Biography

I grew up in the river town of Kempsey in northern New South Wales, Australia. I live in Holland now - have been here for over 20 years. I mean, Ive been here for so long now that I actually get excited when the Dutch football team has a big game. Im like one step away from dressing in orange and putting on a stupid wig when they play. If thats not the result of a long time in Holland I dont know what is. I miss Australia but not all of it or all the people in it. I particularly miss the Macleay Valley where I grew up. Its a beautiful part of the world and Im lucky to have it in my blood and its still there and I really believe this creeps into all my songs whether I like it or not. 

 

My personal history in stripped down style goes like this. I left the valley and headed south to Tasmania to study botany and ecology at University when I was a young fella. Love the bush. Ended up living in a caravan at Fortestcue Bay there on the Tasman Peninsula for a while working as caretaker of a forest reserve. I knew the names of all the birds and trees and was a very happy little naturalist. I was planning to do a Phd and embark on a career as an ecologist but I managed to get sidetracked and join a band instead.

It was a folk/punk band in Hobart, Tasmania called Wild Pumpkins at Midnight It was 1984, I was 22 years old and had no idea what I was doing, but I could play the bass and the guitar OK and I even then I had a habit of keeping scraps of unfinished songs in my pockets that ended up in the washing machine. Had I not joined that band I dont think I ever would have finished a single song. Im a lazy songwriter and a slow-burner. I can have songs that lay around unfinished for years. In fact, there is a song on my last album that I started 20 years ago and didnt finish till I was just about to record it recently. Anyway, back to the old band in joined in 1984. Things got serious real quick with WPAM. We got very popular in not time - mainly because we rehearsed so hard and had our shit together in a scene where hardly anyone else was working hard. We used to rehearse by firelight down at Fortescue Bay where I worked in the bush or, much to my despair, in a dingy little basement in Sandy Bay, Hobart. I was very reluctant to leave the bush back then and come into town. Ask the rest of the band about it. I was always late. It used to frustrate the hell out of them. But like I said, we worked very hard, we had our own PA, our own sound and lighting crew and put on crazy, tight exciting shows. It was a massive learning curve me that band. Not everything we did was great but we were dynamite live 

Thats me on the bass in the Pumpkins - somewhere around 1993 I imagine:)

We moved from Tasmania to Melbourne in about 1986. Spent a few years there cutting it up. Almost hit the big time. We used to pack them in at the Punters Club in Fitzroy and the Old Greek Theater in Richmond in the late 80's early 90's. When your'e young you think you own the world, so, in an upsurge of ambition and reckless adventure, the entire band relocated first to London and then to Holland in the early 1993. Craziness. Did pretty good on the European club scene for a while, especially in Germany and Switzerland. Somehow in the middle of all that I managed to fall in love and father 2 children. Even more craziness. I was earning zilch and away all the time as a young dad but the relationship has survived. WPAM called it a day in 1998 after 14 years.

In about 2002, I met some musicians here in Holland (you know who you are) who were such inspired players, they really got me started again. It resulted in different combinations of us forming two bands; Big Low (3 albums and 1 EP) & Parne Gadje (6 albums). Both of those projects are over now too but they were both excellent groups. I was challenged to explore all sorts of musical boundaries in those two groups with players who came from vastly different musical backgrounds than myself - jazz, Greek rebetiko, Rroma music for example. I went with it. Another big learning curve. We played all over Europe with both those groups. Parne Gadje even played Moscow - twice! We were invited to jazz festivals there in 2013 and 2015. Looking back thats quite amazing to me now.

This is Parne Gadje doing a television show a few years back (me on geetah:). The clip below is Big Low playing a tune live somewhere around 2011.

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I also began a record label in 2001 called Smoked Recordings and I’m really proud of what the label has released since then; 20 titles. No big sellers but pretty much every release has fetched glowing reviews and the music press started referring to the label as "quality niche music". I can't live from that but I can live with it. The label is on the backburner these days as physical sales have more or less vanished but it is still a useful platform for launching digital releases and shifting stock. So all this brings us up to about now I guess. In 2017 I released my 1st real solo album. It was called "Songs from Dan" and was very well recieved. I did some great travelling and playng on the back of that abum. This year in April I released my new record called "Letters of Gold" and had 27 shows cancel due to Covid. A years work down the drain - two years if you include the planning and making of said album. Shit just went sideways but, obviously, not just for me. I dont know whats comin next. No-one does. But I have more music in me and plenty of stories. Come to a show and Ill tell you a story.