Wesley Dean on Meeting Locals and Walking Many Roads
Tell us about your tour vehicle.
Right now, I’m lucky to have a brand new Ford Ranger truck. I bought it when I moved to the states last year.
BUT, in the past I’ve toured in a lot of different ways, notably a small van around Australia in a band I was in when I was younger. It was 6 guys and all the gear piled in and we went from Brisbane to Adelaide and back. It was my first real tour on the road, I was 24, young and excited, I remember laying on the drum kit on the back seat, we had some bumps along the way, I got pneumonia on that tour, but it was a great experience… I’ve never laughed so hard… Times have really changed since then, it’s possibly cheaper to fly!
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
I’m pretty health conscious these days. I have to be. I hunt down a Whole Foods or an organic food store or cafe and buy some practical supplies to snack on, on the road.
You can eat cheaply doing this, you just gotta know what to buy… It’s easy to eat badly on the road. If you can’t get to a healthy store then I’d recommend to pack something you can snack on that’s healthy and that will get you through the tour. Eating badly on the road catches up with you… I’ve been there before!
I pack my own food and coffee as well. I make sure I get in a 20 minute HIIT workout in the morning done – you can find those on YouTube.. Joe Wicks is a great motivator and has some pretty brutal workouts.
Also… It’s always a great idea to go to the local cafes and shops and meet the locals, gives you an insight to the town you’re in, and helps to make good banter at the shows.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Not a lot anymore. I use Martin’s long lasting guitar strings. They’re really reliable and great to play.
Where do you rehearse?
I have a great space at my house. I’m lucky to have a whole space to write and rehearse. Nothing too crazy. The place was built in 1891, it has an amazing history and I pinch myself every day that we live in Nashville.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
“Kingfisher the Flying Kangaroo” – I wrote it when I was about 5.
Lyrics are – “Kingfisher the flying kangaroo, he’s not a lion, he’s not a tiger, he’s not Batman, with his fly hanging down, oh yeah!”
I have no idea what it’s about, but it was a hit in my backyard… a catchy little number!
Describe your first gig.
I started singing and performing when I was really young. I used to sing Michael Jackson songs every school holiday in shopping centres around my hometown of Adelaide, Australia, so I was always working at my craft and learning how to be out in front of people.
My first gig, playing my own songs I had written was when I was 12 in my high school band at Pizza Hut in Elizabeth, Adelaide for a radio competition… we didn’t win… I was just teaching myself how to play guitar and write songs, but threw myself in the deep end any chance I got…
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
12 years ago I worked in a bar called the Robin Hood Hotel in Bronte, Sydney. I loved the certainty of having a job pulling beers, it was a nice break from music. Before that I’d been mainly playing music for over ten years and experienced quite a lot…
The manager of the bar at the time, was a fan of my old band, and so, he offered me a gig to play acoustically at the bar instead of pulling beers, because I was better at playing music than being a bar tender…
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I’ve found it really easy to make money at times and found it really hard to make money at times. Depending on what I’ve wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Winning Australia Idol, I made some money with a big corporation backing me. As an independent you get to own everything, but it can be hard to promote it.
To be honest, I never look at my music as a money maker, it’s always something I have done before I knew what money was. But it’s not called the Music Business for nothing and now that I have kids, I need to be aware of how it’s serving them.
If you find your own creative flow with your own talent, and learn from the most successful, then I think you’re in good steed at making a career. I believe if the music adds some value to people and you have the ability to reach quite a few people then you’re going to be ok.
Music is never about ego for me, it’s a sacred process, there’s no one formula. If you have the ability to be an independent, you can create your own music your own way, own your intellectual property, and be prepared to put in the work, sacrifice a lot of your time and be patient. In 5 – 10 years I want to be able to have carved my own way and have a solid foundation for my family.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
Patience and to stay consistent. I was always in a hurry and I had so much creative energy that I chopped and changed and felt like there was never enough time to express everything I had to say. I wished I’d taken the time to choose happiness more, than to live in my head. But you only know what you know at the time, and you can only control what you can control, these experiences are only blessings.
I started this music journey very young, I gave a lot of my time to music, and in order to grow I had to challenge myself constantly.
I walked many different roads, but if I hadn’t experienced those roads I wouldn’t have the beautiful family I have, I wouldn’t be touring America and have been able to write and record this record I have coming out, and have so many more stories to write about.