Paul Greene: miles to go.

10 June 2002 | 12:00 am | Eden Howard
Originally Appeared In

It Ain’t Easy Being Greene.

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Paul Greene plays fRET fEST at Souths Leagues Club on Sunday.

Sydney based troubadour Paul Greene has been kind of a regular visitor to Brisbane over the past couple of months, and he’s on his way back for fRET fEST this Sunday. But I did feel kind of bad about asking Paul Greene how his last show went when he responded with…

“Ahhh, actually it was the worst show I’ve ever done,” he laughed. “They absolutely hated us, because they were expecting a covers band… We fought gallantly to no avail. They just didn’t want to listen.”

Unfortunately a sad fact of life for many independent original artists, yet Paul’s take on the issue is refreshing.

 “You’ve got to have a few bad gigs. You just have to talk to people and explain that you don’t need to play covers, because you’re a songwriter. All songs have to be written at some time, and just because you’ve heard them a million times on mainstream radio doesn’t make them any more valid. Just have a listen to something new and see if there’s something you get out of it.”

There’s certainly a lot to get from Paul’s debut disc The Miles, immediately striking an emotional chord through it’s passionate and often touching delivery.

“I just try and be as honest as possible,” he explains. “There’s stuff on the album that I guess is very personal and honest, and I guess it’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t say to my mates at the pub. But I kind of feel comfortable putting them in songs. It’s about being honest and genuine and not trying to be something you’re not. When you think about it, we all go through the same sorts of things and the same situations in a way. Even if it’s not exactly the same, people can relate to it and know what you’re saying. That’s where the connection comes from that songwriting’s about, I think.”

While The Miles is still a relatively fresh release, some of the material on it goes back a couple of years.

“It was recorded last year in six days. Two of the songs I’d had for about three or four years, and the rest was stuff that I’d written over the last couple of years. It all came together really quickly, almost by accident. People would seem to turn up in the studio at the right moment, like Cameron Bruce, who plays with Jenny Morris and Karma County. He just turned up at the studio. There were a lot of happy accidents.”

Also making an appearance on the album is Midnight Oil’s Rob Hirst, who Paul has had a connection with for some time. The pair met while Paul was a member of the Australian Olympic team for the Atlanta games and Rob was working on an Olympic album. Eventually Paul ended up a member of Rob’s other band, The Ghostwriters.

“I’ve been good mates with Rob for a while now. I’ve been co-writing with him, working on another Ghostwriter’s album, but it’s on the shelf at the moment until the Oils finish their tour. That’s been a fantastic experience in itself, working with Rob. He’s been a fantastic mentor. He was actually the person that got me started doing music full time. I guess I wasn’t very confident, and he was one of the first people that told me I could do it.”

Do you think people occasionally need a kick like that to get started?

“I think so sometimes. I never think anything I do is necessarily going to be right. I think a bit of doubt is good. I’d hate to think everything I did was fantastic. It’s really rare to find something new that really moves you. That’s what I’m in search of.”