A long standing muso on the Sydney Music scene, we’ve long been friends and fans of Zane Banks here on the AU, from his Swing/Rockabilly project Cruisin’ Dueces, to his various solo and collaborative projects, he’s been one of the city’s most active guitarists for years noa. And this weekend, you’ll see him as part of the Pioneers of Rock n Roll, part of the Sydney Guitar Festival. Ahead of the show, Zane took some time out to reflect on his career to date and look ahead to the show and what’s next.
What was the first guitar you bought?
The first guitar I bought was a Fender Nashville Telecaster. My brother and I went busking for a few weeks leading up to Christmas (2001) and we made a few hundred dollars which we put towards the guitar, my parents paid the difference.
Do you still have that guitar? If so, do you still play it live or do you keep it at home? If not, what happened to it?
I still have that guitar, it has played many, many gigs and it’s now in retirement. Should I need a spare Tele it’s always there.
What’s your advice for someone who’s starting out on the guitar?
Have fun! Learning guitar is all about having a good time. Listen to all styles of guitar and try and learn a few things in each of those styles; versatility is a very useful thing as a guitarist.
Who was your “Guitar Idol” so to speak growing up, and who do you still look up to today?
Players that still inspire me are Danny Gatton, Albert Lee, Joe Pass, Brent Mason, Tommy Emmanuel etc.
You’re now someone else’s “Guitar Idol” (you sound like you won a reality show, for which I apologise… let’s go with “legend of the guitar” from here on out), what do you think your younger self would think of you now that you’re in that position?
My younger self would be happy that I continued practising and achieved the guitar related goals which I had set.
Any walk around any city, anywhere in the world will remind you that any guy seems to be able to play a terrible version of Wonderwall on their guitar. What did it take for you to be more of a… wait for it… “legend of the guitar”?
I’ve spent thousands of hours practising since I began learning the guitar when I was 9, in 1996. I’ve had some amazing teachers who have helped my playing in immeasurable ways; I’ve also played with many older musicians who have been great at giving advice on playing particular musical styles. Ultimately, there are no short cuts if you want to become a great guitarist, no matter how much talent you have, you have to put in the hours.
Do you have a favourite chord?
G! Nothing sounds better on a Martin D-28 then a G chord. It’s perfect.
Tell us a bit about what you’re doing as part of the Sydney Guitar Festival and what we can expect from the show.
I’m playing a show called ‘The Pioneers on Rock n’ Roll’ which is on Saturday, August 18 at The Factory Theatre. Drey Rollan, Blues guitarist extraordinaire and I will be playing music by artists who were integral in creating rock n’ roll; some of the artists who songs we’ll play are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson etc. We’ll be playing their songs on authentic vintage guitars from the 1920s-1960s which will be supplied by ‘Holy Grail Guitars’. It’s going to be a really special concert. It’s not often that people get to see such rare guitars let alone hear them played in a concert.
Do you have any new music you’d like to plug?
My regular Country, Blues and Rockabilly band, ‘The Cruisin’ Deuces’, have a new EP out which we will have for sale at the Pioneers of a Rock n’ Roll show. This EP has original songs and features some very fine playing from a group of very experienced musicians.
Zane Banks plays as part of the Pioneers of Rock n Roll show this Saturday night at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville. For tickets and more details head to https://www.sydneyguitarfestival.com.au/2018-pioneers-of-rock-n-roll/ and for more on Zane’s band, the Cruisin’ Deuces, head to cruisindeuces.com.