Scott ‘Buddy’ Cameron captures the essence of one of the most talented performers the world stage has ever seen. Scott presents Buddy: The Concert at the Glasshouse this month – recapturing the magic of the 1950s era and the unforgettable voice of Buddy Holly.
What’s your musical background Scott, and how did you find your calling to perform as Buddy Holly?
I started performing when I was 6-years-old. I met Jade Hurley when I was 8, and that was just after I got the chance to play with Tommy and Phil Emmanuel.
After I met Jade, I had the chance to go on the road with him from the time I was 8 until I was about 14. It was actually Jade who sang songs like Peggy Sue, Rave On, Oh Boy and a few other Buddy songs in his show.
So, I knew about Buddy from a very early age and fell in love with the songs – and Buddy became my hero. I never imagined I would actually grow up and look like him and be him in shows.
Most of my career I was doing support acts for people like The Little River Band, Slim Dusty and Lee Kernaghan.
When I was 19, I auditioned and was cast as the lead role in a musical called Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. That was in 2005 – and I did a tour, went overseas with the show and then came back and did a national tour for about a year and a half. I was also in a tribute show called Memories of Buddy Holly that we took around Australia and abroad.
So, since I was 19 I’ve been doing Buddy in one form or another − musicals and about 4 different concert productions.
What’s been the reaction to your performances overseas – particularly in America?
Everyone loves the show. American audiences are different to Australian audiences. Over there, they know a great deal about all the old ‘50s artists and Buddy – particularly in places likeTexas. But, we’ve pretty much had the same response wherever we go – even in places like Singapore. People start clapping their hands and wanting to get up and dance.
What is it about Buddy Holly himself that you find particularly inspiring?
Buddy was one of the first great guitar players, and the stuff that he was doing back in the ‘50s was quite unique. He was a songwriter, lead singer, performer and guitar player. He paved the way for a lot of other artists who came along, and I think his music is often taken for granted today. One of my favourite things about it is how much he managed to achieve in just 18 months – what he achieved was just phenomenal.
Obviously you sing a large number of Buddy’s songs, but are there one or two you’re particularly drawn to?
Peggy Sue. That’s because it’s the first song I ever heard of his. Also, Peggy Sue Gerron – the real girl – she came out from Texas in 2008 and went on a media tour with us setting up for our 2009 production. She’s a lovely lady, and that’s one of the reasons the song is so special to me.
Tell us about this new show – Buddy: The Concert …
Part one of the show is Buddy Holly and the59ers [the band]. We’re on stage in jeans and T-shirts – the way they started. The first part of the show covers a lot of the earlier stuff they did and also other artists like Roy Orbison, Bo Diddly and Elvis Presley, who were around at the same time. They were all working together – and a lot of this inspired Buddy.
In the second part of the show, you’re treated to a scene where Buddy’s been booked to play in a theatre, and he’s the only white artist to play there. That’s a very funny moment, and the audience always gets involved in it.
In this segment Buddy is now wearing the thick glasses and the suit. This goes all the way up to the last performance, where you hear Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper out the back telling him to hurry up, because he has a plane flight to catch. And of course – the inevitable happens … the plane crashes. But Buddy comes back for a few songs at the end, to end the show on a high note.
The concert is the story of his life, told through music.
Who are the band members playing in this show – the 59ers …
We have Simon Bentley, who was Jerry Allison in the musical with me (the drummer). Tom Carruthers is the bass player from the old Memories Buddy show that toured around the world. We have a new guy, Mario Agius who’s playing the fourth Cricket – rhythm guitar. You’ll only see him in the second act, because in the early days the band was a 3-piece – it only became a 4-piece later on. James Nation-Ingle joins us, and this is his third time being in a production of Buddy.
At the time of this interview, you haven’t yet started the tour. How much are you and the band members looking forward to it?
Very much. We’ve done all the music, and we have all the charts. We’ll be getting together soon and to go through the music. We’ve all played the songs before and we’ve all worked with each other on different productions, so it’ll be great.
Thanks Scott. Best of luck with the tour!