Acclaimed tribute brings Bowie to Geelong

Paul Matthews and band. (Michelle Cop)

Matt Hewson

Adelaide-based vocalist Paul Matthews has always had a passion for the music of David Bowie, a passion he’s able to channel as lead singer of tribute show Ashes to Ashes.

But it has been a winding road to Bowie for the 53-year-old, who spent years focused on creating his own music.

“I come from a background where I’ve always been in original music,” Matthews said.

“It wasn’t until 2007 that I started doing covers. The first cover band I was in was called The Invasion, and we did British ‘60s rock, everything from the Beatles to the Kinks and Small Faces.

“From there I was introduced to a different circle of musicians. Because the covers scene is so different to the originals scene; it is in Adelaide, anyway, there are different circuits you do.”

After a stint doing a Powderfinger tribute show, Matthews approached keyboardist and colleague Marco Giardini about the concept of a Bowie show.

“We finally started looking for members in mid-2015, and everything was sort of coming together, but then of course (Bowie) passed away early 2016 just after his birthday,” Matthews said.

“We didn’t want it to look like we were cashing in on somebody that just passed away, so we put things on hold for about three months.

“We were trying to pay due respect as well. But then when we noticed there were a number of tributes going about, so we thought we may as well just go ahead and yeah, we haven’t looked back.”

Ashes to Ashes has steadily gained popularity around the country ever since, culminating in a tour of the east coast and South Australia last year, including an invitation to headline at the Let’s Dance festival in Carinda, where Bowie filmed the video clip for his iconic hit of the same name 40 years ago.

Matthews said while he liked to remain grounded and humble, he wasn’t “really surprised” buy the success of Ashes to Ashes.

“I do believe in what we’ve got to offer and I believe the band that we have has got the capabilities to deliver,” he said.

“We give 110 percent every night and we’re having fun on the stage. Our intensity always comes across and we’re always having a good time. I think that’s what’s helped us stir up a bit of talk and helped us along.”

Ashes to Ashes is at the Sphinx, North Geelong on Friday, February 23.