Lachy Doley has accumulated a large list of sympathisers, mentors and inspiration along the road to the launch of his first solo project. As one half of the famous Doley brothers session keyboard franchise, and after success with Powderfinger, Barnsey, Billy Thorpe, The Hands and many others you might think that launching a solo thing would be a step back and to the left for Doley - given that he could quite happily just jump on the next bus with any number of huge touring artists. It seems though that the lure of sticky carpet, driving huge distances and poor pay proved too strong and Lachy has stepped to the front with his new album 'Typically Individual Conforming Anti-Social'.
Born in late 70's in Adelaide, Lachy began his musical journey early in life when his Mum hooked up with a pot smoking blues musician named Barry who would often jam with the young Doley boys amongst the chaos of their slightly dysfunctional relationship. With guidance from Barry and inspiration from piano players like Jerry Lee Lewis and Otis Spann, pretty soon Lachy and his brother Clayton became good enough to start playing live.
One of Lachy's first gigs was when he was thirteen. Barry had a lunchtime duo gig booked at the Old Exchange Hotel and took the youngster along. Little did the thirteen-year-old know the gig was to accompany strippers while they did their thing for the lunchtime crowd, "I remember my shock when the strippers walked out like it was yesterday, (it was) every teenage boys dream."
Clayton and Lachy tried to play as much music as they could to help cope with an increasingly difficult home life. As soon as Clayton was old enough, he moved to Sydney to pursue greater musical things, and Lachy stayed to finish school while working most Friday and Saturday nights around Adelaide venues. The song 'Mother' on Lachy's new album relates directly to this difficult period in his life.
After a short stint at university an opportunity arose to make a living playing music in Sydney, so he packed his Hammond Organ and Leslie Speaker in the back of a poo-yellow Mitsubishi Sigma station wagon and headed down the road Sydney-bound. On landing in the big smoke, Lachy scored a gig with seminal Sydney blues veterans The Mighty Reapers. That in turn lead to an international tour with band Karma County, arriving in Rome as a kid still in his teens. "The first gig we played was an Aussie film festival and after the gig they screened the now Aussie classic 'Two Hands'. It's quite surreal hearing Brian Brown say 'Terror-dac-tile!' in the thickest Aussie accent through a huge PA right on the river in the middle of Rome. It was the same show I was introduced to the MC of the night Megan Gale."
After Italy came Germany, The Netherlands, England then across Canada and down to New York City before home. This first tour accustomed the teenage Doley to life on the road, a good warm-up for what was to come when he then joined Jimmy Barnes' band at age 20. "I remember I was shit-scared on my first show with Jimmy Barnes - and some technical malfunctions didn't help my cause. After fussing about for ten seconds or so to find the right sound for the intro of 'Working Class Man', I hear this high-pitched, angry, screaming voice say 'Just play the fucking song'. I soon settled into the madness and was lucky enough to tour Europe again the following year, this time with Jim."
Back in Sydney Lachy moved into a house in Erskineville with his brother Clayton. This house became a launch pad for their critically acclaimed band The Hands. They started playing more and more gigs together - in between playing for other artists - and recorded their first album 'Live and Breathe' in 2003. "They were exciting times for us. We toured all around Australia with that album, including a wonderful two week tour up the West Coast - Dunsborough to Karratha. We travelled some serious miles on that one and met a lot of great people including a school music teacher in Canarvan who had us come play and teach music to 50 or so indigenous kids at the local school."
It was 2003 when Lachy first worked with Powderfinger after a recommendation by engineer/producer Anton Hapog who was working on the Vulture Street album at the time. "The boys were after some keyboards for the album and Anton suggested me. I remember they were quite amused at me rocking out during the session. I believe there's footage."
Up till this point Doley had also been working with Aussie legend Billy Thorpe. "He had become a real important part of my life along with his best mate Norman Sweeney. Billy really believed in me and appreciated what I did. He would often say 'if only you were around in the 60's and 70's mate." The year following Thorpe's (and Sweeney's) deaths in 2007 was a tough one for Doley, having become very close to the rocker. "The original lyrics for the song 'Miss You' were about Billy Thorpe. I reworked the lyrics a few years later around another relationship which had ended."
Later that year he got a call from Bernard Fanning asking if he wanted to come play with Powderfinger; not having to think too long, he joined them on stage for the first time at Currumbin Beach, Anzac Day 2007. "I remember we played 'On My Mind', 'Bless My Soul', 'Lost and Running' and 'Nobody Sees'. Then came an album tour and then the huge Across The Great Divide Tour which holds many a laugh and story." The Hands released their second album 'Everything Is Wonderful' in mid 2008 which included the single 'More and More and More'. The track went on to become iTunes single of the week and received airplay right across Australia, the brothers touring furiously to support it's release.
After working on Powderfinger's swansong 'Golden Rule' and surviving the hectic Sunsets tour, Lachy hit the ground running - heading into the studio with some of Australia's finest musos to create 'Typically Individual Conforming Anti-Social' - the album with the contradictory title that heralds the launch of the next phase of an already incredible career for Lachy Doley.
Ryan Van Gennip - 0425 274 608