Looking for a different way to spend your New Year’s Eve? How about up at Elands with the established Peggy Van Zalm Band?
Hi Peggy, you grew up in a fishing village in WA. How did music find you?
I always remember loving singing as a kid. My two little sisters and I would play ‘Cilla Black Show’ and I would be Cilla singing ‘step inside love …’ and introducing my little sis as Cliff Richard etc. Then my mum gave me a guitar when I was 11, and I learned songs by ear.
I soon started a girl trio with two other school friends and held concerts at lunchtimes at school. I was writing my own songs all through art school, but didn’t take it further until years later when I realised what I wanted to do most was sing my songs in a band. So that’s what I did.
You have toured with some AMAZING names. Simply Red, INXS, Paul Kelly. What was this like?
Well, I soon found myself surrounded by a very capable bunch of musos, including an incredibly dedicated manager. Our first gig as ‘Martha’s Vineyard’ after two weeks of rehearsing was supporting ‘The Saints’ at a top Perth nightclub. I was just along for the ride – it was kind of dreamlike – but at the same time I felt really at home. It was my dream coming true.
A highlight for me was playing with the ‘Triffids’ – personal heroes of ours. We did a road trip from Perth across the Nullabor in a van along with our two girl roadies – it was a great experience. Later we played with ‘Eurythmics’ at Perth Entertainment Centre, and the best thing is you get to see all these amazing performers up close when you might not normally get the chance.
Then as a muso it is wonderful to step up on stage with state-of-the-art production and look out at the thousands of faces in the audience and hear your music sound the best it can be in a top auditorium.
On the challenge side, I was still this little country girl inside, but as the lead singer and main songwriter it fell to me to be doing a lot of interviews and be spokesperson, and it definitely pushed my boundaries.
You are playing at Bulga Hall in Elands on NYE. Why did you choose to perform at this venue?
After touring solo for over 18 months in 2000 and finishing up performing at Woodford Festival, I’ve spent most of my time on the Mid-North Coast. Elands has been my spiritual home for a few years now.
I love Elands! It is such a special place and a special community. One of my favourite things in life is spending time in beautiful unspoiled nature, and the gorgeous Bulga Plateau with the Ellenborough Falls backdrop is some of the most stunning rainforest in the country.
Members of ‘Speedwell’, a local speed blues band who are making a mark these days invited us to play with them at Bulga Hall, and I had no hesitation in accepting.
Elands has the reputation for putting on a great night of entertainment, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to head up the mountain and get away, while it’s not too remote either. I consider New Year’s Eve as ‘my’ time, and so I make sure I am doing what I want to be doing.
Elands is great for a family night out – very kid friendly and great for teenagers and all the ‘artsy’ crowd as well. We all have a lot of fun. All the right ingredients for NYE celebratory requirements!
Your music has been described as rhythmic and easy to dance to. What do you think the key is to a great song?
Good art and music expands and adds to life. It’s gotta come from the heart and soul. You gotta be able to feel it. I’ve found if you get a good groove up in pubs and halls, people will lose their inhibitions and start dancing and everyone has a good time and will feel a part of the experience. Music is magic like that!
What’s Next for the Peggy Van Zalm Band?
I have a host of new material we’ve been playing and refining, and I’m looking forward to recording it soon. Please see my website peggyvanzalm.net and join the mailing list if you want to find out what’s happening with that.
I’m looking forward to NYE – EVERYONE is invited to camp and experience Elands’ hospitality further with a mini market and woodfired pizza planned for New Year’s Day. More info 0448 204 518 or ph 02 6550 4586.
What is your Christmas wish and New Year’s Eve resolution?
At the risk of sounding corny, my wish for Christmas will do me as a NY resolution too … inner peace = world peace. I know it’s achievable from the inside out. Oh yeah, and for lots of lovely people to come to Elands this NYE!