DIARY - 14 DECEMBER 2006 - DANNY GEORGE WILSON
GEORGE WILSON - MAD MILE HIGHWAYMAN
"I left that old car to rust/ I don't shine her anymore/ now the
dash is thick with dust/ and things are growing on the floor." -
Famous Mad Mile - Danny George Wilson.
was born in Nambour, Queensland and lives in South London.
And he gave one of his most impromptu concerts on a bus outside
a famous Austin nightclub owned by a famous Texan who died on the
day of this interview.
Danny George Wilson also had his songs featured in American TV show
The Shield and English sporting spectaculars.
It's a far cry from Nambour and infancy at Maroochydore on the Sunshine
Wilson enjoyed the journey, first with country band Grand Drive,
and as a solo artist promoting his disc The Famous Mad Mile.
Joined on harmony by New York folk singer Jess Klein, he has won
airplay on BBC 2 radio, Americana stations and public radio here.
it was that hot night standing outside famous Austin blues club
Antone's that he remembers vividly.
Grand Drive were chatting to owner Clifford Antone, just released from
a three-year jail term in Bastrop prison for a dope bust in the car park
outside his club.
"It was a very bizarre night, we played Antones, had a bus outside
and were talking on the street with Clifford," Wilson, 33, told Nu
Country in a call from his South London home.
"It was such a weird night, this guy flew in to see us, missed the
show and they said why don't you let him on the bus and do a set for him
which we did. It was one of the weirdest nights we've had but brilliant
night after all."
So where did the celebrated guest fly from?
"He flew in from New York, a long trip," Wilson revealed. He
was a big Texan guy.
No, it wasn't Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman."
shocked to learn of the death of Antone, 56, from a heart attack the day
of the interview.
Antone, who served two terms for marijuana busts, promoted his blues record
label from the club he started in 1975.
He launched artists diverse as Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Thunderbirds
and Angela Strehli.
"Clifford's death is a real shock, I was reading about him recently
in Texan Music - a magazine sent to me by a friend," Wilson added.
Wilson has vivid memories of driving for 15 years on a famous mad mile
at Sutton in South London en route to Surrey after his family returned
to the UK when he was just four.
Far more vivid than his infancy at Maroochydore where his grandfather
ran Wilson's Emporium.
"I'm one of five kids and my parents had been back to England on
their honeymoon and stayed a while, came back to the Sunshine Coast and
had three more kids. They decided to have another go in England. They
came to Sutton in Surrey."
mad mile is not to be confused with one at Killarney eulogised by
Shipwreck Coast rockabilly band Slap N The Cats in Rockin' At The
"In most outer suburban or rural towns there's a mad mile where
young guys spent the best or worst of their time," Wilson revealed
of his song.
"I was never a souped up car boy. It's a road from where we live
to get out on the big motorway that circles London and to the countryside
- the road often travelled. The mad mile is about lots of people and
friends and romance of that and in many ways the hollow romance. There
is a line in the song 'for all the miles we drove we never went anywhere.'
Treading water when you get to my age is on lot of people's minds."
a theme in Wilson songs diverse as Old Soul, Somewhere Else Instead
and Fishing Line.
But The Bellringer honours an historic highwayman who terrorised
the green fields.
"It harks back to English folk ballads," Wilson revealed.
"I wanted to sing a very English Johnny Cash song - a murder ballad
where no-one dies.
The character has an auction house pistol and Zephyr 8. He was a Brockley
Jack to the Methodists. Brockley Jack is a pub near where I live named
after a Dick Turpin highwayman in South London."
But it was Grand Drive song Firefly that graced U.S TV crime show
"It's a story song, very folkie with fiddle," Wilson added.
"Grand Drive song A Little Like You was used on huge football
match recently and Maybe I'm A Winner was used in the huge montage
at the end of the Masters Golf."
Wilson returns to the country of his birth for a tour to promote The
Famous Mad Mile on Inertia and his Grand Drive back catalogue.
He is among the headliners at the Harvest Festival at Red Hill on January
20 and 21.
CLICK HERE for dates from TONKGIRLS'S Gig Guide.
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