Bangalow’s got Feramones
The Feramones, the Northern Rivers’ very own supergroup, comprising internationally acclaimed musicians, is going to be playing Bangalow Bowlo. Thanks to COVID it’s been a long time between drinks for The Feramones, who are keen to get on stage and blow the place apart! Founding member, English rock guitarist and longtime local Rick Fenn (10cc) spoke with The Echo.
Rick, how did COVID change things for you? What was it like being a busy touring artist – then nothing?
It’s now a year and two days since 10cc finished its last tour. That was NZ after the Feb/Mar ’20 Australian tour. The rest flew home to the UK and after a quick breather in Byron I was off to Europe for a busy year of touring. In a way it was lucky the COVID debacle caught me where it did or I’d have been stuck somewhere grim (all concerts cancelled) and we all know how relatively good we’ve had it here.
How long since you and The Feramones played your last gig?
In fact, the last pre-lockdown gig I did was not with 10cc but with the Feramones at the Beach Hotel on 15 March last year. Looking back, there was a sense of finality in the air and that was the last time I took a guitar out if its case till the end of the year. We’ve since played an RSL and a couple of private parties.
What did you do during COVID? How did you keep yourself occupied?
I have written and recorded a couple of songs for myself as well as collaborating with fellow Feramone, Greg Lyon, composing for his new album. I’ve also finally got round to helping the 10cc fan club assemble an anthology of my written work. An incredibly indulgent exercise dredging up about 25 hours of music, much of it written for film and TV. It’s been fun and a nice box set for my great-great grandchildren to use as beer coasters. Other than all that, I’ve quite enjoyed riding this out playing at being a Gentleman Farmer in Bangalow.
Tell me about the Feramones. What is it, do you think, about some combinations of people that just gel and create that onstage magic that people love?
The Feramones is actually a name and a concept I started 30 years ago in the UK, where I’d gather some of the great players I’d had the privilege of playing with to play mostly celeb parties. The Feramones’ personnel morphed constantly with people’s availability (we never rehearsed!) but two of those esteemed and seasoned session musicians were Alan Park and Alan Limbrick. In 2000 when I first came to Byron, the two Alans were living here and the Oz-Feramones was born. It took a couple of years to settle on the permanent lineup that has now prevailed for nearly 18 years, and it is a testament to the guys’ musicianship and character that we are friends and still love to play together. Also, because as a solid lineup, we do occasionally rehearse; we play a range of rock classics much more up the sophisticated end of the spectrum: Steely Dan, Toto, Boston, etc. Challenging, but great fun to play and it takes advantage of the indulgence of having two capable guitarists in the band.
What’s your favourite Feramones moment onstage?
Hard to pass this question without reference to a gig we did in the UK – the wedding of Camilla Parker-Bowles’s son Tom – where at one point the dancefloor was graced by Princes Charles, William, and (the now infamous) Harry, not to mention all 250 kilos of the crowned prince of Tongo. But for the sheer joy of playing, the Beach Hotel in Byron takes a lot of beating. COVID has put an end to that for the time being …
What should we expect from your upcoming show at the Bangalow Bowlo?
… and that kind of memory inspired us to stage our own show at the Bangalow Bowlo, where, I think it’s safe to say, dancing will finally be ‘legal’ again. We intend to present ourselves ‘in concert’ as I believe the show will stand up to close scrutiny.
The Feramones live ‘in concert’ at the Bangalow Bowlo on Sunday 28 March.