Image by Annie Harvey //
Having spent the past five or so years touring the country, playing big and small shows in big and small towns, there probably aren’t too many people in the country that have an appreciation of regional Australia like WA pint poet Peter Bibby. In fact, his latest song is a tribute to a rural town: “South Australia’s third-most-populous city”, Whyalla.
Featuring a chunky Melvins-esque riff, it’s one of his first releases that really encapsulates the live energy you get from his shows, when buoyed by the gritty Dog Act rhythm section. Bassist “Strawberry Pete” Gower and drummer “Dirty Dave” Taylor let their presence be known, spurring on Bibby’s wailing vocals and chaotic guitarmanship.
Lyrically the track, which is essentially a love letter to the coastal town, sees Bibby hone in on Whyalla’s Wiki facts and forgotten local heroes – you remember ol’ Karen DeMarco, right? The chorus hits both hard and gently at the same time (if that makes any sense), proving his bush balladry roots still remain intact underneath this new heaving rock phase that we’re bloody keen to hear more of.
To celebrate the release of the ‘Whyalla’, which is taken from his third studio album Marge (due September 18th) we thought we’d ask the man himself about some of his other favourite small towns around this mostly great country. Check it out below and head here to pre-order Marge:
On the east coast of Tasmania sits Falmouth, A town with not much more than a postbox, a payphone, a tennis court and a few shacks. One of these shacks belongs to a good friend of mine’s Uncle. We have had many strange parties there, deep in isolation, hearing the cold ocean smashing against the cliffs below. This is a very beautiful and unforgiving piece of country, and I love it.
I spent a lot of my childhood in Margaret River, going down to stay with my cousins just about every school holidays to go surfing and to generally get up to no good. I nearly drowned there a few times, had some of my first romantic experiences in the dunes of Boodjidup Beach, and in more recent years played some pretty average gigs in Settlers Tavern. It feels like a bit of a cop out to mention Margs as it is such a tourism hot spot, but it’s a bloody great place.
The UFO capital of Australia, this is a strange little piece of nowhere. We drove through here one night on our way to Darwin, we could see lights hovering in the distance, too high and slow-moving to be oncoming traffic. These lights hovered for a good 10 minutes, before all of a sudden turning into a land cruiser and zooming past us. We stopped in the town to find nothing but petrol and a bunch of gimmicky alien stuff. We took some photos and got the hell outta there before the probing began.
This is a place where you pull up, buy a good pie, and ponder the sandy tracks disappearing off the main road. I followed one once, expecting to find hot surfer babes shredding bazzas and laying topless on the beach but finding nothing but never ending white sand and coastline. Not a bad outcome.
Norseman is one of my least favourite places in the country and for that it gets a special mention. It seems to be a magnet for car trouble. Every time I have driven within 100kms of Norseman, something has gone horribly wrong with my car and I’ve had to stay there for longer than I want to, which is no more than about 10 minutes. That being said, it has a great pub and some kooky shops, and the last time I was there I busked to some miners in the beer garden and made enough money for beers, dinner and a room for the night, so that wasn’t the worst experience of my life. Apparently there’s gold out there, the only gold I’m aware of is the coins I had to scrape from my every pocket to pay the mechanic for doing more harm than good to my car.