Baby Animals guitarist Dave Leslie will return to the Melbourne Guitar Show for another talk on tips and his long career in a rock band.
Dave’s name is credited on Baby Animals songs such as ‘Rush’ You and ‘Early Warning’. He sees songwriting as an artform everyone has to make for themselves.
“You have to make it fit into a certain fold,” Dave tells Noise11.com. “I’ve always been a big fan of Power Pop songs where you have to hit them with the chorus as soon as possible and drive that hook. In a way its challenge and an art form in itself to make it fit within that format. Some songs like to be longer and have extended bits because they create a certain feeling or take you to a certain place”.
Dave advises every second of a song counts, including the solos. “In one of my early bands, way before Baby Animals, we recorded with Clive Shakespeare from Sherbet,” Dave says. “When it came to do a solo I remember him say ‘you have to make it pay’. Anything you record it’s got to earn its keep. If you only have eight bars you have to make that solo pay. You can’t just go out there and yield. I guess I didn’t pay a lot of attention to that in a lot of stuff I’ve done but I’ve always remembered it. It is a challenge to do but it’s good for the listener as well because they don’t get bored. Everything in a song needs something”.
He says every song can be influenced from outside but you need discipline to make it your own. “I guess every Baby Animals song that we do has an eclectic mix of influence and sound but it all still sounds like that,” he says. “We could write another ‘Rush You’ and give them exactly what they want but that sometimes backfires. If you try to be contrived people will sense that. We just let the songs be what they are. If we get off on it then hopefully others will too”.
Baby Animals aren’t a band that can stray from their formula. “If you are Bob Dylan you can do that,” he says. “If we hit the audience with a reggae version of ‘Early Warning’ it probably wouldn’t go down well. While it would be fun to do you have to stay true to what the people know. On gigs like Red Hot Summer it is a nostalgia trip. People come along expecting a certain thing. If we were to divert from that it wouldn’t be effective”.
You can meet Dave Leslie up close & personal when he joins Peter Hodgson to talk guitars and life in a rock band at the Café Corner, ground level, at the Melbourne Guitar Show on Sunday 4 August at midday.