What comes to mind when you hear the name Bob Spencer? Maybe legendary and highly talented guitarist? Or, iconic member of the celebrated rock bands Skyhooks and The Angels throughout the ’70s and ’80s? Well, here at Forte, that’s what comes to ours.
Bob Spencer has made himself a popular household name, especially due to his powerful influence on rock music and his passion for everything guitar.
Coming to the Caulfield Racecourse on August 5 and 6, the Melbourne Guitar Show is Australia’s biggest guitar pop-up show and this year will be no different. The Melbourne Guitar Show will host information seminars, demonstrations, and live performances from Australia’s most talented guitarists, with Spencer hosting an ‘Up Close & Personal Session’ at the event.
“Oh it’s all very mysterious,” Spencer says. “I’ll be giving a little talk, I have no idea what that will be on yet. I’m sure I’ll be able to think of something, I’ve been doing this a hell of a long while so I’m not too stressed about it.”
Despite not knowing the exact topic, Spencer assures us that the talk will not be about “how to play faster… it’s awful, it’s annoying and it sounds like a bee in a bottle and they should just shut up”.
It is fair to suggest that topics such as how to play within a band rather than just by yourself will be touched on, with Spencer admitting he usually avoids talking about the deep theory.
“I find that guitar players who get obsessed with theory end up becoming widdly guitar players. It is not to say that theory is a bad thing, theory is great, it’s only that sometimes it’s used wrong,” he says.
It is obvious that Bob Spencer is the ideal man for the job, since his passion for producing vigorous and passionate music is obvious to anyone. Now living in Melbourne, he is active in his band Raw Brit, playing covers from the 1960s and 1970s, originally made famous by English rock bands such as Cream, Free, Deep Purple and Slade, along with spending his time as an in-depth coach for professional bands, helping more mature amateurs as part of the Weekend Warriors program.
“Music with a capital M is the important thing for me. And something else that is very important to me is having people involved in music who are not professional musicians, who are just playing because they want to have fun playing music,” he says.
“It’s actually a really important thing for me because my overview is much broader than just guitar,” he says. The Weekend Warriors program is a way for guitarists to develop skills and learn to become in touch with music as a whole, helping pave the way for these musicians to perform at gigs.
Despite his colourful career and lasting impact which could only be made by someone like Spencer, he admits there’s been a change in the industry which may have detrimental long term effects.
“It is difficult to keep music alive these days with the attitude that ‘everything should be free’, why should I buy a CD, when I can just access it online for free’ so there is a cheapening of music,” he says.
“I think it is an important part of out culture and I think our culture would be poorer without music in the future. It has been important historically. We need to keep it going because we see the benefits of the culture. We’re all responsible, we’re all in this together.”
It takes a true musical icon to recognise the struggle which the musicians face in today’s society, yet to continue to give back to the music culture as a whole and continue to work to inspire new musicians. In other words, it takes someone like Bob Spencer.
When & Where: Melbourne Guitar Show, Caulfield Racecourse – August 5 & 6
Tickets via australianmusician.oztix.com.au
Written by Ruby Cairns