Born to perform!
CRAIG CALHOUN [Sydney’s King of Funky Bass]
There's no doubting the musical talents inherent in the Calhoun family. Vicki Calhoun can be heard on Red Hot Chilli Peppers & Fishbone CDs; Will Calhoun, the driving beat for Living Colour. Another Calhoun has called Australia home and this legend is known for his funky bass slap and monstrous groove.
BORN in Colorado USA, the son of a singer and an army officer, the family was posted to Germany in 1970. "It was then I dreamt I was on stage, playing in front of a massive audience. When I woke up, I wanted to experience what I felt in the dream," says Craig Calhoun. It was this that inspired Craig to teach himself guitar. It wasn't till the family returned to California that he discovered his true calling. "I saw someone play slap bass and then said... yeah that's what I wanna do." Craig commenced a five to six hours a day bass habit.
THE kid's bedroom soon became the stage, and the pages of destiny began to unfold. "It wasn't like your ordinary déjà vu that lasts a few seconds, this lasted for minutes. I'd look around, all the faces where the same as those in my dream, years earlier."
THE hands of fate took hold of Craig's career late one night in Southern California. "We'd just finished a gig. These two guys walked in and said I'll give you $100 if you play another song." The 18 year old slapper signed a 35 page contract, received a $9000 advance and whatever equipment his heart should desire.
"WE were flown to San Francisco, given two cars, a 16 track studio, two engineers, a five bedroom house and a weekly salary of $300 per week each. Just to show up at the studio from 11 am till 5pm five days a week writing songs. We were a cutting edge local funk band. We were a unit that got signed and they focused on myself and the singer, so for the album they started replacing the other members with top session players and adding horn & string arrangements. It became the case of, 'Mama look what they're doing to my songs.'
AFTER fourteen months the Producer was caught embezzling money and it all came to a standstill, the album sounded nothing like us, so we went back to Southern California. It really crushed a couple of guys in the band, but I didn't expect the break to happen so early in the first place, so my motto was 'C'est la vie.'"
ARMED with a wealth of knowledge in recording and producing he bought a one way ticket to Germany. Upon his arrival Craig went into a music shop, played the bass, told them he was new in the country and looking for work.
A few weeks later the funk meister got to do a European tour with the Supremes which ended in Holland.
THE Dutch government is supportive to the arts providing a circuit of youth centres. "I approached the centre and asked about a gig for the door if I got a band together. The first gig attracted thirteen people. Eventually it built up and became the nucleus of a new wave of Bands forming. I labelled my music Eurofunk."
A EUROPEAN tour with Dutch flautist Chris Hinze, pioneering World Music fusing funk bass, classical, flute, guitar, African and Indian percussion. Eventually an invite from Australian Jazz legend Don Burrows brought Craig to Australia to perform at the prestigeous Sydney Opera House and headline other major festivals.
The Brothers of Oz - 25 years!
Craig Calhoun & The Brothers of Oz. The band has become somewhat of an institution.
I'm requested almost every year to participate in the Manly Jazz Festival due to the
broad appeal and uniqueness of my performances.
"As you can imagine, it's very difficult to sustain and keep a consistent lineup of
musicians unless you're in a position to offer retainers for live performances.
So I adopted a different approach. By using top musicians that can cope with
being thrown into the deep end, I can draw heavily upon their creative talent".
Deep end? "Often when a musician is approached to perform with me they are
given a rough list of what songs may get played. There are NO rehearsals, and
on the night, NO set list. I've found that the spontaneity is what makes every
performance so unique and allows each player to add their own flavour to the show."
Craig Calhoun and the Brothers of Oz are legends in Sydney where they’re
renowned as a band whose energy, “groove”, and stage presence trigger
enormous reactions in both their loyal and enthusiastic fans and those new to
the Brothers phenomena. Be it at a club, a function, or as recently witnessed,
at the Manly Jazz Festival (where the Brothers created the largest dance floor
that Manly had ever seen) - Craig Calhoun and the Brothers of Oz excite and
entertain whoever happens to catch the performance.
Founder Craig Calhoun, who is known as Sydney’s “King of Bass,” runs through
the audience with his wireless bass guitar, breaking the invisible barrier and
inviting them to join in and become one with “the groove.” Craig, who hails from
the USA, brings his musical heritage to his audiences along with his fellow musicians,
the Brothers of Oz, some of Australia’s most respected players.
The Brothers, with their multicultural backgrounds, each bring a flavour of their
own to the performance. Hailing from Singapore, New Zealand, Holland, Germany,
Australia and America, they are living proof of the success and dynamics that
multiculturalism can achieve.
“It’s not what they play as much as how they play it!