Michael Hole is a Sydney based singer songwriter and recording artist. Like many Australian rock musicians, he has a broad range of influences that shape his sound to be just that little bit different from the rock music of the rest of the world. Michael was born in Bristol, England and brought up in Australia. Raised on a healthy diet of beatles, pop! And space oddities, he has grown to become an accomplished songwriter with nearly 200 songs to his name. Michael Hole's tastes vary from the poppy, gentle, crisp and acoustic, to dark, heavy and alternative rock, but always melodic and always well crafted. Over the past few years he has been the singer and co-writer in 8 bands, but only in the last two years has he taken to marketing himself as a solo artist. Now for the first time, in 2006, he has launched himself on the web as a fully fledged Australian songwriter. A Little Bit of History Like so many Australian artists, Michael has a long, convoluted musical history. Before he had the confidence to join or form any bands, he spent a lot of time writing songs either in his head or on his brother's 4 track recorder. He also spent a good 7 years playing clarinet in symphonic bands, learning classical theory and teaching school kids. In college he studied electronic music, which in those days was focused more on Musique Concrete than drum machines and dance music; a much more avante garde style than most electronic music these days... This all got him started, but he didn't have the confidence to perform until a couple of friends invited him around for a jam... 'Soulstice was my first real band. Dougal McPhie (guitar), Dan Louvrick (guitar) and I started jamming while I learned how to play the bass. Over 12 months we wrote about 10 songs of a tripped out, psychedelic bluesy, at times old style punk, nature until we met an army officer, Cameron Darrow who offered to play drums. Within 3 months we did our first gig to a live audience outside our house in Hackett Gardens, Canberra, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We went on to gig for about 15 months until our varying levels of commitment were tested, and we did our last gig at the Civic Youth Centre which rocked! Out of this project we recorded 7 songs at the 2XX community radio station which we called 'Kings of the Carnivalesque', and another 10 songs in a friends garage called 'Burning the Candle'. We made up a few tapes of these and gave them to friends and family. There's probably a few floating around still. After Soulstice, Doug and I were still keen, and my girlfriend Melissa Freeman worked with us to put together a fun party covers band, doing stuff we liked from the 60s and 70s. We called it Burgundy Jam, after one of our Soulstice songs. I was lead singer, and Doug was lead guitarist. On bass we had Ian Batterham (Bat), drums Bernie O'Reagan (sadly deceased), keyboards Steve McGrory, backing vocals Lexy Lamas, sax Paul Buckley and Melissa was the manager. We had heaps of fun for a good year and a half, and spent many an evening jamming, writing and having a jolly good time. That is until the large social dynamic ate itself and the band was over. There was a short period when Bernie went walk-about and we had another drummer called Imanst, but like all good Spinal Tap stories, he went on a 2 week trip to Queensland and we never heard from him again. We wrote about 10 songs in various combinations as a group and recorded a couple, and they're all in the archive. Indelirium Once again I wanted more, so Steve McGrory and I set up a new band with Reyner Keik on drums. We auditioned and jammed with a few different guitarists until we found Pin Rada. He was a very talented inspiring player. I wrote a lot of songs, Pin wrote some, Steve and I wrote some and then we jammed a few out. The band was fantastic. We were a kind of indy, phaser, hard rock band with a light, poppy edge. People didn't seem to quite know what to make of us, especially when I wore leather pants on stage. For grungey, indy Canberra at the time, that was way too cock-rock, but you get that and luckily times have changed... We gigged quite a bit for another 18 months and laid down a good 20 tracks in lounge room recordings, but I also wrote a lot of other stuff in that period which is still very relevant now. Unfortunately we split due to 'artistic differences' and left behind what I believe could have been a very successful band. Pin and I continued for a while and put together a totally instrumental band with an excellent drummer Ross Bingham. That went on to be called 'Domingo' and was very successful in Canberra and Melbourne, but I'd moved on by then as I applied to an ad which turned out to be very interesting... Flat Earth Society This was a fantastic band. It brought together all of my influences from the obscure to the rock. Greg Harmston-Jones was an amazing guitarist, having played for years, but he was also deaf in one ear which I think added to his whole experience of music. His long term girlfriend Edwina Howard has been playing bass for about 18 months and with his tutoring was a natural. I jammed with them one day, singing out of my crappy p.a. speaker and we just clicked. Stuff just came out. From the first jam I started writing lyrics and coming up with melodies and structures and within a few weeks we had newly graduated jazz drummer in Alex Johnson. Within 3 months we were gigging with a whole bunch of original songs which ranged from quirky, avante-garde to serene beauty, to punk and metal. In some songs I sang, others I growled and some I rapped. We recorded 4 songs and released them as a tape called 'a strange fixation'. Later we recorded 3 more songs, two of which went on the local Canberra band CD compilation 'Leggo Land Strikes Back - Smurf Wars'. These two songs 'Sand Oyster' and 'A Suit is Conceit' typified the extremes of our music. We ended up doing a live to air recording at 2XX radio station which remains as the last archive of the bands music. Unfortunately Greg and Edwina were also jamming with some other guys by this point and I could see the writing on the wall. A whole bunch of other things were coming to an end in my life so I thought it was time to move on, and within a few months I had moved to Sydney. Something I'd been wanting to do for years. After the big move interstate there were a few bands I jammed with, some for a period of time others just writing projects. The most memorable was with a guy called Dan Caganoff who later went on to win the Sydney section of the first TripleJ Unearthed under the name 'Ariels Spans Earth' - great name. We also had a drummer called Tim Tebbit who went off to play with Nuno Beckencourt and a bass player called Greg who seemed unimpressed with me which lead to us going our seperate ways. Still, I wrote a few songs in that period which I have saved for future projects. Northern Lights My brother met this guy Michael Olliffe (also known as Michael Franklin) at a party playing a few of his songs. He told Michael to contact me as he thought we'd get on well. He was right. Michael and I hit it off straight away and started jamming along with his brother David and another guy called Paul or something. That project didn't really go anywhere, although Dave's other band 'The Vines' has done just a bit well!!! He used to play me low-fi tape recordings of their songs and I was quite blown away when I found out the deal they'd struck up with assorted record companies. Of course Dave is no longer with the band, but he's very much a part of it's spirit. Meanwhile, Mike and I decided to do some recordings of his songs on my Cubase set up at home. He played guitar and sang, and I played bass, engineered and produced it all. We also got in a violin player (Guilia?) on one track and used the keyboard for other parts such as piano, brass and drums. We ended up producing a very nice 7 strack CD called 'Northern Lights - 1998-2002'. The Corporate Services Big Band I worked in the Corporate Services division of the Commonwealth Department of Health and someone came up with the idea of putting together a party band. I played bass and sang a few songs with Paul Grogan, Cynthia McDermott, Dario Bicego, Kerryn Stanton, Paul Wickham, Paul Musso and Peter McGee as Christmas Elvis. All were classic rock covers a bit like in Burgundy but with a bit more fancy dress. Needless to say we had a damn fine time. Paul Grogan and I also tried to get our own project going called 'Glossilalia', but they just ended up being Paul's songs laid down on my Cubase setup with me singing. I have a memory of Paul's very bad smelling Dunlop Volleys and him saying that he could only do music and a job if he'd given up drinking and wasn't in a relationship. Then he started drinking again and got back with Cynthia so the music took a back seat. He's since married a Greek girl called Christine, moved out west and had a number of kids, or so I've heard. Doubt he does much music anymore, nor much drinking, which is a shame, because I reckon he's a genius. Especially in wit! He also laid down some magical guitar on my song 'Bitter Pill'. Valerie Masters and the Lords of Discipline At the same time I was asked to join another departmental band as the whole thing was part of a talent contest. This one was a bit more punk than the other. I played bass and we did a few modern pop songs. Personnel included Tom Easton on guitar, Scott Hamilton on vocals, Mayer Richmond-Tanner on vocals and Helen Easton on drums (great girl drummer). The highlight has to be instigating a mosh pit on the 6th floor of No 1 Oxford St - an office building! Monkey Boy This was one hell of band. We rocked hard with a great Tool/Soundgarden/Stone Temple Pilots feel. Really loved this band and all went very well for a good 18 months. Like Flat Earth I started writing lyrics and melody lines from the first jam and within 3 months we had a 7 track CD called 'Intestinal Avenger' which Richard Flaus, the bassplayer, couldn't resist naming given his attraction to garlic chicken sausages. These were funny guys. Tony Gibson on guitar, Bruce Tathan on the Hammond organ and Ari Chandler on drums. We drank a lot, I took up smoking for a while, let them shave my head on New Years Eve and we recorded 5 more great songs. We also wrote a whole heap of other stuff which didn't get completed. We did quite a few gigs in a short period of time and after 18 months were starting to get a small following. TripleJ played us on the morning show and Three Hours of Power, but that was until the old drummer-ego monster reared it's ugly head and the band broke up. We reformed again about a year later with another drummer called Matt but the vibe wasn't there and after a couple of gigs we just never got back together for a practice or even a beer. We're all on good terms but I think that period of my music career is over... although anyone looking for a really powerful melodic hard rock band should listen to the songs and give us a call. We could easily be talked into getting back together to write some more songs and record another album. Another Roadside Attraction (ARA) This isn't my band. Nor is it a choir in the normal sense of the word. It's an underground acupella group I joined about four years ago and it continues to be a great musical experience. We do fantastic indi pop songs by people like Nick Cave, The Church, The Smiths, Elvis Costello, Neil Finn, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Hoodoo Gurus, Beck and Don McGlachen, and then there are heaps of indigineous songs from different cultures such as East Timor, South Africa, Gana, Georgia, Samoa, Cuba, Papua New Guinea, Jewish songs, Hungarian songs, you name it, there's always a new one coming. In a previous incarnation ARA supported Paul McDermott in his live version of 'Throw Your Arms Around Me' on Good News Week, and they've also played Woodford Folk Festival and the National Folk Festival in Canberra. I'm just in the process of teacing the choir my new arrangement of The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony and it's starting to sound really good. We're also planning on doing a proper recording of 10 or so songs sometime this year, so stay tuned... Or not! I joined as a bass singer but mostly sing tenor these days. I get to have lots of fun as it's a great group of people, and Tanya Sparke, the choir director is a great singer and arranger. The group used to be lead by Stephen Taberner of The Spooky Men's Chorale fame. He is a very talented man who has had quite an influence on my music in the last few years. Michael Hole (solo) I began by demoing the songs up at home on my Mac, then I recorded a selection with producer/songwriter/musician extraordinaire Barbara Griffin - also known for her work with Alex Lloyd. I met Barb through another friend Latu Harper (also a great songwriter) whom I met whilst doing a gig with the choir. Barb has helped me to make these songs sound great. We got Kinnon Holt to play the guitar parts and he rocks. He used the most crappy scratched silver painted $30 semi-acoustic guitar out of a beaten up old Marshall and old style Ibanez effects pedals, but just listen to what he does with it. Fantastic! '3 Songs' is my first proper solo release, and I'm now at work on the next release - name, songs and length yet to be decided...'