The online home for Fergus Maximus (both the band and the bloke)
The online home for Fergus Maximus (both the band and the bloke)

Songs

Hey, that was fun …

Last night’s gig at Woodstock was the best fun. People were into it right from the beginning and we responded with some of our best playing ever. That’s the best kind of feedback loop!

Yellow and Green really worked, Sideways Glance cooked, we did the best version of Closer To You ever, Rocket Science was fantastic and the ballads went off (Fish and Key To Your Heart in particular). Wow. We had a ball and the crowd did too.

Great atmosphere, really great night. Come down and treat yourself to pizza night some time when we’re down there. You won’t regret it!

Henley Square

Before Fergus Maximus, there was Stumbletrip. And before Stumbletrip there was Sideways Glance.

It started when I wrote Henley Square as an entry in a SCALA competition for songs about parts of South Australia. I got together with my friend Grant Shillabeer and he figured out those awesome chords. The song ended up being a co-winner in the Adelaide category and we had the opportunity to go into Mixmasters Studio and record it. Unfortunately, the session dates ended up being when Grant was away on his honeymoon (this was 1997/98, back in the previous millennium). We didn’t have any control over the recording session so I ended up recording the track with my brother Mark (who wrote the killer arrangement) and some members of Spank You Very Much, one of the many bands he was playing in at the time (Damien Steele Scott on bass, Andrew Bignel on kit and Dave Innocente on guitar).

It sounded great but I’ve always regretted listening to the producer tell me I needed to change the chorus. The song as written only mentioned Henley Square at the beginning of the first line. I caved and rewrote it as suggested and I’ve never been entirely happy with that.

Anyway, Sideways Glance the band formed out of that songwriting session. After a while we enlisted our mate Jamie Harrison on bass and the road toward Fergus Maximus really began. But that’s a story for another day.

Last Friday night at Woodstock Kym, Jamie and I pulled Henley Square out of the folder and blew the dust off it. A wonderful, balmy night was a perfect setting to reminisce:

Henley Square, 10pm Tuesday, still over 30 degrees …

This is where I belong

Ferg

Wonders may cease. But not today.

Hi there, Stumblemeisters,

Well, Shelly did make an appearance last night, proving me wrong. And she looked lovely in her new outfit. I mean, I realise that may sound self-aggrandising since I designed it but, hey, she did look great. I really like the new arrangement; makes the song work so much better.

Great night, if a bit quiet for the restaurant’s sake. Apparently last week they had 89 there and things were mad; this week was down to 30 after a group of 20 pulled out at the last minute. Swings and roundabouts I’m sure.

We had a couple of tables hang around to the end and it was nice to make some new friends.

Back soon,

Ferg

Shelly To Appear Tonight. Maybe.

Had a really productive session with Kym last night and it seems we have managed to coax the new arrangement for Shelly out of my head (notwithstanding the clumsiness of my fingers trying to show him what I meant by stumbling around on the guitar).

For her part, Shelly said she would try to make an appearance tonight. I hope she does but I have learned to take her promises with a pinch of salt.

Stumbletrip

Stumbletrip was the second incarnation of Sideways Glance, the band I started with Grant Shillabeer back around the end of the 20th Century (1998 as best I can figure it). We had added Jamie Harrison on bass for a couple of gigs and had a few rehearsals with a hot girl drummer (she was way too young and gorgeous for us and, sadly, much to busy). In the end Kym Perry came on board as our drummer (he’s now the guitarist for Fergus Maximus and is remarkably and unnecessarily talented in either guise). I’ll write up a proper bio for both bands eventually but that’s not the point of this post.

The name Stumbletrip actually comes from Michael Rosen’s wonderful book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. To date, only one person has made that connection independently. Well, only one person has told me they’ve made that connection (thanks, Jo, you’re an exceedingly well-read legend).

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T-Shirt

She wants me to throw out my favourite T-shirt
‘How many favourite T-shirts can one man have?’
I said, ‘That’s like asking me to lose my memory’
She just looks at me like I’m an alien

Ferguson/Shillabeer

That’s the first bit of the song T-Shirt that I wrote with Grant Shillabeer back when we were performing as Sideways Glance. It’s one of the first songs we wrote together and one of the few from that era I still really like. I recently dusted it off and wrote out a chart in a (lower) key so Kym could have a bash and it remains a great, 3-minute pop tune*.  This originated in 2000 when — much to the surprise of a few people who had stocked up on baked beans and ammunition — the world hadn’t ended.

Rumours that the second line is a direct quote from Andrea, my wonderful, long-suffering wife, have some basis in truth. Rather a lot of basis, actually, since it is completely true. And the answer to her question, of course, is ‘Lots’. Surely I am not alone in understanding this?

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