Honorary Aussie and travelling troubadour Steve Poltz is back. Again. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
From rocking with The Rugburns back home, to his collaborations with Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Jewel, Poltz has carved out an eclectic career. Now a bona fide folk singer, the 55 year-old is on the road again Down Under, and with him, his latest solo album Folksinger.
Mixing comedy with tragedy, a Steve Poltz show is an energetic, moving and ridiculously hilarious event, and the man himself is no different. He was an undisputed crowd favourite at this year’s Port Fairy Folk Festival and Blues Mountains Music Festival, and brought his uniquely anecdotal performances to various venues across the country.
I spoke with Poltzy a week into his tour to talk about his love affair with Australia, touring and his new album Folksinger. His answers? Pure gold!!
Firstly, why didn’t you play at the AFL Grand Final last weekend? You would’ve smashed it!?
No one asked me. I would’ve loved to. Maybe I’ll get asked next year.
This is the, what 16th Australian tour you’ve done so far? What keeps on bringing you back?
I think it’s my 15th. The coffee. The people. And the millions of dollars.
Just move here already. Buy a place. Be done with it!
OK, will you be my realtor?
What are some of your favourite Australian things. Have you picked up much over the years? Phrases or sayings, food, places, music etc?
Rocket salad. Flat white. Silver top. Go The Hawks. They got married early. Never had no money. Then when he got laid off. They really hit the skids.
You played Port Fairy earlier this year and now you’ve been announced to return for the 40th anniversary in 2016. How’d you manage that? There’s a rule normally, that no artist can perform two years in a row…
I bought the festival. I now own it so I can do what I want.
You must’ve liked Port Fairy? What did you check out when you weren’t performing?
The fairies. The ports. And the ports full of fairies.
A bromance with Henry Wagons emerged from that weekend. Do you think you guys will ever collaborate one-day? I know your respective fans would love it!
He’s preggers right now with my demon seed. We’ll see how we go.
Speaking of festivals, you’ve played the Great Southern Blues Festival and Caloundra I believe so far on this run? How have they been?
I bought those festivals too. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Is this going to be online? Are other people reading this? Or is this a private convo? I’m confused.
You seem to tour relentlessly. How do you stay sane and fit on the road?
I do push ups every morning and then eat some chips.
What music do you listen to on tour? Any go-to songs on your phone you can’t travel without?
What do you love most about live performances?
The money. And the free food.
You are known for your anecdotal heavy shows – comedy meets music. How did you find your genre or style as an artist?
I got yelled at in Catholic school for singing weird songs during catechism. They thought I was too much of a smart ass. Then, years later I got fired from my job at a pizza parlour for singing strange songs on the microphone that we were supposed to use to speak the orders that were ready. So I guess it was always in me. Like a piece of lead that breaks off of a pencil to forever stay lodged in my thigh.
Do you have an all-time favourite album or artist?
Now, tell us about your new album, Folksinger.
It’s my best work yet. (Isn’t that what we’re supposed to say?).
I love love love the cover art. Who did the album artwork and what was the inspiration behind it?
I had a vision of a bear with antlers. It came to me in a dream. There’s a gal in Fort Worth Texas named Kim Neiman who made it all happen. She’s amazing.
Do you have a favourite song from Folksinger?
‘Lake Wish Again’.
What can we expect from this tour?
Nudity, drugs and hand guns. The usual.
Any chance of slowing down?
I don’t understand that question.
So you’re back in Australia in March. Any ideas where you’ll be playing?
Hopefully your house.
We love it! Keep on doing what you do!
I’ll do it till I’m dead.
Folksinger is out now through 98 Pounder Records.
STEVE POLTZ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
Friday October 9
Caravan Club, Melbourne VIC
Saturday October 10
Spotted Mallard, Melbourne VIC
Sunday October 11
Republic Bar, Hobart TAS
Wednesday October 14
Flying Saucer Club, Melbourne VIC
Thursday & Friday October 15 & 16
Camelot Lounge, Marrickville NSW
Saturday October 17
Lizottes, Newcastle NSW
Wednesday October 21
Rad Bar, Wollongong NSW
Thursday October 22
Polish Club, Canberra ACT
Friday October 23
Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide SA
Saturday October 24
Katoomba RSL, Katoomba NSW
For details and tickets, head to http://poltz.com. Don’t miss it!