Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band

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Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band

Ezra Lee & The Havoc Band are a unique group delivering high energy, piano-based music influenced by rock ‘n’ roll, blues, honky tonk country, rhythm and blues, and boogie woogie styles. Forming in 2014, the humble Melbourne-based band have been delivering their distinctive sound all over the Australia and the world. We chat to band member Shaun Havoc about their upcoming gigs, US adventures and what it’s like playing with talented piano player Ezra Lee.

Hey Shaun, thanks for taking the time to chat with us, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

Thanks so much, I’m doing really good and about to head off to a residency gig we have in St Kilda at The Dogs Bar.

So you’re playing at the Echuca-Moama Winter Blues festival coming up. Have you performed at the festival before? If so, what was it like? If not, what do you expect it to be like?

We love the Echuca­ Moama Winter Blues Festival. The band was lucky enough to fill a spare slot last year at The Star Hotel on the Saturday night and we packed the joint. It was a full house with many punters turned away. We have three big shows this year so event goers will have plenty of opportunities to catch the band.

As for Echuca itself, have you had the chance to visit there often? What’s something that appeals to you about playing up there?

It’s a lovely town. The pubs are all great and the crowds are so welcoming and appreciative of the bands playing over the festival. We are looking forward to catching a lot of the other acts during our own spare time between shows.

Separate to all the great music and food on offer, I would recommend a cruise on one of the paddle boats – it’s something I’ll be doing again before heading home.

For those of our readers who aren’t familiar with your band, how would you describe yourselves in five words?

Red hot boogie woogie blues! I had to think about the number of words there – being the band’s drummer I work in fours.

You’ve been involved in a number of bands throughout VIC and NSW, how does this one compare to those you’ve been involved in in the past?

The main thing for me would be how much fun it is playing with a talented piano player like Ezra Lee. We played together a bit when I was living in Newcastle, NSW. When Ezra moved to Melbourne, we put together this line up.

We have a lot of fun bouncing stuff back and forward between piano and drums and between us, we drive the direction and style of the band. Ezra and I do most of the vocal duties in the line up with Kevin Spiers, our guitarist, singing a couple of tunes as well.

We saw you toured in the US earlier this year, how was it?

We had a blast in America. It was our first time playing in the US. Very, very cool! We played a massive weekend festival called Viva Las Vegas, and did some shows in LA the week after. Now that we have sampled a little bit of America, we can’t wait to get back there in 2017.

And it seems to be something that has quite a bit of influence over your music, how do you think the American blues scene compares to that in Australia?

We would certainly consider our act as Americana if we had to nail a style. We play blues, rock’n’roll, boogie woogie, country, swing, honky tonk, Barrel House boogies and r&b.

The music lovers in the US have such a great knowledge of the music and an appreciation for what we were playing was very humbling. We also got to meet and play with some great musicians and venue owners while we were there. The Australian music lovers we play for are no less appreciative of what we do. Good music is good music, and we always aim to entertain with our energetic shows. Our experience with blues fans here at home has always been amazing.

You’re actually heading over again on a 2017 US tour, what are you hoping to do that you didn’t get to last time around?

It’s such a big country with so many cool places to go. We are starting off in Texas next year and working our way back up to California, or possibly heading across the other way and play Memphis and Nashville. We have musician friends in Texas, Arizona, California and Tennessee, and we always try and play with these cats when we can. Recording a few tunes at Sun Studios is also high on the list of things we would like to do. Stay tuned on that one.

Okay, thanks for chatting with us, are there any words of wisdom to leave us with?

Keep smiling. We certainly can’t wait to see lots of smiling faces catching the band during the festival.

When & Where: Echuca-Moama Winter Blues Festival – July 28-31