Tanya Catelli caught up with Gwyn Ashton, The One Man Blues Machine touring Australian in 2020.
Q. You’re currently on tour in Australia from the UK. What are some of your tour highlights?
Gwyn: I always like coming home and catching up with family and friends. One highlight is going back to where I started playing guitar, in the town of Whyalla. I haven’t set foot there since I left in 1973. Nothing has really changed. It’s like a time warp.
Q. What’s your favourite part of being a musician/songwriter, what’s your least favourite and why?
Gwyn: I love seeing a new song take shape. It never existed before I wrote it and to have people enjoy it, sing along with it, tap their feet to it and buy it from the merch stand gives me a lot of joy.
Q. How do you get inspiration for your song writing and what process do you use?
Gwyn: No single process. Sometimes a guitar riff will make a rhythm for a lyric, sometimes it’s something someone says or what I read. It’s good to keep your radar switched on all the time for inspiration.
Q. What are some of your favourite instruments and gear?
Gwyn: My vintage resonators, lap slide guitars and old junk shop guitars. I love effects pedals - fuzz, tape echoes, that kinda stuff. Gear to sculpt a sound with.
Q. If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Gwyn: Kill the Pokies. They’re immoral and destroying lives. Streaming services would vanish or just supply 30 second song samples that you could purchase. The media would play new music and not focus on nostalgia radio so much. They would encourage originality and agents/venues would take a punt on new acts.In Australia, I’d say for a lot of musos to take themselves more seriously. Dump the silly tribute acts. We’re the kindergarten of the world music industry, as much as I love the place and am constantly in awe of the talent here. It’d also be nice if some of the venues would do what the European venues do - supply accommodation, meals, have a local promoter to push the bands in their venues. That’s kinda lacking here. Not everywhere, of course. There are some very passionate and hard-working musos and promotors.
Q. Where are you going from here?
Gwyn: Back to Europe for some touring and recording. I may get back to the USA soon, too.
Thank you for your time, Gwyn. We look forward to seeing you in the Shake Shack on Thursday 13 February.