You saw them do the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ in its entirety last year and this month The Honey Sliders return with a new offering: The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ album, in full, just for one night.
The Honey Sliders frontman and creative director Danny Widdicombe is also a member of three-times ARIA nominated band The Wilson Pickers, plus he’s played guitar for Bernard Fanning and Tim Rogers and even joined The Go-Betweens for their reunion show last month. Danny is about to head to the USA to photograph the total solar eclipse so this show is a kind of going away party. After a sell-out Gold Coast show for the Rolling Stones’ tribute, he’s hoping for a massive shindig to celebrate The Beatles.
“The rest of the band have all got other projects too so it’s all go-go-go around here,” Danny told Blank Gold Coast.
“We’ve all been so busy – I’ve been touring with my band The Wilson Pickers doing Byron Blues Fest, Splendour and Port Fairy and writing songs for a new album.”
Danny admits life would be easier if he just focused on one project at a time, but as with most creative geniuses, life rarely works out that way. As well as his musical projects, his passion for photography sees him head to the USA in August.
“The total solar eclipse is on 21 August over Nashville and I’ve got a tour on every weekend before then! I’ll treat the USA as a holiday and take some deep breaths and relax. I like to relax,” he says, a statement which is unlikely to be supported by his diary.
But back to the business at hand. The Honey Sliders’ August show will focus on The Beatles’ iconic ‘Abbey Road’ album and it follows on the sell-out success of the band’s take on the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ album last year.
“We sold out the Soundlounge! I’d never sold out the Soundlounge before so there were high-fives all around,” Danny said. “We had such an amazing time with Tim Rogers! Thanks for all the support Blank Mag gave us for that show!”
As well as having the enormous crowd in rapture, Danny says many punters have been in touch to let him know it was their live show of the year.
“It’s important to get these things right out of respect to the music – so I’m glad a lot of people let me know that we did just that,” he said.
And The Honey Sliders have followed the same important rule for their upcoming ‘Abbey Road’ show.
“I’d like your intelligent readers to know that we’ve learned every note off the Abbey Road album – including the sound effects between songs,” he said. “It’s completely a labour of love.”
“When you pull ‘Abbey Road’ apart and dive in, like we’ve been doing to prepare for these shows, you can hear how virtuosic they became by this stage of their career.”
“Paul’s bass playing is probably the hardest part to learn on the album because it’s like one big bass solo most of the way through – but because it’s all so musical and tasteful, it suits the songs and plays its part in making each song as good as it can be.”
And given Danny’s deep roots in the Australian music scene, it’s no surprise that he’s (again) pulled together a crazy lineup of musicians to collaborate with The Honey Sliders on this show.
Ben Salter (Gin Club, The Wilson Pickers), Tim Steward (Screemfeeder, We All Want To), Seja (Regurgitator), Andrew Morris (Bernard Fanning Band, The Wilson Pickers), Hayden Andrews (Cheap Fakes) are all on the bill for the Soundlounge show.
“I have to say that I feel so lucky to be friends with such gifted musicians and lovely people. For me, music is all about creating sounds with people who turn you on in some way,” Danny said.
“I know for a fact that the punters love seeing musicians on stage that are as tight in their friendship as they are musically,” he added.
And between now and the USA tour? No, Danny doesn’t rest. As well as being on the Gold Coast with The Honey Sliders in August, he’s also got a set at Broadbeach Country Festival with The Wilson Pickers. That band has worked between Byron Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass and now Broadbeach Country in a matter of just 12 weeks.
“The Wilson Pickers have enough songs in our set list to mix it up a little but for the most part, we’ve got a fair idea of what our best songs are and we try and serve them up to each new audience,” he explained, when asked how they put together a set-list for such diverse audiences.
“We’ve got three Wilson Pickers on this ‘Abbey Road’ production – we love The Beatles. In fact, that’s how I originally became friends with Ben Salter – he used to play a lot of Beatles’ songs on the Queen Street mall years and years ago and I used to let him know how much I enjoyed it. I also let him know that we should probably play those songs together one day – and now we are.”
“Awww isn’t that sweet?”
Yeah, it is Danny. Sweet as Honey.
The Soundlounge show is an early start, with doors opening at 5.00pm on Sunday 6 August, and Abbie Cardwell in support. As Danny says, you can “drink heaps of piss and still get up fresh for work on Monday. How good is that?”
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Catch The Wilson Pickers at Broadbeach Country Music Festival, 28 – 30 July and catch The Honey Sliders doing The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ at Soundlounge, Currumbin on Sunday 6 August.