Songs by Rocky Barcoo – a brief musical history
Rocky Barcoo is not my real name, of course. I chose it because it’s a very Australian name, don’t you think? (My real name is Mike Holt)
My first memory is suddenly gaining awareness in the womb when I heard classical music my parents were playing. It was like my consciousness just popped into being. I had no idea what the sound was but I could feel the music and I remember flying off into mental flights of joy. That was way back in 1947. Since then I’ve been singing and playing music and being captivated by all the beauty of our world and universe. We are so privileged to live in this time and place.
Songs, Music, Fiddle, Growing Up
As I grew up I watched my father playing violin, and of course I wanted to do the same. But I had to wait until I was big enough to hold a violin at six years old. If my parent had bought me a kids violin I would have started even earlier.
As soon as I got my hands on an instrument I started music lessons with the music teaching nun at school. She was really tough, but she knew how to teach and encouraged me.
I gave my first recital, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, just three weeks after I started learning. Gawd! How I must have screeched and scraped my way through that! But my school mates, parents and teachers all applauded (probably with relief that I had stopped) and I was hooked!
From then on, I practiced violin for at least one hour a day. Then one day I listened to my first Rock n Roll music. Poor mum. She hated it, but whenever I could I would sneak off and play Rock n Roll instead of the boring old classics.
As I grew somewhat better at it my teacher enrolled me at the Brisbane Conservatory of Music where I scored among the top ten junior classical players in Queensland.
But that old rock music kept luring me back. The Beatles came along, and I played their songs….The Stones, Moody Blues, and many others.
In the early 70’s I heard Papa John Creech for the first time. PJC played in many bands around the USA, including Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna. I fell in love with his soulful blues and rock playing, and I decided to learn his style. I locked myself in my room for about 6 months, only coming out for showers and food. At the end of that period I could play most of his songs almost note perfect, with my own little additions as well. Drove my flatmates crazy, but when I emerged I could play in a very similar style to PJC. I still do today.
Other influences include the jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponti, and Stefan Grapelli.
I moved to New Zealand in 1972, where I lived for four years, I was the singer in a hard rock band that played Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and other heavy rock. We played concerts, school gigs, pubs, anywhere and everywhere. With my three octave voice and high falsetto I can sing a wide range of songs.
I moved back to Australia and from then on I sang and played in bands in North Queensland. My favorite was a band featuring Rick Montgomery, one of the best guitarists I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with. Our band won the Nth Queensland Battle of the Bands two years in a row.
But I got restless, and after two years up north I got on a plane and headed for Bali, planning to travel overland to London. After hooking up with Ben, an Antrhopologist, we traveled through Indonesia, Malaysia, up to Thailand and then over to the Philippines, playing wherever we went. That’s a whole book right there.
I ended up going back to Thailand, intending to continue my trip to London, while Ben returned to Australia to continue his studies.
But life has a funny way of making other plans and I ended up staying in Thailand for 30 years. Never far away from music, however. I played in various bands, singing in pubs and clubs all over Bangkok. I sang with an all-Thai band for about a year and had some great times with my buddies.
After 30 years, 2 marriages (one still going strong today) and two daughters I decided it was time to return home to Australia. We ended up on the Sunshine Coast where we continue to live.
Over the years I’ve been privileged to play with many musicians, on stage and off. I’ve jammed with some of the best, including Phil Judd, Marc Hunter, Rob Guest, and many others. Along the way I’ve had a lot of fun. The most fun I’ve had, though, has been recording my original songs in my own home studio. I hope you enjoy the songs as much as I enjoy writing and producing them.
All songs written and played by Rocky Barcoo, except for Rain (written by Jose Feliciano), Hurt (written by Nine Inch Nails) and the Beatles classic, Eleanor Rigby. Special thanks to Boghrat, a great guitar player from Los Angeles who kindly gave me permission to use his guitar instrumental in Rain.
With his wide vocal range Rocky hits the highest and the lowest notes. Come on in and have a listen to Rocky’s Songs.
If you like any or all of the songs select them from the drop down menu at the top of this page.
And don’t forget that you can always contact me if you have any questions.