We have good, strong memories of Chris Wilson here at Augie, not only of countless blistering shows we all saw over the years individually but as a young band supporting this giant of the Melbourne and Australian music scene. The word 'fearsome' has often been employed to describe Chris' stage presence and for good reason. He's one of the few people on the planet who really should be up there striding the stage and commanding it, fronting whatever outfit it may be, singing, playing, regaling and in full control of space - it all comes from heart, gut and mind and a complete love for the art. Which of course makes the sometimes tenderness and complexity of the delivery all the more compelling. Loose $5 t shirt and work jeans back in the day, and if I'm being honest I probably nicked that signature look for myself - it's still my stage uniform of choice but where Chris looked like he just happened to be at the bar and sauntered up to the mic to destroy an unsuspecting crowd, I look like I forgot to get dressed and luckily found a Target on the way to the rock club. At soundcheck on the first night of a residency at the Royal Derby on Brunswick St. many years ago he came into the band room and sat down with a sigh which I took to mean "give a man some space you pale little shoe gazers". Instead he spied some CDs poking out of my backpack, one of them Nick Drake's Bryter Later, and proceeded to tell me Five Leaves Left was the one to get, especially for River Man. We talked a little about Nick's finger picking and the deceptive strength of his playing and singing both. I confessed I didn't really know how to be consistent in any facet of what I was doing and he told me a few things about preparing which I still use. One in particular, if you're a bit shy about warming up around other people then use any opportunity when there's a bit of noise, especially if you're in the van on the way, to just hum quietly, find the frequency and match it. Gentle advice, gentle technique. Later that night after we'd put in what I hope was a serviceable bit of noise for the crowd as they'd readied themselves for the real thing, Chris came up on stage and grabbed the mic by the neck, asked "How bout Augie March Ladies and Gentlemen?" to a polite smattering, then "I said HOW BOUT AUGIE MARCH?! GIVE IT UP FOR EM YA BUNCH OF FUCKIN' STIFFS!!". Still our favourite bit of promo and one of the most encouraging things a person could do for an admittedly fragile bunch of chaps with bad haircuts.
Our gratitude and love to Chris and his family, from the Augie family and onward from the bigger family of Australian musicians. We are indebted and urge all lovers of music to help the Wilsons in their time of great need by visiting this page CHRIS WILSON FUNDRAISER and making whatever contribution you can manage.
Thanks, Glenn Richards on behalf of Augie March