SINGER-SONGWRITER DIESEL ON STAYING TRUE TO YOUR VISION (AND YOURSELF) AS AN ARTIST

I couldn’t be more excited to wrap up the Q & A series with an artist that has always been there for me both musically and personally. Diesel!! Huge thanks to Ash Grunwald, Kasey Chambers, Deep Purple’s Steve Morse, Tommy Emmanuel, Baby Animals Suzi DeMarchi, Wes Carr, Electric Mary’s Rusty, Simon Meli and Brooke McClymont for also sharing wisdoms. It’s refreshing to hear from those who have successfully and SANELY integrated music into their lives. I’m warmed by the love. These stories have helped spark the flames to make a new record and get back up on stage! Yewwww! Massive thanks to The Music Network, Paul Gildea, Clay Doughty, my beautiful family of course Jaden Social for being legends! I can’t thank you all enough!

In an industry where expression collides with business, how do you keep the passion to play/write music alive?

I feel you have to fundamentally love the process, whether it’s bringing people together with your live performance or trying to turn what is in your head into a tangible piece of music people can listen to by making a recording.

Have you ever come close to leaving music? If so, what prompted it and what inspired you to stay? 

I’ve pondered what I’d be doing if I didn’t do music, but the actual reality is something I find frightening.

How do you stay true to your vision, in an industry that is filled with opinion?

Opinions can hurt sometimes; you get better at sensing when comments are “loaded”. Constructive critique can move you to try and look at things in a different light.

I accepted a long time ago some people were never going to “get” my music. Having said that, part of my job will always be to try to win them over.

What does the day of a gig right up until stepping on stage look like? 

Eating, hydrating, running. All done hours before being in front of people. I like to juxtapose the environment of a venue with getting outside, nature preferably. The harder days for me are when I’m unable to do that.

What tips do you have in balancing family with music life? 

Music can be consuming. On the upside, it has also allowed me to spend a lot of time at home – time that people working conventional hours might not get.

What do you do to stay physically and mentally balanced? (on and off the road if you are a touring artist)

I run and cycle when I’m at home, run when I’m on the road as it’s the least complicated thing to be able to do. I’ve always loved the feeling of movement and running solo when I’m on the road has brought me to some amazing places. I also like to connect to where it is I’m playing that day.

How do you carry out the roles of a performing artist during times when you’re feeling sub-par? Be it unwell or emotionally unstable. 

Sometimes It’s the only thing I feel like doing. There have been times when I’ve had to perform on days when I’ve had some kind of trauma and it’s been a real challenge.

In that situation, you have to try and not internalise and connect to those around you.

What epiphany(s) has altered your approach to music/life? 

The epiphany I had whilst sitting in a math class in Year 8 was strong. I suddenly, all at once realised I wasn’t going to be needing any of this… I was going to be a musician! Frightening stuff for any parent.

Have you ever experienced anxiety/depression/nervousness around a tour? If so, what are (were) the triggers and how do (did) you manage it?

Definitely all of the above over the years. I stopped drinking 15 years ago at my shows. Adrenalin and music are a pretty strong combination, and I figured out for me personally that was all I needed.

The highs and lows are always there but the extreme troughs caused by substances I’ve mostly avoided since.

Can you trace your current successes back to any big risks or leaps? If so, what were they?

In 1987 we all got on a bus across Australia, landing in Sydney with $93 between us. It all could have gone south but I’ve been on an endless tour ever since.

Help those who are falling and relay an experience you’ve had that landed you flat on your face.

When I was 13-years-old, I had to audition for grading in front of three judges at the back of a large room with the cello that I’d been playing since I was eight. The room had a wooden floor and I had nothing to stop the spike on my cello sliding constantly away from me.

I was already extremely nervous and received only blank looks of annoyance from the three judges as I battled my way through the ordeal. I was devastated for weeks after, but at some point, it must have turned to determination.

What is your philosophy on fear? How do you deal with it? 

Fear is wired into us intrinsically. I try not to take on the fear that is being projected on to us in sometimes the subtlest ways – that is no small feat.

If you were to wave a magic wand, how would you like to spend your time in the future?

Watching Michelle Obama become president for starters! I hope I live long enough to see some repairing of this planet we have so badly treated since the dawn of the industrial age.

Are there any other wisdoms you’d like to share? 

It’s all good.


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