RockabillyBash. How did you discover Rockabilly?
Kieron McDonald. My Dad used to listen to a lot of old country hillbilly records like Hank Snow and Hank Williams when I was growing up, and he would let me stay up late on the weekends to listen to his records, (my job was to turn the record over when it finished). We also had a radio station in Melbourne that played RockíníRoll and some Rockabilly every Saturday night called 6 Oíclock Rock, I got introduced to a lot of Sun stuff then, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Perkins etc. There were also a lot of good Rockabilly bands around in Melbourne in the 80ís so it was a good grounding for things to come.
RB. Did you already know then that you are going to be a rockabilly artist?
KM. I always wanted to be a singer as long as I can remember, I grew up in a big Irish/Australian family and music was a huge part of my life. Of course I loved Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis as a kid, like most Rockabillies I guess.
RB. Where is rockíníroll more popular: in Europe or Australia? And maybe you know why?
KM. Thatís a hard one because of the population difference. The scene in Oz is good for its size, especially Melbourne, but the European scene in Europe is definitely bigger with all the festivals and weekenders. I think it really hard to compare but there is definitely more to do and see here and youíre not as isolated as we are in Australia.
RB. The Flatfoot Shakers was your first official band, right? Was it difficult to find the right guys for the right music?
KM. Itís always difficult finding the right musos because its not only the music itís a personality thing and also a business, so you have to find guys with the same passion and goals as yourself, as well as talent. I was lucky enough to find talented musicians from the start and even know the line-up has changed over the years I think the Flatfoot Shakers style hasnít.
RB. How big was (and also nowadays is) a competion in rockíníroll scene in Austrailia?
KM. There are a lot of good Rockabilly and RockíníRoll bands in Australia and especially Melbourne, although only a few that play the more traditonal style of 50ís Rockabilly that we play. However, the scene has always been healthy enough to keep us working regularly, so I am grateful for that.
RB. What did help Flatfoot Shakers become so popular Ė catchy name, excellent musicians, recognisable voice or just the right connections?
KM. Iím not really sure how popular we are in Europe but I guess the European tour in 2000 and the Rockabilly Rave in 2001 really helped us get established here, we were able to play live to audiences in Europe for the first time. I also think our stroller ďChicka BoomĒ helped a lot too when the DJs started playing it at festivals. Really, itís the promoters and DJs and people like yourself that help make bands popular.
RB. Why did you leave that successful project behind? And, by the way, do The Flatfoot Shakers still exist?
KM. Yes they do still exist they are just on hold for a bit while I am in Germany. The guys all play in various other bands, so they are still busy.
RB. Why do you spend so much time in Germany now?
KM. I moved to Germany 7 month ago with my wife and 2 year old son. We received an opportunity to transfer to Cologne with my day job, so we took it. I thought while I am here I will continue the ďKieron McDonald ComboĒ solo work, and just see how it goes.
RB. Having a solo project - is it more difficult than just be a part of the band?
KM. Not really, I was organising everything for the Flatfoot Shakers and I am organising everything for the new combo.
RB. Are you difficult person to work with?
KM. Not that Iíve heard, but your probably asking the wrong person LOL
RB. Do you have a manager who is organising your shows or you donít trust anyone but yourself?
KM. I pretty much organise my own shows although sometimes they come through Rhythm Bomb records. Iíd be happy to use a manager over here, to be honest I donít know any.
RB. How did you find Round Up Boys? And why have you chosen them to back you up on your first solo recording?
KM. I was asked by Ralph Braband of Rhythm Bomb Records to record at Lightning studios in Berlin while I was in Europe in 2005. The Round Up Boys are the session musicians at Lightning studios and they had already backed Doug Wiltshire on a solo album earlier so I knew they could cut it.
RB. Do you still have a contact with them?
KM. Not really.
RB. For your next (second) cd you are back to Australian musicians. And very good onesÖ Seems that you have been playing with them for years. How long did you practise to make it sound like that? Or is it a good record company that made this work?
KM. The guys I used for the ďSwamp ManĒ album are all local Melbourne musos that have been around on the Rockabilly/Roots scene for years. I have played with most of these guys before at one time or another and they are all friends of mine so we all knew where each other was coming from. We actually didnít practice the songs together at all we just went into the studio and put them down. A lot of it came down to the feeling on the day and the production. It was a little hard going as we were pressed for time but I think we got some good tunes in the end.
RB. Who will those lucky guys be that you will choose for your next recordings? Do you have already any ideas?
KM. I havenít really thought about recording another album just yet, but considering the wealth of talented musicians over here I would consider myself to be the lucky one if I do record another album in Europe. I am currently working with some guys from Holland and my original Flatfoot Shakers Bass player Carl Baker who now lives in the UK, so maybe something might come out of that.
RB. Do you see any difference in work between European and Australian bands?
KM. No not really, good musicians are good musicians.
RB. You are a very talented song writer. Where are you getting all your ideas?
KM. Thank you very much, I appreciate that, I enjoy writing songs. My inspiration comes from some life experiences I guess, but most of the time just from my warped imagination.
RB. Have you ever written songs for anybody else?
KM. Not directly but I often hear other bands cover my songs and thatís always a buzz for me.
RB. What is the aim you are trying to reach in rockíníroll scene?
KM. I just want to continue doing what I love best, and that is playing my music to enthusiastic audiences that appreciate good authentic Rockabilly.
RB. What is your next step?
KM. To try and play as many festivals as possible while I am in Europe and maybe even record another album here.
RB. Thanks for your time and see you soon at the Cruise Inn!
KM. Thanks Kizzi, I appreciate your support.