My Music History
Kerrie playing a Japanese koto
Music and Astrology are based on the same thing: frequencies of resonance. Though astro-logy gives us the ‘logic’ of the frequencies we are responding to, music recreates our emotional reactions to particular frequency combinations.
I’ve been creating music for as long I can remember. When I was 4 years old, I looked up at my father — I recall the exact room where we stood — and boldly announced, with the utmost conviction, that I was going to be a singer when I grew up.
He laughed at me. . . But I did it, just as I’d said.
My first great inspiration, at that very young age, was not nursery rhymes, or simple radio jingles, but Peggy Lee.
I would get excited every time I heard her singing her Top 5 hit “Fever” on the radio (though, I now know that the lyrics she’d added weren’t so historically accurate, especially regarding Pocahontas, who’s fascinating biography I’ve studied as an asteroid — but Disney didn’t get it right, either!)
. . . A simple swing jazz piece: mostly her rhythmic voice with a ton of reverb, finger-snaps, a minimal double-bass, and brushes on a snare drum — very Zen.
I loved that song!
I had discovered jazz at the age of 4!
And I still love that song! In more recent years, I bought the digital version. It’s only now that I realise the strong influence Peggy Lee had had, in my tender early years, on my phrasing and vocal style almost two decades after I first heard that song.
And I have a feint, very-early memory of my mother singing me to sleep when I was ill, or when I had severe ear-aches (dairy allergy — no one knew in those days), rocking me in front of the crackling gas heater in the middle of the night. She could have become a singer, herself, if she’d had the opportunities.
And my father had secretly wanted to be a big-band arranger, but never took the steps. (I have since discovered music to be a career focus in his astrology chart, which is how I found out about his stifled dream when I’d confronted him with my findings.)
Peggy Lee | ‘Fever’
Your talents are not embedded in you by your parents
But, rather, they are inherently within your mindstream at birth. You had chosen the parents who resonated with what you needed to experience for this life, to clear old harmful karmic imprints and to create new happier ones. And every parent instinctively resonates with each of his or her children differently.
the Instincts of a Child!
I first discovered piano in a neighbour’s house when I wasn’t tall enough to see the keys. I’d intuitively tried lifting the heavy lid, but I had to be assisted by larger hands. I remember playing the keys above me, without seeing them. I knew (‘remembered’!), that big wooden piece of furniture would make music!
I had begged and begged my parents to buy me a piano, but I was only given a little dinky-toy ‘baby-grand’ with cardboad keys, wooden hammers, and no strings! No music … ???
No musical child of any age would accept that! And as I didn’t play it, my parents concluded that ‘piano’ was a passing phase. Real pianos were also extremely expensive in those days, even to rent. No GarageBand apps in the 1950s! . . . But if I’d started at 4 . . .
At least I talked my family into paying for a term of voice training at age 16; but had to wait until I was in my mid-20s before I could afford to train with Professor Fritz Philippsborn, one of the best!
As a little kid, I would make up melodies all the time; and I did start learning to play guitar at age 10. And by 15, when Pluto hit my Midheaven, I was into massive song production. I’d compose and write usually 3 songs per night. I’d even imagine how I would produce them in a studio, in stereo.
My teachers at school never asked me why I wasn’t handing in all their assignments on time (or at all!). None of them knew I was heavily involved with music. Whenever I’d wake up with a song inside me, I wouldn’t go to school that morning until I’d finished it — including the lyrics of all the verses! … Though, I never played guitar in any of my bands, or gave them any of my songs. I never even mentioned them! So they never knew. (Talk about self-sabotage!)
Apart from mucking about with guitar duets, singing with a male friend for fun in my mid-teens, I was 21 before I joined my first real band, after a late-teens struggle with agoraphobia. I have no recordings from that time with Rube ‘n’ Steel, but I do remember the first song I sang on-stage with them: “I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky come tumblin’ down, tumblin’ down … “. Carol King, of course, from her masterful ‘Tapestry’ album. And still a great song.
Zen of Smooth
‘ZEN OF SMOOTH’ — 2014 (Only 1:44 minutes)
(Listen with headphones/earbuds — it will sound better.)
I actually really love this! My very first iPad ‘GarageBand’ doodle-experiment (Nov 2014), I was really only testing the sensitivity of the iPad’s internal mic, as it was my first iPad that I’d bought that day.
I started with my scatty minimal vocals, overdubbed with meandering harmonies in stereo, at 4am — I didn’t want to wake the neighbours in the adjoining terrace, so definitely not my rock voice!
Then I decided to try adding some instruments (backwards to how this usually works!)
I used two very different drum tracks together, from entirely different genres — I love the effect;
Plus I played a minimal ‘Zen’ bass line; just a dab of electric piano, and some incidental percussion.
All instruments exclusively from within GarageBand, itself.
The iPad mic was so sensitive, it picked up the rustling wind, and a chance passing car outside (at 4am! — Murphy’s Law).
(I wish we’d had iPads and GarageBand back in my olden days!)
After Rube ‘n’ Steel, I joined the cover-band Buckleys / Inspector West (the Medley photo here), my most prolifically performing band—a bit rough around the edges, but great fun—and for a number of years, due to the entrepreneurial efforts of our rhythm guitarist (seated far left).
2 x Leos, 2 x Aries, and 1 x Capricorn on bass to hold down the fire.
Then Nervus Rex (Australia)—a commercial-style White-sounding band (with some originals) that nearly wrecked my Blues voice—what was I thinking? But it should have been more successful. We did get onto Triple-J Radio.
Then (pre)Tropical Penguins (Australia) when it was a core trio (bass player Ralph is still performing—really talented kid, even in those days!), with occasionally also a great sax player, plus me on vocals. A creative kind of funky Black-sounding originals band (no photos from that time), a chance to reclaim my former Black/Blues style — back to Peggy Lee’s rhythms! And, of course, Aretha had been — and still is — my absolute hero. She will always be remembered throughout antiquity.
Coming soon—I know you can hardly wait. . .
(I’m working on editing the sound of the older live pieces from several bands)
That was my last band. I couldn’t work with one of the guys. First time I’d ever struck that. I really did try, though. But it was stifling, plus my heavy Saturn Return year. I retired, and they went on to the Australian Grand Final of Star Search.
.. Yes, self-sabotage again. I’m an expert! But at least I was more actively creative in that band.
I allowed Tropical Penguins to keep using my lyrics and melodies from the songs we’d collaborated on together. After Star Search, they got a publishing deal, and added my name to the copyrights. So I am officially a published song-writer. And I plan to publish the rest, myself — I have hundreds of songs (composed since 1970) that my bands never got to hear.
‘VAJRA GURU MANTRA’ — 2012 (1:13 minutes)
Voice only (but with my very first attempt at video editing). My little offering to Padmasambhava (the ‘Lotus Born One’), an astonishing 8th century Siddha who brought Buddhist Tantra to Tibet. Some call Him the Second Buddha.
Many of His Teachings were ‘buried’ and later discovered or inspired (much like the Dead Sea Scrolls). He was an extraordinary man of His time.
Recorded spontaneously in my office, at my desk, on a 10″ MSI Netbook with a Panasonic external headset mic. Dancing Monks image was supplied by Gillane Fonseka from her travels in Tibet.
10 years after I’d stopped playing guitar, I dusted him off and picked up my ‘George’ again, on the exact day transiting Uranus was opposite my Uranus. I went into a 7-minute trance improvisation, just like the old days. I dare you to listen! (Starts slow but builds.)
I’ll have a photo montage video to go with this soon, images courtesy of my photographer friend, Mark CCD Curtis. We’ll also load it to YouTube.
Yes, I know, the sound is not exactly studio quality! And I apologise for the white noise (more noticeable at the quieter beginning.) . But if you could see what I recorded this on, you’d fall over! There were no iPhones back in those days. And no GarageBand. But ol’ faithful George is still with me: a 1970 Yamaha classical guitar with fine black nylon strings. I pick him up every now and then.
Rube ‘n’ Steel 1976— the beginning
Inspector West, c. 1980
with Doug Burrell (left) filling in on guitar
More of Rube ‘n’ Steel 1976
Kerrie rehearsing with Nervus Rex 1983
— studying the lyrics
There is still a lot of music in me, so I intend to get back to
singing and composing and recording my own stuff.
With the tools we have now, it’s just so easy.
But I have to get the books out first!