An interview with Peter
Peter Combe & Reliving My Childhood 31 July 2018 Share on Tumblr If you grew up in Australia in the 80s or 90s, Australian kids’ pop culture flooded our TVs, radios and print media. What a time to be alive. We were Weet-Bix kids, drinking Cottee’s Cordial (sometimes with our Weet-Bix), we knew all the jingles from the ads about the food we ate and we also sang about Bananas in Pyjamas while we watched Playschool. There seemed to be so many fabulous tunes centred around food. I recently connected with my much younger self as did many 20 to 30-something year-olds on a Friday night at an over 18s Peter Combe gig. I was about three or four years old when I started listening to the award winning Peter Combe records and audio cassettes and watched his concerts on TV and VHS tapes. I was a very young Peter Combe fan, and like many children, he introduced me to fun, wacky music. Peter Combe and the Belly Flop In A Pizza Band now do shows in licensed venues for adults who grew up listening to his music. The gigs start around 10pm, but the music has not changed. I was nicely surprised that the show I went to was completely wholesome, just how I remember. Peter Combe and the band looked like they were genuinely having a blast on stage too. Surrounded by young adults wearing newspaper hats in honour of the song, “Newspaper Mama” is both entertaining and hilarious. Some people made their own hats at home and brought them along to wear. Others made their hats at the gig using the newspapers left on the bar for the simple purpose of making newspaper hats. A huge shout out and “thank you,” to the kind stranger, who was demonstrating how to make the newspaper hat to her friends, saw I was completely clueless at craft and origami, and gave me a hat to wear. We were just a bunch of big kids dancing around singing anthems from our early childhood. It was like being transported back in time except we are now legal to drink alcohol. As adults we have bills, jobs and responsibilities but going to the Peter Combe gig was an escape from normal adult life. Before the gig, I went home after work and motivated myself to clean the house before the weekend. I listened to Peter Combe songs that I hadn’t listened to for almost 25 years, which also helped prepare me for his gig. Most of the audience has their own children now and to have the opportunity to stay out late partying as adults to Peter Combe is something we never would have imagined as children. I must be getting old. The performance started well after my usual bedtime and each year it becomes more difficult to recover after a late night. I must have listened to Peter Combe’s records on repeat when I was a child as the memories came flooding back as though I had never stopped listening to him. His catchy music is positive, silly and fun. Childhood should be bright, colourful, energetic and beautiful, and his songs have made so many children happy. Peter Combe’s lyrics have often popped into my head over the years. Every time I see a newspaper, I think of his song, “Newspaper Mama”. I associate squeezing an orange with “Mr Clicketty Cane” and the lyrics “Wash your face with orange juice.” The list goes on. As recent as a couple of years ago, I shared a YouTube clip of Peter Combe on my personal Facebook page. I did not realise until now that Peter Combe helped shape so many people's memories of music, including my own. Perhaps I love eating Italian food so much because of the “Spaghetti Bolognaise” song. He also sings “Toffee Apple” but I haven’t had a toffee apple since I was in pre-school, which my dentist would be relieved about. Peter Combe is my earliest memory of any pop star or pop music, because my family didn’t listen to any other pop music. He was marketed as an Aussie kids’ pop star and he was a household name. Peter Combe’s background is in teaching, which definitely shines through when he interacts with the audience and he has made (and continues to make) a wonderful contribution to Australian music including winning well deserved ARIAs. As I progressed into my pre-teens, The Wiggles rose to fame and their songs were also catchy, although by then I had outgrown children’s pop music. By that stage I had Hanson posters all over my bedroom wall and my music tastes eventually broadened from pop to grunge to techno and even to classical choral music (as I was part of a professional youth choir). I’ve always preferred more quirky songs and bands and went through a ska phase in the early 2000s. I can pin-point the appreciation of these genres of music back to my early years listening to Peter Combe. I’ll be listening to Peter Combe’s Christmas album this year to continue the memories and make new ones. If you have kids and they haven’t yet heard of Peter Combe, it’s time to have a mandatory family “Newspaper Mama” sing-along with them. By Bronwen Hartas
Peter Combe On Nostalgia And His Favourite Adelaide Haunts
Fantastic tour so far with great audiences in Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart so far. Brisbane and Sydney to come. In each city Peter has selected a childrens' choir or theatre group to perform with him. Peter loves to perform with children for children. The songs from the new album "Live it Up!" have been very well received. Some are saying its his best album ever.
FRINGEWORLD 2017 – Peter Combe and the Clicketty Cane Band (4.5 stars)
Review by Laura Money
Well Perth, Peter Combe is back with your yearly dose of nostalgia! For one night only, Combe entertained a bunch of Gen Y adults in a tent in the middle of Northbridge. You don’t get closer to your childhood than an all-tent sing-a-long! It is a strange sight – all these grown men and women singing along to Juicy Juicy Greengrass with gusto, extolling the virtues of Spaghetti Bolognese and asking Dad if he left his bag in Baghdad.
I cannot overstate how important Peter Combe’s music is to a whole generation of 30 somethings but believe me, the whole room was filled with such warmth and love for the iconic singer, it literally brought people together. Combe’s unique brand of children’s entertainment truly stands the test of time, as he even threw in a new track off of his latest album to trial – apparently we all passed the audition. As a children’s entertainer it’s hard to see past the silly lyrics and basic tunes, but Combe is more than a kid’s entertainer – he is a true musician. As an adult, I can appreciate just how good the music is – the band is exceptional, yet it’s easy to be great when the material is so rocking.
Of course, Combe was accompanied by The Clicketty Cane Band – the most awesome name ever, by the way! They are true musicians, with an immense amount of talent between them – three are Perth locals so keep your ear to the ground. Combe also brought over his good friend and offsider, pianist Phil. Their banter was hilarious and his complimentary vocals harmonised well with Combe’s, especially in a charming rendition of Here Comes the Sun.
There is an attitude that children’s music is boring, but listening with 30-year-old ears, I realised that there really was no-one like Combe around in the 90s. His songs really were and still are amazing to listen to. It has been well over 20 years since I heard most of these songs, yet I found myself grinning from ear to ear singing Jack and the Beanstalk, The Silly Postman and Newspaper Mama. There were some wonderfully touching moments as Combe sang a song dedicated to his son, and Spangle Road from his operetta Frederick WhatsHisName & his TwoLegged Six String Guitar, a song I was surprised to hear was a popular choice for bridal waltz these days.
This highlights just how much of an impact Combe has been in Australia, not just for children. It is a testament to him to see so many people so heavily influenced by his virtues – be they from a strong environmental theme, a reverence for the planet earth and the solar system, or just favourite foods like toffee apples or peanut butter. All I know is that many millenials got their musical education from listening to Combe’s version of Chopsticks rather than playing it themselves, and we are eternally grateful.
By creammag | February 5, 2017
If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you probably remember the sheer joy of listening – and singing along – to the music of kids’ show presenter Peter Combe. With his uncanny knack for a catchy tune, this pied paper of Adelaide made everything seem that much more fun. What a treat it is, then, to be able to turn back the clock to those childhood years at Peter Combe’s latest show at Perth’s Fringe World.
Performing with his backing band, the Clicketty Canes, it is clear right from the get-go that the man himself has lost none of his musical chops. Indeed, he appears to be so unmarked by time that you get the uneasy sense that it is only you who have been doing the growing up. With not one bum note or strained vocal, the songs magically ring out as clearly as they did nearly thirty years ago.
Like a contagion, the joy up on the stage spills out into the audience, whereby hands start to clap and voices lift. In fact, Combe and company manage to keep the audience in this state of blissful abandon for so long that by the show’s end there are raucous calls for an encore from those already suffering from withdrawal.
Forget ‘La La Land’, if you want musical staying power, Peter Combe is about as good as it gets. Chris Prindiville
Announcing 7 matinees at the incomparable Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of my 2017 Adelaide Fringe season together with the fantastic kids from Theatre Bugs. Beginning Feb 25.