Billie Joe Armstrong started playing guitar at age 11, Prince started playing guitar at 13, Kurt Cobain got his first guitar at 14, Jimi Hendrix started at 15, and Tom Morello was in his late teens when he jumped on the strings, while Blink-182’s Travis Barker started learning drums at just 4 years old and Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal didn’t learn guitar until he was 30.
It’s clear that you can embrace musicianship at any stage in life; I mean, who hasn’t had a dream of playing to thousands of adoring fans at some stage in life?
Well, it’s not too late to get started on the road to stardom – or just on the road to playing for your partner on date night, or on the stage at the BC on a Thursday night. Whether you’re searching for your dream guitar, need new drum skins, or just an affordable ukulele, the team at Tourbus Entertainment are here to help you.
Located in the charming colonial-era building on Yarra Street, which previously housed clothing store Strumpet, Tourbus Entertainment opened up its doors last month with the intention of not just being another stock-standard music store.
At the helm of the business is passionate local and familiar gear-guru Deniel Bee, and his fearless partner Kitty Chesson, who together have created a hub and sense of community for the region’s talented musicians and lovers of music – an idea inspired by love, the love for all things Music.
With more than 25 years of experience in the music industry, the Tourbus vision has been a long time coming for Deniel, who decided to take the leap and open his very own music-mecca this year.
“This was Deniel’s big vision from 20 years ago; he had the name Tourbus and finally decided to bite the bullet and get it done,” Kitty explains of the Tourbus dream. “We probably started the planning around February, and we got the place around June. We were looking at options, like whether we go purely online, or if we wanted the shop itself, but it was once we walked in here and saw this place, we knew it was perfect.”
Boasting a large open space and spanning across three rooms, you’ll find a great selection of independent artist vinyl, heritage musical instrument brands, music-inspired styled fashion, and merchandise, alongside a range of music accessories
Muso’s will be in their element as they browse a range of amps, bass, electric, and acoustic guitars, drums, keyboards, microphones and studio gear, or as they stock up on picks and guitar strings – all products that you won’t find anywhere else in town! Featuring instruments from brands like Musicman, SKB, Kyser, Daddario, Promark, Evans and Elixir, it’s their pedals which really highlight their distinct unique taste, stocking quirky but top-notch brands like Animals Pedal, Darkglass, Ernie Ball, Kink Guitar Pedals, RNRMF, and Mr Black – just to name a few.
While they’ve got a tonne of stock, we can promise won’t feel overwhelmed by the chaos that you might usually find in your day-to-day music store. Instead, Tourbus have wittingly kept the store open, clean and fresh, ensuring you’ll find exactly what you’re looking every time – and you don’t even have to buy.
“We just want it to be inviting. We want to support live music, and there are so many young people coming through who are just starting out,” Kitty says. “We have young teenagers come in and just sit down and they’ll play for an hour and a half, they’ll try all the pedals, and we want that. We want them to be able to play guitar that they’re probably not going to be able to afford for at least three or four years; we want them to be able to get their hands on it and have that experience and not feel intimidated by it.”
Whether you’re a professional musician, the parent of a tween, you’re just a person with a rather expensive hobby, or if you’ve got no idea what you’re looking for, the team at Tourbus are there to help every step of the way, and it’s not unlikely that Deniel will spend up to an hour, one on one with customers.
Sharing the passion for music with the artists, Tourbus is looking to bridge the gap between the players and the fans, allowing a space that isn’t just for the local musicians, but also for the music lovers.
“You don’t even have to be a music lover,” Kitty explains. “That’s one of our big things, you don’t have to be a muso to shop here. You just have to like music, or want to own something different, or look at something different.”
That’s where their vinyl collection shines. As the resurgence of vinyl is bringing music consumption into a bright new era for absolutely anyone, the demand for the best new music on wax, as well as ownership of the classics and rarities, is rising more than ever – and Tourbus is quickly becoming the one-stop shop for vinyl lovers. Whether it’s rock and roll rarities, psychedelic classics or hip hop crate favourites, the team at Tourbus has done the legwork in tracking the best and most eclectic collection of wax down.
“The vinyl is going unbelievably well,” Kitty beams. “We’re not stocking the stock-standard products you’d find in the bigger stores, so anything that’s not in your top 40.”
Think titles like The Doors, Nick Dave and The Bad Seeds, David Bowie, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, to Slipknot, The Bamboos, Thom Yorke, Cradle of Filth, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Angie McMahon and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. You’ll even find a number of local names in there, including Andrea Robertson. Essentially, it’s all the really good shit.
If you’re loving the look of the vinyl on offer but don’t have anything to spin it on, Tourbus also has you covered with a number of affordable record players hitting their shop front very soon, attempting to bring the joy of vinyl to the masses. After all, nothing sounds the same as it does when you listen to it on vinyl.
It all sounds pretty good so far right? Well buckle up, we’re not done yet.
If you’re a musician or music lover, you’d know music is all about creativity and expressing yourself – much like fashion. There are tons of different genres of music, much like there are tons of different style vibes to choose when it comes to fashion, and when fashion and music combine, great things happen. That’s where Tourbus comes in with their unique range of clothing designed for individuals who are keen to stand out from the crowd.
“The whole point of the clothing is if you want to wear that no one else is going to have, which I think a lot of people in Geelong want to do,” Kitty explains. “We’ve got a whole lot of band merch coming, we’ve got The People Vs, Dr Denim jeans, kooky Quay sunglasses, and we’ve got these awesome guys from Chicago called Straight To Hell, a music-based label that create these amazing jackets.
“A lot of the places we’re looking at are music-inspired clothing lines. We want to support locals too if they fit our vibe, so we’re talking to a whole lot of people at the moment.”
If you’re keen to channel your inner popstar, you’ll find bold accessories and standout clothes that you wouldn’t see in everyday life, you can turn your swag on with their satin jackets, or if rock is more your vibe, you’ll be stoked with the huge range of band tees, ripped jeans and edgy jewellery on offer.
“We thought we’d bring Volleys back too. They’re actually beyond comfortable, and kind of cool and super affordable.”
Staying true to the unique and gritty vibe of rock and roll, Tourbus won’t be losing any sleep over political correctness either, stocking a tonne of products that some might consider ‘offensive’, including some pretty rad hand gesture candles.
“We’re not going to go out of our way to purposely offend people, but I like my candles, my candles are the coolest thing I’ve ever seen and I just thought ‘they belong’. They’re amazing.”
Our personal favourites from the fashion department? The Straight To Hell Hero Satin Jacket, Guitar String Jewellery, and the sweet Volley’s saying ‘Fuck Off’ on the tongue, ‘cause that’s something we can most definitely relate to.
“The whole idea is to stock things you’ve never seen. We want to be out of the box, we want people to be able to come in and have fun.”
We love the music, we love the clothes and we absolutely froth their vibe, but what’s even cooler about Tourbus is that their in touch with the fact that the internet is becoming our marketplace.
Increasing the availability and improving the accessibility of music for Australian customers, Tourbus Entertainment is ensuring that experimenting or pursuing music, and even having a vinyl collecting hobby, does not have to be expensive or out of reach – for anybody – becoming a new hub for Australians to get their hands on the best instruments and titles, and get them delivered quickly, and for free.
“Everything in-store is available online and we have been shipping Australia-wide,” she explains. “There are so many people who are in country towns who rely on being able to play music and be involved in that because you don’t need to go anywhere; it’s not a hobby you have to be in a club for or go to training for. You can pick up your guitar anywhere.”
While ensuring music doesn’t have to be out of reach, Kitty explains that except for the vinyl, all the stock in-store isn’t price-tagged, and instead, is matched to the online price at the time of purchase.
“The prices are on our system, which we update once a week according to what’s online, because that’s what people do, they price-match and compare online, because there’s no point having $15 strings if you can get them for $10 online somewhere else.”
The Tourbus experience is filling a gap in the local market that currently sees music fans looking to national and international sources for their purchases, while simultaneously providing a hub and sense of community for those who want to make music, discover new music or just be involved in the local music scene.
With some of the most rocking clothing on the market, as well as gifts and music gear all under the one roof, Tourbus Entertainment is the ideal destination for both the talented musicians, lovers of music, or for those of you who just feel like treating yourself just the little bit… because why the heck not?
Tourbus Entertainment is located at 65 Yarra Street, Geelong and is open Tuesday – Sunday. You can even shop online via tourbusentertainment.com.au