Debbie Kruger
A few of the songwriters in Songwriters Speak took the time to send me their comments. Here are a few snippets of what the songwriters said.
You've done a great job of editing what we did down.  You've also done a great thing with this book.  A daunting amount of work.  I know how much homework you did beforehand in my case, multiplied by this many writers, I can't imagine someone taking on that much work.  Beautifully packaged too.

Don Walker

What a sensational book. realises what a gigantic piece of work it is.  Alan and I are both just picking it up and putting it down like it's going out of fashion, which it never will!!!! How cool is that!

Sharon O'Neill

Thank you for sending me the book. I started reading parts of it today and couldn't put it down. Its really interesting to see some of my old friends in there talking about their careers and I have to confess it feels pretty good to be included. For what ever its worth I think you did a wonderful job and I really hope it does well for you.

John Farrar

I thank you Debbie for being productive and writing your book. My perfomance style made people over look my songwriting, it just overshadowed everything!!!

Chrissy Amphlett

Just wanted to drop you a line to say that I enjoyed your book immensely. Amazing how literate we all are when our mumblings are transcribed to the printed page!
It's nice for the national estate to have such a book in existence. All we need now is a Joy Mckean solo record and the world will be a perfect place.
Thanks for putting myself and Rob in amongst the leading lights.
Anyway, hope you're well and the book runs out of the stores.

Jim Moginie

Been reading your book, really enjoying it, thanks for sending it. So far, the chapters I’ve enjoyed the most have been Rolf Harris & Billy Thorpe... I was surprised to learn that Billy Thorpe also shares my view that we’re just “channelling”. I guess that (without specific study) in these matters, people may recognise that they are “channelling”, but not know from where.

Graeham Goble

I got it and read it immediately. You've done an excellent job and found myself totally sucked into everyone's story. Thanks for making me a part of it.

Steve Kipner

I have been enjoying the book, and being amazed by the indepth questions you have put to different people.  You certainly know your contemporary music…or else you did a huge amount of study/research/listening before you did each interview!

Joy McKean

I've had some wonderful emails from people all over the world who have bought Songwriters Speak. There have also been some lovely messages from people in the Australian music industry. Here's some of what they had to say.
Hiya Debbie,

I feel compelled to let you know how much I'm loving your book. I dropped by Berkelouw Books in Darlinghurst last night looking for George Martin's All You Need Is Ears. No luck there, but I did stumble upon your effort, and I've barely put it down since.

I've always wanted to read how other writers DO their thing. In my experience, it's a rather guarded subject & rarely discussed. In fact I've often thought about maybe doing something along the same lines as Songwriters Speak myself. Thanks for saving me the trouble!

I'm sure everyone with an opinion has their favourite noticeable omissions - well, Dave Faulkner for one, Timmy Rogers, Robert Forster & Grant McLennan (it'll be tough getting that one now...) - but I ain't complainin'. You quite obviously have done a ton of research & the book's absolutely first rate. Jeez, even ol' sourpuss Nick Cave comes over as somewhat human!

I'm also loving your website... We're more or less the same vintage, and I too was raised on AM radio & Countdown. I managed to see Queen on that '76 tour, in Brisbane at Festival Hall. There must have been, at best, only 2500 punters, but they played like demons, and I've never seen so much dry ice fog since.

I do believe you've written the definitive tome. Top work.

Sherbet are better than Skyhooks,

Brad Shepherd
Hoodoo Gurus

Congratulations on your achievements with Songwriters Speak. I first read the guys I know – quite a long list actually, including Don Walker, Todd Hunter, Jo Pigott, Garth Porter, Tim and Neil Finn, Iva Davies, Richard Clapton. My opinion is, you got these guys talking from the heart, no mean feat considering a lot them are like clams most of the time.

So I then approached chapters on people I didn't know but whose work I'd always admired – Terry Britten, Brian Cadd, John Farrar, Johnny Young, etc and learned a lot.

What more could you ask of a book?

There were some omissions – Clive Shakespeare and Steve Prestwich are AWOL in my humble opinion hut hey! Songwriters Speak is a book that deserves to be revised and reprinted on a regular basis.

Finally, congratulations on capturing the personalities of the songwriters within a Q&A format – from that wacky cosmic kid Graham Goble (sorry, I just can't call him Graeham with a straight face) to the heartfelt dignity of Archie Roach,.

Anthony O'Grady

Hi Debbie,

Just wanting to say thanks for putting so much effort into such an amazing book. As an avid reader of Australian music literature it's great to read something on the matter with such a unique perspective. When it comes to music books there's an abundance of work out there published in the US, but quality Australian matter is really lacking. You should be proud of yourself for helping fill a void in quality Australian Music literature. 

I don't think enough people realise how integral the Slim Dustys Don Walkers, Paul Kellys, Finn Brothers etc really are. These people have helped shaped the music scene in this country, and there's no denying that music is such an important part of cultural identity. So for you to document these artists in such a manner will go a long way in ensuring that it is not just their music which is encapsulated through their records, but also their thoughts and stories behind the music.  

Also your obvious knowledge and passion of the subject is what makes the book even more special for myself. Questioning Don Walker on songs like 'Showtime', 'Build This Love' and 'Janelle' was a great read as they are personal favourites (I can't believe that Cold Chisel didn't like Showtime at first, as it's such a great set of lyrics). James Reyne saying he thinks 'Hoochie Gucci Fiorucci Mama' was rubbish was another surprise as it it seems like an astute observation on societies inequalities ('Every day I see you wearing things that have never been worn before, while children at the Governmnet school send money for the poor"). Although James often seems quick to dismiss his own work, especially Aussie Crawl stuff.

Again, thanks for all the effort into a book which I know will be a point of reference to me for many years to come.

Kind Regards,
Damian Rossi

Hi Debbie,
Songwriters Speak arrived safely. Thanks again!
Unfortunately, I only know a few of the songwriters interviewed, so am starting there. Paul Kelly, Deborah Conway, Mark Seymour, Nick Cave and Tim and Neil Finn... I was wondering if I should find Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga there (two of my favourites), but that would possibly send the number of Kiwis above critical mass... :)
I found the Nick Cave interview absolutely un-put-downable. He has a more writerly approach to songwriting than say Neil F does, which surprised me. You know: the writer's lone vigil in his attic somewhere, on the look-out for his Muse...
Neil's approach seems more organic, and was familiar to me from other interviews. Neil seems to have a more musical approach to lyrics (which appeals to me). For him the lyrics don't have to make literal sense, they just have to sound good.
Neil has also previously said that he doesn't think that one should approach his stuff in an intellectual way. That the appeal of songs, or any music, is an emotional one.
This also supports the notion that it is impossible to demonstrate that a song is a "good" song. Or that this song is better than that song... You just know you like a song because it puts a silly grin on your face, or makes you weep, when you hear it.
I think the same is true of writing (I would be interested to hear Nick C's opinion here). We all know good writing when we see it. But it's impossible to demonstrate why it's good. Academics and literary critics have been sweating over just this matter for centuries. Take these two lines from Wordsworth, for example,
"These thoughts that do lie too deep for tears..."
"When all at once I saw a crowd..."
The first line has the obvious flaw (that "do", put in to make up the numbers). But the first line is the better the line, I'm sure you'll agree.
Anyway, thanks again, Debbie for sharing the thoughts of these great songwriters with us all!
Take care!
Gavin Chart
Worthing, UK

Hi Debbie,

I just scored a copy of your "Songwriters Speak".. a great initiative and effort by yourself from what I can tell... I am just beginning the journey, a journey I look forward to, becoming immersed in the stories and perspective.......

Also interested in music, though I have not managed to earn my living from it thus far...I have read your site with interest and admiration...(yes, 2SM was a classic - Go Set magazine, Bandstand, and then Countdown...)

... So, not only is it about songwriters who have had varying degrees of commercial success (which I have read a number of books over the years of a similar topic), but more importantly, it is  about Ausssie songwriters that I have grown up listening to in Sydney...and for that I thank you for having the foresight, the initiative, the drive, the commitment, to see this project through so budding/closet songwriters like myself could draw some inspiration out of it....


Dave Page

Hi Debbie,

I just wanted to thank you for Songwriters Speak.  It's fabulous.  Your interviews are insightful, humorous and really let the personalities of each songwriter shine through.

I catch the tram to work every day from St Kilda into the city.  The journey lasts as long as it takes to read an interview and I've loved the juxtaposition of reading about Melbourne songwriters while chugging past the Esplanade and Albert Park.  I'm going to miss the book now it's finished!

I'm recommending the book to all my friends and already I've been able to make some nice dinner party contributions, including telling one friend who has always bemoaned the fact that her family comes from a Scottish backwater called Saltcoats that she shares her hometown with Colin Hay.  She's thrilled!

Thanks again for making such a great contribution to our music scene and good luck with your next venture.  More please!

Meg Clancy

Dear Debbie,
I just wanted to write to tell you that I have just (twenty minutes ago) finished your ‘songwriters speak’ book and loved it.  I am someone who has written songs since I was 14, and haven’t played any of them to a larger audience than my church, but the whole notion of putting the song together is so exciting.  Your book has inspired me to keep writing (and playing to no one), and to think more about what makes a song work.
Your artist choice was perfect for a 40 year old, because apart from one songwriter (Graeme Connors), I have listened to them all at some point or another.  And so again, I thank you for coming up with the idea of such a book, and I congratulate you on the finished product.
Your current fan,
Adam Druery

Hi Debbie,
I’m a New Zealander playing in a five-piece band in London and have been reading your book the last few weeks (after mum posted it from NZ). I think you’ve done a lovely job and, as a bit of a novice in the songwriting world, I’ve taken a lot of comfort from it. My early efforts suggest I’m a simultaneous (lyrics and melodies hitting me about the same time) type, and it’s nice to know that some of the hotshots ‘receive’ stuff that way too.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that your efforts have been most appreciated and have further fuelled the song writing desires.
Caley Wilson
London, UK

Dear Debbie
I wish to congratulate you on the excellent product you have produced. Songwriters Speaks kept me captivated and enthralled from cover to cover and at times impossible to put down. I would consider the book as a landmark of the Australian music scene. One thing that did make me curious was the non inclusions of Greg McCainsh, Shane Howard and John Schuman to name a few. Were they not considered or did they not wish to take part. If the former, will there be a follow up book at a later date. Your book has fueled my appetite for more knowledge and look forward to a second book if produced.

Wishing you further success, best wishes and hoping you will answer and satisfy my my curious nature ( understandable if not possible)

David  McGrath

Hi Deb,
Just a VERY brief note to let you know that I spent a few days in Coolangatta recently ... I took with me a copy of your sensational book which I bought through a Canberra bookstore.
I'm only about a third of the way through ... What I have read of Songwriters Speak is pure bliss.  What an amazing and truly valuable document about these unique people.  Your passion and knowledge shone though with every question.  I love your intros to each writer.  Lovely, warm and enthusiastic prose.
Songwriters Speak is a credit to you Deb. I'm glad that you had the fire in the belly to undertake this important, inspirational work. I look forward to getting back into it later.

Kind regards,
Wayne Mac

Hi Debbie,

I just finished reading your book and wanted to let you know how much i enjoyed it!

You've probably been asked this many times already, but i was just wondering if you're considering a Part 2?

I would love to read your interviews with more Australian songwriters like Brian Canham, Paul Gray, James Freud, Sean Kelly, Scott Carne, Robert Forster, Grant McLennan, Bernard Fanning, Joe Camilleri, Diesel, Shane Howard, Kate Ceberano, Dave Faulkner, Brad Sheperd, Ed Keupper, Chris Bailey, Ben Lee, Natalie Imbruglia, AlexLloyd, etc.

The list is endless!

Many thanks for a great read.


Hi Debbie,,,love your debsite,,,,but I'm not very happy with you.
The problem, you have given me a couple of sleepless nights,   because I couldn't put your book down,  Just as well there is nobody sleeping beside me (or trying to sleep with the lights on)   or me continually saying "wow" or "I didn't know that"
Deb, the book is magnificent, not only a good read, but a good reference book.
I am a male born in 1950 and grew up with so many of those songwriters/singers, being heroes of mine.

I recently introduced myself to Brian Cadd and Glen Shorrock at a concert they did on the Gold Coast, and after apologising for interrupting their privacy, they both astoundingly just kept chatting which they didn't have to do.  Those two, plus Billy Thorpe would be my alltime favourite Aussie performers.
Your knowledge of the industry, and especially lines in their songs, and what you read into their music is brilliant.

Keep up the good work, I have made your site a favourite on my laptop which I will visit often.
Love your work.
Terry Keane
Gold Coast

Hello Debbie

Congratulations on an excellent book. I've just finished reading it as part of research for a Masters thesis that will probably also end up as a book and/or exhibition, looking at fashion in Australian rock and pop from 1970 to 2005.

As a former music journo then fashion jorno and now a researcher (while still holding down a day job) I really appreciated your obviously well researched questions and the detail you drew from each person interviewed. I passionately believe there is so much in the local music industry to be proud of and that is the equal of anything produced internationally, and unfortunately much of it is only treated in brief via the general press and even the more specific music press. Our musicians and great musical heritage deserve a closer look, and your book has made me even more enthused about tracking people down and beginning the long list of interviews I have planned over the next year or two. Already one year into my research, but a long way to go, so your achievement gives me a benchmark. Thanks for a great read,

Sue Ryan

Dear Debbie

Well, I picked up Songwriters Speak and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. A terrific piece of work - I hope it does well for you. There's some really fascinating stuff in there. I like your approach to interview, too, you obviously do some research but you don't come to the i/v to tell the person what they did and what they think, you come across as very focused in the i/vs and interviewing is of course a real skill be it for print or broadcast and I don't think too many people realise this.

David Nichols
Deakin University

I have recently bought and read your book and thought that it was great. I think you covered almost all of the CD collection, but when you do the 2nd edition you should have a chat with Mick Thomas (Weddings Parties Anything), Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus), Mark Callaghan (GANGgajang) and Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger).
Talking to the Wiggles / Cockroaches would have also been amusing! 
William Owen-Jones

Hi Debbie,

It was an absolute pleasure to read about you and your book Songwriters Speak.
I grew up living next door to Glenn Shorrock in Knighton Road Elizabeth and we first met Terry Britten on Finsbury Hostel when we arrived in Australia in March 1960.

My older sister Heather took a liking to Terry when he played in local bands around Elizabeth and they soon became very close. I can remember waking up on a Sunday morning going to the back door and seeing Terrys guitar case sitting on the back porch and Terry and some of the other band members sleeping in my Fathers car in the driveway. My Mother would cook them breakfast and they would all go home.

Looking back it was a great time. I have followed their careers over the years and I have been so happy for them to succeed in not only the Australian music scene but also internationally. I know that you have met them both and by meeting these guys you just know why they were so sucsessful.

It was such a great idea to write this book, my wife bought it for me for Christmas I look forward to reading it. I always look at who wrote the songs on the CDs that I buy, I think it is important to know and with your book it tells you how these classic songs came to be.

All the very best to you I hope the book is sucsessful, but the most important thing is that whoever reads it will have a better understanding of why so and so became famous, all because of a few lads from Oz. It doesn`t matter where they were born, they would not be who they are without the influences of  our multi cultural country.

Regards and best wishes,

Dave McQueen

Ps: I hope their will be another version of this book. I recently read a book by Judith Durham of  The Seekers and had the absolute pleasure of meeting her and the guys after one of her shows in Adelaide, such warm people.

This is why I love the internet, you can find people that you would normally never have contact with and pass on some positives.
Late last year I bought your book Songwriters Speak, primarily because I have followed the career of Darren Hayes and I’m always up for more information about how he approaches his craft.  So I eagerly read the Savage Garden section and put the book aside.
I’m presently on holidays and at last have the time to absorb the rest of your book and I LOVE IT.
As a 40 something year old and life long lover of Australian music, I want to congratulate you on the great concept and the wonderful writing.  It is so interesting (some of these names hark from my youth, bringing back lovely memories).
Your questions are excellent and your use of the English language is superb – I’ve had to pull out the dictionary on more than one occasion!
So Debbie – I’m very pleased that I could find you so I could say – THANK YOU.
Elaine Propert

Hi Debbie,
I am enjoying your book "Songwriters Speak". Your questions are intelligent and well researched and it is great to read about the songwriting process from some of Australia's top musicians... You managed to ask a lot of the questions I would have liked to ask, and I really liked the range of writers involved. I was so glad you included Garth Porter - for so long Sherbet have for some reason been excluded from writings about Aussie pop and rock. Garth's songs stand up to anything written during that period, and when you analyse them in the context of 70's pop they are all little masterpeices. I was really surprised that he dismissed "Magazine Madonna" so readily!
What a shame about Greg Macainsh! .... When all the others were willing to give their time freely it is a bit sad that he felt unable to do the same. I always admired the way he managed to get across a somewhat cynical social comment hidden inside a seemingly innocuous pop song - "Blue Jeans" is the perfect example. He was also one of the first to unflinchingly write about his home country during a period when most other Aussie songwriters were pandering to the USA. Perhaps someone needs to remind him that ego sometimes IS a dirty word... :-)

David Hines

Hello Debbie,

Firstly, a hearty congratulations on the much-deserved success of your pivotal book, Songwriters Speak. I haven't read the entire book, due to time constraints. But from what I have read, it is quite a masterpiece as far as gaining true and previously unknown information on Australian songwriters - of course!

Secondly, your willingness to give quite a detailed peek into your - dare I say it? - glamorous life is very generous. I visit the site from time to time and it's always a lot of fun (not to mention packed with great reference material and information).

I'm an Easybeats and AC/DC fan, so I immediately read the interviews from George and Harry. I was very impressed that you got George Young, especially, since he's so elusive (if that's an appropriate word)! Even though Harry seems more accessible, he's not ubiquitous either, so well done all round! For those two alone, I think you should stand tall and be very proud. Naturally, I thought the interviews were insightful, thorough and engaging.

On the flip-side, I was somewhat disappointed that Angus and/or Malcolm Young weren't included in the book. In terms of global success, they are Australia's most successful and distinguished songwriters without doubt (along with Bon Scott). But please don't think this is a criticism. Presuming that you wanted them in the book, I'm sure that they were previously engaged touring (with the Stones around that time probably) and it was simply impossible.

I mentioned your book to another AC/DC fan, who was curious about George and Harry's songwriting. He's Swedish and told me he intended to purchase the book. Songwriters Speak was given as a very valuable reference tool for that purpose, and probably the only published material specificially on George and Harry's songwriting. That just makes the book all the more remarkable, obviously.

Another thing that impresses me is your enthusiam for - and admirable knowledge of - all types of music. You're one very learned, eager, optimistic and appreciative woman! I think it gives you a lot of credibility because you seem willing to give almost anyone a fair listen and that translates into your writing. It's probably essential when you're a writer because one loses potency if always biased towards one's own preferences.

And, lastly - but not leastly - thanks for doing it for the girls! Music journalism (and mostly writing) still seems strictly the  boys' domain! You're doing it with style too.

Kind regards,
Natalie Waters

My name is Andrew Davies and I have just finished reading your book “Songwriters Speak”, which my wife bought me for my birthday. I found it so captivating that I had to read “an artist a day”.
I hope you will oblige me as I give you some of my reflections on what I read. I found the contrast of the artists fascinating – the ones that stood out for me were Neil Finn (because I’ve realised he writes about series of apparent unrelated thoughts, but gee it sounds good – it reinforces my belief that a good melody and chord structure make the words into an instrument – not the main purpose. I am still gosmacked at how humble he is with his craft), Iva Davies (found him to be very clinical in his approach) and Graeme Connors (boy can he rhyme, and his words seem to be at odds with neil Finn’s direction). Never heard of Graeme before and I had to surf the net to listen to some sound bites of his – not bad for a country and western artist.
I know you said in your preface that you had to get the book out before too many passed away, but some I’d expect in volume two are Greg Macainsh, Angus Young, Eric McCusker, Mike Rudd, Barry Gibb, Beeb Birtles, Graham Russell, Mark Lisotte (? - Deisel), Joe Camileri. Alan Johnson / Alan Morris, Tina Arena.
The overriding theme that stood out to me was the lyrics, how hard people have to work at them, and how they are integral with the melody and rhythm for a lot of people.
Thank you for taking the time to write this fascinating book – really appreciated it. I’m tempted to pick it up and read it again.
Andrew Davies

Hi Debbie,

Just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying your book. I read Paul Zollo’s book a couple of years ago and devoured that – then I heard about yours through Russ Paris... I love the approach your book has taken. So many regular interviews with artists talk about them as people and their lives and such, but very few really touch on their craft. It’s such a pleasure to read about what they actually love and do in their profession. I am so envious of what you do!!

Have you ever seen the TV show called “Inside the Actors Studio”? I think a show along similar lines, only talking with songwriters, would work just as well. Your book and Paul’s highlight this for me. Maybe you could pitch that idea to someone – and if it gets taken up, well, just remember me if you need some admin. assistance or research or something!!!!
... Who knows I may write again when I have finished your book! Let me know if you are ever in Adelaide – maybe I could persuade you to sign it!
Take care

Jude Williams

Dear Ms Kruger,
Thank you for your book!  It reminded me who I really am.  I have been reading a chapter a night to take my mind off the uni essay I have to write…
I play in an original acoustic band in the pubs and festivals around Australia.  We got close to the flame of ‘success’ at some level in the US, but we weren’t willing to live in Virginia and spend 260 days a year on the road so we came home.  In June we are off to play an Australian wine festival in Finland…go figure!  We have opened for several of the subjects in your book, we drank the left-overs from their rider, we chatted to them briefly backstage, we sat side of stage and got inspired to keep playing our own tunes.
There’s a legion of bands that are in our position…we have taken to calling our circuit the ‘off-air circuit’….being those bands that have appeal, but no radio/label support.
Not that we want (or expect) to make a million bucks, we can’t give up because you can’t give up what’s in the blood.  We all play the same places, Tilly’s, The Governor Hindmarsh, The Heritage, The Cornish Arms, The Sando, The Rails.  The Red Lion in Wagga is a great petrol gig when you’re on the way somewhere else. 
We are in debt up to the eyeballs on our last record.  We hire Taragos, fly Virgin Blue, hate the Hume, pay drummers, avoid covers, carry our own gear, eat too much roadhouse food, stay upstairs in small-town pubs, get a line-check 5 minutes before the main act, break strings, win some fans, do poster-runs, sleep on friends floors, buy presents for the kids from Byron, take shitty day-jobs to keep doing it because we love it.
I am a father, a husband, a student, a surfer, a muso… and thanks to your book I am finally willing to accept that I am also a songwriter. 

Mick (the bloke who runs the studio we record in) once said ‘At least you’re in the river…it’s a wide river, some people are up the river, some people are down the river, but at least you’re in the river.’  I opened your book and read a quote from Paul Kelly saying basically the same thing.
Your book was such an insight into the song writing process.  I think I have lived in denial for many years, but thought your book I recognised the process and for the first time I felt like part of the family.  I too have kept all my lyrics and recorded fragments of songs on cassettes, answering machines, and mini-discs.
Thanks for putting together the most comprehensive, insightful and encouraging book I have read in years!  You were the perfect person for the job.
Kindest regards,
Justin Slater

Hi Debbie
I recently finished your book…it took me months with all that detail …but I really enjoyed it as it gave me an insight into some of my much loved songs. I particularly liked your question style and the wonderful and surprising stories you were able to draw out of people. I read it by order of favourite songwriter, so was jumping around all over the place, and in my case started with Jim Moginie and Rob Hirst – brilliant writers and two of the nice blokes to know. Jim has so many road stories.
Vanda was interesting; Cummings more happy than I thought; and Walker the true gent and poet.
I’m glad you stuck it out for several years to get it all down. A remarkable effort.
I had a few chuckles on your website, particularly on the radio and tv recollections. Yes, I’ll also agree that 2SM rockoctober was where it was at mid 70s, but I vividly recall stumbling onto Double Jay around ’78 and never really turning back.  As for telly, well Donnie was the man and Sounds an institution. Those production values are sadly missed. I interviewed him in early 80s for a uni mag and got the grand tour of his nice house at St Ives where there was a 5 minute story for every photo on the wall…and there were many.  Most seemed to end with …”and then me and X ended up at the Manzel Room.”
It was certainly another era, but I guess the stories and songs from Oz rock will always be there, if not the venues.
And hey, Sherbet have reformed so you better get your ticket!

Simon Oaten

Hello Debbie

Just wanted to say thank you for writin' the best book I read all last year. You interviewed a lot of my fave artists (too many to mention), the interview with Rob Hirst and James Moginie was the best one I've ever read as far as Midnight Oil is concerned and is there any chance of a Volume 2? Love it if there was,as there were a few songwriters that didn't make it in "Songwriters Speak", like Greg Macainsh, Dave Faulkner, Damien Lovelock, Eric McCusker, Tim Rogers, Jenny Morris and Mick Thomas, to name a few. Thanks for listenin'.


John Waddell

Dear Debbie

I have been reading your book Songwriters Speak and have been enjoying it immensely.  My sister who stays in Melbourne bought the book for me for Xmas 2005 and sent it to me in Scotland. 

I lived in Melbourne and then Sydney from 1980 till 1990 and must admit that the mid 70s till the mid 80s are turning out to be the golden era of Australian music, as your book witnesses.  I could really sense it at the time (I was only 20) and used to tell all the people back in Scotland about the brilliant music. 

The popular music of the time was moving away from rock music in the UK to ska and new romantics etc.  And normal rock music was being broken up for marketing purposes.  But rock was still rock and in full flow in OZ till the mid 80s.  I loved it.  I still can't believe that bands like Cold Chisel, OZ Crawl, The Angels and Split Enz weren't massive overseas.  I remember seeing Men At Work playing an arvo gig at the Middle Hotel in Ferntree Gully in 1980/81 while "Who can it be now" was in the charts.  Amazing stuff. 

I also find it amazing that James Reyne doesn't rate "Hoochie Coochie", and Neil Finn doesn't rate "I Got You".  Very strange as to me these are brilliant songs.  Maybe they feel they're too catchy or something. 

I liked your Nick Cave interview as although I only like some of his music, I think your interview revealed his outlook on life and songwriting was the most similar to my own.  I've told my wife to read that one!  The extent of my songwriting and recording success is that I have had a song played on Melbourne Dandenong Ranges Community radio, and also on BBC Radio Scotland (and I managed to missed that one)!!!  But it's really my hobby and keeps me (and the missus) from going insane!

I was also wondering about Ross Wilson and his method of writing songs using chords with the third omitted as it opens up the melodic possibilities!  I can find nothing when I search the internet for this technique and was wondering if you have any more information on it?

I can't say I've ever heard of Grahame Connors either after all my years there buying RAM religiously!    

If you ever get round to writing a second book on anitpodean songwriting you could include The Reels, Little Heroes, Phil Manning and Eric Bogle.  Those were pretty good artists as well.  I am going to see Eric and John Munro tonight in Glasgow.  He has written some of the finest songs on Australian stuff that I've ever heard eg The band played waltzing matilda, Nobody's moggy now, No man's land, Little Gomez, Aussie BBQ!    

Anyway thanks again for a most enjoyable book.  One to read again I think, and to join up with my growing collection of Oz music books.


Billy Crawford
Glasgow, Scotland

Hey Debbie,

Just a quick note to say how much i LOVE your book Songwriter Speak. I am sure you get told that a lot. It's inspirational. I recently got what i guess is the American version - called 'Song'. Yours is better I reckon, both are grand though.

I got your book as a present from my mother-in-law. She's very supportive of my passion/obsession for music. And she was right on the money with that particular present!

I'm writing songs with a mate in a band called THE HIPTONES. We're coming to Sydney, and we're gonna make it to Byron Bay pretty soon i reckon. (We just did Point Nepean Music Festival). Your book is something i pick up when times are tough to keep me desire on fire. And it works every time. I'm telling every songwriter i know about it. It's a must have. Awesome stuff. I'm also working on some songwriting workshops to keep me busy in between promoting the record, and I'll certainly be promoting your book.

Cheers, and thanks SO much.

The Hiptones

Hi Debbie,

My name's Liz Giuffre, I'm a music writer and music fan and increasing fan of yours! I bought Songwriters Speak when it came out a while ago (early last year I think) but find myself STILL finding new bits in it just for interest as well as for reference my own research and interviews. What I like about it as well as the amazing content (how did you track all those people down?!) is your style that comes through too. To me on of the hardest (but most exciting) thing about interviewing musicians is being yourself as a fan as well as journalist- to show you know someone's work in a professional capacity, but also show that you appreciate it as a listener outside that.

Anyway, I've been meaning to write to you for a while just to give you a pat on the back and a big thanks for such a wonderful resourse- the fact that it makes me keep wanting to put it down to get out a CD, or pick it up while the CD's on- I think is a unique and really fantastic thing.

Hope there's more coming soon from you!


Liz Giuffre

Hi Debbie

My son (who is a musician living in Melbourne) sent me a copy of your book for my birthday last week - It's fantastic - I just opened at random & read the bit about Vanda and Young - then Terry Britten( the latter being one of my favourites - when I was a young teen growing up I loved his moustache - even better then George Harrison's!). Anyway - great book - with very sensible (and researched) questions. I'll look forward to reading the whole thing.

I dabble in composing  so was quite encouraged by what I've read so far-especially Terry's story. Seems like you've got to really stick at it-and also be in the right place at the right time!

Congratulations, again, on your book - a 'good read'!

Ray Quinn

* Some emails have been edited for length and privacy.

- Top of page - - - - - - - - - Songwriters Speak Home - - - - - - - - - Contact -

Also at

About - PR Whiz - Writer - Broadcaster - Jetsetter - Homebody
Contact - Site Map - Home