From day one, The Barwon Club have been on the front cover of Forte Magazine. 25 years and 682 issues later, their place still remains. Being the very first person to advertise, embracing the idea of having a local rock’n’roll magazine, and after 32 years of holding the local music scene upon his shoulders, Greg ‘Doddsy’ Dodds is selling up The Barwon Club.
“After three decades here, now seemed like the time. Gary Wilson from the Karova Lounge [the new owner] had approached me nearly two years ago to see if I was interested. We do the same thing, we’ve been conferring on bands for a decade and competing for the same bands so the idea was for him to buy The Barwon Club and just duplicate what he’s doing in the band scene,” Doddsy explains.
“It’s in good hands. I’m envisaging that he will make it bigger and better again with the amalgamation of The Barwon Club and the Karova Lounge. They’ll just put their spin on it and go from there. The punters have got nothing to fear, rock’n’roll will live. They’re just a bit younger and have a bit more enthusiasm. I’m just getting too old and the punters are getting too young,” he laughs.
The Barwon Club wasn’t only the home for Greg and his family, it was the home and birthplace of many bands. You could say if it wasn’t for the Barwon Club, the heyday of 90’s Geelong rock’n’roll that spawned Magic Dirt, Bored!, Powdermonkeys, The Dirty Lovers may not have existed.
We have all heard the stories of Henry Rollins kicking a guy’s teeth in on that stage or when Melvins and Cosmic Psychos played on the same night, when Ox from Poppin Mommas took a 9” grinder to some cymbals on stage and almost set the venue on fire. Countless stories, memories and laughs.
“There’s lot of stories. I remember dragging my mates out the back here one day and saying ‘have a look at these kids playing’ and they were pushing us into the back wall they were so hard and fast, and it was Wolfmother as teenagers. Some bands you could just see that they’ve got star quality and they’ve got what it takes.”
Now in true Doddsy style, he’ll be going out with a bang with ‘Doddsy’s Last Stand’. The big bash will go down on Saturday February 24 featuring a rocking lineup of Adalita (with full band), Hard-Ons, Splatterheads, Warped, Powerline Sneakers, Poppin Mommas and Shanty Tramp.
“It’s great having someone like Adalita who started here as a teenager and cut her teeth here with her bands and watching all the other great bands play here, and now she’s one of the best in Australia,” Doddsy beams. “Splatterheads haven’t played for years [since 2010] and they were one of the early bands here, and the Hard-Ons – I always love the Hard-Ons.
“I remember there was one time they [Hard-Ons] did a world tour and they ended up in a Rolling Stones interview and they were asked where the best place in the world was to play and they said The Barwon Club, which was a bit of a thrill since they’d just been all around America,” he laughs.
With the final goodbye going down on the Saturday, it wouldn’t be a Barwon Club gig without a recovery session on the Sunday.
“I don’t think will be much of a recovery, but it’s the last hurrah. We have the Glitter Gang playing, we’ll do a BBQ, we’ve got DJ Rock Dog and then Hollow Majors to finish off the night,” he says. “It should be a big night; I’m sure there’ll be lots of beers, tears and hugs and laughs and sad moments. As long as the beer doesn’t run out we’ll be fine.”
It’s true, the BC will keep rockin’, but it will lose part of its soul.
“It’s been an emotional time,” he admits. “There’s been a few tears shed with a few long serving staff and punters, it’s going to be different to wake up and not jump in my car to come to the Barwon Club.”
Now, 32 Years and 5.4 million beers later, Doddsy has earned a lifetime membership to the best rock n roll pub in town. This is the time to remember, ’cause it will not last forever. You’re damn right, Billy Joel.
When & Where: Doddsy’s Last Stand @ The Barwon Club, Geelong – Saturday February 24. The pub will still be open to punters with tickets available on the door and tunes in the main bar with Chook & Moluck.
Written by Talia Rinaldo