Geraldton maestro and ex Fitzroy Xpress bassist still strikes a chord at WA Music awards

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoThe West Australian
Geraldton music personality Daron Keogh.
Camera IconGeraldton music personality Daron Keogh. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian, Lisa Favazzo

Three of the men behind Fitzroy Xpress boarded a last-minute flight from Broome to Perth last Tuesday to be inducted into the WA Music Hall of Fame at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Busy with family life and inspiring the next generation of regional musos, Geraldton music personality and former bassist Daron Keogh couldn’t make the show, but he said it meant the world to him to see his friends and former bandmates recognised.

It’s been 40 years since Keogh’s close friend, vocalist and lead guitarist Danny Marr, joined the band at a remote community school in the Kimberley.

Since then, the band, below, have become music royalty in Aboriginal Australia. Despite always being on their best behaviour, the band have in the past drawn such big crowds in some towns they’ve been monitored by police and had to sneak into venues.

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“The police used to s... themselves when we would rock into town,” Keogh said.

Keogh originally moved to Fitzroy Crossing to run the caravan park. But, it wasn’t long before the sound of acoustic guitar playing from backyards around the town seduced him into the industry. He joined the band as a bassist and to help run the business side of things, marking the start of Keogh’s long career as a touring musician. It was something he loved for the downtime, just as much as the time spent on the road.

“In the community where we stayed (in between tours), you were cut off from the rest of the world on pristine country. Gorges, waterfalls, creeks. You jet in and the next thing you know you’re having a cold one at the creek, away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world,” he said.

The Hall of Fame induction was just “a piece of paper” to the former bassist. His fondest memories are from the road.

Years have passed since his touring days, but — as anyone involved in Geraldton’s gig scene would know — that doesn’t mean his music days are behind him.

He now runs a regular Mid West Music Development group, aiming to turn budding regional musicians into successful touring acts through songwriting.

“What’s important to me now is giving back to the industry. I am in a position to share that knowledge and experience with the next generation of talent we have,” he said.

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