Marshall Okell

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Marshall Okell

Forte chats to Byron Bay’s rocking bluesman Marshall Okell, well known for his energetic and addictive live performances and dedicating his life on the road, playing roughly 200 gigs each year.

We saw you recently hit up Gympie Muster, how was it?
Gympie is a trip! I LOVE it! You really could spend a day just checking out the insane effort the country folk put in to the homemade RUM bars, bull riding devices and the big meaty, happy, farming blokes pulling the ropes to throw the skinny musicians off. We played the Blues Bar and had a great time! It’s the people that make Gympie Muster a kick ass Fest.

You will be performing soon at Pistol Pete’s in Geelong, which is a loved venue not only for its music but for its food as well. What’s your favorite meal to have after/before playing a big set?
Can’t eat before I play – end up in a burping fit! Only so many burp jokes before it gets old and gross. I do enjoy a big dirty kebab or chili pizza after a gig – proper Mus O food.

We know you’re a bit of a fan of surfing, now that you’re down Bells Beach way are you thinking of heading down for a surf?
I swam at Bells with a mate Jeff Curran once on tour in winter in our board shorts. We both went blue and he didn’t stop shaking for hours. There were locals in full body steamers and masks laughing and shaking their heads. I would love to surf Bells one day, but won’t have time this run which sucks.

You’re name is somewhat inspired by other music legends, almost like you were born to be a musician. What would be your alternative career to music if you had to have one?
I did a teaching degree in Special Ed and worked with a heap of the grooms up here for years that need love, solid guidance and positive role models. I would probably be in the middle of Australia doing that – it’s rewarding, real and not about me.

We’re loving your new track ‘Amsterdam’, what were your experiences in the city (assuming you’ve been)?
Wrote that at 6:30am after a 22 hour drive. My old neighbor Charlie likes to get his mower and sniper out super early. I had only been asleep for an hour. That’s when I realised I had run out of smoke and probably wasn’t getting back to sleep. I still have not been to Amsterdam, but I dream about it a lot!

When can we expect more new music to drop from you?
Recording a live album next month with a new single titled ‘Taxi’. First time doing a live record so excited to capture that energy!

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with Forte, is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish up?
Is it still too cold for me to wear my pluggers (Editor’s note: thongs) down there??

Photo by Heidi Flumm Photography

When & Where: Pistol Pete’s Food & Blues, Geelong – October 7 & Rainbow Hotel, Fitzroy – October 8