“It’s a cracker. Loved it!” .. James Black, RocKwiz
“My Favourite music book for 2010″…. Martin Jones, editor, Rhythms Magazine
“One of the best muso books I’ve read” .. David Day
A book for us all.
One-time Bodgie, present-day Prawnhead, and seemingly perennial staple of the Adelaide music scene, Don Morrison has forgotten more about the harsh realities of the music business than most of us will ever dare experience. Or maybe he hasn’t quite forgotten them. This book, a memoir of his “thirty years at the dag end of the Australian music industry”, provides a host of tales from Morrison’s colourful career; looking at the highs and lows of embracing the life of the troubadour. More importantly though, This Could Be Big will make you smile, sometimes knowingly. You will enjoy the ride as you eagerly turn the pages, without ever dismissing the realistic slice-of-life that this book offers the reader.
The dubious joys of touring far and wide, the dealings with managers, agents and other sharks, the drab reality of the day job and the succour & solace of crafting guitars are all recanted with a disarming honesty and good-natured humour that will resonate with readers.
Morrison documents his travels through the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of his struggle to make ends meet as a jobbing musician. Sharing stage space with Midnight Oil, attempting to translate the humour behind the name “Thunderbox Carbunckle” to a Japanese backpacker, and the joys of intra-band relationships are just some of the tales he shares. There are plenty more besides…
One of the prevailing themes of the book is that, more often than not, the differences between being big and remaining a struggler aren’t that huge, and that luck and circumstance are major players in a game that has slaughtered so many wide-eyed aspirants. Morrison also clearly articulates the differences between the joyful process of making music, and the pain and hassles that go with attempting to turn that same music into a profitable venture.
This book is the perfect Christmas gift for anyone even vaguely involved in the world of music. No matter what stage of your career you think you are at, or with which particular genre you have chosen to align yourselves, you should all read this. Morrison writes earnestly and sometimes critically, but he has a wit and a way with words that show that, despite all the crap, it’s still a great ride.
Here’s to you Don, I reckon you’re doing just fine.
David Robinson, SCALA News
Updated, expanded, second edition!
(even more tomesience)
“Don has done it this way for more than 30 years, the only way he knows how. He gets on and does the things he feels are worthwhile; writes his own songs, starts a band, records his own music, keeps playing to audiences of all ages, sizes and situations, then builds his own guitars, cars, motorbikes, telescopes. And now he writes about the whole ordeal, a delicious mix of ham and wry filling this book with tales tall and true about how pub rock became a cultural force in Adelaide, carrying the furtive dreams of so many that never quite got to make it big.
Still, better to have remained big hearted rather than become big headed, a virtue that makes Don imminently more affable, endearing and enduring than any of the translucent pop stars that were momentarily big before disappearing completely. Don, by notable contrast, is still really doin’ it.” David Sly
“Best Xmas holiday read for ages. I guess that’s why I liked the book so much – you took your reader right there and survived! Top read. 5 stars. Now for the film !”
“Best music bio I’ve read I reckon. I suggest banning it from all music students reference lists therefore making it an imperative.”
“I have just reread Adelaide’s own Don Morrison’s book This Could Be Big. It’s a page turner with a laugh- out -loud moment on nearly every page…I must have read hundreds of books about musicians and I reckon Don’s is one of the best.”
“Love that book!”
“I too have read loads of books about muso’s lives, and would have to totally agree. Don’s is one of the best, one somehow starts to relive those sticky carpet days with more than a chuckle and gleam in the eye. Stacked with insights, a fab read !!!”
” Yep I totally agree…great book…the real deal ; )”
“Finished it and I LOVE IT!”
“Wonderfully written, charming, wryly funny, brilliantly observed, and it clips along at an admirable pace.”
“Really entertaining and engaging narrative. Fast paced and funny.”
“I have just finished reading “This could be BIG!” and wanted to let you know I thought it was a really great read.”
“Read your book last night, bloody great read mate!”
“I read it in two nights and laughed out loud in quite a few places! It’s on a par with Keith Richards book – both very entertaining.”
“Really enjoyed it. Lots of L.O.L moments”.
” Love the book. Compulsory reading. It should be on the booklist for all those places you can go to study the music industry. Could be big……..”
From Folkworks in California
Is there a reason for a folk music fan from the United States to read Don Morrison’s book about the nitty gritty of the Australian music scene? Yes. Because it’s a good read, although few of us outside of Texans ever had to drive so far to a gig.
Don Morrison has over thirty years of experience in the music business. Although his “day job” is constructing world class resophonic guitars, he’s always been a performer, and as such he’s driven the crappy vans that break down on a regular basis. He’s been lied to and cheated by promoters and club owners. He’s seen talented band members give up and float away. He’s seen success, and he’s seen failure. And through all of this, he’s been able to balance his odd profession with a keen sense of humor, and the ability to turn a good phrase.
In the 1980s, Don ran towards the stardom light in a band called the Bodgies. After conquering their hometown of Adelaide, the boys took to the road, which is Australia can be a long road. Anecdotes about their ancient PA system or dodgy guitars will sound familiar to anyone who had tread on the band road. The burning van may not have happened to all of us, though. After Adelaide, the boys move to the big city of Melbourne. More stories, more touring, more grabbing for the brass ring. The Bodgies worked tremendously hard, played tons of gigs and yet kept having that elusive stardom just out of grasp. They rubbed elbows with the stars, and formulated a “people’s band” devoid of the trappings that most bands demanded. Rather than an exclusive dressing room, they posted a sign allowing full access to anyone.
But the rigors of the road and endless gigging finally tire Morrison and he “retires” with a job with the Australian government tax department. The muse returns and he runs through several bands, including Prawnhead and The Lonely Cosmonauts. With the latter he mingles with the colorful cast of “The Hillbilly Hoot,” a one hour radio show featuring all varieties of roots music. The former features his family, and allows Don the ability to be a good dad and a rocker. Despite (or perhaps because of) all the ups and downs, Morrison keeps his cool and relishes the little things. Like the day he sat eating fish and chips and watching a BMW attempt to offload a jet ski and instead roll into the drink…
All in all, a good funny read.
Dennis Roger Reed