Flashbacks, Interviews — March 27, 2011 at 11:46 am

Dave Whitney of Devils In Heaven

by

Devils In Heaven were an Australian group often seen touring around the east coast of Australia during the late 80’s and early 90’s. They had a strong following and in 1992 they were on a talent show called Star Search, they took out the major prize, had a single released called ‘Say a Prayer (One departed)’ and then basically disappeared. They should’ve taken the music scene here by storm as to this day there are still questions asked about the band, what happened to them? What are they doing now? Well, after my quest over many years to track down this man, I was absolutely stoked to be able to talk to Devils front man Dave Whitney about pretty much everything and get these questions answered. No holds barred here and truly some interesting things I never knew about the industry or these talent shows.

Dave now living in Canada and, well read on to see what he’s been doing was gracious enough to chat for an hour or so to us at May the Rock be with You about Devils In Heaven, what he’s been up to, his upcoming ventures that we need to support so we can hear more from him and his youtube channel.

Hopefully this will answer some questions on the forums and of the fans who were asking the question ‘Whitney, where are you?’

My 15 year search has now ended; here is Mr Dave Whitney…

Dave, what a pleasure to talk to you, now I’ve got a fair few questions for you if you don’t mind…
No, fire away, I hope I’ve got some decent answers for you…

You came into prominence on the TV show ‘Star Search’ here in Australian back in the early 90’s and took out the major prize which gave you a single released through Sony. What happened after the single ‘Say a Prayer (One Departed)’ was released?
Well we never really got what I would call support from Sony, we had a contract with them for that single but they were very reluctant to get behind Devils in Heaven and we didn’t really understand it at the time but it happened when I was sort of semi dating someone who was working at Sony and she explained to me that what had happened, was Rick Price was coming out at the same time and apparently they’d sunk a fortune into Rick Price and they were taking basically any competition, signing it up and shelving it to keep it out of the way. And she said it’s absolutely sucks but you guys and a number of artists have been signed by Sony literally to keep you out of the way and clear the path for Rick Price to come through, now that’s all well and good for Rick but that’s the way they were working.

Wow
Yeah it was an interesting perspective as I’d never thought they would be so singly focused on one artist that they would literally try to sweep anyone else out of the way and I thought it was a very small minded approach but apparently they’d spent so much money on him they had to make sure it was successful or they’d look like a pack of fools.

But, you guys are different to him, there’s no similarity whatsoever…
Yeah well we didn’t really understand it terribly well and this was just what she said because we seemed to getting lots of promises but we were getting very little in the way of real support from Sony. The promises were there and the words and so forth but the actions and certainly the funding was very, very minimal, like they did the absolute minimum even when we were recording the ‘Say a Prayer’ CD, the engineer Gary Frost actually had to call in some favours from friends just to get enough equipment to be able to do the mixing on it because Sony wouldn’t pay for anything and it was kind of a bit bewildering for us because we were there to give 110% and literally we were being held back. We lost so much momentum at that point because we couldn’t go forward, we were contractually obligated for 12 months and we lost all our Star Search momentum that we built up and unfortunately for us it was almost the beginning of the end because we tried to pick it back up again but it was very, very difficult because 12 months is a long time.

In those 12 months was that when the vocal stuff started to happen?
No, for me we went to the States and we recorded ‘Liberation’ a 3 track EP that we did over there and we came back, we were touring around and it got to the point that we realised that we kind of missed the boat so to speak. We could keep doing the same thing over and over again but it just didn’t seem to make sense so I was actually getting some offers from other parties to come and do some other projects which the band didn’t agree with they said we’re a band and you don’t go and do solo projects and you don’t go and work with other artists and I kind of felt like well this is the only opportunity that’s knocking on our door at the moment so I wanted to follow up on some of that. So I basically suggested that we split into two duos and go our separate ways and survive that way for a while and the whole point for me was to try and get some of these solo opportunities up and running as I thought the band opportunities had pretty much died out. Then by the time that we had organised all the duos and we’d done the split and all that literally all the solo opportunities had dried up as well, you just have to jump on them as they become available otherwise they go to someone else.

I picked up a copy of an album called ‘Heart, Mind and Soul’ a few years back which was labelled as a Dave Whitney solo album, how did that come about?
Bits of it I did while I was in the band, I had a little 8 track recorder in my bedroom and I just used to do recordings on that and bits of it I did when I returned to Tasmania after deciding I needed a break from it.

It’s very different
Yes it is very different I guess a lot of people would’ve expected very guitar based stuff and I was trying not to be the guitar player who sings, I was just trying to do songs, a lot of stuff from the heart for me and it was very different thing because I’d never ever produced my own music before, it’s always good when you have the input of someone who’s been in touch with a lot of musicians and know what’s going on and has their finger on the pulse. When you do your own stuff you get very insulated and your perspective is very singular, but some people they come up with exactly the right thing at the right time and it just works, for me it was just writing songs that were important to me for one reason or another and putting them down and doing a lot of keyboards and sequencing and stuff like that to put it all together. I never really thought it was going to be some commercial success or whatever it was just stuff I had to get out there and record, just for my own personal thing.

But just toward the end of recording that was when I was starting to have voice problems and I didn’t really know what was going on, my voice was just shutting down and I went to a specialist in Launceston and he spotted two nodules on my vocal chords and he said it shouldn’t be a problem we can remove those and we’ll get your voice back so I went and had the operation to remove those and probably six months went by and everything was great, my voice was great again and it was probably better than it was before, then three months later it had gone again. Turns out I had a cist, the original chords and the problem was a cist that was under one of my vocal chords and the cist had got in and really spread its wings on my vocal chords. So I went to a specialist in Melbourne where they specialise in removing them but there’s so much scar tissue on my vocal chords from the surgery that one of my vocal chords now vibrates differently to the other one so I cant sing high as it’s a bit thick, you know thick from the scar tissue and the control of my voice has changed, it’s very difficult to control what used to be a very easy to control my voice and was natural, now it’s very un natural and very difficult and I tried and I tried and I tried to rehabilitate it but there was just too much damage to the actual tissue that makes up my vocal chords, so that’s pretty much done for and at that point I started to think to myself, you’ve gotta know, one thing you’ve gotta know when you’re done. I didn’t want to be one of these guys that was just trying to clutch on to some long forgotten hey day so for me I just called it quits and started building tunnels.

Over the years as I’d tried to find you in speaking to former managers and Nelson, there were many rumours in regards to your whereabouts; that you were digging ditches, you still had a publishing deal, that you’d released a solo album and that you’d basically disappeared. Was that your intention to do that?
No I didn’t mean to disappear it’s just that I didn’t have anything else to put out there. I couldn’t sing, my attention was for personal reasons was elsewhere and really I just sort of was a bit, its difficult when you lose yourself because I was the guy who was the singer and all of a sudden I couldn’t sing and when you lose your voice, and I mean that in a global sense when you lose your communication tool, your expressive tool, it’s very disempowering and I kind of needed to reinvent myself and needed to find myself again and find out who this guy was now because he certainly wasn’t the singer anymore and he wasn’t getting any younger and his hair was falling out and he was changing so I wasn’t really sure who he was becoming or where I’m going but I pretty much knew I had to close the book on what I was doing and move forward.

So what have you been doing? Is it the tunnels that you do now?
Yeah I’m still doing that now as you know I’m over in Niagara Falls doing that and that’s what I’ve been doing, this is my 8th year doing that now.

How did you end up over there?
I met a very, very, very nice Canadian lady and was lucky enough to be able to marry her and just through one thing or another we ended up over here we had a whole series of events that happened in our life that it just seemed to make sense to be over here, plus supporting certain issues, I don’t want to bore you with the details, you’ll be asleep, but life just lead us down the path that took us to Ontario.

Just jumping back to the band for a bit. Prior to Star Search, how long had you been a band and just what was it that made you to decide to go on a TV talent show before it was cool?
We started out in 1985 or 1986 around there, last few years of school and we really just hit it off quite well, we were all looking for an outlet for our music and we found it together as a bunch of school kids. As soon as we finished school we wanted to tour, we wanted to do that straight away, but we didn’t just play a gig every three weeks in Launceston, we wanted to do more we wanted to do the thing we loved which was playing and playing live. So we organised through a friend of ours that had some contacts to do some touring through Queensland basically toured as far north as Cairns and we also after a little while made some inroads into touring in Sydney. Sydney really became our vase after a while because there was enough work in Sydney without the huge travel distance that you have in Queensland, you know, 10 hours between towns and we just got sick of driving, every our of the day driving. So Sydney became the place we were getting a good strong income and lots of work and building a following I guess and that’s something that we were trying to do. Now we talked about ways we could help to increase our people awareness because we knew that playing a gig to 200 people a night is a very slow way to promote yourself, back in the 70’s that may have been ok as word would travel quick as there wasn’t much out there but there are a lot of touring bands in Sydney and a lot of artists floating around so we had to try and make some impact, so Ray Lynn, our manager at the time suggested we may like to go on a TV program at the time, he actually knew the producer of Star Search so he spoke to him and said ‘I’ve got this band, would they be any good for the show?’ he said well if you think so, put them on. So he gave us a start on the show and it seemed to go very very well and it was an opportunity for us to tap into mass media as a way of promoting and that was successful as all mass marketing media is successful just really opening a lot of eyes at the same time to what you’re doing.

All went well, like I said from that came the contract and from that came being shelved for 12 months, then ‘Liberation’ and losing a lot of momentum was a real big problem, had we not been contractually obligated to Sony after Star Search things probably would’ve been very different for us. But that’s only speculation too…

And prior to the internet etc. I had been following you guys and I was too young to come and see you which sucked but one day I was in a music store and I picked up a single and it said Devils in Heaven and it was ‘Liberation’ and I had to rush home and put it straight on as I was like ‘Where did this come from?’ so how did the Possum label deal come from?
Well once again from memory and this was a while back and I’m scratching what’s left of my hair but from memory, Ray Lynn who was very connected and know a lot of people and the music A&R people and managers and so forth, they were just musos like we were back in the 70’s and they were all in bands just like our manager was in a band and our publisher was in a band and they were all just rockers back in the day and gotten too old to do it but still love music so they wanted to get involved with the nurturing of artists and so forth. Well he knew people, one of them was the guy from Possum records and he agreed to release under his label and to use Possum records, Possum was a dance label so it was very different to what we were doing but to try and use their distribution network to get our CD’s printed and in stores wherever possible and that’s how we came to be with Possum, because really we were prepared to fund our own CD in conjunction with Warner Chapel our publisher we split the cost down the middle of going to the States and recording that CD and Possum was prepared to help with the distribution. And really we didn’t have a marketing budget, nothing was so grand, we were sort of just clutching on to any opportunity we could create to try and pick up our momentum again but it just never really happened.

Do you find it somewhat amazing that your band with only two single releases has made quite an impact on the music scene here in Australia where you can have a new band such as ‘White Widdow’ that has been signed to a deal in Europe siting ‘Devils In Heaven’ as an influence?
There you go. Well we loved our music, all I can say is every song we ever did was special for some way or another and you’re bound to have people who connect with that, yeah I am a bit surprised, I’ve got the same thing with my youtube channel for the Devils in Heaven where I do guitar lessons I’ve had guitar players who are very accomplished guitar players leave me comments saying ’man you were a huge influence’ one guy there Chris Brooks is very good at what he does, he’s a very accomplished guitar player and he says he went to all these teachers to try and figure out how to do what you do’ and I never even considered it, I just did what I loved, and so did the band we were just playing because we loved playing. We were never happier than when we were on stage singing to an audience who was enjoying themselves. It was really our whole thing, nothing contrived about it like we had to try and create some mega band we were just doing what we loved, it was as simple as that and the fact that it had an impact on people at the time is wonderful. It certainly is surprising yeah and to hear that comment about White Widdow, I’ll have to check that out.

Even on the forums and websites there are still threads dedicated to you guys…
It is kind of surreal, I mean look at Cold Chisel, I was talking to Ian Moss when I opened for him, just solo and I said ‘what was it like to get famous like that to be famous in Cold Chisel?’ and he said Cold Chisel was never famous until after they broke up, they were more successful 10 years after breaking up than we ever were when we were playing and it’s kind of weird that everyone is like Chisel are the best, but where were they when we were playing? It was really, really weird for them and I guess sometimes the music takes time to sink in. That’s all I can make of it, he’s out there doing his own thing how.

Similar to White Widdow, did Devils In Heaven draw influence from Aussie melodic rock bands that blazed the trail in the years proceeding such as Roxus, De Mont, BB Steal, 21 Guns…. Who were some of the bands main influences?
No, really there were just around at that time, most of the songs that we did were written well before I knew any of those bands existed, heaps of the songs I wrote in high school. When I was younger I lived in a small town and didn’t really have much to do so I used to just spend a lot of time playing the guitar and my Dad had a piano so I just used to fiddle around on his piano. That’s where I wrote the majority of the songs that were really the good songs that we wrote. When I was a kid and when the other guys came into the picture and when we matured a little bit they bought their own flavours to it, they bought their own nuances to the music and it changed and became a whole lot mature compared to what it was when I wrote it, but there was no real ‘I want to be like them.’ Although I will say our drummer Phil was a huge INXS fan and loved the drummer and a really big influence and I guess so was the keyboard player Nelson, they were pretty close friends anyway and Matt the bass player was a huge AC/DC fan, I didn’t really have a mainstream band that I liked. I liked Barnsey, my dream in life one point there was to play guitar for Jimmy Barnes, I just thought that would be the ultimate achievement for me to stand alongside an Aussie rock icon like Barnsey and play guitar. Obviously I never did that but just to hang out and play for Ian Moss was good enough for me ha ha.

What about as a guitarist?
I honestly don’t have an answer for you as I don’t know. I used to listen to the radio and I didn’t have much of a record collection and pretty much every record we had Mum and Dad bought and there was old Tom Jones records and that but I never had anyone I wanted to emulate I just played totally from the heart with everything that I did and I guess I would be influenced by sounds that I heard on the radio but I really couldn’t say that there’s anyone I would be thinking of when I was doing a song. It was just me trying to be me and not because I was trying to do anything just because it was natural and it flowed from me.

You now have your own Youtube channel, so how did it feel going back through all the video and music archives putting them out there for people to see knowing there was an interest?
The funny thing is, I didn’t have most of it. I actually had a couple of the tracks from the recorded things that we’d done in the studio, I had a couple of those on CD and the stuff that I’d done for myself on the Heart, Mind, Soul thing and I typed in Devils in Heaven as my wife was talking to a neighbour, I mean I wasn’t looking for my stuff as I’d lived it ha ha but my wife was talking to a friend who lives up the road and was saying that David was in this band and she typed it in to google and it came up with a website, an AOR website that had information about the band on there and it had some comments asking what happened to them so I left a comment on there just saying ‘Hi its Dave and thanks very much for following the band’ and so forth and I thought it was quite amusing that anyone really gave a shit especially this far on, I just thought everyone would’ve moved on a long time ago from what we were doing. So I went to youtube and I typed the band’s name in and I found a few people that had tracks up there and I thought if people were looking for it and I was reading the comments and people were saying ‘Whitney where are you?’ and things like this and I thought, people are actually looking? This is so bizarre so I’ll throw a bunch of stuff up there and I’ll throw a video on just saying this is where I am, I’m alive, I’m older and thank you for your support then and now and it just blossomed, it’s had over 40,000 views since I’ve put it up that channel, plus I’ve added a bunch of other stuff up there, the guitar playing stuff, not just the band stuff but yeah it’s been very interesting how many people have come out of the woodwork and said I used to see you guys, or we love you guys, or I remember this song this was my favourite song, songs that we’ve never recorded.

So I was down in Tassie in September I went home for a couple of weeks to visit my family, and I went over and saw the keyboard player and the drummer and said have you got any video or audio recordings of the band that I can throw up on you tube for people that used to stand in the audience and hum along to those songs 15 years ago. It turns out they had quite a bit actually I was embarrassed about how little I had, they had tonnes of stuff. I contacted a fan, he and his wife used to drive from Melbourne to Sydney to see us play which is pretty intense and he videotaped a lot of the show, so I contacted him and he found me straight away on youtube, he had all these DVD’s he’s recorded so he sent those to me, so I started to get a bit of a catalogue of stuff together, I chopped up and throw it up on youtube for people to listen to, I mean some of its dreadful it’s so bad it’s embarrassing to listen to but for me I’m not really worried about that, I wrote plenty of bad songs and played plenty of mistakes and sang badly but I’m not ashamed of it it’s who I was.

And it’s not like you’re trying to make a career from it now…
That’s it, I’m not pretentious about it, I just do what I do and if you like it you like it and if you don’t then there you go.

Now the voice may be gone but your fingers still work. Watching some of your You Tube videos you still play a mean guitar and always did, but I believe you are planning on posting instructional videos for budding guitarists is that correct?
Well I’m actually testing the waters at the moment because I’ve spent the last two years building a website, it’s still under development and my website which is called teachtheworldguitar.com it’s a market place for musicians where any musician can create instructional videos and put them in the market place for students who are looking for that kind of thing to buy. Just think of it as a super market that you can provide the products and other people who are looking for those products will buy them. And because at the moment, youtube is more like people just doing performances and it’s not very good for instruction, it doesn’t encourage people to put instructional stuff on there because there’s no benefit from it, you work hard to develop something and you give it away and you might get a comment or two that says ‘thanks’ there’s no financial reward in it and musicians put in a lot of time, unpaid time honing their skills, they have to buy expensive equipment and to just give away everything for nothing is what has caused youtube to become a performance site. I wanted to build a site that was based around education, that allows people to share knowledge and to actually benefit from sharing it you know, you can buy the lesson you want from the person you want to get it from for a very small price and for authors that are making videos, they sell 10,000 videos in a year they don’t need a job.

So I’m trying to support the music industry by having this marketplace, creating this market place for all of them because for me, I would’ve loved a site I could go to where I could literally request ‘how do I play this?’ and then have every player in the world say ‘Can I teach you that’ and someone obviously can, they put an instructional video on there and then bang, there’s a few dollars and now I’ve got the information I want and they’ve got some money. I’m trying to help people create a bedroom career by sharing their knowledge with the rest of the world and encourage some real growth in the industry as people are so guarded with their information. And I wanted to see whether people are interested in lessons and it seems that they are and I’m just hoping that I can get people on board to be part of my marketplace.

The thing I’m trying to tap into with my website, the bedrooms of the world are filled with the most amazing players that nobody has ever heard of and I’d really like to give these nobody’s a voice. Because I just know that somewhere out there there’s a truck driver who plays the most incredible Country licks, or an accountant that can play Classical guitar that will just melt your heart. I want to give them an opportunity to shine and show the rest of the world how they can shine and inspire people.

Now, I was always partial to your floral Ibanez Gem you used back with the Devils, do you still own that?
I had two of them actually, one of them I just literally wore out and the other one got stolen in Tamworth, it got stolen, we did a soundcheck and the back door was left unlocked and a kid, a couple of kids actually came in the back door, liked the guitar, sanded the guitar back to wood, chopped the handle out of it, cut the headstock in half, coloured it in textas, they just demolished it totally. They caught the kids who did it, they were up on a number of charges, just troubled kids, but the guitar was done for. And I couldn’t’ afford another one of those. They were a $3000 guitar, even Steve Vai is buying those up now, because they don’t make them anymore and someone was telling me a little while ago that he’s been hunting for them when people sell them and if they’re in good condition because he really likes them.

So what’s your axe of choice?
I still play a Steve Vai Ibanez, I just like the way they’re set it, just suits my hands and fingers and so forth, I never really got into the Stratocaster, I think my fingers are just the wrong size, I just don’t feel comfortable. The white Ibanez is my only electric guitar now and the acoustic guitar I have I’ve had for donkey’s years, it’s beaten to hell. It’s only cheap and nasty but one of these days I swear I’m going to buy myself a nice Maton guitar or something like that, one of those nice acoustics that tend to play themselves.

I mean to ask previously, what are your views on the phenomenon of Idol, X Factor etc in the 2000’s, given the Devils experience with this thing?
Well for a start, they’re a marketing tool not for the artist but a sales tool for the creative of the show. They’re there to sell a TV show, and then to profit from the artist in the short term, very few of these artists seem to go on to long successful careers, they may only last 12 months and then let’s move on to the next one, people want the next thing. And that seems to be to me mentality of the creators of these shows; they’re in to create short term buzzes and then move on to the next one. I also don’t trust them; I don’t trust them at all. It’s been my experience that there is very little in the way of checks and balances for the voting system for those kinds of things. Literally they could tell you anything they want, they can create success or failure however it suits them, this concept that the public is actually making the choice, I don’t believe that at all, I don’t buy into that. I have an acquaintance, he was in a talent show on Popstars and he said to me that he was told that he would make it into the top 4 and he would be knocked out and this was when there were 20 people there and someone said this is the way it’s going to happen and the way it’s going to go. They’d already pretty much mapped out the entire progress of the show and the artists on the show because they’d already made up their mind who they wanted. That was really difficult he said because it doesn’t matter what he did, he knew what the result would be.

You’d like to think that back in the early 90’s before the internet and all that kind of thing that you guys did it legitimately…
I don’t even know whether that was the case. I would like to think so too. But the honest thing is there’s no real checks and balances for these shows, there’s no independent verification of results and I tend to believe that the creators of these shows are always going to be looking for what’s in their best interests, what’s going to make an exciting show, what’s going to make an intriguing show, they’re there to sell bums on seats in front of televisions for advertising sake. Star Search was interesting because we were on there, we’d been touring a long time and we were on there against kids, school kids who had hardly done a gig in their life and it was a very unfair playing field for some of these artists because they just lacked the experience we had from touring for a long time.

I enjoyed doing it, it was the highlight of every week for me, after we recorded Star Search, we would actually go out to Tracks nightclub at Epping and play that night and the show would go to air literally an hour before we went on stage so it looked like we came straight from the studio, because it’s pre-recorded, you do it through the day and it would go to air that night after they’d done all the editing and so forth. And you’d show up to the gig and everyone was high on it because they’d just watched the show and then rushed over to Tracks and it was a really cool time to be us.

Now I have to say that I’ve bought at least 10 of each of your singles when I find them and just give them away to people to say you need to listen to this…
Yeah I couldn’t quite work out why we never had a second opportunity, I’m not sure what we lacked, by the time we freed ourselves up from all our contractual arrangements, grunge had really come in and we were probably as far from grunge as you would get. A lot of people said to me if you’d been around 10 years earlier you just would’ve killed it and I used to say, that’s possibly true but we were not around 10 years earlier and we had the typical suggestions from people that were trying to help us like maybe you should switch over and be a country artist or maybe you should try and do this, basically just copy what was going on and that concept just didn’t work for me, I’m not trying to be anybody else, I’m not trying to write songs to make money, I write songs because they mean something to me and that may be a foreign concept to the record companies who are only interested in profiteering, that’s their business right and I appreciate it and understand it but that’s their whole reason for existing, but I really couldn’t covet the idea of prostituting myself or the band for some financial gain, you’ve gotta be true to yourself first and foremost.

We were at a point where we all knew if we don’t make a change now, then this is what we’re going to be doing for the rest of our lives and it might be a disaster, I’ve seen plenty of old musos who are still trying to struggle along and it’s kind of sad to watch, kind of like watching a homeless person going through a garbage bin, you just really feel for them. I didn’t want to be in that situation, so if I don’t make a change now, I was young enough that I could reinvent myself and I had no idea what I was going to do to reinvent myself but I just knew that I had to do that, so I went back to Tassie and got married and had two children and tried to go down that road and that didn’t work out terribly well and was really quite lost for a while and then I moved back to the main land and a friend of mine got me involved with the tunnelling just to make some money, really just for survival in Sydney and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

Have you ever thought about still writing songs? I heard you had a publishing deal, was that true or not?
Yeah I’m still linked to Warner Chappell publishing through a side company called Elbow Room music, it is a baby of John Brommell who is the head of publishing there for Warner Chapel and a man named Gus, Gus is a friend of our manager Ray Lynn, Gus was brought in very early to our time in Sydney and wanted to be a part of that, he really loved the band so until we paid the debt to Warner Chappell for going to the States and basically everything they’d spent money on with the band then we are contractually connected to them. In terms of have I thought about writing anything else? It’s funny; I just don’t really even go there anymore with the music. I pick up a guitar once in a blue moon for an hour and every now and then I throw a little guitar playing video up on youtube and I get so little time on it, you really have to immerse yourself in it. I have no recording equipment anymore, I sold all my gear, when I moved to Canada I came with nothing but my acoustic guitar and yeah I haven’t ever bothered to get back into it, it’s so time consuming, you really have to just averse yourself in it. I have a wife here and a daughter and a job that takes a lot of hours, it just seems that there’s not enough time to give it the attention it deserves.

Would you ever think of putting some songs together and releasing something independently for fans?
Yeah I mean I still think about playing, I would love to play and do stuff like that, you can take Dave out of the music but you’ll never really take the music out of Dave is the way I sort of feel about myself. I would just hate to have to subject anyone to me singing now, that’s the only thing, because when I sing I tend to sound like a wounded animal and my wife laughing in the background as she knows what I mean and my 3 year old daughter will say Daddy, stop singing. She’s telling the truth. But playing wise I still love to play it’s just the opportunity. I’d still love to play with a band, but it’s very difficult with my crazy roster and trying to juggle family and work without throwing gigs in the mix. I did actually get some recording equipment for my computer so I can get some of these ideas I have mulling around in my head down and start putting them together but I haven’t actually done anything with it yet, I haven’t put down the first sound or sequenced the first drum beats or anything like that, I just haven’t had the kick. If my website was to go alright and I would get a passive income, I would definitely get out of the tunnelling business because trust me, it’s not who I am, and that would free up a lot of time and I’m sure I would refocus my attention back towards the music because it’s me. It’s what I do.

Would you stay over there?
I’m a bit of a traveller so I would say no, I mean my wife’s family is over here so we’ll always come back, I’ll have my dual citizenship before I go so I can come back at any point. I’m not sure where my home is at the moment, it’s basically wherever my wife is. When I come home, I come home to her so until I am free to travel a bit more and decide what I want to call a base I don’t really know if I’ll be here or in Australia or where I’d be.

Are you still in touch with Matt, Nelson and Phil? Do you know what they’re up to these days?
I certainly do. Matt, he’s a cop, he’s just been transferred to Cairns, he’s just finished at the academy, he’s done his first year and he’s been assigned to the police force in Cairns. Nelson, he’s a school teacher, he teaches high school in Launceston and Phil is an architectural designer, he’s a draughtsman. Nelson and Phil still do their due, The Fabulous Picasso brothers and Matt was playing with some guys in a band, but it’s pretty difficult now that he’s been moved to Cairns but he’s still playing bass guitar. The guys are still more involved in the music scene, at least with the live scene than I am anyway.

It’s kind of like the Village People now…
Ha ha ha that’s right. Hope I’m not the gay one ha ha.

Lastly, do you have any messages for the fans that are still out there?
My message is always the same, thank you very much for all the support for continued support long after the band has finished and taking the time to appreciate the music we created and just keep an eye out there may be something in the future mate. The fact that so many people are interested does inspire me to keep trying to produce things for people within the limits of my time.

It has been a pleasure Dave, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Thanks for taking an interest mate and take care.

Essential Information

From: Australia

Band: David Whitney – Vocals, Guitar, Matt Shield – Bass Guitar, Nelson Tabe – Keyboards, Phil Crothers – Drums

Websites: Dave Whitney Youtube Channel 

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