Mick Turner The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Feb 01, 2000Mick Turner (aka Marquis de Tren) is the guitarist for Dirty Three as well as solo and other thingies. He currently resides in Chicago and Melbourne (Australia) depending on where the sun's shining. He just released on Instinct/Bella Union seven-track CD of instrumental tracks by me and Jessica Billey under the name Bonevill, CD entitled Pelican soon to be released, as well as the Dirty Three / Low collaboration on Konkurrent through Touch & Go in North America.
Started surfing again after 20 years this last Australian summer. Best exercise, sure beats "nordic track" or "flab blaster," not that I'd know or anything.
Mind-altering work of art:
Definitely John Fahey's book of short stories "How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life" published by Drag City.
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
There has been several, but Swell Maps at the Lounge Room in London in 1983 was amazing, the room was tiny, literally a lounge room upstairs of some seedy London bar, I had been a big fan but they'd never come to Australia, it was billed as Nikki Sudden (Swell Maps had reportedly broken up) but it was all of them doing their classic songs like "Midget Submarines." There was only a handful of people there and the atmosphere and the music just took off. At the end of the last song they smashed all their equipment up. Truly inspirational.
What has been your career high and low?
High I think would be Dirty Three first coming to play America, which is a big achievement for a small Australian bar band. It was very exciting. Low, playing support, getting paid $20 and then being expected to help carry out the PA at the end of the night.
What should everyone shut up about?
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
If they weren't invited.
When I think of Canada I think:
Oh! (and all the great people I know from there).
What is your vital daily ritual?
How do you spoil yourself?
Good food and wine.
What was your most memorable day job?
Mordialloc Bottle Depot, which was emptying sacks of empty bottles onto a conveyor belt. At the end of the day you had to rub a bar of soap down your exposed skin to remove the glass splinters.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
A stand up comedian.
What is your greatest fear?
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to shut my mouth when I've had too much to drink.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
T Rex / Polly Harvey records.
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Strangest brush with celebrity:
Scott Giampino (Cash Money), he's a strange one.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
A good friend. Good food and wine.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
My mom was always very supportive of what I was doing. she bought me my first guitar. She told me to go where your heart leads you, which is obviously very good advice.