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Joe Camilleri & Band

Joe Camilleri & Band

Booked in association with the Artist's representative.

A few words from Joe...

So what do I love about making music?

For me, it's always about the freedom.

If I'm making music, I'm not thinking about anything else.

I can actually get lost in it.


As a young kid, listening to the jukebox was my salvation. It was the only thing that would get me into another space.


Not only did I know every song on the radio, I knew every song my mother had in her record collection. My mother would sing; it made her happy. She was a big fan of Ray Charles, she loved to sing and dance to his records. My dad hated Ray Charles with his whole heart, he thought he was a shocker. So there was a bit of family conflict there.


I was born in Malta, the third of 10 children. We moved to Australia when I was two. In Port Melbourne, in the 1950s and the start of the 60s, I first heard rock'n'roll - Hit The Road, Jack, and Frankie Laine.


My father played the tuba, and my brother played the piano accordion -  two things I could have done without!


As I kid, I would steal Shadows records. I was the typical Catholic kid: On one shoulder, there was the devil, going, "Take it!". On the other, was an angel, going, "What do you think you're doing?!"


It wasn't until the 60s that you could get really good records. It was very difficult to find any blues records. I think Ross Wilson was one of the first people I knew who had Muddy Waters records and Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.


I never thought I'd be a musician, I just loved music.


In 1964, I fell into being in a band - literally. We went to see a band called The Drollies and my friends, wanting a bit of a laugh, threw me up on stage. Suddenly, I was in the band as their lead singer.


The guitarist had a cherry-red guitar. He was a pastry cook. My buddy was the drummer. I played the bass as well as singing. It was just the three of us, but we made an incredible racket. I was working as a storeman at Australian Motor Industries. I would take the bass in and practise when no one was looking. It took me weeks to learn how to play The Last Time.


It became very apparent I was never going to be a bass player, so we got another guy on bass.


Our first gig was at Rosebud. It was incredibly exciting. I think Bobby and Laurie were on the bill. They sounded like a real band, while we were as close to Captain Beefheart as we could get.


Our second gig was a mod ball at Caulfield Town Hall. It was a big bill with, I think, the Easybeats, Normie Rowe and the King Bees. We were on first - we were always on first - but we were a lot better because there had been three weeks between gigs.


The King Bees spotted me and because they didn't have a singer, they asked me to join. The band included Peter Starkie, who was later a founding member of Skyhooks, and Dave Flett, who later joined the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band. They played all the stuff on the radio, the Beatles and the Stones. I joined the band that night.


Dave made a big difference to me. He knew about the blues and he introduced me to jazz. But then Dave and Peter decided to go to university, so I was a bit lost.


I ended up joining the Adderley Smith Blues Band. Broderick Smith had been the singer, but he got called up for national service. Then they had a guy called Langford Lever, but they sacked him just before a big gig at Dallas Brooks Hall. Someone suggested me. The band thought I could sing in English, but not speak a word of English, which I thought was pretty funny.


I had just two rehearsals before the show, and I think I was a bit more adventurous with my clobber than the rest of the band. I was wearing a green shirt and pink trousers, while they wore their denim. During the show, Langford Lever turned up. He was very upset. The audience went wild when they saw him, and he pushed me out of the way and started singing.


I lasted about a year in the Adderley Smith Blues Band. It was fun, and it was great to connect with Kerryn Tolhurst, who later formed The Dingoes, who I loved. But my tastes were changing - I'd gotten into Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and John Coltrane's A Love Supreme.


I still felt like I was a part-timer. I was more of a music fan than a musician. I was spending every cent I had buying records at Batman Records. That was my life.


Then I joined Lipp And The Double Dekker Brothers, a band that also featured Peter Starkie, Dave Flett and Jane Clifton. This was the start of me getting serious.


I heard Eric Dolphy and decided I wanted to play the saxophone. It was 1971, I was 23, and I was in the city, bored. Russell Street had a lot of music shops in those days, and I walked into Clements -  they had a sax in the window for $32. I bought it. I got it home and it was really dirty, so I chucked it in the bath, ruining all the pads. It was shiny, but unplayable.


I've still got that sax.


1975 - it was my first Countdown appearance....






Donít Waste It (1976)

Whip It Out (1977)

Letís Drip Awhile (1979)

Screaming Targets (1979)

Hats Off Step Lively (1980)

Shape Iím In: The Complete Anthology (1997)

Ricochet (2003)



Cha (1982)



Sonola (1984)

Rockiní Zydeco (1985)

A Place In The World (1986)

Dear Children (1987)

Hold On To Me (1988)

Harley & Rose (1990)

Better Times (1992)

The Chosen Ones (best-of, 1993)

Lucky Charm (1994)

Radio Waves (live, 1996)

Johnny Gumboís Nude Lounge (best-of, 1997)

Beat Club (1998)

One Moí Time (Liberation Blue, 2004)

Roarin Town (2006)



Amazing Stories (1991)

The Adventures Of The Amazing Revelators (2000)

The Revelators (2002)



Bakelite Radio Volume II (2003)

Bakelite Radio Volume III (2005)



The Best Of 1977 Ė 2003: I Believe To My Soul (2004)



Limestone (2005)



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