Sipping on rocket fuel with mojo bluesman Marshall Okell

 

He’s just released his fourth album, mixed by Byron Bay’s Nick Didia (RATM, Kasey Chambers, Bruce Springsteen) and although he’s spent the majority of the past ten years on the road, Marshall Okell says his favourite ever musical memory was something very close to home.

“Playing Byron Blues Fest and having my father Glenn Poppy Okell jump up and rock out a fast Winters-Esk Boogie on a nice Strat … he was terminally Ill with Cancer that was one his last shows,” Marshall told Blank GC. “We had the boys from Chase The Sun that show, it was just one of those whole body goose bump moments. Actually that track Tell Me appears on new record.”

One of Marshall’s press releases says he regularly plays 200 gigs a year. I had to see for myself. I googled the hell out of this guy and found that figure was not an exaggeration. I asked him how he stays grounded working so hard.

“We don’t work we play music,” he said, quoting Tex Perkins. “It’s the best job in the multiverse, I love playing, creating, and listening to music, it’s my everyday, what keeps me grounded sane and drives me insane.”

“We listen to a lot of Peter Tosh in the van, we don’t argue, everything’s pretty mellow. Any yes we definitely have our routine to keep us sane but I’m not going to gaol writing about it,” he laughs.

With Sipping on Rocket Fuel being Marshall’s fourth release he says each record brings its own set of challenges, highs, lows and evolution as both human and musician. He says with this album “we had a much more free and creative approach, almost like having five friend, musicians, producers all contributing and not being too protective of the songs,”

“And loads of guitar solos,” he adds. “Bring back the solo yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew…”

Speaking of guitar solos, I can’t help but ask him about his friends and mine, the Hussy Hicks, who joined him as guests on the album. He says they “are the bomb.”

“We have been friends for quite a few years now, shared many a bottle of Jaegermeister and played ‘til the sun comes up. Exceptionally talented Musicians who I love dearly, having them on board made the recording process a total blast!”

But back to the album. Sipping on Rocket brings the boogie, the shuffle and the slide back into Okell’s dirty blues sound. I ask him what he has to say about the album.

“If you like Woodstock and music from the late 60s and 70s then have a go at this bottle of Rocket Fuel, Everyday.”

Sipping on Rocket Fuel is available in stores now and Marshall hits The Great Northern in Byron, along with the Hussy Hicks on Saturday 24 October.

 

 

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