Coodabeen Champions

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Coodabeen Champions

They’ve been on the airwaves for 35 years now and will be hitting the road with a brand new live stage show to celebrate, I spoke to Ian Cover of the Coodabeen Champions about their upcoming opening show at GPAC on July 10.
“All the features that we have on our radio show we will be bringing to the stage, so there will be plenty of banter from us, with audience participation, a segment with our footy talkback, a whole heap of songs by Greg Champion and the opportunity for a communal sing-a-long of some of the most popular footy songs,” Ian says.
The Coodabeens first hit the airwaves in 1981 on 3RRR and over the years their line up went through a number of changes – just like a football team would go through a number of line up change – before eventually establishing their final line up which includes Billy Baxter, Geoff “Torch” McGee and musician Greg Champion as well as Ian. They have managed to stay at the top of their game, finishing off 2013 and 2014 at number one position in their timeslot and so far in 2015 continue to dominate. Geelong has long been of great interest to the Coodabeens, with Ian growing up in Geelong – now living in Barwon Heads – and even starting his career at the Geelong Advertiser.
“Myself and Billy Baxter, we went to Belmont High School and have been mates ever since – that was back in 1968. Back in those old school days we appeared in what was the old Plaza Theatre in various school concerts and stuff, which is actually now the GPAC Theatre. I’ve been back on that stage a few times hosting various things but this will be the first time Billy and I will be back on that stage together since year 12 in about 1973,” Ian says.
A very similar show the Coodabeens did last September at the Arts Centre was a great success, so the guys have been very much looking forward to taking their Anniversary Tour to towns including Geelong, Dandenong, Hamilton, Colac, Sale and Warrnambool and a number of others.
“We’ve been talking about what we’re going to do for a while, there’s a few emails floating about – it’s like a football match, we’ve got to put in an effort of two halves, the first half and second half we’ve got a structure then what happens after that is a bit like our footy show. We have a format for the footy show, a running sheet, then whatever happens after that is pretty much spontaneous. We did a similar show to this last September at the Playhouse at the Arts Centre, it went well and was a sell out, so we decided to take it on the road and do a similar thing at some of the theatres around the state.”
The shows content will be similar to their radio show and encourage as much audience participation as possible.
“As has been the approach to the show throughout the years, we don’t have a script, we just sort of turn up of a Saturday morning for our radio and just make it up as we go, so it will be pretty much the same format with our concert show. We’ve got a million things to talk about, it will just depend on what’s in the news that day so who knows where it might go, we may recognise someone in the audience or they may raise something that provides as a catalyst for a segment,” he laughs.
“Greg will be pulling out all his best Geelong songs, like to the tune of It’s A Long Way To The Top by AC/DC, It’s A Long Way To Geelong When The Cats Are On At Home. It would be great if everyone that’s coming along could don some footy colours, scarves or jumpers or whatever, we had that in Melbourne and it was really great, that way it makes it easier for us to target people.”
When&Where: 10 July- Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Geelong – July 10, Colac Otway Performing Arts, Colac – August 26 & Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool – September 15
Written by Abbey King