The Lean Years 1


You’re my only friend…and you don’t even like me.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was once a cartoonist for the Australian music magazine Juke. I threatened in that post to republish some of the work I did back then and the time has come to make good on my threat.

Over the following months, I’ll be putting out an installment a week. I’ve cleaned them up a little but they’re basically the same strips that were published in Juke.

At this point, they are more of a historical curiosity than a contemporary take on band life but I still like to think they have a certain period charm. Just for fun, I’ll publish each with a track I was listening to at the time I was writing and drawing them.

Hope you enjoy.


Lean years 1 001 colour 2 .jpg


The artwork and characters featured in this strip are my personal IP and may not be reproduced or distributed without my express permission. ©1990-2016



Parts 2 & 3


30 thoughts on “The Lean Years 1

  1. OK, wait a minute here. I hadn’t seen that previous post and so until this very moment, believed you to be “lovelorn Aussie poet/music (esp. Springsteen/Bowie) lover.” And so then I see this and find out all my preconceived notions were wrong, the Earth has shifted on its axis and you are in reality “lovelorn Aussie cartoonist/poet/music lover?” And if I read correctly, ex-band member? If so, that, as my son would say, is sick. (His highest compliment.)

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      1. Sure. Nevertheless, cartooning seems to me like a pretty good skill to have. That skill of combining both good drawing and storylines has always fascinated me. The latter I could do. As tot the former, my drawing/painting skills are feeble.(Both my wife and daughter paint and sketch.) And while I don’t read the comics pages as avidly as I once did, I am a gigantic fan of political editorial cartoonists and how they can get to the essence of a topic in one frame. BTW, were you also a rocker? Did I read that right? You were playing in a band? Or bands? Or were otherwise somehow involved in music?

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      2. Hmm. How about that? A man of many talents. Yes, rock is a young person’s game. I played guitar in blues bands around Boston just a bit earlier than that. It was fun but unless you were going somewhere with it, playing in clubs eventually got old. (As, I suspect, you well know.)

        I now play regularly for my own enjoyment and it’s a total blast. Occasionally I jam with a friend but that’s about the extent of it.

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      3. One could say that, yes. I asked him once what, if any, impact my playing had on his taking it up. Enormous, he said because A) there were always instruments around and B) it took what seemed like an impossible thing and made it feel it was within his reach. I’m more of a soloist, he’s more of an Edge-type “sound painter” if you will. My daughter plays sax as well but it was mostly high school and college bands.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Heartwarming. I like to hear stories like that. Do you ever jam together?
        BTW, I actually put some not so secret Easter eggs in some of my posts. Links, basically, to where I’ve parked some of my music over on Soundcloud. Since you were unaware I’d been in bands until today, I guess you never caught any of those posts. I can’t remember most of them now but one was called ‘Looking for water’.


      5. We haven’t really jammed together much, no. Our music is so, so different. He is totally and completely indifferent to blues and jazz. And the type of stuff he plays does not lend itself to jamming. Nevertheless I suggested we find a tune on which to do this. The only problem is finding time in his schedule. And I will definitely check out a tune or two of yours. Thanks.

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      6. I figured that since you were so open about pointing people to your music you must have been pretty confident about it. And with good reason – it’s excellent. Very good production, songs – and hey, that guy can sing with some real passion! Time for the reunion tour. 😂

        At this point, with your varied background, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if you had directed a movie and entered it in some Australian film festival.

        BTW, I wasn’t 100% sure which was you in that dissolute-looking group pictured on the band site. Guy on the left?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Sorry to hear about your mate

        I think the guy in the middle is the last one I would have guessed. Well, you wear your guises well. Back then, the frontman rocker. Today, the poet.

        As to your voice, you, of course, know it sounds fine to me and everybody else and that, like all people who create anything resembling art, you are your worst critic. I am reading Springsteen’s book and he doesn’t necessarily always like HIS voice. The fact that he is #36 on Rolling Stone’s top 100 singers of all time did not, one surmises, sway his opinion in the least. My wife paints and after a piece is done, all she sees is the flaws. So it goes.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I finished it today. Outstanding. I probably won’t listen to his reading any time soon. But one day when I’ve forgotten the details, I’ll pick it up and listen to it on vacation.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Our music was very much ‘of a time’ and as a song writer I still had a ways to go but I’m certainly not embarrassed by what we did. And though these tracks were essentially only demo recordings, they still sound pretty good to me all these years later (once I get past my voice which I’ve never quite gotten OK with).


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