By Luke Voogt
Comedian George Kapiniaris is most famous for his television and on-stage work, but after 30 years of performing, music remains his true passion.
“Growing up my dream was to become a rock and roll star, not a comedian,” he said.
“Comedy is my reality, but my fantasy is rock and roll. I love playing guitar – it’s a fantasy come true.“
Kapiniaris will bring his cover band The Flares to Geelong Friday to perform The Songs of Countdown.
“It’s just a band I put together 30 years ago,” he said. “(The Countdown show is) a fun idea that we did over Christmas.”
The band has featured 75 musicians over the decades, from the Logie-winning Lisa McCune to members of prolific Aussie acts like Killing Heidi and Chocolate Starfish.
“It’s more like a club than an actual band,” he said.
The current line-up features former Countdown performers like Big Pig’s Tim Rosewall (keyboard), Pseudo Echo’s Darren Danielson (drums) and Tottie Goldsmith.
Between sets Goldsmith regales the audience with tales of meeting Blondie and Elton John.
“She wasn’t only a Countdown fan, she was a part of the Countdown world,” he said.
The ground-breaking and revolutionary show became a Sunday night ritual for Kapiniaris growing up in Greek-Australian family at their Richmond home.
“We’d sit there every Sunday and wait for Countdown to come on,” he said. “It had lights, colours and outfits, all the glam and all the sparkle.”
The Songs of Countdown covers a wide range of Australian and interntational bands, including one of Kapiniaris’s favourites, The Skyhooks.
“They had a big impression on me growing up,” he said.
“If you want to show people what Australia was like in the ’70s, just have a look at those lyrics.”
Kapiniaris told Geelong residents to “do you yourself a favour and get on down” to The Sphinx for the show Friday night.
“It’s a lot of fun and the audience picks up on the people on stage having a blast,” he said. “The people I talk to who grew up in that era come away satisfied. It would be great to see Molly down there too.”