Whittlesea's Lennon and McCartney drum up support

There’s an earnest sincerity when local musicians Tim Hemphill and Damian Marshall liken their band to the Fab Four. As the Beatles called Liverpool home, so these lads see Whittlesea and the surrounding district as their turf.

Hemphill and Marshall (pictured left and right respectively) draw parallels with the songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and when they auditioned for a drummer and lead guitarist, they were looking for ‘‘a Ringo and a George Harrison’’.

‘‘We joke about being Lennon and McCartney and looking for the fourth Beatle, but we don’t just want a drummer, we want a fourth person in the band,’’ Hemphill says. ‘‘We had the dynamics, the momentum, and we added Possum (Jess Di Salle, lead guitar) and Benny (Ferrara, drums) to the mix and they, too, are consumed by the music.’’

Although the band, formed earlier this year, is officially called Hemy and Marshall, the musicians also call themselves the ‘‘Sons of Whittlesea’’.

‘‘We all live in Whittlesea and love it,’’ Ferrara says. ‘‘Tim and Damian are music teachers and the whole community knows them from the students and parents, just everyone.’’

Hemphill, the director of arts at Laurimar Primary School, teaches music to about 800 children, while Marshall, the director of Whittlesea Music School, teaches 450 children. ‘‘We all want to be known as being from this district before spreading to other areas,’’ Marshall says.

‘‘Whittlesea is still a country town. You can walk down the street and bump into three or four friendly faces; you don’t get that closer to the city. Every show in this area is memorable and people really enjoy themselves.’’

The band say their Live in the Heartland YouTube clip has had more than 165,000 views over several months.

‘‘We fall into a number of genres. Hopefully people will know it as the Hemy and Marshall sound; it draws on country, blues, rock and more, but is our sound,’’ Hemphill says. ‘‘The exciting aspect of this band is that it has taken on life of its own. You dream of that happening to a band.’’

Hemphill is a veteran musician and declines to give his age, while Marshall, 30, has been playing in bands since he was 15.

‘‘Tim and I are the main songwriters, like a Lennon-McCartney arrangement, but the sound would not be the same if Benny was not on drums and Jesse wasn’t playing guitar, giving us the feeling that the Beatles had,’’ Marshall said.

‘‘With the support of Whittlesea, it would be great to show the rest of the world where our roots, our Liverpool, are.

‘‘The music is about good times, jumping on the road, all the classic feelings of a journey full of excitement – the windows are down, the music is blaring and there are smiles on their faces as they hit the open road. It’s freedom.’’

Di Salle, 20, a concreter, had been playing at open-mic nights since he was 12.

‘‘I like how all of us are so different. I usually do heavier rock, but when we all get together, we all gel,’’ he says.

Gritty rock was the style that carpet-layer Ferrara, 35, had been used to in previous bands. ‘‘Five years ago, I thought my road would be very hard-edge rock, but Hemy and Marshall music just grabbed me.” ■

Hemy and Marshall launch their single,

Ride with Me, at the Whittlesea Hotel,

2424 Plenty Road, Whittlesea, on Friday, November 23, from 9.30pm until midnight. The $10 cost includes the CD.

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