“I’m with my girlfriend in the car, she has a job interview. She works in child care. ‘Child care consultant’, sounds pretty fancy, if you ask me. She has to be the breadwinner so I can gallivant around and make money. There’s this misconception that musicians make money. We just do it for the fun.”

Michael Fitzgerald, drummer boy for Melbourne-via-Apollo Bay band The Vasco Era is one of an admirable trio. Whether or not you happen to be a fan of the group’s blazing blues-garage rock is irrelevant; Fitzgerald, Ted O’Neil (bass) and Sid O’Neil (front-man, guitarist) make up a band of sulfuric energy and admirable love of the game.



“We’ve never been that much for making money.” Fitzgerald admits. “We get to travel around the country; it’s all about the lifestyle. We’ve just gone independent, which is exciting. I don’t think we ever should have been on a major label, though they were great. We never were that band with those goals. We had no money and they offered to pay for the record, which was good! Things have changed; there’s been a big financial crisis. We’ve changed a lot and what we want as a band. Now we just borrowed money off our parents.”

The legend surrounding their latest self-titled record follows Sid’s quitting the band and eventual return; Sid was clearly stuck in a rut, not happy with his lot. He did some community work. He searched for something to fill the void. Eventually, as many of us do, he came back to roll and roll, as Fitzgerald explains.

“What happened is, we finished that last album [Lucille, 2010] and there was a lot of pressure and a lot of expectation on him, he had a lot of people talking in his ear. There was a stuff up with the mastering on the last album and it sounded terrible; Sid was upset and worried about what we had to offer people. Then he went off to live in the hills. We didn’t know what was happening, we waited to see how he felt. Since then it’s been really good, we all know what we want from the band and there’s not that pressure to please ‘these’ people or ‘those’ people and what we do now is what we wanna do. We’re just trying to play music and get better at playing songs. It was a long, scary process. This last album was fun and not stressful to make.”



“Sid was very, at one point, controlling; he wanted to know everything and be involved with everything that was happening. Ted and me had other things like uni, [but] Sid had the band and that was it. It was a lot of pressure on him, but he’s come through now. We’re serious with the music we wanna write, but there’s other things that make it seem…fake and we don’t wanna be involved with that.”

Having just knocked out an August single tour, the band will be back on the road throughout October to launch the new album. Fitzgerald is pleased as punch and pie to be back in the Tarago (or tour bus, or whatever they use; I didn’t ask, though now I wish I had. I like to think they have a personalised plane…) and sailing stages.

“I think we’ve been doing it for a while, so you get used to not having a proper home… how good would it be if no-one had to work and shared their money? Like a communist society, like a happy commune.”

Sounds like a cult base, but in a nice way.

“We’ve been talking about it; we want someone with a lot of land. We’ve got a friend who cooks, so he can do the food. Builders can build the stuff, you can go for walks on hills, pick strawberries…”

Well, Michael, you can take your Vasco Era millions and make this dream come true soon enough.

“Don’t you know? This album is gonna sell five bajillion copies. We’re gonna be massive.”



Head here to see when the Vasco boys will be in your town.



Words: Lisa Dib


Tags: apollo bay, australia, australian music, lucille, melbourne, michael fitzgerald, sid o'neil, ted o'neil, the vasco era

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