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Laidley musician gets the band back together

WHEELER DEALER: Laidley musician Al Wheeler is now a part of The Haymakers.
WHEELER DEALER: Laidley musician Al Wheeler is now a part of The Haymakers. Contributed

WHEN Laidley musician Allen Wheeler returned from a stint working in Papua New Guinea two years ago, he thought it was about time he got the band back together.

The guitar and saxophone player began his music journey in the 1960s and since then, has been a part of groups across a range of different styles of music.

More recently, he linked up with former bandmate and drummer Geoff Townsley, as well as bass player Jason Stimson and guitarist Chris McKelvie, to form The Haymakers.

"We call it a mix of rock'n'roll, swing and hillbilly blues,” Wheeler said.

"We play everything from the 1940s onwards... old swing tunes, old rock'n'roll tunes and quite a few originals.”

They are heavily involved in the 'Kustom Kulture' scene, which celebrates the cars, clothes and, of course, the music of the 1950s.

That rockabilly style of music that makes up such a big part of the scene is something members of the band are well acquainted with.

"The whole scene started in Brisbane. I can remember in the '80s when bands like the Stray Cats first came out,” he said.

"I can remember (Geoff) when he was 19 years old and starting in one of the first rockabilly bands in Brisbane back in the '80s.

"I've seen them evolve over the past 30-odd years.”

Since it formed, the band has been steadily building momentum and booking in regular gigs.

A highlight has been a spot at the Redlands Rockabilly Revival in March, which Wheeler said he felt personified everything great about the scene.

"They're a great crowd to play - very family friendly. We took my granddaughters down to it. It's a big family thing,” he said.

"The other thing about it is they dance. As soon as the music starts at 10 o'clock in the morning they are on the dance floor.

"It's one of the good things about that whole Kustom Kulture scene, they are into it, it's not just a temporary thing for them.”

While the country or blues crowds could be a little picky, the rockabilly enthusiasts were a little more flexible.

That extra freedom is music to his ears.

"They just like to hear good music, so if they can dance to it and it's fairly closely tied into what their scene is about, they don't care what it is that you do,” he said.

Topics:  al wheeler rockabilly the haymakers


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