Q&A: Paul Dempsey on David Bowie and the WA Tour
Perennial Melbourne rocker Paul Dempsey has been pretty busy since the release of his 2016 album, Strange Loop. Not content to tour just his own music, he also had the honour of joining the Celebrating David Bowie tour around Europe with some of Bowie’s own friends and bandmates.
Now, the veteran frontman is prepped for a fresh run of shows on the West Coast, but not before catching up with Music Insight for the first time in two years.
We last spoke to you in 2016, a few days before the release of Strange Loop. How has life been treating you since?
Very well, thanks. I haven’t really stopped at all since then. It’s been a pretty constant schedule of touring either in some shape or form, either with my solo band or in solo acoustic mode or with Something for Kate.
You play in WA pretty often. What is that keeps you coming back?
I feel like I’ve been playing everywhere pretty often! I just really love playing live so I’m always happy for an excuse to go somewhere and play. The crowds in WA are fantastic, so it’s always fun to visit.
Your Perth shows always sell out, too. Do you ever think about playing bigger venues?
I’ve done the Astor Theatre a couple of times which is a really beautiful place to play and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to try some more ambitious shows in different places in future. But, sometimes, I just want to keep it a bit more intimate and low-key, especially when I’m in this kind of writing mode in between albums, and I love playing at the Rosemount as well. I always have a great time there.
You’re bringing Fraser A. Gorman along for the upcoming WA tour – what do you like about him and his music?
Fraser’s got a really cool way with words and melody and I love the style and the delivery. It’s got a bit of an old school folk charm with a bit of the smart-arse upstart kid thrown in. And he’s a thoroughly good dude.
Will you be road-testing any new material at these shows?
I am hoping to! We are working on a new Something for Kate album and there are a few things in the work. The only question is whether or not they can be reproduced fairly in a solo acoustic format! We’ll see…
Any new Bowie covers? (are there any you haven’t covered yet?)
Haha. There might be! I’ve only covered one or two by myself in the past but there are certainly plenty more where they came from, if the desire were to strike.
Speaking of Bowie, how was the experience of being part of the Celebrating David Bowie shows?
It was a surreal and amazing honour and a ton of fun. The only thing I could think of comparing it to is those people who go to ‘space camp’ where they get to be an astronaut for two weeks or whatever. Something I won’t soon forget.
From getting involved in the Comedy Festival recently to Rockwiz, Celebrating David Bowie and Oaktree’s Live Below the Line Campaign, and everything in between, it seems like you’re branching out into a lot of projects that aren’t strictly Paul Dempsey projects. Is that something you’ve always enjoyed doing, or something you feel you have more freedom to do these days?
I like to keep busy and I’m always interested in trying new things. I really don’t take it for granted that I have been able to do what I love for a long time now and I am still discovering and finding new things to love about it all the time.
I’m incredibly fortunate that people approach me with ideas or projects that they want me to be a part of, so it allows me to branch out and try things and get out of my comfort zone. There are a lot of other things I wish I had time to do but unfortunately I have to sleep sometimes.