Pete Murray

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Pete Murray

He is arguably one of the best singer-songwriter’s Australia has produced, an avid surfer, restaurateur, a doting dad – and he certainly knows how to rock a shirt vest – but what you may not know is that Pete Murray has a cheeky sense of humour to boot.
“Bernard Fanning is a really good mate of mine and I’m looking forward to when Bern’s playing so I can throw some eggs and tomatoes at him!” he teased when I asked about playing at Werribee’s Live on the Lawn Festival on March 16. “Only kidding – the show is going to be great. I’ve got good friends on the bill, and it’ll be a special one. I’ll play songs from all my albums, not just Feeler.”
Pete is referring to the fact that he’s currently on the ‘Feeler – 10th Anniversary Tour’, which has already seen him play sold-out shows across WA, QLD and NSW. “I’m back together with my old band The Stonemasons. They’re such a great band – I always have heaps of fun with those guys. I’d been really looking forward to getting back to play with them again. It’s like old times, but that scares me a bit actually… They’re pretty wild boys!”
Along with the nation-wide tour to celebrate the anniversary, Feeler has been re-mastered at London’s Abbey Road Studios. The restored version contains a bonus disc featuring the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra performing the breakthrough album in its entirety, mixed with original album masters. Sony has also released a ‘Deluxe Edition’ that includes a third disc – a DVD with original footage of Pete and his band in the studio during the recording sessions.
“Personally, I was really impressed with the re-master of Feeler, and the bonus disc with the orchestra is incredible. It sounds fantastic and I’m really happy with it. I didn’t think it would make that much difference, but it really does.
“What surprised me the most are the solo tracks like ‘Freedom’ and ‘No More’. With the strings on them now, they sound really powerful! ‘My Time’ is another song that sounds really beautiful, but they all sound amazing.”
Speaking to Pete now, his pride regarding his definitive record is obvious, but he admits that was not always the case: “It’s funny. After I finished Feeler I fell into the post-album blues and I lost all confidence in it. I didn’t think it sounded very good – I thought my career was all over,” Pete said.
“Anyway, we put it out and the singles began getting radio play – it really started to take off. But I still didn’t really like it. I struggled with it and I couldn’t listen to it from start to finish. I could only get three or four songs in before I had to turn it off! It wasn’t ’til about two years later when Darren Littleton from Powderfinger texted me saying what a great album it was, and I kind of went, ‘Wow! What is it about this album that people love so much?’ I didn’t know because I hadn’t listened to it properly. So I put it on for the first time in nearly two years and listened to it from start to finish. That’s when I became really proud of it. It was a good feeling to get to that place.”
I replied that I never would’ve thought that was the case, to which he responded, laughing, “I know, but that’s me! That’s coming directly from the man himself!”
Not surprisingly though, Pete had a lot of encouragement from the people around him and he credits them for helping him to continue pursuing what he now believes was his fate. “I believe in fate, I really do.
“When I was younger, I loved playing rugby but I kept getting injured. Soon I started thinking to myself, ‘I don’t think the big fella up there wants me to play – there’s got to be something else for me’. So I believe it [the injuries] was meant to happen. I was meant to meet my friend Charlie who told me to go pick up a guitar. He got me into it, so I named my first boy after him.
“I also had a lot of support. My sister and brother-in-law would constantly tell me I had potential and soon other people would see it too. This was back when I was just starting out, before I’d ever made an album.”
In 2002 Pete released an independent album called The Game soon after he moved to Melbourne and began actively pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter. “That was around the time I realised that here was a chance it would happen for me. Not long after, I began writing ‘Feeler’.”
Although he’s candid about his struggle after its release, Pete maintains that he had a clear goal during the writing process: “I really wanted the songs to be timeless – I didn’t want it to be here today gone tomorrow. I really wanted it to last a long time, and I think it’s doing that. It’s such a nostalgic album now that it means a lot to a lot of people, and getting back with my old band will create a lot of great moments.”
Before the gig at Werribee, Pete and The Stonemasons will be in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong. “I’ve always had a lot of support in those areas, and I’m looking forward to going back. What I find now is that mothers, fathers and their kids are coming to the shows. I have families rocking up! It’s been really incredible”
When&Where: The Capital, Bendigo – March 12; Regent Multiplex, Ballarat – March 13; The Wool Exchange Entertainment Complex, Geelong – March 14; Live on the Lawn, Werribee – March 16.
Written by Natalie Rogers