Making its way back to the Caulfield Racecourse for its fifth consecutive year, the Melbourne Guitar Show is eyeing August 2019 off like a dog eyes off its dinner. Poised to be its biggest and best jaunt yet, this year's show – kicking off across the weekend of August 3rd and 4th – promises a (quite literally) jam-packed lineup of performers and exhibitors, with an emphasis on getting punters hands-on with the enormous array of axes on show.
In the lead-up to this year's Melbourne Guitar Show, Australian Guitar is going full steam ahead on the hype train. Every Tuesday and Friday, we'll be going head-to-head with one of the top-notch fretboard warriors making their way to the show, in the pursuit of getting to know a little more about who'll be melting out minds when they take to the stage. In this edition: Dave Leslie.
Shredding it up since ’73, Leslie is one of Australia’s most venerable fretboard warriors. A founding member of legendary hard-rock outfit Baby Animals (with whom he’s landed three ARIA Award wins), Leslie has toured the world over more times than one could count on both hands. He’s also a stunning virtuoso in his own right, consistently blowing minds as a solo artist and collaborator with such household names as Jimmy Barnes, Richard Clapton, Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Grinspoon.
What are you most looking forward to about the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show?
I always look forward to catching up with all of my guitar-playing mates. It’s difficult when everyone is so busy. It was a great hang last year.
Why do you think events like the Melbourne Guitar Show are so important for guitar lovers?
You have the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in all aspects of playing. Checking out new gear, checking out old gear, workshops, listening to great players, meeting the players that have influenced you...
What can punters expect from your performance at the Melbourne Guitar Show? Do you have any exciting surprises or curveballs up your sleeve?
No real curveballs here. I’m just going to be shooting the shit about what I do, and playing a bit of stuff that makes me – and hopefully others – feel good.
What are you most excited about in the guitar world right now?
My Fractal AX8. It’s a pity they don’t make ‘em any more. Oh, and Elixir Optiweb Strings – they are, hands down, the best!
What innovations would you like to see companies take with the guitar in the near (and distant) future?
What more can be done? I think when Peavey put a whammy bar on an acoustic, things had already gone too far...
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment? Do you have any particular go-tos or favourites?
As my friend Bob Spencer says, “Guitar playing isn’t a competition, but Jeff Beck wins!”
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
The first electric I ever owned was a sunburst Maya Stratocaster copy. I loved it so much that I polished the finish off it.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like? Effects, pedals, amps…
A Fractal AX8 into a Melbourne Amp Co. DL602 or 1970 Marshall Mk2 SuperLead. When I’m touring, I usually run through a rented Marshall JCM 900, and run the AX8 through the FX return.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
I already have it – it’s a Grubisa Merlin.
Who are your favourite up-and-coming guitarists? Anyone we should be keeping an eye on?
Melbourne Guitar Show 2019
Stars (ft. Mal Eastick, Nick Charles and Roger McLachlan)
James Norbert Ivanyi
Cartridge Family (ft. Sarah Carroll and Suzanna Espie)
Simon Hosford’s Fair Warning
Saturday August 3rd + Sunday 4th
Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
Tickets on sale via australianmusician.com.au