mid-seventies, a group of musicians used to meet in a house in
Naremburn, Sydney, on weekends, to improvise and play music. There were
many rough recordings (can they be found?), a few performances, and
different players at different times. However, by 1980 ( if not long before ), two of the members had
begun to detect an emerging, distinctive style
The names of previous formations had
not outlasted the first performances by much, but it was now that the
name "Overland Telegraph" became publicly attached to the music.
Performances continued to be rare, and the musicians often played
extensively with other bands. However, formations of Overland Telegraph
re-appeared as the years passed.
The style would be hard
to name in a nutshell. Certainly the influences included cerftain
"laid- back" British rock feels, the blues, folk music, and some
aspects of the Western Classical tradition; but variety in textures and
specific ideas took us on excursions right away from familiar territory.
There was also an
interest in dynamics: rhythm and energy, for example, could be
experienced in extremely quiet music. ( In fact, there were
speculations about a theatre piece featuring "The Quietest Band in the
Very early in the
'80's, the band experimented with theatre and story-telling, as those
who remember the "Humpty's" gig of 1981 at Manly could testify. Band
members also collaborated with interesting theatre and film projects
outside Overland Telegraph.
The first album launch
( "The Open Sea", at Newtown Mission, Sydney, in 1992 ) also had a
theatrical edge. Since 1995, the rhythm section of the band has
remained constant. Different members can be found when away from their
instruments writing short stories, songs and movement pieces (stories
told through music and drama, such as mimes with masks).
Through all these
things we learn as we go, and through no virtue of our own!
More of our gigs since the end of the
90's have been up in the Blue Mountains than in Sydney. If you plan to
visit (eg) the orchards on Bell's Line of Road, the public gardens,
markets, and the shorter walks, it's potentially a nice break from
Sydney on a weekend. May see you there...