Over dinner at a local pub is when founding member/lead guitarist for Baby Animals, Dave Leslie and Melbourne singer-songwriter, Victor Stranges, discovered they had a mutual admiration for the songs of Elvis Costello.
Stranges was looking for a new bass player for his band, The Futurists, who perform ‘The Songs Of Elvis Costello’ show. He asked Leslie if he knew any bass players that might be interested and he enthusiastically responded, “I’d love to do it!”
It was only a few weeks prior that Leslie witnessed the band perform two blistering sets at Wesley Anne in Northcote, and Stranges recently recalled in a Pop Preservation Society interview saying, “…I’d love to play bass in this band.”
Dave Leslie is well regarded within the Australian music fraternity, not only for his work with multi-platinum selling Australian rock group, Baby Animals, but for recording and performing with countless artists including Jimmy Barnes, Richard Clapton, Angry Anderson, Grinspoon, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, The Angels, Doc Neeson, Ross Wilson, Steve Prestwich (Cold Chisel) and James Blundell.
Though mainly known as one of Australia's go to guitarists, Leslie has also been bassist on various recordings and has even played bass live for Suzi Quatro. It was Leslie’s fondness for the musicality of Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ bassist, Bruce Thomas that aroused his interest in this project. “… the parts are amazing… ‘So Like Candy’ was my favourite but I think now ‘Shipbuilding’ is”, said Leslie.
Victor Stranges & The Futurists (photo: Frank Apicella)
(L-R: Victor Stranges, Frank Scalzo, Mike Dupp, Dave Leslie)
Victor Stranges has previously released two albums of original songs, but he recently recalled that, “… playing other people’s songs was the furthest thing from my mind. The truth is, what I learned from Costello was how to write songs. His music was a puzzle (that) I used to pull apart and put back together a lot…. I started playing his songs live for fun. When a friend told me the show was a real indulgence for him, I knew I was onto something.”
Victor Stranges & Elvis Costello at The Concert Hall - Melbourne 1999
(Photo: Steven Scheloske)
Stranges initially played the show solo, debuting it at The Brunswick Ballroom in January 2019, and eventually put together a whole band, and has sold out every single show since. The line-up now comprises of Victor Stranges on vocals/guitar, Mike Dupp (Adele Show) on keyboards, Frank Scalzo (Secret Agents) on drums/backing vocals and Dave Leslie on bass/backing vocals.
VICTOR STRANGES & THE FUTURISTS will be playing a matinee show of ELVIS COSTELLO hits and obscurities at George Lane St Kilda on Sunday 8th October. The four-piece band will play two sets totalling ninety minutes drawing from Costello's first twenty years of making records from ‘My Aim Is True’ (1977) to ‘All This Useless Beauty’ (1996). Playing the radio favourites, 'Alison', 'Watching The Detectives', 'Oliver's Army', 'Pump It Up', 'Everyday I Write The Book' and 'Veronica' to the more unknown album tracks, this is the ultimate indulgence for the die-hard Elvis Costello fan. Special guest performance is from Melbourne singer-songwriter, Tim Reid.
Tickets for George Lane for 8th October now on sale: trybooking.com/1106829
“Close your eyes and you'll swear you're at an intimate Elvis Costello gig. Open them and you'll see a spirited performance by Victor Stranges and The Futurists.” (Anthea Palmer - jimmyhornet.com)