of stuff whether out of concrete or fabric or paper, the things I love the most are what I didn’t quite get right!’

Grace is incredibly creative, not just onstage but also offstage. She started out in fashion design and the love of fabrics and textiles has never left her! In fact all through the Eurogliders Grace wore her own unique designs. It’s something she still does! ‘I have just come back from Japan where we did a Shibori fabric-dying workshop and I thought I could learn to deconstruct a kimono to make something out of it! I love being creative across fields; it’s like maintaining a garden that you clear up piles but so you aren’t double dipping you just leave that pile there and move on to the next thing, create that, and eventually there comes a point where you clear up all the piles and start again.’

One of her creative piles was an album last year. ‘I worked really hard to find a name for it,’ she laughs. ‘I called it Grace! It’s a nice word but I had to separate it from myself and I thought oh, that will do! I have been doing my solo gigs because I am close to the end of my career. It will be whenever I decide, but it’s at the stage now when I am performing where I just do what I want onstage. I’ll sing beautiful Irish songs I remember my mum singing and then we’ll do a Eurogliders song, and then maybe a jazz number… I don’t want to blow my trumpet but it doesn’t give people the time to get bored!’

Not that you would get bored. She’s enthralling to watch. I mention something about being in touch with the Zeitgeist… and she was off…

‘I called an album The Zeitgeist, she laughs! ‘What a stupid name for an album! It went straight down the toilet, was the worst-selling album I have ever made! 

‘It was the most unsuccessful project, I think because it had such a stupid name; I take full credit for that. I chose the name because it meant that which encapsulates the spirit of the time! No-one on the radio stations could say it and when they did they would say Zit GIST! Two-and-a-half years later the word zeitgeist becomes really popular and every idiot on the radio is saying it… it was clear I wasn’t part of the zeitgeist!’

One of the highlights for Grace coming back to play a gig in the Byron Shire is hooking up with Dave Sanders. ‘I will also be bringing my music director Sam LeMann.’ Andrew Shaw will be on bass.

The day after our interview Grace jumps into the studio with Wendy Matthews, something they’ve both been talking about for years. ‘Tomorrow we put a peg in the ground!… you can’t die wondering!’

I suggest that could be a good album title: Don’t Die Wondering. She laughs, ‘I am writing that down’. 

Don’t miss a true national treasure, Grace Knight, performing at Club Mullum, Mullumbimby Ex-Services on Sat 2 March at 8pm. Tix are $35 at clubmullum.com.au

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