As the frontman of Melbourne rock band KINGSWOOD, singer Fergus Linacre knows the power of a good song.
Having been instrumental in spawning hits such as ‘Sucker Punch’, ‘Micro Wars’ and ‘Ohio’, the band have been gathering fans across the country since last year’s debut Microscopic Wars.
Now, the rocker will be rubbing shoulders with some of Australia’s best young talents in folk, country and indie rock – Husky Gawenda, Jordie Lane and Marlon Williams – as he prepares to take on some of The Beatles‘ greatest hits with the Australian tribute show Rubber Soul/Revolver.
I asked Fergus about the famous Brit hit-makers and the importance of their music over time…
When did you first discover The Beatles music?
Probably as a child before I knew what or who I was listening to. The first time I really connected with the music was when I was around 12 years old. On Thursday’s I’d stay at my dads he has Magical Mystery Tour on vinyl, I’d get home first and lie on the ground listening to it over and over.
What was your first impression?
Well, it took me away on a Magical Mystery Tour in my head, where there was no teachers, no school, no playground fights or girls, just this music that was so different to anything else I had heard. It was a joy to listen to.
Did they influence your decision to become a singer? If so, how?
Not directly, there was no moment that listened to the Beatles and thought ‘I wanna sing like that’, I got those feelings from Plant, Tyler and Freddy. But I have always loved the band, and their influence on my love for music and songs is immeasurable. I was in bands before I started to sing, I never thought of myself as a great singer. When Alex (Laska) started the band and wanted me to join I thought he wanted me to play guitar, but he thought I could sing.
Do you have a favourite Beatles album?
It changes form time to time, but every now and then Rubber Soul takes top spot. I love ‘Michelle’ and ‘Girl’, there are so many really beautiful moments, and the music is cleverer than their previous more derivative style, but sits in a nice little pocket before they began the sonic experimentation in Revolver and beyond. I love that stuff of course but there is something about really beautiful about Rubber Soul.
What songs mean the most to you?
I love the rawness of ‘Girl’. Some songs take you somewhere and from the first few words you can fell the pain and anguish in John’s voice. It takes me back to when I was first interested in girls but the really cool ‘it’ girls would ignore you. But it takes me back in a nostalgic way not is a sad way. Things have picked up since then.
Do you have a favourite of the Fab Four? Who and why?
Not particularly, it would be out of John and Paul but they are both brilliant and different. I think Paul had more beautiful moments with his sweet love ballads, but John owned the grittier, more psychedelic stuff.
You are doing a tribute show of Rubber Soul and Revolver in July/August. What are you most looking forward to about the concerts?
I think the shows will be great, playing Hammer Hall and the Opera House with be nice, but I’m most looking forward to touring with this group, the other three singers and I all get on well together, and the band is full of some of the best muso’s we have that have been around for a while so I think we will have a lot of fun off the stage.
The White Album concerts with Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson, Josh Pyke and Tim Rogers seemed to kick-start this concept. Had you seen/heard about them beforehand? Thoughts?
I went to the Pepper/Abbey Road show and enjoyed it, I think it’s a bold move getting younger, less known singers this time around but I think the performances will be great, we have had a big say in how we want to do the songs, and we have been encouraged to do it in our own way, not just try to replicate the songs.
Did you know the other three artists you’ll be performing with before these shows came about?
I had heard of them all but hadn’t listened to a lot of their music. I’ve now heard a lot of their stuff and I think they are all tremendous. We all have very different styles, so it will be a good mix of sounds. When we first got together to do some rehearsals we played through both album and found it quite easy to all blend together in the right way.
Which of the two albums Rubber Soul and Revolver do you prefer?
Tough question but I have to say Rubber Soul. I just love more songs from it, ‘Girl’, ‘Michelle’, ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘In My Life’. I think perhaps Revolver is a more important record as a whole though. They began their sonic experimentation from the very minimal ‘Eleanor Rigby’ to the complex, yet one chorded ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.
Are there any particular songs off the those records you are most looking forward to/dreading playing live? Have you worked out who’ll be doing what?
I’m most looking forward to the songs we are all singing together. When we first started rehearsing they told us we wouldn’t be singing together but we pushed for it and now there are quite a few, ‘What Goes On’ will be fun. I’m also more excited to hear the other guys sing a few of my favourites, that way I can enjoy it more, Marlon singing ‘Michelle’ should be a highlight.
Why do you think The Beatles have remained so relevant over time?
They are not the legendary band we know today because of their fame at the time, that’s generally how the world works but with the Beatles it all comes down to the music. They were different, and they were better than everyone else, and most that have come after them. No band has influenced modern music more than them. They created genres that exist in their own right today. They are at the top of the great family tree of pop music and every leaf, whether its Tame Impala or Sia, can be traced back to the Beatles.
RUBBER SOUL/REVOLVER TOUR DATES:
Thursday, 30th July
Concert Hall, Brisbane
Saturday, 1st August
Riverside Theatre, Perth
Sunday, 2nd August
Festival Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday, 4th August
Arts Centre, Melbourne
Wednesday, 5th August
Arts Centre, Melbourne
Thursday, 6th August
Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra
Friday, 7th August
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Saturday, 8th August
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Limited tickets are still on sale at: http://www.rubbersoulrevolver.com/tickets/