Steve Saxton [Bendigo]

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Steve Saxton [Bendigo]

After the first incarnation of the band floundered due to the usual causes, Berlin Postmark formed afresh a couple of years ago with some success before breaking up for good last month. The rock band’s bespectacled lead singer/guitarist, Steve Saxton, whose past musical involvements include the groups Tomorrow Wendy and Texta, and being a triple j Unearthed solo artist, wasn’t convinced Berlin Postmark had run its course. However, with the group’s final gig taking place a few days after we spoke, he was sad but matter-of-fact about its demise.
“[The end of the band] means that I don’t get to hang out with my best mates every weekend anymore,” he said. “It means the end of a brand that we’d built. The disappointment in it is the fact that we’d just started to get somewhere, from my point of view,” he added.
The old hand, who was enchanted by a high school production of Godspell as a small boy before being seduced by a cassette of heavy metal songs as a teenager, shared some classic happenings from Berlin Postmark’s short life. These events comprised over fifty gigs and include supporting The Whitlams, a video appearing on rage, a totally awesome gig at Aireys Inlet and an until now hush-hush audition for The X Factor after being asked to try out by the program’s producers.
“There’s the skeleton in the closet,” Saxton said about the group’s fleeting rendezvous with reality television, an experience that may or may not be equal to the appearance where there was no risk of dehydration.
“One gig we played in Mooroopna,” Saxton said, “we got paid in water. Not even chilled water, it was just stacks of water up against the side of the stage.”
After rekindling relationships that formed years ago (e.g. Saxton and drummer Mik Weir first met on a bus that was headed to an anti-HECS rally in Melbourne), the quartet came together easily and then progressed to a harder sound largely due to the influence of Weir. Nevertheless, according to Saxton recording proved to be more difficult.
“It’s a pretty obvious journey because we started out with a bunch of my solo songs, playing them as the four people that we are. We picked them up as a band really quickly because we all played together years ago … We all knew each other musically as well as personally.
“I got rid of the Strat and the Fender amp and bought a Les Paul and another amp that I thought suited that style. [We] went off on a bit of a tangent and we worked on more songs and we recorded an EP which took us a whole year of faffing about.”
Although the end of Berlin Postmark, which also featured Paul Van Emmerik on bass and Anthony Murphy on guitar, could have given Saxton the chance to have a break, the hard worker talked about the as yet unnamed group he’s forming.
“I’m going to be working like a cut cat to get this band going,” he said.
He’ll also be continuing his role as the boss of Rock in the Vines, an annual festival that has already showcased the likes of King of the North, Grim Fawkner and John Lingard, a Bendigonian who was waiting to see if he was going to make it through to the last rounds of The Voice at the time of writing.
Steve Saxton will be supporting Aimee Francis on 23 August 2014 at the Babushka Bar, Ballarat.
Written by Darlene Taylor