Last night, I attended the reunion show for local Melbourne band Trial Kennedy. The band, headed by Tim Morrison, who was on The Voice AU in 2013, broke up the year prior to this, amicably, after many years of touring and recording. On stage last night, guitarist Stacey Gray said they had their first gig together when they were just seventeen and that he was now thirty-eight.
When I first saw Trial Kennedy play at The Corner in Richmond, it would have been around 2009. I was around twenty-nine and it was my first ever live music gig. At the time, I was married and was living a life I was very unhappy with. A friend I was studying with at RMIT took me to the gig and I immediately connected to not only their music, but their creative energy. At the time, I was researching my first novel, and my mentor, Christos Tsiolkas, suggested I research bands some more as there is an Aussie rock band in my book. I remember that it felt like singer Tim Morrison was screaming out my rage for me. The creative energy was palpable and I was taking notes right there in front of them, my mind overflowing with possible scenes for my novel.
There were many factors at play that led to my emancipation, but the creative dynamic I shared with Trial Kennedy inspired my direction. My friend introduced me to Stacey and I told him how blown away I was and could I study them for my novel. Tim and particularly Stacey, were happy to be studied as a basis for the band in my novel, and there were several meetings where I asked them all about what it’s like being in a band. I also wrote poetry about them and even had a major crush on Stacey. When I finally left my marriage and my life was in turmoil, the boys handled the situation gentlemanly, and I went to many of their gigs and became a Trial Kennedy groupie!
Looking back now, ten years later, I think about how uncanny creative energy can sometimes be. Is it just our art that other artists can inspire, or is it more than that? It seems in this case their inspiration went beyond my art. They were like a door to a world I had been sheltered from because of my conservative upbringing. So in that way, they illuminated a path I was needing to walk down. Their art inspired not only my art but my life.
Even in other creative relationships I have had, it always comes down to the person and what they stand for. I have learnt from experience that if the person doesn’t like me as I am – flaws and all – it never works out. I sometimes get involved in dynamics where the person has more clout than me and I think it will help but it always makes things worse. You got to work with people who you think are amazing, both as people and creatives. Great art and successful creative relationships happen, I believe, when you really like the person and who they are because who they are matches up with who you are.
I had the most amazing time at the gig last night. Their music was just perfect. They sound so good live. I went with my friend who took me to the first gig and it was like re-living the night again with the benefit of ten years of wisdom and experience. It was mind-blowing! It is a shame they broke up because I have always believed they all have strong potential as musicians and I would love to hear more music from them. Tim and Stacey were happy to see me, and the boys are still really keen on my novel being published. They were encouraging and it was extremely beneficial watching them perform again at this point in time where I am finishing up with the manuscript for my debut novel, Divided Island and getting closer to being ready to submit to a publisher.