I've had a query about collaborations. If you look on the
song list you will see there's been quite a few. There is
no set method with collaboration. Two or more people may work
on a song simultaneously or separately. Or someone may give
you a significant idea or unfinished song and you may complete
it. You may write the music, some one else the words or vice
versa. It doesn't really matter how, a collaboration is a
recognition that the song would not have been written without
a combined input.
"Cooling Winds" with Kev Carmody was really a result
of jamming with Kev. I think he was trying to write something
else, but I came up with a chord sequence and a melody and
he gave me this beautiful line about the cooling winds of
Autumn. I took it away and finished it. He didn't mind that
I'd taken it in a different direction. When you're a songwriter
it's always a win to get a song to work.
"Far Away" with Andrew Travers was written in 1988
around a camp fire near Jervois Station in the Territory.
I had the chorus and Andrew came up with some neat lyrics
for the verses. He also wrote another song on that trip called
"Tyre Trouble" which he used to do with the Happening
Many of the Warumpi Band collaborations were a result of jamming.
Often I would use a riff that Sammy Butcher was playing to
be the basis for a song. A good example of this is "Gotta
Be Strong"- built around a pumping bass groove of Sammy's.
"Waru" was written quickly in Wave Hill, NT, around
a guitar riff and chorus I had, with George Rrurrambu working
out the verse lyrics in Gumatj Language. Gordon Butcher's
drumming on the recorded version was inspired by the Police's
music which we were listening to a lot at the time. "We
Shall Cry" was myself, Sammy and George all in a hotel
room in Glebe, reflecting on what we'd seen in our travels
around the country, then strumming guitars and writing words
and singing together.
Collaborations can be very fruitful, two heads are better
than one sometimes. It often suits musical partnerships or
band situations, where everyone knows their skills and are
confident in the contribution they can make.
Recently I've done a few co-writes with Peter Brandy, a country
artist from the Kimberly. Peter regularly turns up at my place
with a guitar, a bunch of ideas and half started songs. Whatever
grabs me, we work on and finish. It makes for a result.