One of the many amazing Vegas highs for me this week was singing with these Memphis legends [below] at Green Valley Ranch Casino in Vegas. No need for a rehearsal with these dudes; from the moment they walked out on stage, they owned it! awesome band, inspiring gig!
Following on from our preview here of Duff’s stellar performance at the Let’s Dance “Bowie Hotel” in Carinda, New South Wales, here’s some review of the event that was, this Sat 30 September to Mon 2 October:
A 6+ minute doco from Bernard Marden across the Carinda landscape, featuring its locals in celebration, closing in on Duff’s performance as it boomed across the town, then into the famed hotel itself:
Part 2 of a trilogy of first-person tour by Shawn Dare through the festival, here featuring Duff in concert, performing several Bowie songs:
Part 3 of Shawn Dare’s video trilogy, from inside the famed hotel, including interview with the mainman, and with Jak Housden:
“SO MANY smiling faces,” observed Jeff Duff from the stage at Carinda Showground on Saturday night 30 September.
‘Duffo’ and his band, featuring some of Australia’s top musicians, were the headline act for the second Let’s Dance Festival held in Carinda over the long weekend.
Bowie enthusiasts and music-lovers of all persuasions had made the trek …
Visitors and locals were dancing in the street on the weekend, when for three massive days a small outback town was transformed into the Let’s Dance Carinda Festival. It was 34 years ago that legendary singer David Bowie shot the music video for ‘Let’s Dance’ in the town’s pub and over the weekend that iconic scene was re-enacted by performer Jeff Duff …
34 years ago, the tiny NSW outback town of Carinda became the setting of the now-iconic video for the hit song ‘Let’s Dance’. …
(Jeff Duff gets out of a car)
JEFF DUFF, ARTIST: It’s unbelievable. It’s like being in a county fair in midwest America, somewhere. Listen to the music. …
GINNY STEIN: Sydney artist Jeff Duff was once David Bowie’s neighbour. Now he performs his songs in tribute shows and the people of Carinda are hoping David Bowie’s legacy – with Jeff Duff’s help – can keep their town alive. …
JEFF DUFF: I don’t try and impersonate David Bowie. I just – when I do the Bowie shows, I do it as Jeff Duff. I have always dressed the same. I have always worn make-up. I have even got make-up on today. I think he’s just amazing. The legacy of not only his music but his art and technology: he has opened the doors for a lot of modern-day thinkers, you know.
GINNY STEIN: Jeff Duff first met the music legend in London, when Bowie came to see him perform.
JEFF DUFF: And I have always been sort of compared to Bowie; I guess because I’m tall, thin and white.
GINNY STEIN: When Bowie arrived in Carinda, the locals invited him in. Bowie was entranced by the vast landscapes of the outback, but what he saw as Australia’s endemic racism angered him.
JEFF DUFF: He was way ahead of his time with all of these issues. Amazing. So the ‘Let’s Dance’ thing stands for more than just an incredible song: it stands for an awareness. …
… The night was a blast, with every visitor from near and far having absolute fun dancing on a bed of dust and burrs. Jeff Duff is arguably a most flamboyant and creative Australian entertainer, best described as a tall waif of a man with a strong voice. Whilst not attempting to imitate David Bowie’s looks, rather keeping with his own style, he sang with gusto and energy. My red shoes certainly got a work out …
Jeff Duff appears in Classic Countdown on ABC-TV here.
For more: see this vid your very own Institute for Duffological studies clobbered together from what remains to date of this performance, as seen ahead of a showing on Rage (ABC-TV) of a Skyhooks performance at the National Music Awards 1975
This episode of Classic Countdown also features more of Duff hosting the show, adorned with a necklace of sausages …
And let’s round this off with a quote from the iconic host of the show himself writing about Duff:
More about Duff on Countdown in this earlier blogpost here.
Jeff Duff‘s performance of Bowie Unzipped in Melbourne’s Satellite Lounge this September has had many fans of the mainmen recording their ecstasy for posterity—in views and verbiage, so to speak, as follows:
“Duffo sings excellent Bowie!” – Happy Sunflower
“Both Artists are sensational singers.” – White Cat.
“Super song of David Bowie’s, sounding phenomenal with Jeff Duff on vocals.” – Coral
Life transcends D, like essence tanscends concept. Like Elvis rings out elliptically, to the last epsilon, beyond our Voyager. Now 40 years, to this day, since this ordinary, folk-anointed king pulled off his Shakespearean shuffle. So Duffological …
Jeff Duff has sung about Elvis, D-wise, in the form of “Walking in Memphis”, that Marc Cohn song (oh yes, that Song of the Year & Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, 1991, Grammy Awards).
Here’s to saints, their little selves … and the fancy they’re preserving us …
Duff on Elvis, from one mainman to another:
A fab tube by Colin Hay of Duff singing the Cohn song in Waterloo, Sydney, 2013, with a lavish dose of his performance arts:
~ and Duff performing this song intimately with his main keysman Glenn Rhodes at the Mullumbimby Music Festival, 2014, as filmed by Anthony White:
Sat 30 Sept & Sun 1 Oct + Mon 2 Oct – Carinda (Outback NSW)
featuring Jeff Duff & Band, plus local bands, markets, food & bar, workshops
It was 1983 when David Bowie travelled to the tiny NSW outback town of Carinda to film his now iconic video for “Let’s Dance” in the Carinda Hotel.
David Bowie films Let’s Dance at Carinda Hotel, NSW for the smash worldwide hit proved the perfect companion for the ground breaking song. The added bonus of the scenes filmed in Carinda and the Warrumbungle National Park created the magical backdrop for what many regard as Bowie’s most distinctive and powerful video.
Since that date, the pub has become a mecca for Bowie fans from all over the world, looking to stand and be photographed in the same spot where Bowie filmed his video.
The town itself has now embraced this historic connection and hosts the annual “Let’s Dance Carinda” festival paying tribute to David Bowie and his remarkable music legacy.
This year the festival will feature the evergreen Jeff Duff and his band, playing both at the Carinda Showground on Saturday 1 September as well as a reenactment of the famous video in the Carinda Hotel on the Sunday. Jeff explains:
I’m honoured to be following in Bowie’s footsteps to outback Carinda in NSW — the wonderfully remote outpost where Bowie spotlighted the plight of indigenous Australians in his iconic video for “Let’s Dance”. I’ve been a passionate Bowie disciple most of my life and plan on doing whatever I can to to keep the great man’s legacy alive! —Jeff Duff
With a population of around 40, Carinda is about three hours drive from Dubbo and its remoteness certainly appeals to the more adventurous visitor. If you are planning to come to the festival there’s plenty of camping space at the local showground and lots of cold beer and drinks at the only pub for miles around. For city slickers it’s a real chance to get a taste of the outback with the added attraction of local bands, activities for both young and old and even a Bowie ‘Look-A-Like Competition’ plus lashings of country hospitality. Carinda would love to see you there! BOOK ONLINE at eventbrite.
Duff performs Let’s Dance
Sydney Opera House, 2014
Enmore Theatre, 2011
The Vanguard (now Leadbelly), Newtown, 2007
Sydney Festival, 2017 (including Starman)
Satellite Lounge, Melbourne, 2017
Bowie performs Let’s Dance at the Carinda Hotel
~ & what about that other venue in the video — the factory where Bowie slave-drives the children? That stark setting was in the Sydney suburb of Guildford. Could that suburb not also do with a Duff-Bowie renaissance?
11 minutes of Duff does Bowie in new vid from Paul Lacey of the British Invasion Tour (June-July 2017) — including Let’s Dance, China Girl, Starman — plus duet with “Elton Jack” and Rob Caudill (“Rod Stewart”) doing Under Pressure.
Close encounters with Jeff Duff featured in the Neighbourhood Paper for 7 June—including video of Duff escorting the viewer about his apartment, and so his wardrobe, sports trophies and assorted memorabilia.
Quite a Duffological week. From the interviews on 2UE radio and ABC-TV’s One Plus One, to a couple performances by Duff of a sample of songs from his 30-odd original albums, followed by an inteview at the World Bar, Kings Cross as Jeff Duff’s visage shone over the town in the iconic Coca-Cola billboard. All in the ordinary scheme of things for this hardest-working artist in the country, but a whirlwind for the simple fan.
So the Duff Odyssey retrospective was showing on two nights—firstly at Brass Monkey, Cronulla on the Friday (2 June), and then at Leadbelly (ex-Vanguard) in Newtown the following night (3 June). The first was something of a rehearsal for the second. It involved lots of banter with the small but adoring audience in this far-flung province of Sydney. Duff performed two sets, the second involving some Bowie classics, with an encore of Suffragette City. Duff could not oblige further; he had a midnight train to catch back into town. The second show had a bigger, booming sound, with a wildly enthusiastic audience; from where this punter was watching the show upstairs, the mosh-pit looked a total Bacchanale; a mayhem of ecstasy, especially through the climaxes of Duff’s Killing this affair and Bowie’s Young Americans and Under Pressure; and, of course, MacArthur Park.
Here’s the songlist of Duff tracks (and that latter signature tune) from the Duff Odyssey shows:
Here’s a sample from one of the performances (at Leadbelly), Duff and the band doing Skinny Girls, originally as part of the Alien Sex Gods—here with Jak Housden on guitar, Glenn Rhodes on keys, and Ben Isackson on drums—making up what must be the most experienced, versatile and talented rock-band in the country. Duff introduced the song with some apology for any perceived misogyny (from misandrists?), explaining that he really wrote the song only about himself (!)
… and another sample from the Leadbelly gig: Duff’s original 1980s single I Want to be the Pilot, from his Lexicon album. There was also a later version on the Jeff Duff Orchestra album, and you can see Duff performing the song with said orchestra here. It’s a resounding, almost Scott Walker-esque (Nite Flights) song, with some searing guitar and back-up singing.
The talk with Paris Pompor (4 June) in a theatrette in the World Bar (ex Kardomah Café), Kings Cross was an intriguing, joyful and even controversial 84 minutes. To much applause and cheering from the audience, Duff reflected on the sorry loss of the Cross’ unique cultural venues and character as it has become gentrified over the years; but added that “change is the only constant”, and it’s not really the Lord Mayor’s fault. He also recounted some performance experiences over the years, including when he first performed in the Cross music/strip-clubs (the Groovy Room, the Whisky a Go-Go) as a youth in the ’70s, and (in the same category, surely) a romp with the TV-soap star Abigail. There were also novel twists and colourings to some of the classic anecdotes, such as the Ray Martin Show ban, and the Ballarat arrest. Also some thrilling news about a plan to re-record the Fragile Spaceman album with the Australian Symphony Orchestra—albeit thwarted, at this stage, by the Australia Council with their deplorable decision to reject Duff’s grant application to assist it (the first time he’s sought what would only be some fitting return from the Oz taxpayer for all the work he’s done for Australian cultural life). Also an anecdote—worthy of a whole NewsCorp article— about Leonardo di Caprio’s "anxious assertiveness" toward the guest-star Duff on the set of The Great Gatsby. Much thrilling, charming news, too, including about new shoes, new suit, and a new bedside bicycle.
Getting “straightened out” by Abigail, and “put in his place” by Di Caprio: A couple of the subjects of Jeff Duff’s talk at the World Bar with Paris Pompor
The event was apparently video-recorded and there are ample pix of the event on JD’s FB; perhaps I’ll upload my personal audio-recording of it, if it doesn’t appear elsewhere and seems kosher. Meanwhile, there’s this video-recording (from Geoff Schuck) of an intimate rendition of MacArthur Park with which Duff closed this engagement. He dedicated it to his neighbour who was in the audience. She applauded the loudest, and can be seen at the end of the clip, in her red cape, rising to her feet, as others just shook their heads in wonder, clapped their hands with what energy they had left, having truly melted away at the majesty of the performance.
And here is the Coca-Cola billboard appearance; filmed in the rain, as various tourists gathered about me with their own cameras to catch whatever speciality I was filming (!). (Sorry to not have video-recorded other episodes of this week; crowds can be so inhibiting, and filming everything can reduce the immediate experience of being there at all.)
And then, the next day, Fullers Bookshop in Hobart was finally seen to carry Jeff Duff’s autobiography, This Will Explain Everything. This Duffologist only had to reshelve the thing; not good enough to simply show its spine amid so many others; the whole cover must be displayed.
Some entertaining and meaningful interviews with Jeff Duff on mainstream broadcast media of late … classic anecdotes but also, particularly given the interviewing arts of Jane Hutcheon, matters of love and spirituality on ABC-TV’s One Plus One.
Jeff Duff interviewed by Jane Hutcheon on the Australian national public broadcaster ABC-TV program One Plus One
The interview begins with an extraordinary short piece of footage from ABC-TV’s Countdown program; otherwise known as “lost”; Jeff Duff with a string of sausages. To date, only this other short piece has been recouped: here.
The One Plus One interview has touched many people, perhaps stoking insight into their own appreciation of this artist. Among comments on JD’s FB about this interview, people have said:
· I really enjoyed the interview Jeff. Very honest, and that’s why we all love you 🎤❤
· Awesome interview Jeff…..so natural and honest!
· Honest,erudite, kind, funny – I could go on – loved this Jeff
· It was very interesting.
· Fabulous interview on One plus One, Jeff Duff. One of the best, Man
· Yeah it was fantastic
· Great interview with a great entertainer
· Just finished watching it! Thank you so much. Such a pleasure to listen about your life trails. I’ve learned all about a great entertainer/music man. 😊 This interview with Jane made me smile and feel a tear or two when you talked about the one love of your life. A beautiful story about a time in your life. …. and us humans yes, this is so true about love.
· I have really enjoyed watching this interview of Jeff Duff. I recommend it to everyone.
· Finally got around to watching your ABC interview, Jeff. Beautiful, honest and moving.
And, on Jane Hutcheon’s Twitter feed, there is more of the same—e.g., “the Jeff Duff interview was brilliant, thank you :)”, and “If all men were as honest as Jeff we would all be in a better place :)”— … including from the interviewer herself:
Naturally, one comes across some other reactions: “strange” was one lady’s only response after watching the whole half-hour interview, and a certain bloke laughed at Duff’s show of emotion, and performed a mocking parody of it. … As in the quote from Duff’s father that Hutcheon inspired Duff to relate at the end of the interview, the strength involved in expressing all this, in existing this way, is the most worthy of all.
Not to be missed: another contemporary interview: Jeff Duff on Lifestyle Overnight (2UE Radio). With the unrestrained enthusiasm of David Prior, it includes an interesting take on Duff’s early career in Melbourne and Sydney ahead of his flight from Oz.
Jeff Duff interviewed by David Prior on 2UE Radio Lifestyle Overnight
Interview with Jeff Duff in the Sydney Morning Herald today.
Jeff Duff talks about his Euro career, including his go at The Top of the Pops, and his early days as a songster in Kings Cross …
Promoting his participation in Sydney’s Vivid Festival: the Duff-Odyssey retrospective at Leadbelly, Newtown, Sat 3 June [book here], followed by a talk in the Vivid Ideas series Kings Bloody Cross [book here]. See sidebar for more details.
More of Jeff Duff, vivid in pink, in the following slides: Glorious portraits of Jeff Duff in his neighbourhood—Elizabeth Bay, Sydney: The first at the marina; and a couple from a secret garden, Duff in a reflective stance, as if to compose an ode, perhaps to a nightingale, in remembrance, ahearkened to the choir inside his mind.
Congratulations on the JDS site. It really is amazing, comprehensive and accurate … and very well written. Your research is sublime … Thank you for all the hard work … / You continue to impress me with your handsomely constructed and informative insights into ‘Duffoworld’— J. Duff [ 2011/07/07 & 2012/05/17]