by Sian Williams.
Peter Combe is a name that needs no introduction, unless you just arrived of course from another planet. After a career that has spanned decades, Peter is presenting two shows with many session times to choose from at this year’s Adelaide Fringe – one for the kiddies, and another reminiscing evening for adults to let loose and enjoy themselves on a level that they may not have the opportunity to experience very often.
You must love your job. How many opportunities exist for people to simply do what they love and be so loved in return?
“I must say it is pretty amazing to be able to get up and sing and play music and to be able to do it full time. I am well aware that I am lucky to be able to call this my profession and to do what I do on this level. I really enjoy the chance to share so many messages with these little people who will grow up to be taking care of the world we live in. I like to promote the idea of living a life to be enjoyed, of non-violence, or caring for the planet. It is a wonderful way to educate.”
Can you explain to what makes the adult show specifically for adults? Is something risqué occurring we should know about?
“Big Kids Night out is not anything peculiar, it is a little later in the evening and I guess technically people can grab a drink and come in. It is a night to let their hair down and sing all the songs they used to as a kid; let’s not forget how long I have been doing this now. Some of the kids who would have sung my songs in school now have families of their own. It’s so much fun. The adults show is very popular.”
Tell us about your band, do you travel with hordes of children?
“No, although in several venues and cities I can of course enlist the assistance of children’s choirs and performers. I love working with the Theatre Bugs as they are naturally well versed in performance and are very good. I do have a band however, consisting of Phil Caneens on keyboards, Guitarist Sam Leske, and Steve Todd on drums. Steve is the best drummer I have ever worked with, full stop. Steve Fleming also performs with us on bass, fiddle, mandolin. All very classy musos who I absolutely love playing with and recording with. I take Phil everywhere and I obviously cannot take the whole band with me all the time but I would sure love to.”
How often do you bring out new recordings? Is there a requirement or need to have a certain amount of new material, because your current and past songs and albums are timeless really?
“I do like to keep challenging myself. I like covering new musical styles and creating new material. I am a great believe in never patronising children or assuming anything about them; both intellectually and musically they are often patronised and underestimated. So I have as such always used quality musicians and taken all my projects very seriously-for example I use full string quartets, have a professional band, I have tried various styles of music such as jazz and folk, one hip hop song also! The song in question is from an album called Spook from about 1993, and is called Supermarket. It was a lot of fun. The Fringe show features kids from the Theatre Bugs Company which my daughter is the creative director of. We like to have a full stage and bring a lot to the kids. It mixes it up a little and creates varying levels of interaction for them also.”
I understand you have a musical group of children in your own household?
“Yes, of my four children we have multi instrumentalists, Suzuki students and now parents of Suzuki grandchildren of mine, and of course artistic involvement in theatre and dance. It would be hard to escape the industry really coming out of our house.”
Are your shows different? I imagine it would be hard to maintain such interest as you have, how do you do it?
“It is really a combination of ensuring that I am never tired as a musician and artist; that for myself I always feel challenged and that I am trying new things. This then of course rubs off on those I perform with. It is then a careful balancing act with bringing to the show, and particularly the adult show, those old favourites that so many know and love and if you didn’t perform then you would certainly have people complaining! You just cannot escape the likes of Wash Your Face In Orange Juice and others like it.”
Peter Combe performs Big Kids Night Out at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Aurora Spiegeltent on Thu Mar 12th.
Peter Combe performs Wash Your Kids In Orange Juice in The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Vagabond from 2.15pm on Sat Feb 21 until Sun Mar 15.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 261 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix.
Click HERE to purchase your tickets for Big Kids Night Out.
Click HERE to purchase your tickets for Wash Your Kids In Orange Juice.