Rick Grossman has been the bassist of seminal Australian band Hoodoo Gurus for over 30 years. He also played with Divinyls for five years between 1982 and 1987.“I’m the new boy”, as he’d put it.
These days he splits his professional time between the Gurus and lecturing at JMC Academy in Sydney, where he helps instruct students in the practical components of a Bachelor of Music. We recently sat down to grab his sage advice on mentorship in music, ‘teaching talent’, and competitiveness.
Rick Grossman of the Hoodoo Gurus chats us through his work at JMC Academy, thinking outside of the box, and how the music industry has changed over 30 years.
With a distinguished career already behind him, Grossman was quick to state that his friendships had been key to his life as a musician.
“I was thinking about the highlights of my career… I’ve got to say for me, the highlight is definitely the people I’ve worked with. I’ve worked with some of the great songwriters in Australia and learned a lot off them. I’ve been around when some of the great songs have been given birth, and played in great bands, you know?”
“I play in a great band now and I think as time goes on, our band just gets better. So that’s probably the highlight, playing in a great band.”
When growing up, Grossman was lucky to be surrounded by many inspiring figures, both in his personal life and in the music industry. Now as a teacher, he gets to sit on the other side of the equation.
Finding a mentor, or mentors, can be critical to anyone’s career in the music industry. That goes for musicians as well as those working behind the scenes in management, promotion, media, or wherever else you may find your calling.
“Through my life I guess I’ve had people, two or three who have been mentored for me. Just people I really admire and look up to, and sort of inspired me to get going when times get bad.”
“I think mentorship’s a really important thing. I know that when I work at the school, you know that’s one of the great things; to try and inspire people who are just starting off, and maybe they get inspired by me, that I’m still able to play in a band after 40 years of music. It’s pretty good.”
A final nugget Grossman was able to share was his opinion on competitiveness. As music becomes easier to make and more accessible to all, it’s easier than to compare yourself to others in the space.
This attitude, Grossman shares, may not be the healthiest practice. More accessibility also means more potential for healthy collaboration – a far more nourishing outlet.
“I don’t know about music being competitive, I’ve never really thought about that. I always think it’s kind of funny with some of the reality TV shows, it’s a competition.”
“But I don’t see music as a competitive thing, and when I started playing and Australian music was really starting to get it together, there was a real sense of brotherhood amongst a lot of the bands. We all knew each other and we’d all help each other out, so I’ve never really looked at it as competitive.”
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