Driver [Surf Coast]

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Driver [Surf Coast]

People don’t often think that playing in a cover band is something that is hard for musicians to do, but according to the guys from Surf Coast cover band Driver, it can be harder than playing your own original material. The band’s line-up consists of bass player Stewart Tyrer, guitarist Nathan Bennett, keyboardist Robbie Dalziel and drummer Adam Gilliver, four musos who says they’re just a part-time band playing “basic meat and potatoes rock ’n’ roll”.
“We probably only do six or seven gigs a year,” he says. “We’ll do private stuff if people ask us; weddings and stuff like that. But we’ve played in Colac, at the Birre Festival, in Aireys down at the surf club. The last gig we played was a wedding in Barwon Heads near Diver Dan’s … We don’t play regularly.”
While Stewart and Nathan have been performing as Driver since they were teenagers, Adam and Robbie have only been playing with them for the last few years. “We’re part of the franchise,” Robbie jokes. Their repertoire consists of largely classic rock ’n’ roll, with a mixture of songs from Cold Chisel, The Angels, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Queen, Icehouse and The Black Keys, to name a few.
They try and play the songs that people want to hear. While this might sound a relatively simple task, Adam believes playing in a cover band is trickier than people realise. “Playing in Driver is a lot harder, I think, than playing in other bands because the other bands are all original music. So it matters what it sounds like to the band’s members, but it doesn’t matter what it sounds like to the audience because they don’t have any preconceived idea about what you’re playing.”
Robbie shares this view, but concedes it does have its own rewards. “They [audience] all dance, they all sing them all. It’s return singing, it’s not over-complicated. Everyone’s going at the same time and you can back off and let them have a go …Once you get the train moving, it’s hard to stop it. It’s a little bit tougher. It’s really good, though, when you nail them.”
But just like most other bands, the guys from Driver just hope their audiences enjoy the music and have a good time. “Even if it’s not your cup of tea musically, you’re still going to be drawn in by the infectiousness,” Robbie says. “It’s got sort of a warmth.”
And you can be sure that when you see Driver perform, no one will be leaving any effort backstage. “We love to play,” Adam says. “We don’t get a gig that often [so] we give it our best effort because we only get to play about six times a year. We try and make sure that it’s the kind of gig that you’d like to go to yourself, as well as playing it.”
Driver’s next gig is at the Birregurra Festival on Saturday, October 11. While their gigs are rare, they’re sure to be fun-filled with “lots of girls dancing and beer getting spilt on the floor,” according to Adam, as the audience listens to what Robbie calls “130 beer-drinking songs”. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of that?
Where&When: Birregurra Festival – October 11
By Daniel Waight