Songwriter, blues and roots music enthusiast Bill Lake grew up in another capital – Canberra – but is as much a part of Wellington as the bucket fountain or the wind that inspired one of his band’s names.
As well as wearing out many soles on Wellington’s streets as a postie, he has been the soulful driving force behind a string of musical combos, as well as pursuing a solo career.
Now, in his capacity as editor of Audioculture, the noisy library of New Zealand music, Chris Bourke, has begun what will be a three-part illustrated history of Lake.
Part of Chris’ general introduction follows, and you can also read Windy City Blues, which covers Lake’s early years in Wellington.
The second and third parts of the saga will be posted over the coming weeks.
Bill Lake and The Living Daylights, 1988. From left: Alan Norman, Ed Ware, Bill Lake, James Daniels, and Nick Bollinger. (Photo: Nick Bollinger collection)
At a board meeting of the stalwarts of Wellington’s R&B scene, Bill Lake would sit near the top of the table. From the moment he stepped off the boat from Australia in 1967 – over half a century ago – Lake has been heavily involved in the dissemination of blues and roots music in the city. He has also been a leading songwriter, for groups in which he has been a member – The Windy City Strugglers, The Pelicans, and The Living Daylights among them – and for many other artists.
Lake describes himself as having “parallel careers”. As well as a dedicated songwriter, guitarist and band leader since the late 1960s, Lake has been a scholar – of Mississippi country blues, and of philosophy. His PhD on Wittgenstein has been a lifelong project, so too has writing songs about characters that are unmistakeably from Wellington – as are the musical settings.
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