peregrine is one of the best loved bar bands in Australia.
Renowned for their strong songwriting, crafty musicianship and rollicking live shows, they’ve been kicking it for close
to ten years, releasing two albums – 2003’s One Big Happy Heart Attack and 2008’s Stay Inside and Misbehave.
Playing a mix of upbeat rockabilly pop, country rock, blues and tear-jerking ballads, peregrine puts a distinctly
Australian stamp on the classic roots of rock music.
A peregrine show transforms any bar into a sweaty, foot-stomping rock n’ roll theatre. Songwriter Brett Winterford as
ringmaster up-front – gangly tall, a mess of hair, cowboy shirt and boots. Next to him guitarist Felix Akurangi: a skinny
Maori boy dressed for the deep south, bowler hat and some old timepiece hanging from his pocket, his leg shaking
uncontrollably as he rips into the strings. There’s scouser drummer Mat Smith in his sharpest suit and Costello-rimmed
glasses, trying to be methodical when all else is chaos. Then there’s the menacing frame of bassist Mark “Hulk”
Holbert, mocking his own muscle with a teddy bear smile.
With a Hammond Organ whirling behind, old valve amps just warm enough to break up and crack, the band delivers,
according to a recent live review by Sydney street-press Drum Media, “a perfectly crafted set of tunes; earthy and
organic in parts, almost wild rockabilly in others. The beauty of this band is their natural ability as musicians.”
Winterford’s songs are oft described as wistful and charming, with “narrative wit and poetic soul-searching in
abundance.” (The Australian). These songs have been heard across both independent media (Triple J, FBi and U.S.
College Radio) and commercial broadcast (Big Brother, Bondi Rescue etc).
The band began with a two-year residency at Glebe drinking den The Excelsior, a mid-week ritual for many Sydney
“Are they one of the big secrets about town or what?” wrote Revolver Editor Craig New of the band’s
energetic early shows at the bar. “Amazing vocals, beautiful pop melodies, stunning.”
It was at this time that national youth broadcaster Triple J first started playing Fingerpointing, the rockabilly-fused
number that would later open the band’s debut album.
The residency, Winterford recalls, was fuelled by “an endless tap of free booze and bowls of cheap Thai food.”
In the years since, the four-piece has played similar bars in a regular circuit up and down the East Coast of Australia
two and three times a year – entertaining not only the discerning music-lovers of inner-city venues but also regional
listeners in country pubs.
More recently, Winterford has cast their music’s net ever wider, touring across Canada and Germany – the latter
tour propelled by the use of peregrine track Everything’s Under Control in a YouTube video that attracted some
300,000 hits from Northern Europe.
The band is now set to embark on its third tour of Germany after recording a music video for Take my Time in Magdeburg in 2008 and is recording a new EP in Sydney in August 2010.
At home, meanwhile, the band continues to tear up and down the Australian coast, joined since the release of
Stay Inside and Misbehave by young Hammond organ whiz Dave Stabback. Slowly, but surely, peregrine are winning
over the music lovers.
“A good deal of folk have picked up some pretty thing on peregrine’s watch,” says Winterford. “And that’s quite