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Hands down one of the most influential blues/rock bands in Australia, even after over 40 years in the industry, Chain are coming our way again for a show at Gateway Hotel. We had a chat to Phil Manning ahead of the gig, and what he thinks of the bands approaching 50th year since forming.
Hi Phil, thanks for taking the time out to chat with Forte magazine, how are you and what are you up to right now?
I’m in great spirits and enjoying life! Lately I’ve been doing a lot of travelling it seems, doing mainly solo shows and occasionally jamming with other players. I did a couple of small shows in Lembongan, Bali a few weeks back (which were great) and since then I have been on planes, trains and been driven every which way.
It’s going to be great to be back in Melbourne for a while.
So over 40 years later and Chain is still one of the most influential blues/rock bands in Australia, is it pretty surreal looking at what you’ve achieved over the years?
Yes, it can seem surreal at times if one thinks about it, which usually I don’t. There’s always something to get on with, so reflection is a luxury I don’t have – not that I mind – being busy is good. Also, I tend to look at other’s achievements more than I do my own or Chain’s. One achievement though is that Matt Taylor and I still play together having started in late ’66 or early ’67 in the Bay City Union – it seems so long ago! Another thing I like is that there are a bunch of people who still love our music after so many years.
In a few years times you’ll hit the 50-year mark, have you talked about doing a celebratory tour at all? Or even another release?
One year at a time is about the best we can manage haha!
Naturally we talk about what we might do next and, yes, there may be a future release but for now we are putting our focus on the immediate things at hand, like the gig on December 6 at the Gateway in Corio. As for the band being 50, it’s hard to even contemplate. It was enough of a shock turning 50 myself let alone a band I was in when I was 20.
I understand you’ve done a fair bit as a solo-performer and with other bands, is it nice to be playing in Chain again on December 6?
It’s always great to play with the band and, in fact, I enjoy it more than I did in the seventies. Then we were constantly on the road and had no time for anything else. Now, we put Chain together for short tours and so it becomes very special for us.
You’ll be doing the show in Geelong too, will you be playing all the classics?
Most of the classics will be there as well as newer material from albums like our most recent one Sweet Honey. I do a solo spot as support and, as a special treat, we’ll be adding the ever wonderful Mike Rudd (Spectrum, Murtceps, Ariel, Heaters) for some classic blues and for a lotta fun.
When&Where: Gateway Hotel, Corio – December 6