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, it feels like Ive been here for so long that Im not far away from dressing in orange and wearing a stupid headress when the national soccer team plays! But I still call Australia home. Do I miss it? Yes, but not all of it and not everything about 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 I cant shake it and it creeps into most of my songs, one way or another, whether I like it or not. I also miss Melbourne - the best music city on the planet I have seen as far as Im concerned, and Ive been to a few.

 

My personal history stripped back 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.

I joined a folk/punk band in Hobart, Tasmania called Wild Pumpkins at Midnight in 1984, I was 22 years old, could play the bass and the guitar ok and had 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 one of them. I started out as a very lazy songwriter and a slow-burner. I have become more desciplined with age but I still have songs that lay around unfinished for years. In fact, there is a song on my most recent album that I started 25 years ago and didnt finish till I was just about to record it a few weeks back.

Thats me on the bass in the Pumpkins - somewhere around 1993 

WPAM moved from Tasmania to Melbourne in about 1986. Spent a few years there cutting it up. 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. On the back of some moderate success, in an upsurge of wide-eyed ambition and reckless adventure, the entire band relocated first to London and then to Holland in the early 1993. We had a string of records out on indy labels accross Europe and did pretty good on the club scene for a while, especially in Germany and Switzerland. We back and forthed between Australia and Europe for a few years until well after that was viable and the band split in 1998. Somehow in the middle of all that I managed to meet my partner here in the Netherlands and father 2 children who are now grown up. Life's a miracle.

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 in music again after a 4 year break. 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 with these players who came from vastly different musical backgrounds than myself - jazz, Greek rebetiko, Rroma music for example. I went with it. It was a huge learning curve for me and drank it down. We played all over Europe with both those groups as well. Parne Gadje even played Moscow - twice! Looking back that seems quite amazing to me now. More miracles.

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; 22 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 old stock. So all this brings us up to about now. 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. In April 2020 I released my new record called "Letters of Gold" and had 37 shows cancel due to Covid. A years work down the drain - two years if you include the planning and making of said album. Shit went sideways, obviously not just for me. I just started writing and recording to cope with that - I suppose most of us did. I have just finished recording another abum in a professional studio which will be ready for release in 2022 and have at least 2 more records on my mac. Some shows are starting to emerge now as we surface from this. Come to a show and Ill tell you a story.