The Australian guitar extraordinaire is currently touring in support of his debut book.
Jeff Lang has become a legend around these parts. Throughout his 30-year career, the lauded guitar extraordinaire has released more than 30 stylistically diverse studio albums and in the process, become one of the most accomplished and loved guitarists in the country.
With a reputation for making startling music that is accomplished, intricate, gutsy, melodic and loaded with soul and a unique musical vision that easily finds a home in myriad settings, the humble multi-ARIA winner has adapted that to the written word with the release of his debut book, Some Memories Never Die.
The key takeaways
- Jeff Lang has written his first-ever book, Some Memories Never Die
- The part memoir, part lyric collection is a tapestry of musings from three decades on the road
- To celebrate the book’s release, Lang will hit the highway for the ‘An Evening of Words and Music’ tour
Published last year, the part memoir, part lyric collection is a tapestry of musings from three decades on the road, memories of gigs where the pay was akin to blood money, and reflections on how the road’s twists and turns can be lightened (and darkened) by the presence of fellow travellers.
Comprising a series of stand-alone vignettes, Some Memories Never Die was spawned from Lang’s knack for diving into the unknown, combined with a nudge from his manager and a desire to present a view of what it’s really like to live a lifelong musician’s life.
“For Some Memories Never Die, I wanted to connect recollections from the life I’ve lived to some of the songs I’ve made up along the way. I wasn’t looking to write a linear autobiography, with my life’s journey laid out in order of occurrence”, Lang explains, referring to the result of stand-alone vignettes.
“The inclusion of the lyrics from songs was something that was added into the form of the book along the way, it didn’t start with me turning song lyrics into a book, as much as the stories in the chapters would link up in various ways to songs I’d written. I decided to include those songs to provide a connection between what was going on in my life at certain points with songs I would go on to write, even if the connection was an oblique or cryptic one, at times.”
Bursting with great road stories and great music; blues, jazz, world, and rock, Lang’s writing exudes the same skill and passion as his music. Paired with the humour and warmth we’ve come to know and love over the years, the book effortlessly details the music that inspires him, the mysteries of songwriting, and the camaraderie of jobbing musicians.
An invigorating read for most musicians and devoted music fans to delve into, Lang’s adept ability to provide entertaining anecdotes and insightful observations will have absolutely anyone racing to the very last page.
“It surprised me just how much came back to me from years previous once I had got on a roll in the writing of it. Things I’d not given any thought to since they took place would come back in some detail, even after decades,” Lang explains.
The challenge was finding a way to tell the stories so that people who weren’t there or don’t know the protagonists personally, will be drawn in and relate to what’s being spoken of.
“It’s definitely something that most musicians would be able to relate to, complete with pangs of recognition and the odd wince and cringe for good measure, but I wouldn’t say it’s expressly written for musicians to read.”
“If there was an overarching theme running through the book it was to give anyone who reads it a good view of what it’s really like to live a lifelong musician’s life, at least as I’ve experienced it. To give folks a taste of the life from many different angles, and to bask in laughing at the many absurdities that are part and parcel of this business.”
As an accompaniment to the memoir, Lang has explicitly re-recorded 22 of his songs that are featured in the book, with each song linking in some way to the chapter it follows in the book.
“Early on in the process of writing the book I wrote a few chapters that had explicit connections to some of my songs, so I thought it would be nice to include the lyrics to those songs straight afterwards.
“Once I’d connected a few that way when each subsequent chapter was taking shape, I’d start looking for what song could follow it if there wasn’t a link that was immediately obvious to me. There’d always be a way to linking one of them.”
In celebration of the book, Lang’s currently traversing the countryside for a 37-date national tour running through to July with each show combining music with an ‘in conversation’ and Q&A session.
Coined ‘An Evening of Words And Music’, the tour will see Lang perform live, read excerpts from the book and engage in on-stage conversation about his career in nearly every state and territory in the country, including Geelong, Meeniyan, Newport and Hepburn Springs.
“It’s nice to be busy on the road again after an absence, and the show is different to any I’ve presented before, so it feels like something fresh for me in that way also. I’m playing a bunch of songs from through the years, as well as reading short portions of the book at a couple of spots in the night,” he says.
“And at each gig, I have a different guest moderating a 15–20-minute Q&A section. It’s unscripted and they aren’t running their questions past me before the gig, so each night is unique. It’s been fun so far.”
Catch the lauded musician at The Barwon Club in Geelong on May 14, Meeniyan Hall in Meeniyan on May 15, Way Out West Roots Club in Newport on May 16 and Palais Hepburn in Hepburn Springs on June 26.
Tickets and Lang’s debut book Some Memories Never Die available now via jefflang.com.au