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
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
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
"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,
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.