Dave Hole

by the partae

Where are you currently based?


How did you first start playing music and what do you attribute to long and fruitful career as a musician within Australia and internationally?

I started messing with guitar when I was eleven after becoming smitten with all the twangy guitar sounds I was hearing coming from the family radio.  I retired at the age of twelve but took it up again when my friend roped me into a high school band he was forming.

   My long career in Australia before being ‘discovered’ internationally is probably due to a combination of bloody-minded perserverance and not being much good at anything else!  My international career came about by virtue of a lucky break when the right people heard and liked my first album.  For many deserving musicians this just never happens.  I feel very fortunate.

When it comes to playing guitar, do you have any tips for the best method of practice?

 I’m told that it’s just about putting in all those hours and being disciplined about it.  In my late teens I did sit for hours on end in my bedroom listening to all the blues greats and jamming along with them but I now practice only spasmodically.  I do like to improvise and experiment on stage, however, which I guess is kind of like practising on the job.

Who are some of your favourite guitarists  both Australian and international and why, dead or alive and why?

OK – my list of Australian greats would have to include Kevin Borich, Peter Walker, Phil Manning, Mal Eastick, Jeff Lang, John Meyer, Kent Hughes, Ian Moss, Lindsay Wells and Dutch Tilders.  Apologies to all those I’ve left out.  What I like about these players is that they all have uniquely identifiable styles.

  Internationally some of my absolute favourites would be: Elmore James, whose recordings inspired me to take up slide guitar; Robert Johnson, who pretty much ‘wrote the book’ of blues standards; Buddy Guy, who can ring more emotion out of a Strat than just about anyone I know; Albert Collins, who had a unique style, was absolute ‘master of the Telecaster’ and a hell of a nice guy; Freddie King, the most powerful force of nature ever unleased on a blues guitar; and then there’s Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan – what can you say about them? They took blues guitar playing to it’s zenith and then some!  These guys are only the tip of the iceburg.  There’s been so many.  Of all living guitarists the one I most revere is Derek Trucks.

It’s been a few years between releases, what do you like doing away from music?

I like to play tennis, go to the movies, hang out with friends, go for a run, spend time down on Western Australia’s southern coast – basically just living like anyone else.  Being out on the road all the time can be great fun but it’s not ‘real life’.

How has the music scene changed since you first started?

When I started out the pubs were in full swing all over the country.  Now that they’ve all but disappeared we lost that excellent training ground for young performers to learn the craft of playing live.  Nowadays you get these amazingly talented kids coming straight out of their bedrooms and onto national TV etc.  They may have great songs and great voices but I don’t hear much instrumental improvising from them.  That is something that only playing lots of live gigs with other musicians seems to foster and I confess that I miss it in today’s music.  The other huge change is the digital revolution which has changed the way music is recorded, delivered and listened to.  In some respects the internet has prised open the vice-like grip of the major record companies and been somewhat liberating. A really good artist doesn’t need a major these days to be heard.  Unfortunately, neither does a mediocre one!

What is your setup when recording and playing live guitar, pedals, amps?

Over the years my use of pedals has diminished.  I have three on stage at the moment: a Roger Mayer Axis pedal, an Ibanez CP9 compressor and an Australian made MI Audio Blue Boy Overdrive.  Most of the time only the Axis pedal is on.  My amp is either a Fender 1962 Bassman Head or a Marshall Silver Jubilee.  In both cases the speaker cabinet is a 4×12 Marshall with 25 Watt ‘Greenbacks’.

Who are what influences your songwriting and playing?

This is hard to answer.  I never really know where the songs come from.  John Hiatt reckons that they’re just in the air and if your antenna is up at the time when one is passing you might catch one.  I tend to agree.  If I start out with a guitar in my hand you can bet that it’s going to be a blues and what comes out will be fragments from a lifetime of listening – half remembered bits and pieces that get subconsciously combined into something that might be considered new.  Lyrically I’m influenced by people and events around me that I observe.  Quite often I’ll write about someone else in the first person which can lead to some misapprehensions on the part of listeners.  When I’m performing I try to give free reign to my emotions and let all and any of my musical influences just flow.  That’s part of the excitement of flying by the seat of your pants and doing so much improvising.  The other part of course is not knowing just when you’re going to fall flat on your face.

How do you keep the creative juices and desire to perform live going at the sexy age of 69?

I don’t know.  It’s just still there, as strong as it ever was.  I take heart from the fact that John Lee Hooker and BB King were still producing great music well into their eighties.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Bukka White, The Alabama Shakes, Rory Gallagher, Lake Street Dive, Ali Akbar Khan, Little Feet, Steve Winwood.

Does living in Perth (the most isolated capital city in the world) help or hinder your creativity?

Well it probably does both in different ways.  I think it’s helped a lot of us from over here to be a bit more individual.  We don’t have quite as many other musicians around us to copy or to learn from and  so we just go our own way – for better or worse.  It probably helps you become proficient a lot quicker if you’re able to see great musicians all around you but if you don’t have that you tend to come up with your own musical solutions.

What do you have planned for the remainder of 2018/19?

It’s been hectic getting the album out, so after the May tour I’ll take a couple of months off to relax and do a bit more writing  I would like to tour Australia again in October to get to some of the places we’re missing this time – Adelaide, Canberra, regional centres etc.  I won’t be going overseas until 2019 and even then I won’t be doing an all-states US tour. It just takes too long.  I’m at that stage in my career where I’ll only do things that are really enjoyable – so some selected US and European shows but not the long list of one-nighters

(album out April 27 via Only Blues Music)  Dave touring Australia May 2018 – check website for details. US tour likely for later in year.


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