B105’s Stavulous… an insider’s story.

StavulousRecently IMA was involved in a very fun project…

The B105 (a local Brisbane radio station) morning crew decided that they would form a rock band and perform at the Royal Brisbane Agricultural show, the Ekka.

Now that would seem quite reasonable except…

Stav (vocals and guitar) had played guitar for 18 months and had sung on stage once or twice (but no way that he could sing and play at the same time), Camilla (keyboards) had piano lessons up until the age of 5, Tash (bass guitar) had recently begun to play the violin (she had been playing for three months) and Labrat (drums) had never touched a musical instrument in his whole life…. never ever.

So, really pretty much complete beginners. But that’s ok because everyone can play music yeah? But the Ekka was only 4 weeks away….

4 weeks to prove that EVERYONE can play music. What an outstanding opportunity for us to walk the walk and prove that it is true what we believe – everyone CAN play music.

Now it was not an ordinary situation. Labrat, Camilla, Stav and Tash are overachievers and pretty determined individuals… that is how they have reached the level of career success that they have. They also know how to work hard. And they had great potential for utter public humiliation looming very fast indeed.

Ideal music students!

So here’s the story proper.

We received a call from one of our staff (thankyou Anthony). He had heard on the radio that the B105 breakfast crew were forming a band. They were looking for music teachers to help them to learn to play.

We got on the phone, then sent an email introducing ourselves and pointing to our youtube links so they could see that we could really play. We let them know that we were very excited about this as we could prove publicly what we believe very strongly – everyone can play music! And we could handle all of it for them – drums, violin (early on Tash was going to play violin), guitar, keyboard and voice – we could handle it

I should point out at this stage that things at B105 happen sometimes very quickly… They have hours of chatty time to fill every morning and when you have hours of time to fill daily you have a brilliant idea… and you go for it! This can mean that sometimes the people behind the scenes (hello Andy and Donna) suddenly have HUGE and alien tasks that they have to complete… “We need thousands of rubber ducks for a rubber duck race this friday…”. You get the idea…

They called back (possibly relieved) that they had found one place where they could have all the music lessons that they needed. Seamus did a live to air offering his services and made some lame jokes but was at least able to finish with “Yes indeed, everyone can play music – even the B105 breakfast crew!”

We had a first production meeting, where we delicately discussed things like – when on earth was this actually going to happen, could Tash play bass guitar instead, did they understand that the instruments so graciously donated by B105 listeners possibly weren’t up to the standard of instrument that they would require to play in public and did they understand that if they were doing it live to air they couldn’t rely on looking funny – they actually had to play half decent cause otherwise it was going to seriously suck. Be scared Stavulous… be very scared.

All this was quite easily sorted (thankyou Donna), Seamus showed Labrat a VERY basic drumbeat (he had been randomly bashing the kit and swearing for the last 3 days… he SERIOUSLY could not play…) and Stav possibly also had his first singing lesson that day but it is all a bit blurry 7 weeks after the fact…

And so it all began.

We contacted Billy Hyde Brisbane and asked them if they could provide some instruments for Stavulous to practise and perform on (they didn’t even have instruments… thankyou Kevin and Gareth for getting us out of that one).

Listeners were asked to choose a song and a band name. Within about week and a half the performance date was announced.

So Stavulous (very cute) were going to perform Green Day’s “When I Come Around” in 3 weeks time at the Ekka.

We started by seriously simplifying the song. Green Day can really play. There was no way Stavulous were going to be able to do an exact cover in three weeks. Labrat had a lesson pretty much every day for the first week. Camilla and Tash both had first lessons as did Stav.

And they worked very hard.

Camilla was a bit panicked, as she couldn’t have a second lesson for a week and a bit as her mentor Silas was away touring in West Australia with Women In Docs, but she was always going to be fine (she’s impressive under pressure).

Tash’s part was simplified so that she didn’t have to panic (and she picked up on it REALLY quick).

Stav is such a stage lover that he was going to pull it off just fine – he just had to learn some truths about rock’n’roll. Stuff like, “Rock musicians make it look like it’s a big effort to play – but the truth is that it’s very relaxed and easy”. He was truly shocked.

Matthew (Labrat’s drum teacher) had some very fascinating and expletive filled lessons with Labrat…

We were all a bit worried about Labrat. A rock band lives and dies based on the quality of it’s singer and it’s drummer. Stav would have a vocal mic so even if he totally sucked he could say something clever and possibly escape relatively unscathed… but Labrat only had the drums. And if he got confused and stopped in the middle of everything… well it would be dead air and a LOT of red faces for everyone.

And they worked very hard.

They broadcast their first band rehearsal one morning and heard themselves as a band for the first time.

And then they worked very very very hard indeed…

It did all end up happily – including a world tour of Brisbane a few weeks later but our next blog will fill you in on the gory details…

In the meantime – you can play music too! We’ve proved it now. Head over to our contacts page and leave your details. Look forward to seeing you soon!

Check out the proof here…