Peter Bibby talks booze, mates and what it’s like playing music under his own name

Fresh off a flight from Melbourne, adorned in a leather akubra and a brown sheepskin-lined coat, Peter Bibby emanates old school Australian charm like no other*. Sitting in a cafe next to the ABC in Ultimo, Bibby spoke about booze, mates and playing music under his own name.

Peter Bibby black and white

Photos by Liam Cameron

HAPPY: You’ve had a pretty crazy start to the year, how were Laneway and SXSW?

PB: Yeah, it was all really good! Laneway was a bit of a blur, just hanging out with mates. SXSW was pretty crazy, pretty intense. I felt pretty lucky being a solo act there; I saw so many bands lugging gear all around place. I played six shows in four days, and you know all the road are closed and everything.

HAPPY: I guess it’s always more flexible being a solo act. You did a few on the fly shows right?

PB: Yeah well I did the Laneway party over there, which I’d just been asked to do the night before. I just played in the corner, which is always pretty fun.

HAPPY: On Butcher/Hairstylist/Beautician, ‘friends’ seem to pop up a fair bit. Are these actually your mates, or are they conceived characters?

PB: Some of them are characters yeah, but they’re usually based on real life. There’s Johnny on there, like ‘goodbye’ Johnny, and you know he plays bass in the band. The actual song Friends is sort of based on two of my Perth mates. It’s a kind of fiction based on non-fiction.

HAPPY: So that story didn’t actually happen?

PB: Well a lot of that sort of stuff happened at some point in time. That one’s about ‘Strawberry’ Pete and ‘Deranged’ Lion.

HAPPY: Cool mates, man.

PB: [Laughs] Yeah yeah, they are.

HAPPY: Booze pops up a bit as well.

PB: It definitely does.

HAPPY: Would you say that the booze encourages the music?

PB: Well, once I have a few drinks ideas start popping into my head you know.

HAPPY: And I’m the sure music encourages the boozing as well.

PB: Yeah well, it all sort of goes hand in hand doesn’t it? I just get a bit inspired after a few cups of good sauce, but it usually needs a bit of editing the day after.

HAPPY: What are your ‘bottles of confidence’. Is that the booze, or is it your mates.

PB: That’s the boys in the band. It’s definitely a metaphor for alcohol yeah, but we just thought it’s an amusing name.

Peter Bibby red

HAPPY: Do you like playing in a band more, or do you prefer doing it yourself?

PB: I like them both for different reasons, I wouldn’t say I like one better than the other.

HAPPY: And how did you and Nick (Allbrook) start playing together? Was he a mate from Perth, or did you guys hook up in Melbourne?

PB: He was playing bass in the band for a little while, and Cam Avery was plying drums. Then Nick moved to Melbourne, and I was living with Johnny at the time and we all just started jamming.

HAPPY: Is that how the idea for ‘Peter Bibby’ started or have you been writing music for a while?

PB: Oh I’d been writing music for ages. I’ve played in heaps of bands before, but it was only when we started [jamming] that I started actually using my own name.

HAPPY: Do you find that weird, putting out music under your own name?

PB: Yeah definitely, I never ever thought I’d be in a band that was just like, my name.

HAPPY: Well lucky it’s got a ring to it.

PB: Thanks mum and dad.

HAPPY: How has living in Melbourne been? Do you miss Perth?

PB: Melbourne is good, yeah, wet and miserable at the moment, but I miss Perth. I go back there a fairly often though. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of moving back there – a bit of a change of scenery I guess. Basically the same reason I moved to Melbourne in the first place.

HAPPY: Perth, to me, is a bit of an enigma. Living on the east coast and hearing so much great stuff come out of there…it’s a pretty intriguing place I guess.

PB: It’s a pretty fun place. It gets a little claustrophobic after a while but you can have a pretty wild time in Perth.

HAPPY: Heaps of good bands?

PB: Heaps of good bands.

Peter Bibby chat

HAPPY: Tonight is the first show of the tour, any plans, surprises?

PB: Oh you know, just a few songs. We’ve actually got a couple of new ones ready. For the last tour we had Linden playing violin with us but now we’re back to being a three piece so we are just kind of adjusting to that again.

HAPPY: I love that violin element to the record. Was that a bit of an afterthought?

PB: Nah, I kind of wanted that in there for a while and Linden was just in Melbourne when we were recording. But now he has moved back to Perth, unfortunately.

HAPPY: Bummer. Well, thanks for having a chat with us man. I know you have to run off to some more interviews, but one last question before you do, seeing as we’re called Happy, what makes you Happy most?

PB: Ahh lots of things. You know, good times, good buddies, the sun.

HAPPY: Just the simple things.

PB: I’m not too hard to please.

*Bibby later explained he acquired the gash above his eye from falling out of a sketchy bed that Shiny Joe Ryan (from Pond) built himself.

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