Andy Griffiths in full flight during Rock And Roll Institute, part of his tribute to Guitar Band. Photo by Michael Nolan, of Liner Notes.

Stereo Stories’ fourth and final show for 2017 was a low-key concert at the Newport Bowls Club, Melbourne on Saturday 25 November.

As well as  a dozen moving stories, we paid tribute to Tom Petty  (via Stop Dragging My Heart Around), Malcolm Young (Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution), George Young (Guitar Band) and David Cassidy (Cherish).

While our shows are tightly scripted – so that stories and songs can weave in and out of each other  –  the band is also able to bring in new elements at short notice. (Malcolm Young and David Cassidy died just days before the gig.)


Rijn Collins took us  to Jackson (via Johnny Cash and Jackson) and Berlin (via The Mercy Seat). Nick Gadd (The Suburbs by Arcade Fire ) and Smokie Dawson (Under The Milky Way) narrated touching personal  stories peppered with local landmarks. Rick Kane had us pensive (The Sing by Bill Callahan) and political (Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?). Julie Merritt narrated New Zealander Maria Majsa’s story about stuttering, cycling and young romance (Jeane by The Smiths) and also singer Chris Phillips’ story about her first days of motherhood (Into The Mystic). Mild-mannered Andy Griffiths ripped into Guitar Band (including the deliberately chaotic Rock And Roll Institute), and then played a straight bat with Markus Zusak’s story about overcoming writer’s block (Crime In The City by Neil Young). Vin Maskell admitted failings in his confessional story based on Solid Rock. (You’ll find all these stories in our index.)

The Stereo Stories Band once again showed their versatility. Thank you Peter Maskell (guitar, vocals), Jack Gramski (guitar, vocals), Chris Phillips and Julie Merritt (vocals), Rob Gador (bass), Anthony Shortte (drums), Clive Bourne (mixing desk).

One audience member described Andy Griffiths’ Rock And Roll Institute as “Punk before it was punk”, while another responded to Smokie Dawson’s Under The Milky Way story by sending us a Finnish version of the song (for when we tour the Nordic nations). Thank you to those who travelled from the eastern ranges of Melbourne to cross over to the west. One day, hopefully, we’ll return the favour.

A  belated thank you to Peter Maskell, whom I failed to acknowledge fully on the night of the show. Peter is a patient band leader and a very fine music director. Arranging songs in the context of Stereo Stories is a precise skill. He’s also a dab hand at singing and playing guitar. Thank you bro’.

We are already booked for the 2018 Williamstown Literary Festival in June (our fifth successive show on our home ground) and the 2018 Write Around The Murray Festival in Albury in September (for the third year running). We are exploring other possibilities and wish we could make dreams come true for an Instagram follower who’s keen for us to come to Sydney and a New Zealand reader who’d like to celebrate her 40th birthday with a Stereo Stories gig across the Tasman.


Editor: Vin Maskell Assistant editor: Louise Maskell Web legend: James Demetrie, of DISKMANdotNET