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2003-03-19: Genevieve punts on Perth

The West
by Simon Collins

PERTH is a long way from Sydney, just ask Genevieve Maynard. Despite 15 years in the Australian music industry with Sydney bands Bughouse and Stella One Eleven, the singer, guitarist and producer has never visited our far city.
Next week, Maynard will finally overcome the tyranny of distance to visit Perth to play several gigs and promote her debut solo release, Ghost Notes. She'll be accompanied by bassist Richard Anderson and drummer Josh Schuberth.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the tour will cost Maynard some relatively big dollars.
"I'm losing $5500 on this tour, a personal loss of $5500," she explains from Wollongong, where the trio are on tour. "We're not going to Tasmania or the Northern Territory, only because of finances. Sadly, this is the deciding factor in touring. I can afford to lose five grand maybe once but I can't afford to do it twice."
That harsh reality might make some people baulk at a WA tour. Why doesn't Maynard stick to venues and towns that can be reached by a van?
"It's a business," she says, "and if you talk to any business owner they will tell you they lose money in the first three years.
"I have people on my website who ask me to come to Perth. It's really important to me. It's a big city and an isolated city. It is disadvantaged and it shouldn't have to be disadvantaged. I feel bands should make strong efforts to get there whenever possible."
Hear, hear. Maynard's right-on attitude is a product of growing up in rural Port Macquarie on the NSW coast. "We didn?t get any bands ever and it was always disappointing," she says.
Maynard's solo debut comes after a three-year stint as guitarist and producer for Stella One Eleven. Initially, she was only going to produce singer Cindy Ryan's project.
"I wasn't even going to be in that band," she laughs. "It started off as my side project and ended up dominating my life for three years.
"That?s very much her (Ryan's) vehicle. I had been doing my solo stuff before I got into Stella, then I had to sideline it. You can't be everywhere at once, unfortunately."
After all these years playing second fiddle ? well, guitarist, bassist, producer, et al - to other songwriters and singers, Maynard was worried she might become overly obsessed with her own music.
To overcome this, she worked on a five-track EP in her home studio:
"The EP turned out really well and by the time I got to the album I felt really confident that I was on the right track."
Ghost Notes features 11 tracks of melancholy rock, layered with a sonic sheen. Elements of folk and country seep in, mainly due to Maynard's love of Lucinda Williams. Overall there's a diverse sound ? not surprisingly considering that her tour van listening includes early Bee Gees, The Cult, Front End Loader, Norah Jones and a punk compilation album.
Maynard likes to mix it up. In addition to Stella One Eleven ? whose third studio album is due soon on Maynard's WOW Records label ? and her solo album she's produced albums for Jodi Phillis and Bernie Hayes. And when the music-related gigs dry up, Maynard works as a chef for a big contract catering company.
This multi-talented musician explains that she learnt her culinary skills after starting a catering company with a chef.
"We had the company for three years and I trained with her while I was doing that. It was a great way to learn how to be a chef and a manager because it was my business and if I f---ed up the only person who was going to suffer was me," Maynard says. "I consider myself really lucky that I have two areas I can work in that I enjoy."

Genevieve Maynard launches Ghost Notes at the Cave Bar in Fremantle on March 22. Before then she plays the Prince of Wales, Bunbury, on March 20 and during the day at the University of WA on March 21.

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