When I heard the news on the morning of Robert’s passing (August 21st) I didn’t believe it at first. I got a text message asking me to check it out so I went onto Facebook and the news was all over the platform.

My heart sank. I was gutted.

It was only the afternoon before I noticed that Rob posted a plethora of images on his Facebook account promoting the gigs of the day. He was selflessly promoting the industry that he loved, that sustained him for over three decades right up until the end.

That was the type of bloke Rob was.

I had the pleasure of working with him on BSide Magazine from its inception and even though there wasn’t much in the way of money that was made from it, the fact that I worked so closely with Rob was for me, payment enough.

He promoted the Adelaide music scene with the energy of the Energizer bunny, he was its patron saint, the glue that held it together and the champion that it sorely needed.

He always had a smile on his face and for most of the time had a ciggie in one hand and a beer in the other. He was the embodiment of the notion that “you only have one life to live so make the most of it.”

Rob sure gave life a damn good shove.

When it came to his writing Rob was without equal. No matter who he interviewed he was able to get the best out of them and no matter who you were in his presence, you felt like you were the most important person in the world. 

He could walk into a room, not say a word and be everyone’s mate by the end of night.

His “Bob’s Bits” column was legendary. He had a way of taking the everyday and the mundane and create something so interesting AND THEN relate it back to music in some way thanks to his Glenn A. Baker-esque musical brain.

On a personal note, in his Rip It Up days he was FunkStar and Orangutang’s greatest ally in the early 2000’s, he would always put up something on Facebook if he wasn’t able to come to any of my my gigs and (as a testament to our friendship) he was one of the first people to reach out to me when Mara died.

I’m sure everyone who has worked in the Adelaide music scene in any capacity would have at least one Bertie story to tell but I think that with Rob’s passing a huge part of the overall aesthetic and vibe of the Adelaide music scene (and the industry that surrounds it) has died with him.

I’d also like to think though that each and every one of us can take a leaf from Rob’s book and make a commitment to continue carry on building a better, more vibrant music scene in this town through lifting everyone up instead of tearing each other down.

That will be Rob’s legacy and it’s something that I will personally commit to.

Vale Robert “Bertie” Dunstan. Love ya work…



Let me start this post by stating that what I’m about to say is only my personal opinion based on my years of experience as a performing songwriter/musician.

I’ve noticed a real increase in conversations on social media regarding the whole Originals vs Covers vs Tribute acts and I felt that I needed to share a view that I’ve held for a while now which forms part of the whole narrative.

It’s not designed as a means to solve a problem or issue but merely as a conversation starter. Anyway, the rant starts below…


I want to share with you one of my pet peeves but by doing so I might just be opening up a can of worms but here goes…

There’s one thing that bothers me about how songwriters describe their music.

It’s when they describe their music as “original” music or themselves as an “original” artist either in a live performance context or, (to a lesser degree) in general conversation. 

Now, I understand where these songwriters are coming from, but let me explain why I think saying that your songs (or you as a songwriter/musician) are original may not be the best way to represent your work.

First of all, “original” isn’t a genre or type and when you describe you and/or your songs as such, you’re not really telling your audience anything about the style, sound, texture or vibe of what you do.

It’s a bit of a missed opportunity to really showcase what you and your music is all about. 

Now, this is what I’ve seen happen many times. A performer on stage introduces their next song as an “original” song and immediately the audience lose interest, turn off and tune out removing any vibe that was created.

It’s almost as if the audience upon hearing the word “original” just assumes that what they’re about to hear is going to be amateurish at best or a pile of shit at worst and you can feel the collective eyes rolling in the crowd when the word “original” is mentioned.

It seems that nowadays people generally don’t want to take risks with their leisure time. We want guarantees, we want instant gratification in the shortest space of time and when it comes to live music, we want to hear, see and experience something that is familiar to us.

Cover bands and tribute acts serve this need for familiarity very nicely indeed.

Unless they are at a music venue that specifically exists for “original” music, the expectation from the audience is that they’ll be recognising the music they’re listening to and because of this, the term “original” then becomes a divisive and alienating word to that audience.

People generally don’t appreciate being told that they are about to experience something that’s going to challenge them in an environment that doesn’t require the audience to be challenged. 

So, the next question is… What can we as songwriters do about this?

Well, in my time as a performing songwriter/musician who has played hundreds of gigs that are either 100% covers, 100% my songs or a hybrid mixture of covers and my songs, I’ve learned to never introduce myself as an original artist or my songs as original songs.

I just don’t say it… I continue playing as if nothing has happened. I play my music alongside the covers in my repertoire and just observe the audience’s reaction.

And guess what? 

When someone asks me during a break or at the end of the gig if any song I performed was one of my own, and I confirm that it was, their appreciation for me and my music actually increases and we start engaging in a meaningful conversation which is pretty awesome and what I reckon live music is all about. 

Touching, moving and inspiring your audience, one person at a time.

So, my fellow songwriters, here are a couple of tips that have worked for me and it’s my hope that they work for you too:

Firstly, when playing live, don’t introduce your song as an “original.” Instead, just share a little of what the song is about or alternatively, don’t say anything at all. Just get into it.

Secondly, when talking to people about your music and the gigs that you do, don’t say “I do originals” just mention the genres you write and perform in.

If you want to be a bit more general, say you perform a mix of your own songs and some covers and if you really must emphasise that you’re a songwriter, simply say that you’re a songwriter that’ll do the trick.


What are your thoughts on this? Have I opened up the can of worms? Do you agree or have a different perspective? I’d love to hear your insights and experiences, so feel free to let me know what they are.

And let’s not forget, almost all music is inspired by something or someone else, so can we truly claim our work is “original” in the strictest sense?


Corey 🙂

Below is some light weekend reading for all you live musicians out there…

Now this rant has been around the internet for a while now and I first stumbled across this on Facebook. 

My initial thoughts were that the following passage below was hilarious but at the same time a little too close to home in some places.

I wondered how many live musicians reading this would agree with me so I rediscovered the full rant and posted it below for your enjoyment.


“When requesting a song from the band, just say “Hey, play… [insert song here]” 

We all have chips implanted in our heads with an unlimited database of the favourite tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar, and all songs ever recorded. So feel free to be vague, we love the challenge.

If we say we really don’t remember that tune, we’re only kidding. Bands do know every song ever recorded, so keep humming. 

Hum harder if need be… it helps jog the memory, or just repeat your request over and over again.

If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they either forgot they know the tune, or they are just putting you on. Try singing a few words for the band. 

Any words will do. It also helps to scream your request from across the room several times per set, followed by the phrase, “YOU SUCK!”

Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval are a big help as well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger up, are the best way to jog a band’s memory. 

This instantly promotes you to the status of “Personal Friend Of The Band.” You can bet your request will be the next song we play.

Entertainers are notorious fakers and jokesters, and never really prepare for their shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do once they arrive. 

We don’t actually make setlists or rehearse songs. We mostly just wait for you to yell something out, then fake it. An entertainer’s job is so easy, even a monkey could do it, so don’t let them off the hook easily. 

Your request is all that matters.

Once you’ve figured out what genre of music the band plays, please make your requests from a totally different genre.

The more exaggerated the better. If it’s a blues band playing, yell for some Metallica. Likewise, if it’s a death-speed metal band playing, be sure to request Brown Eyed Girl or some Cold Chisel.

Musicians need to constantly broaden their musical horizons, and it’s your job to see that it happens… Immediately.


The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way is at the middle of a song when all band members are singing at the same time.

Our hearing is so advanced that we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around us. We can converse with you in sign language while singing the song, so don’t worry that we’re in the middle of the chorus.

Musicians are expert lip readers too. If a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune, it’s because they didn’t get a good look at your mouth in order to read your lips.

Simply continue to scream your request and be sure to over emphasise the words with your lips. This helps immensely but don’t be fooled, singers have the innate ability to answer questions and sing at the same time.

If the singer doesn’t answer your questions immediately, regardless of how stupid the question may seem, it’s because they are purposely ignoring you.

If this happens, immediately cop an attitude. We love this.


When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head in both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding their head so they can’t pull away. This will be taken as an invitation to a friendly and playful game of tug of war between their head and your hands.

Don’t give up! Hang on until the singer or guitar player submits.

Drummers are often safe from this fun game since they usually sit in the back, protected by the guitar players. Keyboard players are protected by their instrument, and only play the game when tricked into coming from behind their keyboards.

Though difficult to get them to play, it’s not impossible, so keep trying. They’re especially vulnerable during the break between songs.


If you inform the band that you are a singer, the band will appreciate your help with the next few tunes, or however long you can remain standing on stage. If you’re too drunk to stand unassisted, simply lean on one of the band members or the most expensive piece of equipment you see.

Just pretend you’re in a Karaoke bar and simply walk up on stage and join in.

By the way, the drunker you are, the better you sound, and the louder you should sing. If by chance you fall off the stage, be sure to crawl back up and attempt to sing harmony.

Keep in mind that nothing assists the band more than outrageous dancing, fifth and sixth part harmonies, or a tambourine played on one and three and out of tempo. 

Try the cowbell; they love the challenge. The band always needs help and will take this as a compliment…

Finally, the microphone and PA system are merely props, they don’t really amplify your voice, so when you grab the mic out of the singer’s hand be sure to scream into it at the top of your lungs, otherwise no one will hear what a great singer you are.

Hearing is overrated anyhow. The crowd and the sound guy will love you for it.


As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break and then get on stage and start playing their instruments. They love this.

Even if you are ejected from the club, you can rest assured that you have successfully completed your audition. The band will call you the following day to offer you a position…”

Did you find yourself wincing every now and then? I know I did. 

There is a rock horror story in every sentence and I’m sure we’ve all lived out at least one of them. Is there anything that really resonates with you? If so, let me know

You show me your horror story and I’ll show you mine.

Long live live music,


Corey 🙂

As I’m now getting ready to play live again, I need to remind myself that I don’t ever want to fall back into the trap of just playing covers for the sake of it and at the cost of performing my own material. 

I do want to explore, however, the concept of being an interpreter of songs rather than just a replicator of other people’s music. This means that when I play other people’s songs I will be performing the songs that I want to perform, in the way that I want to perform them.

I’m not really interested in performing to audiences that only want to hear the same old tired songs that every other performing musician does. I’m ideally looking to play to audiences that want to experience something new and different. 

If anything it will definitely keep me interested and motivated at the same time.

From my experience of performing covers over the last 15 years or so, there are three main differences between an interpreter of a song and a replicator of a song.

First of all, an interpreter performs the song in the way that they wish to perform it, not by how it’s been performed in the past. 

An interpreter puts their own spin, personality and sonic point of view onto the song creating a (sometimes) different version to the point of the song becoming almost unrecognisable to the listener.

A replicator performs the song the way it’s always been played.

Secondly, an interpreter performs the song as a creative exercise rather than it just being a functional activity.

Continuing on from the first point, if you’re performing songs the way YOU want to perform them, then you’re approaching your gig as a creative exercise rather than a means to an end. 

Yes, you’re going to be paid at the end of the show (and therein lies the functional element of the gig) but your artistic integrity will remain intact at the same time.

A replicator approaches the gig as a functional transaction of service to payment and therefore the performance of the songs will reflect this attitude.

Lastly, an interpreter approaches the songs they perform the same way as a songwriter approaches performing one of their own songs.

An interpreter looks at the song as a whole and uses the performance of it to inspire and educate the listening audience through the delivery both vocally and instrumentally of the song’s form, dynamics and arrangement.

Every performance of the song is therefore a unique experience for both performer and audience.

A replicator approaches the song as if they were in control of a jukebox.

I used to think that trying to be all things to all people through playing all of the songs that they wanted to hear would give me job satisfaction through playing lots of gigs and therefore making a serviceable full-time living through live performance.

This is what I did for around 12-15 years (with FIGJAM and other cover projects) and at the end of it all, I was left a burnt out and empty shell of a man.

Not anymore.

As songwriters, musicians, artists and performers, we have the control over how much of ourselves we want to expose to an audience. Some musicians want to keep the live experience at a surface level and that’s okay.

I, on the other hand, really want to go deeper than that and the best way I think to do that is through the delivery of the music. Whether I’m performing my music or the music of another.

I’ll see you at a gig real soon.


Corey 🙂

In an earlier post, I described my experience watching the new David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream and how it had affected the way that I viewed myself, my music and the creative process in general.

As a songwriter/musician who is about to step back into the world of live performance, the opportunity to see this film could not have come at a better time for me.

This is because seeing the film had firmly reinforced some of my tightly held views on live performance, the music played at a live performance and the relationship between the performer and the audience.

This can all be encapsulated into one phrase… 

Don’t just be an entertainer, be a “creator of experiences” for your audience.

So, what does that mean to me? Well, first of all let’s look at what I think a live performance is (or should be in a perfect world).

A live performance should be a seamless and meaningful conversation between the performer and the audience. 

It should go a bit like this…

The performer is on stage to deliver a message to an audience who is there to receive it. The audience upon receiving the message then acknowledges the performer indicating that the conversation is now complete with the end result being both parties (ideally) enriched in some way by it.

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter whether you perform your own songs, other people’s songs or a mixture of both, just don’t seek to merely entertain your audience, become a “creator of experiences” for them. 

Don’t get me wrong though, I personally know of some very talented cover musicians who are wonderful entertainers and do an amazing job of showing people a good time through their live performances

However, this “entertainer” label has never sat very comfortably with me. You see, I don’t want to be just an entertainer. I want to be one of those performers that creates an experience for their audience.

I want the audience to come away from one of my gigs being able to look at the world that they’ve “escaped” from for that moment in time, in a much different way.

As a performer, I reckon you create these experiences if you utilise the following in your live performances…

  • Musicianship – You’ve got to have the musical skills to do it.
  • Vulnerability – You’ve got to fully put yourself out on a limb while doing it
  • Desire – You’ve got to really want to do it
  • Enjoyment – You’ve got to find your happy place doing it
  • Mindfulness – You’ve got to be fully aware of what you’re doing
  • Professionalism – You’ve got to know what you’re doing as you’re doing it
  • Humility – You’ve got to be humble as you’re doing it

Yes, I know it all sounds a bit lofty and maybe even arrogant of me, but this time around I would much rather set my own live performance bar as high as I can rather than just show up, go through the motions, take the money and go home again.

Of course this is irrespective of whether I am playing covers, originals or a mixture of both in my repertoire.

As Norman Vincent Peale once said… “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” and that is what I intend to do. 

Watch this space and you’ll find out more of my upcoming gigs very soon and finally, do yourself a favour and catch Moonage Daydream before its season runs out.


Corey 🙂

My decision to sell up and move down to the Fleurieu a few months ago has given me some time to think about getting back into regular live performance again (whether it be with covers and/or originals) and how I would go about making it happen.

Part of me is pushing for this to happen because of the extra income stream that it will generate for myself but for the most part… I actually miss playing live now.

I know I have been talking about getting back on the live performance bike for a while now but it has only been very recently that the idea of playing live gigs has not repulsed me as it once did.

This is because I have found from personal experience (and from some pretty intense conversations from others) that the music scene and the audiences “down South” are better to play to, are much more attentive and there’s a lot more venues that are willing to take a punt with putting live music into their mix.

How many of these venues are booking directly rather than using agents are yet to be seen but the music scene on the Fleurieu is like uncharted waters, a voyage of discovery for me and THAT is the exciting part.

I’m sure that there are venues out there just waiting for someone different to come along and add their unique flavour and vibe to the music scene down there.

Of course, I’ll still be going to Adelaide for gigs but I’ll not be making the same mistake as before of trying to play anywhere and everywhere for everyone, preferring to hang down south a bit more and keep to my areas of choice.

In preparation for this, I’ve just recently put up my bio on the site as well as a downloadable PDF that can be used for future reference. I also have links to my Online Acoustic Demo on SoundCloud as well as links to my Seeing Stars CD

All I’ve got to do now is start shopping myself around again, getting myself acquainted with who and what is out there, the venues, the bookers, the agents and the businesses that can make my goal of getting back to regular live performance a reality.

If any of you know of any live performance opportunities that I should seriously have a look at then hit me up and let’s chat about it.

In the meantime, have a great week.


Corey 🙂

One can never accuse me of sitting still when it comes to performing live and even though I had taken an extended break from regular gigging, I have always kept my ear to the ground and left myself open to any music opportunity that comes my way.

So, when my good friend Geoffrey Stapleton approached me to put together a band that would play selected covers from the “Great Australian Songbook” interspersed with our own material which will eventually become the main part of the repertoire over time, I immediately said a big YES!

I introduce to you all… The New Normals.

The New Normals consist of the following members:

  • Corey Stewart – Bass, Vocals
  • Geoffrey Stapleton – Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
  • Darren Zaza – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Dave Branton – Drums, Percussion

Besides the fact that we’re going to be playing our own material live starting off at 50% covers to original ratio and working our way to a 100% self penned repertoire, the band gives me an opportunity to play bass in a live context again, something that I haven’t done in a long while.

I’m really missing it.

I know I’ve said this before but I consider myself a “bass player by trade” and while I love playing guitar on stage (especially in the context of a soloist) there is something magical to me about singing and playing bass at the same time. Moving the gig forward through voice while locking into the groove at the same time.

I love it.

Our first ever gig as The New Normals will be at Wassail Wine Bar (95 Prospect Road, Prospect) on Sunday, October 24th starting at 3:30pm.

The goal with The New Normals is to have a regular and consistently promoted monthly gig at Wassail and build up the audience by having them come to us, rather than spread the band and the resources too thinly trying to play anywhere and everywhere.

I’m very interested in seeing if this experiment works and get people lining up outside the venue. That would be lovely.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love funk music. As a bass player I almost think it’s somehow my duty to devote some of my playing, practising and songwriting time to the dark arts of FUNK.

As I mentioned in a previous post “How Music Has Shaped My Life (So Far…)” I was part of some funk bands in the early 2000’s and from there wrote and collaborated on, many songs in the funk, groove and dance genres to which I am very proud of.

This fascination with writing funk tunes has continued to this very day and it’s been my involvements with songwriting challenges such as FAWM and 5090 for a number of years that have been the catalyst for these funk songs to be created into existance.

Now, you might be asking right now… “Corey, where does Funkus Maximus fit into all this?”

Well, one of my consistent collaborators in these songwriting challenges has been Irish songwriter and lyricist Amanda West.

She very early on in the piece realised that I could put together a pretty good funk tune so being a person who could sense a good opportunity, she started writing lyrics for me to encase funky arrangements to and before too long, we had a decent list of recorded funk tunes with nowhere to go.

Amanda makes her living from sync licensing through her business Sheeaun Music, by collaborating with other musicians to create songs from her lyrics so she can then pitch to sync licensing companies, music libraries and music supervisors.

This is also what she wants to do with these funk songs so with that in mind, we both thought it would be a good idea to create a project name for these songs so as to not muddy the waters for my own non-funk songwriting output and Funkus Maximus was born.

By creating Funkus Maximus as a new vehicle for my funk tunes it seemed like a natural progression to form a band around these songs so they can be performed live.

It also seemed a no brainer to mine the rich vein of funk in my past and reimagine, reboot and reinterpret the old FunkStar and Orangutang tunes as well while I’m at it.

Hell, if movies can be reimagined, rebooted and reinterpreted to a new generation why can’t music be approached in the same way?

Anyways, yesterday (Friday, August 6th) the first song for Funkus Maximus, Funk Into The Heat was released out into the world and with that my musical journey continues moving forward.

To say to you that I am “Big Kev” excited would be an understatement.

To find out more information on Funkus Maximus go and check out the website.

You can hear the new song Funk Into The Heat at at all good streaming platforms such as…

There will be more music on the way so watch this space but in the meantime, check out Funk Into The Heat and let me know what you think.


Corey 🙂