I’m back on tour with Pk. Since the Paul Kelly/Neil Finn tour finished we have done Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland,Southhampton, London, Glasgow, Dublin, Santa Barbara, San Diego, LA, Denver, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. I’ve been doing the supoort shows with my trusty drum machine and it’s been going quite well except for the last one where i got nervous and rambled for almost the entire set and couldn’t play the guitar very well. Tonight it’s Portland, Oregon the ex home of Stephen Malkmus my favourite guitarist of the modern era along with Gaz from the Drones.

it’s amazing what google will find you with one click

Now i should pop Gaz in i suppose

this move is called ‘ TET OFFENSIVE, January 30, 1968’

any way where was i?  Portland?

Yes. I’m gonna go guitar pedal shopping today at a famous Portland pedal shop i can’t remember the name of.  I’m looking for something that emulates the sound of sea creatures for a new song i’m working on with Dan Luscombe called ‘Dugongs of Soweto’.

Apologies about all the Drones name dropping. One thread led to the other and it’s looks like i’m desparately searching for credibility which of course i am but wouldn’t be as crass as to do it in such an obvious way. But i also know Fi and Mike and their sound guy Ryan too.

Anyway ‘Dugongs of Soweto’ is quite a beautiful lyric about Craig McDermott the Australian fast bowler from the eighties who has a dream about Dugongs in the clouds above Soweto. He get’s the whole dream tableaux bedazzled into his cricket whites at a 24 hour roadside drive through sewing establishment to remind other  cricketers of the power of imagination and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. With these powers the world was saved during the eighties and nothing bad ever happened afterwards. That last bit isn’t in the song but just giving you the back story


Dugongs of Soweto (Kelly/Luscombe)

the floating dugongs and their gravitating glasses weeping down onto the slums the rubber tyres burning in the night

they graze the clouds in bovine packs they are all hunting for celestial seagrass waving in the  wind streams of the bantu mind

a dream scenario that popped into the cranium of Craig as he was driving to a cricket camp in Crescent Heights

he’s thought a thousand thoughts before this vision stopped him in his tracks he watched a  highway tailor sew it to his whites

Behind the man McDermott’s eyes, the dugongs of Soweto, Soweto, Soweto…..



between the wickets runs a stream of silver sandwiches progressing toward the total as the switcher switches on the lights

illuminated once again Craig takes the form of lioness he stretches in the outfield in his dugong altered dress

Behind the man McDermott’s eyes, the dugongs of Soweto, Soweto, Soweto…..

etc etc





So in the absence of any guitars pedals that can emulate the sound of Craig pounding up the grass from the Vulture St end and delivering another thunderbolt at the hapless poms i’ll settle for a pedal that sounds like Dugongs grazing and calling to each other. Do Dugongs make a noise? Let’s ask Mr Google….

ah yes, apparently quite dog- like, check this link out


i have a bunch of underwater themed songs so i feel it’s a pedal that’s been missing from my armory

Here’s a picture of me after recently being underwater at Los Banos del Mar outdoor pool in Santa Barbara. Hi Mum!






8 60

Dan Kelly


oh my god. how do I start. Such a crazy freakity groovy time. oh wow. wait. i mean..oh man

8 thoughts on “Dugongs of Soweto


  1. Kelly M 5 years ago

    And what sound(s) do you make underwater, Mr Kelly? Nice to see you blogging again (keep ’em coming as I’ve always had thing about traversing Canada).The SF show was fabulous! Loved the backstories on the songs (no, you didn’t ramble and are quite the rawkin’ guitar player). Happy shopping in Portland (no sales tax there!).

  2. james in melbourne 5 years ago

    hi dan


  3. Lisby Gore 5 years ago

    I’m so excited. I was just wondering what DanKe was up to and just look. He’s writing new stuff about my favourite sport (cricket), my favourite sea cow (fell in love with one in Darling Harbour in January), talking up the Drones (who I saw at the Opera House on Saturday and they were balls-out amazing). Feel so much better knowing there’ll be new songs soon. Phew.

  4. sean o'k 5 years ago

    in the pantheon of great ancient antipodean thingys rarely encountered and/or married to lyric/verse, some options:
    a) ceratodus – 400 squillion years later only foe left is the LNP
    b) the nunawading messiah
    c) burdekin duck
    d) that crocodile they found in the logan river back in the day. was she looking for an illegal rum distillery? honest german settler cuisine? or just mooching south of her habitat?

  5. Allyson 5 years ago

    Hi Dan– Lovely performances in Toronto! Enjoy the good karma from the far north.

  6. Anthony 4 years ago

    I love all The Drones name dropping. I recently flew to Melbourne to see them for the ATP Festival (and then again opening for Neil Young). I got a chance to meet them and was not disappointed. I’ve been to Australia several times but this last trip was time primarily because of them. And that I hadn’t been to Oz in 8 years. Way too long. Hear your “Poisoned Estuary Jam” on 3R’s Golden Age of Piracy. Gorgeous track. When I get my musical shinola together I’m going to be name-dropping you. Have fun while you’re here in the states (I live in Virginia where I am now, but am going back to Melbourne in a few months). Charlottesville, VA is like a mini-Portland (it’s literally 1/10th the size) so if you make it to the east, drop in. It’s an hour north of Richmond, VA. Peace!

  7. Tod Rovie 4 years ago

    Dan..saw you in Atlanta a couple days ago. CD’s were sold out at the table, so ordered the LAST ONE through Amazon and paid extra for next day delivery. You were great in that small venue at Eddies Attic, and a hoot to boot. I’m in my 60’s and a Paul Kelly fan for years. I had to get the CD..as the wife and I are taking a long car trip, and we both will be singing OO WEE, OO WHEE…to the Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam! Good luck in all your future ventures. I will be passing on your music to others now.

  8. Mary Ann Rovie 4 years ago

    ok this is the thing, btw, the wife here. I had never heard of your uncle til I met this fella I married. So when he said you two were playing at Eddie’s Attic, I thought cool. I love small venues. So I made sure we got a front table. I mean seriously the FIRST ones in, literally. So then this guy comes out, (that’s you) and proceeds to blow us both away. You are fresh, playful, interactive and it was literally one of the best concerts we have ever been to. Thank you for a great nite. When you took you first break I ran into you in front of the restroom, however silly as this sounds, I was star struck or I would have begged for an autograph on the kitchen towel I got. And I realize I am quite a bit older than you but I got to say, You are hot!
    I am a fan for life, please come back this way sooner than later. We love you here!