While Lindy Morrison may be the first to admit that fame and fortune have evaded her, she continues to ply a long and storied career within Australian music. In both terms of her no-nonsense persona and inventive percussion, she brought a catalysing creative energy to The Go-Betweens. Providing a vigorous edge to the delicate poetics of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, Morrison helped forge the legacy as one of Australia’s most inspiring and creative musical acts. Lindy exited the band after its demise in 1989, but 30 years on from recording the groups’ 16 Lovers Lane she is again stepping behind the drum kit to revisit the enduring album. Catching up with Morrison before her Queensland Music Festival performance we had the chance to discuss returning to the music of The Go-Betweens, the power of authentic songwriting and Kirin J. Callinan’s Bravado.
Rabbit Radio: How do you feel returning to the music of 16 Lovers Lane now that it’s been 30 years after its recording?
Lindy Morrison: Great! It’s really, really fun to play the songs again, to uncover them, discover the different parts and to replay them.
RR: Is there anything that jumps out at with differently or that you’ve seen in a different light now that a bit of time has passed?
LM: Well, a couple of songs are incredibly fast. I never even noticed they were fast 30 years ago. I’ve had to work really hard to bring them back to those speeds because I don’t have that sort of speed anymore. This album came after 15 years of being onstage and starting off in punk bands, really thrashing it. That was the first thing that really stood out for me when I started looking back at the tracks. And there’s another one that’s a really tricky kind of faux-funk beat. Again that required a bit of working out again. We’re also doing ‘Cattle and Cane’ which isn’t on the album. That’s my signature song, so I’ve also had to work on that.
RR: Is it emotional returning to songs like ‘Cattle and Cane’ 11 years since Grant McLennan passed away?
LM: Hmmm, not really.
RR: You’ve got a lot of talented musicians coming in to help with the project, who are you most excited to be working with?
LM: I’m really excited to be playing with Kirin J. Callinan. I really like him. I like his material and I like the way he performs. I’m really excited to play with Ron Peno [of Died Pretty]. I’m really excited to play with Montaigne. I’m really excited to play with Tim from Cub Sport because I really adore his voice.
RR: I was going to ask about Kirin, he’s recently released a song called ‘Friend of Lindy Morrison’ on his latest album Bravado. Is it a tribute? Did you play on it?
LM: No, no, no (laughs). He’s saying he must have made it now because he’s a friend of Lindy Morrison. That’s what he’s saying!
RR: Is it a bit flattering?
LM: I’m flattered that he would put me in the title of a song, but it’s a joke you know? It’s not true! He’s not famous from knowing me! In fact, he’s not famous at all and nor am I!
RR: Jumping back to the album what is it about 16 Lovers Lane. What makes it a recording that people are still discovering and re-listening to after all this time?
LM: The songs are so authentic. I mean ‘Dive for Your Memory’ is the most beautiful song and ‘Clouds’ as well. So many beautiful songs on it, that’s it. The great thing about Robert and Grant is how authentic their lyrics are. They tell the story of the band, as you probably know. All of that comes out in the songs.
RR: So you’re doing this and the documentary is coming out…
LM: It’s come out. It’ll be playing in Brisbane on September 3rd and we’ve been invited up for a Q&A after. It’ll be really great.
RR: You’ve had this long and storied career as a musician. As you’ve said you may not be famous, but you are an influential figure. Where are you at right now as a musician and where are you going next?
LM: I can’t answer that! Actually, I can answer that. Can we do that again?
RR: We’re still rolling.
LM: Amanda and I have been working with Dave Mason from The Reels. We’ve been working with him very slowly all year because we all have kind of tortured timetables. So it’s him, me, Amanda, Brendan Gallagher and a computer. Our first performance is at the end of October. They’re his songs, all beautiful songs. We’re also working with a filmmaker who will be doing images for a song called ‘Sandy Shore.’
Interviewer - Riley Fitzgerald