Maxwell Street are a well-known Rhythm and Blues band from Armidale. FOCUS chats with Garry Osborne (the drummer) about the ins and outs of the life of a band. Garry tells FOCUS about how the band started, where it’s travelled, and the many gigs played throughout its long history …
Who are Maxwell Street?
Maxwell Street is a nine piece Rhythm and Blues Band that has been playing in and around the New England, also in the north and west of NSW for many years. The band learnt early that people enjoy themselves when they can dance to every song the band plays in a performance.
How long has the band been together?
The band origins go back to 1984, when a group of musicians from Austin and Wright Colleges at UNE decided to form a band to play at college functions and Bachelor and Spinster Balls. Which is over 30 years now! Wow! Time flies. The band became very popular within a short time, playing every weekend at various events and venues to audiences who like to party to Rhythm and Blues songs that have stood the test of time.
What is the biggest gig you have played?
The biggest gig the band has played was to four thousand people at the Condobolin B & S. The band has played support to some big travelling bands, including Midnight Oil. Most famous wedding was Matt Ryan’s, the three times gold medal equestrian, at a place called Baradine near Connabarabran. The longest distance Maxwell Street has travelled to play a gig was to Cairns, for a wedding on New Year’s Eve.
What sort of music does Maxwell Street play?
Maxwell Street is a Rhythm and Blues Band and features the music of the Blues Brothers, Van Morrison, James Brown, Neil Diamond and The Commitments, to name a few.
Do you have any funny stories from on the road?
On the road we once left our trombone player one hundred kilometres behind, because we could not get him out of a hotel room. He hitchhiked to the next gig, arriving 10 minutes before we were to go on stage – and there are many other stories. The same trombone player lost the keys to our bus 50 kilometres from the wedding gig in Cairns, three hours before we were to go on stage. A good Samaritian fixed the steering lock and hot wired the key, so we could get to the wedding on time. The band often took a bus and partied on the way to and from the gig.
What can punters expect from seeing Maxwell Street on stage?
The band entertains people with a tried and true routine of dance steps, showmanship and music that you will know and love. A key to the success of Maxwell Street is the band has fun while playing and get on really well together on and off stage.
Who is Maxwell Street comprised of?
Maxwell Street is Peter Ryan vocals (original member) Bruce McKenzie guitar, Al Heeney on bass, Ray Blissett on keyboards, Garry Osborne on drums, Warrick Brown harmonica, Dave Carr saxophone (original member), Dave Brown trombone and Ashley Hall on trumpet.
Plans for the future?
One gig at a time.
The band will be performing for one night only at the Armidale Club on Saturday 5th December.
Many thanks and kind regards.