By MATTHEW MCKEW
A one-off themed gig in Glenorchy’s become a bulletproof idea for a national tour.
This weekend, Dunedin rockers Silas Waring (vocals), Paul Southworth (double bass) and Alex Ramsay (drums) will bring their Dead Rockers Ball back to the Whakatipu, playing in Arrowtown.
‘‘It’s pretty funny when you see a couple of Freddie Mercurys running around, not something you see every day,’’ Southworth says.
Dressing-up’s not compulsory, but something that happened spontaneously at the first ball and now’s being encouraged by the band, Bulletproof Convertible.
The theme came from a song they’d been working on for a while called Tribal Thunder that had the lyrics ‘‘deadrockers gone, but not forgotten’’.
In a lightbulb moment, ideas man Waring thought it’d make the perfect theme for a gig in Glenorchy Community Hall last year.
The night proved a hit, with revellers spontaneously arriving in fancy dress, and the band realised they were onto something.
‘‘We thought ‘oh, this is a thing, let’s go for it’, so our mission is to play in community halls all over.
‘‘We want to do it once a month so it’s a never-ending tour, we’ll go right round the country.’’
Monthly gigs mean they can enjoy their passion around day jobs and families, and they’ll go until they run out of halls or they get bored of each other’s company.
But having played together for seven years it seems the trio just gel.
‘‘We’re in tune with each other mentally, the band really listen to each other so when we play live, we drive each other,’’ the double bass player says.
‘‘Our favourite thing to do is get on stage and go 100mph.’’
Their genesis rather fittingly came from a Halloween Party, when Southworth and Waring got chatting.
‘‘He’s got a great energy about him and sense of artistry, a little bit dangerous, can visualise things and writes great songs,’’ Southworth says.
Next came Ramsay, whose background in both pipe and rock bands gave the new group an edgy sound.
‘‘The band’s all about rhythm and it’s all coming from him,’’ Southworth says.
‘‘Our mission is to keep it rolling and then Silas can do whatever he wants.
‘‘He can walk away, chug a beer and we’ll still be going.’’
As for Southworth’s double bass, that came from his involvement in a Blues band seeking a 1950s sound.
He’d been drawn to music as a 12-year-old when his mum took him to see Split Enz.
‘‘It was kind of the end of an era when they wore the dress-up costumes, I crawled under the stage and managed to find a hole to poke my head up to watch them play and it blew my mind. I just thought ‘I’m gunna do that’.’’
So how do Bulletproof Convertible describe their collective sound?
‘‘We have no idea how to describe it, we know people like it, but not how to describe it,’’ Southworth laughs.
If that piques your interest, head to eventbrite for tickets and show up at Arrowtown’s Athenaeum Hall on Saturday for 7.30 doors.
‘‘Come along, have a laugh and have a dance.’’