Sure we’ve heard about you before, but we think it’s time for Tone Deaf to get to know you a little better. Slip in to something comfortable while we put on some music, pour us a couple of drinks and turn the lights down low.
Who are you and what do you do in your act?
I’m Jon Marco and I am the leader singer, rhythm guitarist and benevolent overlord of The Honey Pies. We’ve also got Tony Marshall on lead guitar, Tom McCarthy-Jones on bass and Marcus Warnecke on drums.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
I’ve stolen every record in my father’s collection except for his Skyhooks. I don’t get that band.
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
I tend to get very obsessive about one album for a long time and just listen to it over and over until I’ve sucked all the marrow out of it and right now that’s the “Book of Mormon” cast soundtrack. It’s a Broadway musical by the makers of South Park and Avenue Q and it is all I have listened to on repeat for weeks now.
‘Home taping is killing the music business was the catch-cry of the record industry in the 1970s, but it managed to survive until now. What do you think is the difference between mates taping copies of friend’s records back in the 80s and 90s and file sharing now?
I suppose the difference is that taping took more effort and expense on the part of the copier, so it was less rampant than file-sharing, and more romantic in a way too. I think you appreciate music more when there’s been some sacrifice on your part in obtaining it, whether that’s paying for it, that drive to the store, or sitting down and taking the time to make a cassette to swap with a friend. When you can get something for free with the click of a mouse, I’m not sure it retains all of that magic.
At the same time that ease of accessibility is exposing people a lot of people to a lot of music they wouldn’t otherwise give a chance, and if you’re making music that means you can reach a wider audience more easily. But again, they have so much easy music at their disposal that maybe that music loses its magic. I’m not sure how to square that circle.
We were going to put one of those “home-taping is killing the music business” logos with the cassette and the crossbones on our album as a bit of a joke, but we weren’t sure people would take it as a joke. Listen carefully and you’ll always notice people say that piracy is killing the music “industry” or “business”. You’ll never hear anyone say “piracy is killing music”, because it’s not.
Musicians will always make music and most of them will probably always not make very much money doing it. It’s true under the label system, and it’s true under file-sharing.
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What was the first gig you went to.?Where was it and what was the venue?
The earliest one I can remember is the Big Day Out the year New Order reformed. That’s if we’re not including my seeing Peter Combe as a kid (coincidentally around when New Order were originally playing).
What’s your favourite site to download music from and do you ever pay for it? Can we find any of your releases there?
iTunes and Bandcamp are good. We’re on both. I tend to pay for something I know I’m going to like and not pay for something that I’m taking a bit of a chance on.
What artist made you want to pick up an instrument and/or sing?
It was 1999 and it was “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins.
Have you ever been arrested?
No, but it can’t be long now.
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
I find that having any less than three drinks before I go on stage, or any more than five, is a recipe for disaster. Also like to have a cuppa tea if the bar has a kettle, and I’ll go hum a few scales while I take a piss before we play.
What’s been your most outrageous rider request?
Nothing yet, we’re lucky if they’ll give us a few beers. One day I’d like to say “We’re not going up on stage unless we get a razor, four short straws and Orson Welles’ ashes”.
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
I don’t play very well with others when it comes to writing, but there’s loads of people I’d to get producing one of our records… We tried to get Chris Bailey from The Saints for our last one but he was too busy touring with The Bad Seeds.
Right, let’s get really intimate. Tell us what releases you have that we can listen to with the lights down low, or even better, where we can see you play in person next.
We’re playing every Friday this month (June) at the Grace Emily in Adelaide and I think we’ll have a new record out this year.