DIARY - 3 JUNE 2012 - MICK THOMAS FEATURE
THOMAS - MALTBY MAGIC
left Willie and Waylon waiting in the van/ Willie and Waylon waiting on
the man/ for the light to fade for the camera crew/ ah c'mon John, there's
work to do." - Maltby By-Pass. - Michael Thomas.
minstrel Mick Thomas and his elderly mother were visiting his dad
on his deathbed in Geelong hospital when the TV news broke - Johnny
Cash had died.
Less than two hours later on September 12, 2003, the Thomas patriarch,
a former SEC electrical engineer, was also dead.
"I remember looking at the TV and saying 'mum I reckon this
is it,'" Thomas recalled of telling his mother of the parallel
of the two deaths.
"I thought people are a world apart but they're not that far
Thomas's father, a Cash fan, was 78 and Cash was 71.
"Dad was a Johnny Cash fan all his life," Thomas, now
53, told Nu Country TV when promoting his 12th CD Paddock Buddy
in 2006 with his band The Sure Thing.
died of Parkinson's and Dad died of a similar illness. Dad wasn't
a man who loved music full stop. Cash was the artist he loved."
Thomas didn't have to dig deep into his memory bank for a fertile musical
and geographical nexus between the two septuagenarians for his song Maltby
He vividly recalled the day in the seventies when the family's powder
blue EK wagon broke down in the same area where Cash shot cover pictures
for an album.
"We were left waiting for hours by Dad's car with our dog while dad
climbed under it as we waited for the RACV," Thomas recalled.
"Two decades later Cash was touring here with The Highwaymen and
needed a photo for the cover of American Recordings. He was on
the way to Geelong and Willie and Waylon were left waiting in the van
until the light was right for the photographer. I verified the dogs on
the cover were called Sin and Redemption."
when I left you in a cab down on Brunswick Street/ for the longest week
you stayed away from me/ but I got you back, it didn't seem long/ like
the way you came, I got you for a song." - Tommy Didn't Want You
- Michael Thomas.
master story teller, has used his B.A. in English literature to great
effect in a 30 year career preceded by pit-stops in towns diverse as Yallourn,
Horsham, Colac and Geelong suburb Herne Hill.
blazed a trail with Weddings Parties Anything that produced
his sole commercial radio hit Father's Day and morphed into
solo projects, musicals, plays and overseas and national tours.
Monday's Experts, a regular earner on TV, still has legs
on radio and Saturday Night In Halifax ignited a royalty
stream as it embroidered a Canadian beer commercial.
The Sure Thing album was destined to extend his longevity
in an industry where many artists have a shelf life of less than
again it's the strength of songs, littered with a rich history and
delivered with a credible passion, that impact.
love laments - like passion for a guitar in Tommy Didn't Want You.
"You want love songs to justify themselves," Thomas revealed.
"This song is really about my guitar. It was made for Tommy Emmanuel
but he didn't want it so Maton sold it to me cheap. I got a feeling can
I really buy this guy's guitar? But when it comes down to it can you afford
it? I could. I bought it in 1993-4 and did leave it in a cab in Brunswick
Street and we were apart for a week. Someone else will play that guitar
in 30 years. B. B. King wrote about Lucille and Johnny Cash wrote of his
guitar. With passing of time and playing this guitar has got really good."
Although it's 15 years since Thomas enjoyed commercial radio exposure
his ability to connect through songs on ABC and community radio and TV
has been enriched in the print media oft distracted by fickle fads.
put the highway around this town/ it's time to pull the shutters down/
pulled the shutters down on this tired littler shop/ they put the highway
around this town." - Tired Little Shop - Michael Thomas.
embrace movie directors' youth fantasies in a duet with Angie Hart on
Lust In Translation, latter day domicile in Half Way Up The
Hill, love metaphor in A Coat Of Paint and passing of time
in Forgot She Was Beautiful.
Tired Little Shop, inspired by a road trip, impacts on two levels
- death of towns by-passed by highways and differences between houses
"It was written after driving down to Melbourne from Mildura and
stopping in towns doing it tough," Thomas recalled.
"It's a generic town akin to Richard Thompson's Withered &
Died but not the same league.
It was more a feeling in your heart about opening a shop each day and
no-one comes in - no-one wants to buy. There is nothing sadder. But there
is more to it. You see these ads about new estates and selling of homes.
But you can't sell a home - a home can only be made. It's insidious houses
are advertised and mistaken for homes."
Thomas and his new band The Roving Commission recently finished a national
tour to promote 20th CD The Last Of The Tourists they premiered
at the 36th Port Fairy Folk Festival in March.
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