Interviewed by Veronica Farmer
Tramp Stamp The latest single by Kane and his band 19-Twenty
It was exactly nine years ago. I was 21 years old and we were on the last leg of a tour that my buddy and I were doing together. We were about to finish with playing for the first festival we had been booked for called “Blues on Broadbeach.” Travelling in a Toyota Camry, we were on our way through Roma and that’s when it all went wrong.
We were going about 100 kilometres on the highway through a great stretch of boring black strip road. Coming from the opposite direction were an elderly couple, they had just picked up a caravan, about to embark on their own grey-nomad adventure. They were starting out on their travel around Australia as we were ending ours.
All of a sudden they lost control of the caravan and as they were inexperienced with it, they hit the brakes which began to swing the car all over the place. They came into our lane and BOOM! Total chaos.
Image credit to Stephanie Jansen
We ended up in the middle of a paddock. I could see to the side of us, the caravan had broken off from the car and it just exploded in front of my eyes. I would never have thought it could just blow like that! Their car ended up on its side in the middle of the highway. We stopped in shock for a second or two, and then Jace, who was driving us, got out and ran over to the other car and pulled the windscreen out of the way and got the guy out. The guy’s wife was in shock and he couldn’t move her, but it didn’t take long for the ambulance to arrive.
I was conscious during the whole thing but in shock. I had hurt my hand and I wore a cast for four weeks, Jace cracked his sternum but these were very minor injuries considering what could have happened to us. We spent two nights in hospital and went back to our lives – a crazy experience that could have been so much worse.
A metre this way, or a metre that way, well maybe I wouldn’t be here today. It’s bizarre thinking about it exactly nine years later playing at the same festival that we had been on the way to all those years ago. It makes you definitely look at life differently.
I have always had a relatively positive outlook on life, but that moment changed me and made me a lot more mindful of how lucky I am to have a life. Having a near-death experience like that helps you see that you could be gone in the blink of an eye so you are an idiot not to enjoy what is in front of you right now. For me I knew that the joy of playing music was the answer to everything for me. I remember thinking “You lucky buggar! You better make the most of what you have left. You’d better live life like you mean it Now.”
I think a lot of people get that perspective when they are in their old age. Being a young guy and knowing that life isn’t a guarantee but more of a privilege, completely turns your life around and you want to squeeze every part out of it!
Image credit www.michelepocknee.com
We weren’t doing the best gigs back then and so after the accident I decided to write on one of my guitars “Stop and think of Roma” to remind me that even if I was doing a crappy gig and I wasn’t feeling particularly grateful for being there, I could look down at those words and remind myself of just how lucky I was to be in my skin and there on stage.
From that experience, you don’t only get to see how fragile your own life is, but how it is the same for everyone. You can’t take life for granted or the people who show up for you. Having had this accident I think has made me more interested in connecting to people in an authentic way. There is no room for male bravado or putting up a big armor with people. What they see is what they get with me and I try and treat others the same way. You’ve got to enjoy people while you have them and not be afraid to tell them if they mean something to you.
That sense of presence is how our band engages with music. We don’t go on stage with a determined playlist or a set plan. We have an idea but once we begin, we watch the music create between us and feed off the audience. We are as tight as brothers and we bring our friendship and banter on stage and then welcome our audience in to be part of that. I think that entertaining people and giving them an experience that makes them feel good is our job, and must be the main focus. A lot of musicians miss that. Music is only ever as good as how it makes people feel. You want to leave them with something that makes them feel alive!
To connect with Kane and 19-Twenty check out http://www.19twentymusic.com
Tramp Stamp their latest single is out now.
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