Josh Owen: chasing the groove not glory

Josh Owen: chasing the groove not glory

Catching a break in the music industry is sometimes more about luck than talent.

It’s the only way you can explain why funk ‘n’ soul sensation Josh Owen is not a household name yet.

Once a relentless tourer who’s kept some esteemed company over the years, from Toni Childs to Ross Wilson, Owen admits the harsh realities of life on the road have clipped his wings a little.

“It’s just a little bit too hard to tour because no one knows who the hell I am,” a modest Owen says.

“No one is going turn up to ya gig if they’ve never heard of you. It’s kind of problematic.

“It’s circular in the sense that people have to know you to turn up. From there a venue can pay you either because people came and bought drinks or ticket sales, so then you can pay for a hotel, petrol and a dinner.

“I’ve done too many failed tours and it’s too heartbreaking so I don’t really do that anymore. I think I know that only five people in Australia know me and that’s just how it worked out so touring is not an option anymore.”

Owen is pretty chilled about everything in life, especially the fact cash and major kudos may never come.

“It’s just been my lot I guess,” he says. “There are plenty of other great musicians that I think should be huge in fame and notoriety terms but have never had a break.

“You can’t get frustrated with it, it’s just how it is. Some people get huge and you wonder why others flounder in obscurity.

“I’m definitely part of the latter. The main thing is I think I have become a better musician in the process which is the main point in the end anyway. Of course I’d love to be more successful, as everyone would, but it’s just how it’s worked out.”

He doesn’t begrudge any musician who’s embraced the reality television circuit as a springboard for recognition.

“These kinds of programs are just one part of the music industry and it’s great for someone who is a singer hoping to be a great pop artist or an established artist who is looking for a break,” he says.

“In the end it’s only a launching pad. It’s right for some people and not for others. Everyone has a way of getting out there.

“In the end talent shows helped push Bob Marley early on and the Jacksons for that matter. It’s not for everyone but it’s great for some.”

Owen admits he almost appeared on Australia’s Got Talent, but didn’t quite fit the criteria.

“It turned out that they couldn’t fit me into a box they wanted to put me in so it didn’t happen,” he says.

It’s hard to be bitter though when you regularly play with your idols, like the time he played the iconic Eagle Rock with Ross Wilson, “witnessing first hand how iconic that song really is”.

“Also playing Touch Of Paradise with him and thinking “bloody hell this bloke wrote this song!”

“Playing guitar for Bunny Ruggs at a gig in New Zealand and watching a crowd go bonkers to his songs and being overwhelmed by the magnitude of his voice… playing rhythm guitar for Ernest Ranglin and feeling like I was meditating while this 75 year man tore it up.”

Sounds like Owen is getting plenty of return on his musical investment.

Josh Owen plays the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival November 8-11.