Anthony Shortte came into the orbit of The Stereo Stories Band via his high-school mate and fellow musician Peter Maskell. Shorty (as he is commonly known) brought a wealth of experience to our shows, having been part of the original blues trio Collards Greens and Gravy for many years.
“He’s a drummer/writer / performer / stay at home dad / valued contributor, ” says Peter. “He’s an ARIA award winning blues and roots percussionist, a unique drummer who has developed his own heel toe / hi-hat kickdrum. And, of course, a long time friend.”
Band member Luke Davies: “Shorty is one of the go-to drummers and percussionists held in high regard around the place. He has the all important ability to play softly when needed and to try things differently. His style and setup is unusual. I never seen a drummer like Shorty. It was real pleasure, a privilege, to play some shows with him.”
“He’s a great band kinda guy,” says bass player Rob Gador. “He listens a lot to the emotion of a story, a song and the performance – and uses this to dial in his drum parts. And it was nice to hear him read out a story a few times.”
Shorty stepped out from behind the drum kit on just a few occasions, narrating Smokie Dawson’s story about Before Too Long (he loved the line, ‘This song is rubbish. Absolute rubbish’) and Peter Maskell’s childhood reminiscence based on David Cassidy’s Cherish.
His many years of experience was reflected in his stagecraft and suggestions about placement of stories in the set list. “You can follow a funny story with a sad story, but you can’t go the other way around, ” I recall him saying in 2016 when we were working out where to place a story about stillbirth within a show.
“My first memory of Shorty is not of the man himself, but of his drum kit,” says Stephen Andrew. “It’s a crazy, op-shop mangle of hardware – odd percussive pieces, pulled together in an arse-up assemblage of skin, wood and metal. I wondered what sort of a drummer Vin had invited in to play with us. It turned out that the owner of this unconventional kit was a wizard with this sticks. Watching and hearing him was somewhat hypnotic.
“When he left Stereo Stories, I volunteered to play drums. (Not his kit, of course. I once tried on his equipment and it just confused me). As I prepared for a rehearsal or a show, I’d often wonder how Shorty might have approached a particular song.”
Shorty was our drummer until mid-2018, when a clash of dates with a new band – a blues band which was always going to get more gigs than Stereo Stories – left Shorty at the crossroads. Not surprisingly, he opted to hit the highway with Opelousas, a three-piece outfit with Kerri Simpson and Alison Ferrier.
Given how much Shorty is in demand, we were lucky to have him as part of our band for four years.
Thank you Shorty.
Shorty and Peter played last Friday at Pistol’s Pete’s in their hometown of Geelong. You can watch it right now!