By Luke Voogt
Master guitarist Jeff Lang will return to his old “stomping ground” of Geelong for the launch of his new-album tour Friday night.
“It seems as good a place to start as any given that I grew up in G-town,” he told the Indy.
The 47-year-old will fill the Geelong Workers Club with the restless strumming of rhythmic blues from his latest release: Alone In Bad Company.
“There’ll be some songs that I haven’t played live at all and they’ll be getting a run,” he said.
“We’re happy with how the album came out. It’s got a real distinct mood – some of the songs are very stripped back.”
Lang grew up at Highton and first picked up the slide guitar at age 14.
His love for music “percolated” to the sound of AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Leo Kottke and Ry Cooder on his parents’ record player.
“At a certain point I feel in love with sound,” he said.
“Around my early teens it became all-consuming and took over everything else.”
Lang cut his teeth on Geelong’s pub scene as a teen during the late-1980s at iconic live music venues, like ‘The Nash’ and The Carlton.
He quickly became known as one of the city’s most skilled guitarists.
“It rolled into a career almost by accident,” he said.
“It’s the only job I’ve ever had – I feel very lucky to do something that I love. But no one gave the career to me, I had to do it.”
Lang moved to Sydney 1991, where he lived in his van for 10 years.
“Just being obsessed with music” would lead Lang to release 12 albums from 1994 onwards, along with several collaborations.
“Collaborating with great musicians is definitely one of the things that’s a high point.”
Now he lives in Melbourne, but regularly gets down to Geelong to play or see the folks.
“It’s always been a good audience for live music in Geelong,” he said.
Lang adores the “vocal quality” of the slide guitar, which he likened to sweet cry.
“It’s an ongoing quest to find different ways of expressing that,” he said.
He released his latest album two weeks ago and said it had reinvigorated his whole repertoire.
“It kind of casts new light off the old songs and gives them an extra charge,” he said.