Casey Donovan – Saltwater Freshwater Festival

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Aussie music legend, Iva Davies, is preparing for a big year in 2012, as it’s 30 years since the ICEHOUSE hit Great Southern Land thrust them into stardom.





You’re coming to Port Macquarie for a show and also visiting your birthplace, Wauchope, in January. Tell us what’s special about this visit?

This is an interesting date and tour. This coming year, 2012, will be the 30th anniversary of Great Southern Land and the Primitive Man album from which it came, and I was born in Wauchope.

But I am also an Australia Day Ambassador, which means that the following day, the 26th being Australia Day, I’ll be where I was born and celebrating as an Australia Day Ambassador … so putting those elements together means it is going to be quite an interesting time for me.

Tell us about when and where you grew up in Wauchope.

I was born in Wauchope District Hospital, but we left the area when I was about 2½ and moved to Wagga Wagga. My father was a forester, and he lived in a house with three other houses right in the middle of the blackout forest in Bellangary; that was all that was there – the forestry settlement.

So my sister, who is ten years older than me, went to school in a house with 6 other children, and my brother, who is 8 years older than me, went to school further down the road towards Wauchope. I am not exactly sure where, but my father did show me a few years back when we visited the area, so I could reacquaint myself with the area.

So, it will be very special celebrating 30 years next year. What have you got planned to mark the occasion along with this tour?

The show (in Port Macquarie) marks the beginning of another leg of touring, as the day after Australia Day we head to New Zealand to start a series of A Day On The Green concerts with Hall and Oats. They start in New Zealand, then we head over to Australia, and that fills up most of February.

This year, 2011, I began working again with Keith Welsh, who was the bass player and co-founder of the original band, and he is an extraordinarily good Manager, as he has been involved very heavily in the music industry for the last 30 years.

What we did this year, as it was the 30th anniversary of the first album and the name change [Icehouse was originally called Flowers], was to re-release the original Flowers album and also add to it a whole lot of extra things, because Keith discovered that I have one … well actually, two lock up storage facilities full of unreleased live tapes, film footage and all sorts of stuff.

So what we did this year was put out that first album with a full live album taken from 9 different concerts, and it really documents the early days of the band, starting from tiny little pubs through to touring North America and England, back to concert halls in Australia.

We will be putting together the second album, Primitive Man, the one with Great Southern Land on it, along with a whole lot of extra material as well. But it is also the 25th anniversary of Man of Colours, which between it and Primitive Man were the two most successful albums sales wise, and it is our intention to re-release both of those albums in this enhanced form.

And then of course, we’ve got these other albums to get together packages for as well – there is quite a lot of work to be done!

It sounds like you are going to have a busy year!

Yes. There is a lot of work involved in restoring all these old tapes and then wading through all the scores of different live versions of things, in order to create the live album.

And then sorting and clearing all the film footage from all over the world – and certainly the Primitive Man footage is going to be very interesting, because we did performances in Holland, England, Germany and all over the place.  I’d like to use a lot of that footage.

What can we expect from this show at Panthers?

In the last 6 months, we have done quite a few festival type performances, but also recently we were commissioned to play at Homebake, focusing on the first album. That was interesting, as it was quite a different set that we played.

Now we’ve got quite a wide choice of material from the last 16 years’ worth of albums, and that is probably what you will see in Port Macquarie.

What are you enjoying most about being able to perform these days after such an amazing career … and looking back on the experiences you’ve had?

Probably one of the most extraordinary experiences we’ve had recently – and we’ve had some great shows this year – but at Homebake it was particularly odd, because although my generation was well represented, it is predominately a very young audience. So there we were with a lot of people who were in their twenties, singing every single word of songs that were older than they were!

It was fantastic to see, but very strange, as I don’t know where these people source their interest in these songs from! But I suppose when I look to my own children – my daughter, who is 18 especially, and she is listening to things like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. So I suppose my theory is that it has a lot to do with the generation of iPods and the internet and Facebook etc. and a way that in their generation, they are almost trying to outdo each other with what they have discovered today or this week in terms of old music.

So what’s next for you?

We have a number of things going on, and I will be travelling to America early in the New Year – which I can’t give too much away about at this point in time.

But I think we will continue to perform at very select events during the year and as I say, in the background there is a mighty lot of quite intense work going on to reassemble all this material, because we have got ultimately not only the two albums to put together this year, but there will also be the other albums as well … I don’t think there will be too much rest for me.

Thanks Iva. 

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