Interview: Jeff Lang

Jeff Lang
Interview by Leo Abbs

Jeff, ‘Prepare Me Well’ is an introduction to a Jeff Lang.
Which Jeff Lang song would you play for a friend who had never heard you before?

That’s tough… One song eh? Depends on the day of the week really…

If it were Friday afternoon it might be ‘The Road is Not Your Only Friend’.
Saturday Arvo; ‘Ravenswood’,
Saturday eve; ‘The Save’,
Sunday morning; ‘Molasses and stone’ perhaps…

How do you describe your music to a stranger?
If I did do that I might call it mongrel music. But I don’t usually. 🙂

You have been to Perth many times before, where was the first gig you played in Perth?
Would’ve been with Matt Taylor – I think it was the City Hotel back in 1990.

What is the best gig you have played in Perth?
I can remember a few absolute rippers at Mojo’s in Fremantle.

What is your favourite venue in Perth?
The Fly By Night in Freo is great, and I still have a sentimental attachment to Mojo’s.

Do you have any favourite bands/musicians from Perth?
There are loads of good ones… Lucky Oceans and all the players in the Zydecats, Dave Brewer, Steve Tallis, Angus Diggs, John Butler, The Waifs, Carus, Ten Cent Shooters, Dave Hole, Bob Patient, Matt Taylor, Lyndsay Wells, Ivan Zar, Kill Devil Hills, Kim Salmon, Don Neander, Richie Pavledis… I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting.

Are there any places you love to visit in Perth?
Usually I’m just catching up with mates.

What is the most common subject you write about and why?
There’s no one topic really – probably more illuminating to see what someone else thinks are the predominant themes. See, I don’t try and steer the songs while they’re coming to me. I try to keep my own mind and agendas out of the way and let the lyrics fall in my lap, so they remain mysterious to me.

Guitar wise, what tunings do you use? Which tuning is your favourite?
Home base would be Open E, but in the coarse of the average gig I probably use a dozen or so, some separated by the pitch of just one string, others quite different to one another.

What do you think of the Internet revolution in terms of:
a) the music industry?
It seems to scare the old-school industry, which is a good thing I think. It’s hard to know what long-term effect, if any it will have you know? I do still enjoy browsing through the racks at independent record stores and I do worry that they may be hurt the hardest by more people shopping online.

b) musician?
I think in many ways it empowers musicians to be able to reach people more directly.

c) a music fan?
I’ve read various stories about how downloading is killing off people’s appreciation of the full-length album and that listening to individual songs on their own is somehow diminishing the enjoyment, but I don’t see how.

I mean for years now people have turned on the radio to discover new music, and they only hear individual songs rather than a full record for the most part. I think it’s cool that people can find more obscure music just as easily as the mainstream stuff. It’s certainly helped me track down certain music that I wouldn’t be able to find in JB Hi-Fi.

What are five albums you have been listening to lately?
1. Solid Air by John Martyn
2. Meanwhile In The Parlour by The Wayward Fancies
3. Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers debut self-titled record
4. Mute Massaker by Caspar Brotzmann
5. Yap by Hamell On Trial.

Jeff Lang will be in Perth for the following dates:

Friday 11th May
Fly By Night Musician’s Club
Parry St, Fremantle WA

Saturday 12th May
The Indi Bar
23 Hastings St, Scarborough WA

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