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Don Fernando: The desert rocks again

Australians newest export Don Fernando would like to serve their banquet in Brazil or Berlin for those, whose ears are sharp like knifes to cut the sound in eatable slices. Andy Simpson – the man who offers the vocal and string dishes – is ready to answer our questions.

Welcome Don Fernando! How are you doing? Please, could you introduce yourself and your members? Who is Don Fernando?
Don Fernando are a four piece Heavy rock band from Melbourne, Australia, we are doing great and REALLY looking forward to coming over to Europe. Me on lead guitar and vocals, Adrian on Guitar, Rob on Bass and James on drums.

Why did you choose this name for a band? If you google, you will discover that Don Fernando is a director and actor of porno movie, it’s about restaurants or about a book by W. Somerset Maugham. Where is your place in this landscape?
I chose the name when all of the above references were unknown to me, Don Fernando the porno actor actually contacted us and said he likes our music!! Anyway, I got the name from a Chilean drug dealer.

You released a debut album called “The banquet of…” About whose banquet is it?
It’s an ambiguous title on purpose, it’s the banquet of whatever you want it to be, for me it’s the banquet of ROCK, your ears are your knife and fork.

In my review about this album I emphasize the near to bands like Kyuss or QOTSA. How do you think about it? Please clarify your point of view about your music.

To be perfectly honest I believe that our songs add enough originality to stand out on their own, I wouldn’t have thought that my influences are that obvious, but hey, you picked it! When I was writing this album I was thinking if I could fill the gap between Kyuss and QOTSA I would be a happy man. But you are right, Kyuss and QOTSA are my favourite bands and the influence they have on my song writing shines through. Id prefer to be compared to them than to Nickelback or Creed!!! Hahaha

Do you have a favourite song on your album (and why)?
Its hard to say as it changes all the time, if it came to the crunch I would have to say “Don’t go”, it communicates who we are and what we do in 1:30, I like things to be concise.

How do you create your music and songwriting, how do you work together? Do you generally work as a team or does somebody write the music or the lyrics?
I write the majority of music and lyrics with Adrian writing quite a bit as well, as we have had a bit of a rotating list of musicians playing with us until now. Lately the newer members have been contributing some music and we have been doing the compositions as a band.

Could you explain about the process of the release of “The Banquet of…” – was it first released by yourself? I ask, because on my edition there is nothing written about a label. But now there will be a kind of re-release by Undertow Recordings in Europe?
Initially it was released in Australia by ourselves with a distribution deal through MGM but no label support whatsoever, now, as you say it is being released in Europe through Undertow Recordings and being distributed by sonic rendezvous, both based in Holland. And we will be doing a new pressing shortly which will have all that info on the artwork

Until now there is not much information in Europe or in the internet about the band Don Fernando. What the people should absolutely know about you?
That’s right, were only just starting to emerge on to the scene, the most important thing you need to know about us is that we are all about the live show, come and see us play and you will know what we mean, we take it seriously but were also up for a good time!!

Tell me something about the music scene in Australia. For most of the readers Australia is located on another planet – we know about aborigines, AC/DC and kangaroos. What are the differences between the music scene there and in Europe?
I’m not sure about Europe yet but the scene in Australia is very small, for bands like us, who don’t have a massive commercial appeal, its hard to make a living, small population over a massive land mass means that we have to drive 10 hours in any direction in order to play some gigs outside of Melbourne.

Is there a favourite place on earth, where you preferably would really like to play?
I’m really looking forward to playing in Berlin, also, I think Rock in Rio would be amazing, I love Brazilians.

With which band you would really love to go on tour?
Them Crooked Vultures – Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones, what else could you want?? Also, Truckfighters, I love that band.

What are your plans in future?
Come over for the tour in Feb, return home to record the next album and then off on tour again, hopefully go to the USA next time as well and hook up with a record label that will give us a big wad of cash so I can quit my day job.

Would you like to become famous and rich? Or do you have other dreams which should come true?
Being famous doesn’t really appeal to me, being recognised as a good musician and songwriter would be good, rich would be nice so I can concentrate all my energies on music.

Thank you very much for the interview. I wish you good luck! Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Just come to our gigs in Europe, buy us a beer and party with us!!! Oh, and buy our album! See you soon!


Andrew Simpson (guitar, vocals, bass, organ, piano)
Chris Roberts (drums)
Michael Simpson (vocals, bass)
Adrian Cummins (guitar, Farfisa)
Ricky Audsley (organ)

Author: Andreas Torneberg, Photos by Don Fernando
Date: 2009-12-08

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