Almanac Music: Reservoir Rockers




I’m on neighbour Matt’s tiny Yamaha keyboard, learning the opening notes to Love Lies Bleeding, along with Funeral for a Friend, the opening song to Elton John’s legendary Good-bye Yellow Brick Road album.




I’ve barely touched a keyboard in my life.




I’m rushing, as I do everything. And my face mask is forcing my glasses to fog.


Pause after G. Count the beats before F F, I keep telling myself.

Listen for Matt and Joe on guitars.

Got it.

Proud moment.


This has been us most Saturday afternoons since the start of Lockdown 1, gathered on the common land on our block, physically distanced and masked-up.


It’s our COVID thing.


There’s me from No.10 – talentless, tone deaf, yet self-titled Charismatic Frontman (CFM), working on the long-held theory, the louder you sing, the better it sounds.


Joe in No.9 – long-haired hippy, Socialist, home-care worker.


And Matt in No.7 – shaggy-haired hipster, international film watcher, schoolteacher.


Sometimes, Eloise, Joe’s daughter, Amelia, and Daisy the Dog, join in as our back-up singers. Matt’s wife Amy sits in when not stressing over the Tigers.


We pick our artists a week in advance, go away and have a listen in preparation for the coming gig. Often, I can hear Joe rehearsing through the wall.


Come each Saturday, we bring up chords and lyrics for each song on our laptops and phones, have a quick listen on youtube, then have a go ourselves.


You name them, we’ve done them, or they’re on the list. From Dylan to Creedence, The Animals, Dolly, The Zombies, Simon and Garfunkel, Talking Heads, The Boss, Kasey, a tribute to Kenny, and everyone in between.


We go OK, although Astral Weeks, Van the Man’s brain stream, was a bit of a stretch.


Starman by Bowie has become our signature tune and our rendition of Carol King’s Tapestry album has been our best gig so far, the band spread out in my garage, rain tumbling down on the corrugated iron roof.


I know nothing about music, but I know words and emotion and that album is pure genius. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow is the quintessential love song; every word painfully drawn out, asking the most fundamental, yet avoided question of all.


Today, under a soft winter sun, families walk the wetlands out front, and with a bottle of Jameson, amp and power chords at our feet, we open with Hall and Oates’ Rich Girl. Matt had requested another go after not quite getting it right last Saturday. He has spent the week mulling over the tricky key changes from chorus to verse. This time we nail it.


Then it’s Sir Elton. Love lies Bleeding – keyboard intro successful – is followed by title track Good-bye Yellow Brick Road and I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues from the Too Low for Zero album.


Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill gets a go before we move onto The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Penny Lane and most, but not all, I am the Walrus, which is like getting lost in an escape room.


As the temperature drops and Eloise calls for her Saturday night fish n chips, we close with Here Comes the Sun and Revolution, with its defiant electric guitar opening, my favourite Fab-Four song.


We pack up and plan next week – Sinatra and Elvis, fitting considering tomorrow is the anniversary of The King’s death.


We’ll spend the week throwing suggestions at each other – My Way and Suspicious Minds, for me – and joking about our burgeoning musical careers. I’ve declared as CFM I deserve my own dressing room while on tour, like Jon Bon Jovi.


That’s someone we haven’t done yet. Add them to the list.




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  1. Well played, Starkers.
    That is an impressive repertoire.
    Look forward to seeing you guys live some time in the future.

    At the start of this lockdown, I bit the bullet and bought myself a guitar, despite knowing zilch about chords or notes. It’s a slow process, but I am having a crack.

  2. Andrew Starkie says

    Good on ya, Smoke. Can’t tell ya the level of pride from nailing opening to Love Lies Bleeding. Felt like trashing a motel room in celebration.

  3. Really enjoyed this. Especially: ‘the band spread out in my garage, rain tumbling down on the corrugated iron roof.’. Like you, Andrew, ‘I know nothing about music, but I know words and emotion…’ Unlike you, Andrew, I wouldn’t have a clue about how to play any of those songs. Or any song at all. More power to you.

  4. I think the fact I can’t sing or have not a scintilla of instrumental ability multiplies my fascination and appreciation for music tenfold. I’m in awe of what I can’t understand.

    Kudos for having a crack Andrew, if ever there was the time it is now. I’ll be keeping an eye on my home ‘burb Rezza Rockers. Sounds like a fantastic way to pass the time.

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Fantastic Andrew, sounds like great fun. I’ll buy a ticket for your first post pandemic gig for sure!

  6. Danielle Hakim says

    Could this be the next Boy band craze?
    Glad to see you are using this weird time as a creative outlet.
    Rock on! :)

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