Bill Tolson has been in and around Melbourne’s rich music scene from when he was at school with Nick Cave, who would perform in their school cafeteria at Caulfield Grammar.
Not long after leaving school Bill launched and operated the iconic Greville Records that today is still opened as a funky eclectic shop for second hand vinyl & CDs.
After working in music management and starting his indie label Rampant Records Bill’s journey took him to the corporate world where he stayed for a long time.
About three years ago he re emerged as a prolific full time singer / songwriter as a way of dealing with the cataclysmic and tragic death of his son Conor Tolson also a prolific songwriter musician.
Since 2015 Bill has written, produced and release 50 songs and 8 albums. He has performed many solo and support gigs with bands and artists including The Badloves, Hugo Race, Stephen Cummings and Glen Shorrock.
His new CD “A Few More Summers Here” showcases eight of those songs.
I had no idea what to expect from the premier screening of Ecco Homo at ACMI as part of the 2015 Melbourne International Film Festival.
Strongly feeling the six degrees of separation that bind us all, I was hooked from the very beginning of this touching, revealing, voyeuristic and transforming film.
Unlike many other viewers in that packed cinema, to my knowledge I had not personally encountered Peter Vanessa Troy Davies during his life, nor was I aware of being familiar with his work or influence. Yet, within minutes his direct influence on my life became clear, beaming into me from the screen.
Ecco Homo is a beautifully crafted collaborative work of cinematic art, lovingly pieced together and co-edited by filmmakers’ Lynn-Maree Milburn, Andrew de Groot and Richard Lowenstein from Ghost Pictures.
The film is a collage of interconnected stories and haunting myths reflecting the life and times of Peter Vanessa Troy Davies (1960 – 2007).
Through intimate interviews from family, friends and artists including Bono from U2, Nick Cave, Tim Mckew and Anne Harding to name a few. And through a collection of still photographs spanning over 30 years, along with biographical and auto biographical film footage shot by a variety of cameras and people over a period of ten years; Peter Vanessa Troy Davies came to life, piercing through time and space and permeating the theatre with a high voltage electric charge.
For a man who fell victim to a melting pot of addictions, in life as in death, Peter Vanessa Troy Davies, artist and provocateur has bequeathed to us a powerful message of love, art and transformation. An expansive creative mojo that continues to circle the globe.
I first met withTim Mckew for a one on one, in his locale at the Abbotsford Convent the other day.
I had heard about his forth coming Dadaist performance art show, “Come Down With Us” running over three nights in August 2015 on Friday 28, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30, between 6 – 8pm at the William Mora Galleries, and after doing my research the night before, I was very interested to meet the man.
I discovered that Tim Mckew is a vibrant singer, songwriter, playwright and producer, whose successful career has spanned over five decades in show business and the arts, encompassing TV, theatre, radio and cabaret.
Throughout his extensive career he has performed on stage with the likes of Nick Cave, Paul Kellyand Germany’s Nina Hagen to name a few.
He describes “Come Down With Us”as a Homage to his Dadaist shows that were held at St Kilda’s Tolarno Galleries back in 1979.
This ignited my interest as I discovered that Tim had great success here and in London and Europe, particularly Berlin because the original shows were so cutting edge and ahead of the times. They were a collaboration of Melbourne’s brightest talents of the day including works by Peter Vanessa “Troy” Davies, costumes by Jenny Bannister and photography by Henry Talbot and Rennie Ellis.
To give you a bit of background,Tim Mckewcousin of Australian journalist and politician Maxine McKew was the youngest of five children born to working class, Irish / Italian parents who lived in Port Melbourne’s Garden City. Although Tim’s father Pat McKew was a die hard wharfie both parent’s supported their family by working as independent local SP bookmakers. Tim describes his childhood as colourful. His Italian mother also came from a long line of beautiful singers and musicians. After discovering Tim’s gift for singing she set about transporting him into the land of show business with his first gig on national TV with Brian and the Juniorsduring the 1960’s.
Another interesting and significant chapter to Tim Mckew’s story is that for the last 10 years he has been performing and is considered one of the bestNoël Coward tribute artist around the globe, with celebrated performances across Australia’s major cities, New York and London. Producing his own shows as well as writing and performing his own original material, to the delight of his audiences, Tim succeeds to recreate the magic of that very poignant time in history during Noel Coward’s life and times.
It is not surprising as both artists share parallel experiences throughout their lives, albeit from different times, yet both remained and still remain profoundly true to his own originality and artistic expressions.