Artist profile: Pete Cornelius

Artist profile: Pete Cornelius

Pete Cornelius doesn’t look old enough to have released 11 albums but this prodigious talent from St Marys in north east Tasmania has music virtually in his DNA.

As a young child Pete would “tinker away” on his mother’s piano “until getting formal lessons when I was about six. I’d write a few of my own boogie woogies and loved that old-school rock n roll, you know, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis etc…”

Later on it was his dad’s record collection that sparked some interest, “bands like Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits,” but it was music from an earlier era that had really gripped him: “what I first really latched onto was that early ‘50s rock n roll and R&B. I think it was that exciting jumping rhythm, colourful lyrics, great players and amazing sounds! I just wanted to be like Elvis!”

Pete Cornelius likes Bendigo, citing “the people, the venues, the trams, the beautiful cityscape and the heritage” as one of the reasons he’s back for a fifth Festival. And he’s played in some interesting places, “Probably some of the strangest yet super shows have been at Mardi Gras at Kununurra WA, The Island Party Boat in Brisbane QLD and Satan’s Riders Clubrooms in Launceston as a 17 year old!”

It will be great to see Pete Cornelius back in Bendigo in November and hear some familiar stuff like Tumbleweed, Suburban Hell, Drinking the Blues and All My Heroes Are Dead. I’m hoping Pete and his band will play my personal favourite, Been My Gal which contains a line unlike any other I’ve heard about a relationship break-up: “She stole my tape recorder, now she’s on a restraining order.”

Pete Cornelius again promises to be one of the Festival highlights.