Interview: Penny & The Mystics

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 28.02.13 | Issue # 327



With NSW’s Penny & The Mystics about to embark on an impressive five-week regional tour of WA, frontwoman Penny Hartgerink assures Daniel Cribb the tour’s title, The Bogan Pilgrim Tour, isn’t a dig at the locals.

It’s often hard to see the place you call home as a tourist destination. Most residents of Paris are probably sick of tourists taking photos of the Eiffel Tower as they pass them on their way to work, and for New Yorkers, the Brooklyn Bridge would be nothing more than an effective method in and out of Manhattan. Most bands can’t wait to get on a plane and hit up every other capital city; especially artists in Perth, being so isolated from what’s going on over east. A lot of Perth bands can’t see the touring potential in such a huge state.

Having grown up in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, roots and rock band Penny & The Mystics see the how much of a touring goldmine WA is, and throughout February and March, with funding from the Federal Government, are spending five weeks touring the countryside. “Everyone should have a chance to see live music. I mean, we lived in a really small coastal town and, apart from karaoke at the pub, there’s not that much live music available, you know, you have to travel half an hour, an hour, or drive up to Sydney if you want to see quality music, so it’s great that these small towns will get a chance to enjoy a bit of live music,” Hartgerink tells.

“With the grant that we’ve received from the government, it’s specifically to do regional tours. The idea is to get live music into regional areas. I guess the government thinks that all the major cities get enough music and that small towns miss out a little bit, so they’re trying to get music out to places that wouldn’t normally get it regularly.” Touring small country towns is remarkably similar to her day job, teaching early-childhood music. Firstly, Hartgerink delivers music to those who aren’t usually exposed to it, and secondly, she often performs to alcohol-fuelled punters in the same frame of mind as a toddler. The word ‘bogan’ might come to mind when you imagine a pub in the middle of WA’s South West, and although their tour is called The Bogan Pilgrim Tour, it isn’t a stab at the country folk of WA, rather a tribute to someone back home.“It’s our drummer’s housemate’s name. That’s his real name,” she laughs. “We were at his house while we were trying to think of a name, and we were going through all these things and we just went, ‘Bogan! Bogan Pilgrim! Can we use your name?’, and he was like, ‘Yeah, sure!’.

That’s his legitimate name on his driver’s licence and everything. A lot of people are like, ‘Okay, but what’s your real name?’. Apparently, when his parents named him that like 30 years ago, it didn’t mean anything, it was just a word.”

Just like with anything else, it takes trial and error to formulate the perfect method of touring. Heading into unknown territory can be financially risky. They’ve had their fair share of failed shows, but always manage to look at the bright side of each situation. “One town we played at, the whole town was like 50 people, and like 20 people came,” she laughs, referring to a regional tour of New South Wales and Queensland they embarked on last year. “So that was a good turnout, I suppose. That place hadn’t had live music in their town in five years, so it’s not like we’re going to places where we’re expecting to play in front of thousands of people or anything – we’re just going to have a good time and see how it goes.”

Penny & The Mystics will be playing the following dates:

Sunday 3 March – Caves House Hotel, Yallingup WA
Friday 8 March – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River WA
Sunday 10 March – Redcliffe On The Murray, Pinjarra WA
Friday 15 March – The White Star Hotel, Albany WA
Saturday 16 March – Prince Of Wales Hotel, Bunbury WA
Tuesday 19 March – Perth Blues Club, North Perth WA
Wednesday 20 March – Mojo’s Bar, North Fremantle WA
Friday 22 March – Grass Valley Tavern, Grass Valley WA

Daniel Cribb

Drum Perth (Feb 28, 2013)