Peewee Wilson & the boys from the Delltones continue to harmonise their way into audiences’ hearts, with their iconic sound that has stood the test of time.
At the 2011 Australian Club Entertainment Awards, you were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by former Channel 9 news anchor and stalwart, Brian Henderson … Your connection with Brian goes back to the Bandstand days…
Brian was very gracious. He hasn’t been seen in public in ages, and it was just so great to see him come out and present the award … and of course, I was very thrilled about it. I still keep in touch with some of the so-called Bandstand family, including Sandy Scott and Col Joye plus a few others from the early days but in particular, Brian and his lovely wife.
In your acceptance speech at these awards, you talked about how ironic it was to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award as when The Delltones started out, people told you not to give up your day job!
That’s exactly right. We are talking about the late ’50s or early ’60s when we didn’t really have a music industry out here, and it seemed that Rock ‘n’ Roll was seen as a passing fad – which would soon be over. Of course, we ignored that completely!
We thought if we are going to give up our day job, we’ll do it right away and just see what happens! This attitude still prevails with us even today. The Delltones have never really thought about our future, and I guess that sort of perception from back then has stayed with us right up until today.
The Delltones have always loved performing and of course, there have been many changes in the group, but we love what we do and are unashamedly out there to please the crowd.
How do audience members react to your shows these days?
The reaction has been very much the same right the way through. There is a certain consistency in our relationship with our audience. We have been very fortunate. Part of the reason for the Delltones being around today is that we took on a whole new audience back in the ’80s, when we had a full-blown revival and brought out a couple of albums – including the revival album. This also spurred interest from our original fan-base, who remembered us from back in the Bandstand days.
You’re performing in Taree and Forster in July. The first half of the show consists of well-loved classics and the second half consists of songs from your revival in the mid ’80s …
In the early part of the show, there will be an acoustic unplugged set – we will be doing songs from the Delltones’ original repertoire, from before we even went into the studio. In the second part of the show, we’re doing songs we recorded. We had 15 songs on the charts back in the years from 1959 to 1964.
Chris Cheney from The Living End said in an interview in Insider magazine that his first memory of a concert he went to was of The Delltones, which he said was just brilliant. That’s a nice accolade from a younger and successful musician!
It was indeed. I’ve been a fan of those guys since their early days, because of the genuine connection they really have with the Rock ‘n’ Roll period.
Interview by Karen Farrell.
This story was published in issue 64 of Manning-Great Lakes Focus