Paul Brennan

Paul Brennan

 

A Brief History

Music, in particular singing, has always been a very big part of my life, in fact I can never remember a time when it was not. I remember the big family shindigs as a child, everyone sitting around the piano singing and playing something.

Those nights were always big happy affairs with cake, cordial (well, for the kids anyway) there were lots of stories and people laughing. I'll always hold very fond memories  of those times.

A friend of mines mother was an opera singer with the Adelaide Opera Company. When I was 17, I got in touch with her singing teacher at Adelaide Conservatorium of Music and started to learn classical singing myself.

His name was Donald Munroe and he was the singing teacher for the Adelaide and Sydney Opera Companies at that time. His advice to me was to go busking and try and implement the new techniques he had just shown me. This is where my musical journey begins

 

The picture below taken in the Rundle Mall in Adelaide is one of the first times I ever went busking. I remember we were both very nervous - I am the devilishly handsome looking shorter fella with the George Harrison-esque looks. The other guy is Steve Opitz an old school friend, a huge influence on me musically, and a great guy.

In my early twenties I bought an old Kombi van and took off exploring. I teamed up with a couple of guys in Melbourne we were known as Capricorn Express... you guessed it, all Capricorns. Two of us were even born on the same day.

We were a good, tight little act too. An acoustic guitar orientated three piece act specializing in vocal harmonies and punchy rhythmic songs.

It wasn't long before were playing supports for acts like the Bushwackers, Matt Taylor and Chain and several other name acts of the time. We also had a steady flow of our own pub and cafe gigs.

Adelaide days

Arriving in Adelaide I quickly found my first solo gig at a tavern called the Norfolk Tavern. It was an underground dark, dingy little place, right in the heart of the Rundle mall affectionately known by the locals as "The Snake Pit".

The place was frequented by all manner of shady types, who were good guys really providing you didn't ask too many questions about how they were making their money.

As much as I liked living in Adelaide, the music scene there slowed almost to a standstill during the winter months so I decided to try my luck elsewhere.

Perth

I left Adelaide and headed out across the Nullabor Plain to Perth. The music scene there was good too, I was kept reasonably busy. For two and a half years I hung out in Perth and Fremantle playing at all the different venues. I got itchy feet eventually and decided to move back to Adelaide

Once again I set about building a little circuit for myself as a solo singer guitarist. I also branched out and joined a rock band as the lead singer. So it was back to  classical singing lessons again.

The guy everybody was going to was Malcolm Potter he had trained John Swann and rumor had it John's half brother Jimmy Barnes as well among other great singers. Anyway, any serious singer in Adelaide at the time was being trained by him and that was a good enough recommendation for me.

The Adelaide winter once again proved to be just too hard a task master.

The Top End and Cairns

I went to Darwin and landed the residency as the musician/entertainer at a place called the Melia, a prestigious high rise hotel motel right in the heart of town. I was booked there 3 nights a week for about 8 months.

I liked Darwin but it was not the tourist mecca I needed, I decided to move on. Next stop Cairns - Nth Queensland.

Like an economic refugee (finally get to use that line) in search of a better life, I arrived in Cairns. I have been living in North Queensland ever since. I spent 12 years in Cairns and played at just about every venue going in that time between Port Douglas and Townsville including a few stints out at Mt Isa performing in hotels for the Rodeo weekend there.

I also became actively involved in the Community Radio in Cairns as a presenter and as their sales and marketing guy in the late 90's.  The Australian Songwriters Association asked me to be their North Queensland Coordinator.

Using my role within the Community Radio network it wasn't long before I with the help of others secured a national radio show called Wax Lyrical on the Comrad satellite coming out of Sydney, promoting unsigned artists. It was a half hour show, which I presented weekly for 7 months. To the best of my knowledge it's still running today.

Also and with plenty of help from others we produced two TV shows featuring unsigned artists from the Nth Queensland region for the Wax Lyrical TV show, a national broadcast coming out of Perth Western Australia on the Community Television network.

 

Dunk Island Resort from August 2006 till February 2011

I actually played over 1,000 gigs there in that time, which is huge ..can't help but get better as a musician under that sort of work load. 

I also played at many of the weddings and corporate functions there as well.


New Years Eve - 2012/2013. I supported Boom Crash Opera on Fitzroy Island  that was a great gig over a thousand party goers seeing the new year in.

I was impressed with the energy of Boom Crash Opera, they worked hard and really nailed it.. I got a very good response too.


June 2013 - Townsville Casino I felt privileged to be asked to support one of my all time favorite Australian acts, Richard Clapton in an outdoor concert at Jupiters Casino in Townsville.

I felt like I was playing at "Big Day Out" or some sort of music festival. I got to meet the man himself too, he's one of those seemingly ageless characters who still looks much the same as I remember him on TV as a kid.


May 2014 - Mission Beach Resort. Played support act for Diesel that was a biggie and hey that guy can really play and sing.The place was packed to the rafters.. dead set he is an amazing talent.

He thanked me afterwards for warming the crowd up for him which I thought was pretty cool thing for him to do.


June 2014 - Dunk Island Plantation Bar. Played support for the late great John English in the Dunk Island Main Bar, really good guy very personable and a quintessential performer a real pro.

He's one of those types you meet him and after 5 minutes you feel like you have known him for years, very easy to be around.