Dr Steve Denley of Balance Veterinary Care in Brisbane plays guitar in a country covers band.
“I’ve been in and out of bands since I was a student at university. My most ‘serious’ band at that time was a pop outfit called Patrick. We gigged pretty regularly and wrote all our own songs. However, you can’t keep playing pop music as you get older—it’s really a choice between country and blues. I’ve always liked simple raw country and so The Wayward Johnsons was born. My brother-in-law is the bass player and our drummer is a friend of someone I knew at uni. Together we make up the three core members of the Johnsons.
“The whole thing is pretty casual. We mainly play at parties though we have recently instituted a policy that we have to get paid, even if it’s just a nominal amount. By the time you lug in, set up, play and pack up at the end of the night, it turns into quite a big production.
“We’re happy to play crowd favourites like The Doors and the Beatles. We also like alternative stuff like Wilco, Billy Bragg and Gram Parsons.
“I’m never too fussed if things don’t go right when we are playing live. Our drummer has high expectations; he thinks we should be perfect every time we play. But, of course, you can practise 1000 times and still stuff it up on the night. And as long as you enjoy yourself, who cares? As much as I like playing live, I tend to look at it as a chance to get together, have a few beers and play a few songs. It’s mainly a social thing for me.”