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THE LOONS

by Adam McGrath -       Oct 13, 2015

We must be getting old or something, everything seems to be going right and we're getting up early and hugging the sun and then watching it fall again, right now in the Eastland Pacific motor lodge on St johns street Opotiki I'm taking in the night off catching up on reading and writing and listening. Its nice to be back here our last show at the RSA hall was one of our favourites ever and thats saying something...tomorrow I'm in the-way-to-big-for-someone-of-my-statue Deluxe Theartre, I remember we took a tour last time with Don and he told us all the stories...I'm looking foward to addng a few of mine to the walls.
Some bad news though dear friends, sadly and with a frown I say that The Tauranga Show has been, due to circumstances beyond our meagre control, has been cancelled. We're not the bosses on this tour and so our hearts hurt to find this out. We've played the Gallery I think three times now and each has been wonderful, and we remember our sold out hooley in the speigeltent arts festival before last there, so it pains us to think the shows not gonna happen, but thems the breaks. All tickets can be refunded at the gallery, and for what its worth anyone who feels like an adventure and wanted to come can get free entry to my show here in opotiki tomorrow or rotorua on sat. night. Im sorry if this has ruined your plans!!!!...
In other news the word is my hometown show in chch at the theatre royal gloucester room is heading to sellout so jump on whats left if you're keen...www.ticketek.co.nz
more info on upcoming shows soon...but while or If I still have your attention...I gotta share with you some exciting news about some of our old friends The Loons, if you've been in Lyttelton or ChCh the past heap of years, you would've known about the wonder and guts that was the Loons Troop...its been quiet days for them since the quake but finally they're off and racing and are desperatly trying to raise funds for the fit out of their new space in Lyttelton. Our histories are all tied up together in little but important ways so we're offering up an Eastern show as a prize in a raffle they're running. They've raised over $200,000 now we're trying to push 'em over the hill.
They asked me to write some thoughts about the loons and amongst it all one thing stood out...so this is what I wrote, website for helping them below the scrawl!:
The RIgger of the Wild Dream
(acknowledgement of a loon)
'How do you sing for the unsung? How do you turn the lights to the corners? How do you open up out back and let the sun in? How can you tell people about heroes they’re not looking for? Maybe one slow word at a time.
Let’s start with this one, Darryl.
I haven’t seen Darryl in nearly four years. I used to see him all the time. He got us gigs, he poured us drinks, offered us friendship and warmth and kindness. He made me feel like a pussy.
I’m in this band that’s never been called the best anything. Not the best players, not the best looking, not the best singers, not the best songwriters, certainly not the best organised. We’ve had some nice adjectives come our way from time to time to be sure, but the best was never one of them. We always tried our best though and I guess that’s something. A few times however, in reference to our desperation to play as much as we could, we got the title NZ’s hardest working band pointed our way. We wore it on our bio with pride and I guess in some corner of our minds was the idea that if we couldn’t out music you, we could out work you. I’m sure some other young buck has that title now, the white lines got a bit wobbly and the wheels worn after a lot of miles and a lot of hours. So we wound back the muscles and come out swinging a little less than we use to. But, and I realise this makes me sound old, boy there was a time!
A time when we took our candle and set fire to both its ends while running on the fumes of a burning, fraying oily rag. I realise I was mixing metaphors there, but for a few years there it felt like there wasn’t enough metaphor to describe the stupid way we would pull ourselves around hither and yon. But even then, even when the hours and days in were getting up there, we never worked as hard as Darryl.
Darryl was, in the parlance of the times, a motherfucker. I can’t even tell you what Darryl did exactly beyond saying he did everything. Amongst the drive and energy and passion and tenacity of the family that was the Loons, Darryl was to me the heart that drove the blood around the body of the place and like a heart he drove, beat after beat day, steady as and unflinching in his rhythm. I can’t say enough about what a wonder that group of people were what an inspiration they all turned out be. I could never take my body and turn it inside out and make it speak and tell stories the way those performers could, I could never have a vision and follow it and shape it all the way to opening night like Mike could, and I could never write like Joe would and I could never work like Darryl could, and I could never do it while smiling like he did.
When you walked through the door at the loons those years back, it was Darryl that opened them, when you drunk your beer it was Darryl that poured it, when you found the seat that Darryl put out for you it was because he showed it to you, when you heard the music go down before the show it was because Darryl was running the desk, if you were backstage you knew it was time to hit it because Darryl told you, when you hit the stage your shit was there because Darryl put it there, and when it was backstage with you it was because Darryl took it off, when you ate pizza at half time it was because Darryl put it in the oven, when you made a booking you spoke to Darryl, when you got paid, Darryl gave you the money and so it goes. Pick a job Darryl was doing it, it was a full on full time escapade he made it look easy, he made it look fun and he made you look like a pussy. Because you were a musician and you got to sleep in. Darryl couldn’t sleep in because he had to work. He had to work at other part time jobs that he held down as well as all the Loons stuff. He was also in a band. He never looked tired, and he never had a day off and when the doors closed and you were letting the night turn to the morning with those slow post show beers, Darryl was there never hurrying you away. Laughing with you filling you with his enthusiasm for you. Making you feel like you were worth something, and he was kind. Always so kind, to the audience and the performers alike, and he cared, about what was happening and why it was happening and that it was important and had meaning and most importantly he believed in the magic and the fun; in the grace that visits when the house lights fade and the stage grows large and the first laugh comes, or the first gasp or the first tear or the first sing along all the way till the last hand stops clapping. That hour or two where the show is living and breathing, Darryl believed in that more than anyone, you could tell because that's why he was there the next day and the next. If you saw that dogged belief then you couldn’t help believe either. If like us you too got to perform from time to time at the loons, then it helped you believe in yourself. As I said it helped you feel like you were worth something. If you’re someone like me who spends most days telling himself the opposite of that, then it was great gift.
On the periphery of the wonder that was the loons when it was in that great circus swirl of a building, watching it all unfold and grow, was a great boon to us as we started on the long march of our own mission. Me and Shanks standing on the pool table singing them through the door hoping to warm ‘me up before the butler, trying to get a clap amongst way more talented freaks than us during the cabaret nights, or loading up on the Jamies out back before our shows, we felt like a small part of us was in there somewhere too. The thing is when I think of those nights I always think of Darryl and I am in awe. He was the glue, the great behind the scenes man, the rigger of the wild dream and the barman at the best night of your life.
I write of Darryl because when the loons roars back, as it inevitably will (especially if you give of yourself generously), you will see pictures of the cast and you will see Mike and Joes names beneath, rightly credited for pulling the magic from the air and giving it form, but you might miss Darryl. For me he is the hinge on which the whole thing swings, so as I sit here and think of the loons I think of Darryl. I think within his smile (and what a great, giving gift of a smile it is!) lies the whole secret of the Loons, the right thing, for the right reasons, done because it needs to be done, done with love. Viva Daryl, Viva the Loons and viva you if you can shake out some pennies and throw them towards their most honourable pot.'

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