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Brett Lee does an encore

Cricketer Brett Lee flags off world tour in Mumbai with band White Shoe Theory.

music Updated: Nov 13, 2010 13:16 IST
Aalap Deboor

It’s quite amusing to see the six-foot version of Brett Lee in a pub playing the bass two feet from you even as he prepares to bowl to a New Zealand opener on a television set behind. It’s funny that Lee isn’t the least bit interested in the cricket match. Presently, he’s focussed on the guitar strapped around his neck. There’s a gig he needs to play, his first world tour, and he’s concentrating hard on the sheets of paper, containing lyrics, pasted on the floor below.



On Wednesday, the

White Shoe Theory

performed at a city pub. Comprising foremen Nick Vawdon on guitars and vocals and cricketer Brett Lee on bass, the Sydney band plays a mix of classic rock and has influences ranging from reggae to Johnny Cash.



Starting out with a string of originals, the four-piece act also covered 3 Doors Down, The Beatles, Deep Blue Something, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Chris Isaak. With words such as ‘Brown-eyed girl’ to go with telling sequences of melody and edgy riffs, most of their compositions, seemingly, derived from classics such as Deep Purple and Dire Straits.



Vawdon stated that the band was deeply influenced by The Beatles, and the crowd went berserk when the lead guitarist was introduced as Ringo Starr. The front row comprised, besides a media cameraperson, of 20-something girls hollering messages to Lee and teenage boys demanding covers of Hoobastank and Greenday.



In the latter half of the performance, Lee and Vawdon played a set of bass-acoustic duets. Upon audience request, Lee sang Greenday’s ‘

Time of your life’

and the single he had recorded with Asha Bhosle, ‘

You’re the one for me

.’ Neeta Punjwani (21), present at the event, said, “I came convinced that Brett would sing this song if the audience asked him to. And he did!”



Brett Lee tells us how retiring from test cricket has helped him focus on a career in music



You’re known as a cricketer with an interest in music. But now you’re touring with a band. When did this happen?
Lee:

I’ve been playing music since my 20s. I took it up to complement cricket and as an outlet. Music takes me to a happy place.



You once played in a band called Six & Out. Is that now defunct?
Lee:

We only did rock covers. But Nick (Vawdon) and I (of the band White Shoe Theory) are serious. We’ve played on stage numerous times and also recorded songs. Then three years ago, we decided to form a band.


Vawdon:

Because it’s more refreshing to play to a live crowd.



What kind of music will White Shoe Theory play?
Vawdon:

It’s aggressive rock music, but our influences range from the Beatles to contemporary rock. I grew up listening to punk and reggae, so there’s a lot of variety.


Lee:

Sport has rules — you can’t overstep the no-ball line, you can only bowl two bouncers in an over. Music transcends culture, race… you have full freedom.



This is your first world tour. Why choose India?
Lee:

Because I love Indian food, culture and people. To me, starting our tour here was perfect.



You recorded with Asha Bhosle. How was that?
Lee:

Asha

ji

is a legend. But we’re now doing different songs — this is rock. I’m not a cricketer who also plays a bit of music. If the crowd has great fun, we’ll regard this as a good performance.



Is your retirement from test cricket giving you time for music?
Lee:

Yeah. We were ready seven years ago, but the time wasn’t right. Now, we’ve been writing songs… whenever we can’t meet, we jam over Skype. Now I can play tournaments and also devote time to music.



How difficult is song-writing?


Lee:

A song could take half an hour or three years. Like bowling the perfect yorker; you might work on it for months and then one day, it just happens.



You both had a cameo in

Victory

. How was that?
Lee:

It was awesome. I’ve always liked acting, and could perhaps do a Bollywood movie someday. I’ve seen them on TV — a love scene or 50,000 people crowding a railway station. The culture is lovely.


Vawdon:

I signed on to fulfil another dream — to pretend I was a cricket player!



Have you jammed after a match?


Lee:

Once the day of play has finished, we play music to unwind. AB De Villiers has just brought out his own CD. Andrew Flintoff and I listened to Johnny Cash and Elton John.



Sreesanth has a band too. Would you jam with him?

Lee: Really? I didn’t know that. I just knew he dances!



Will on-field experiences make it to your songbook?
Lee:

I haven’t written about cricket. Music is my way of getting away from the sport.


Vawdon:

Tonight, we play four original songs. The crowd hasn’t heard us yet, so we’re playing rock classics — Beatles, Bryan Adams, etc


.


Is an album on the cards?


Lee:

We hope to get a single out by Christmas and follow it up with an album next year.



Do you think being a cricketer will draw the crowds even to smaller venues?


Lee:

It’s not the Brett Lee band. Having said that, people in India know me because I play cricket. I’m hoping they’ll be pleasantly surprised when they hear my songs! There’s no reason that I can’t make music just because I play cricket for my country.


Vawdon:

Brett’s presence in the band will help initially but the band’s goal is to be liked for its music.