I was dragged up, kicking and screaming, through my teenage years in a little country town called Sheffield in Tasmania, Australia.
Not much happened around there unless you made it happen yourself.
My family had NO TELEVISION so there was nothing to do in my spare time but listen to music, learn an instrument, read books, go on adventures outside… or daydream.
I remember spending hours as a teenager listening to music on the radio or on cassette (CDs were not commercially available yet!) and I would always have a confusing struggle within myself as to which member of the band I could most picture myself as. If I was listening to the lyrics, it was the singer that I wanted to be…as soon as the guitar solo started, I wanted to be the guitarist. Cool beat or great drum solo? I was the drummer… in my mind. They ALL seemed like equally attractive propositions to this aspiring young musician.
Mind you, all of those potential career choices seemed out of my reach, as I was literally the “SON OF A PREACHER MAN” and those life styles I dreamed of were not the path for a chosen and groomed servant of God…I secretly indulged in long daydreams of rock stardom and guiltily loved every minute of it.
It was my “first love” of Dire Straits that led me down the path of being a lead guitarist. I started to spend every available moment working out the riffs and chord progressions (by ear, because I could not read music) of Mark Knofler’s songs. I rapidly progressed into a decent guitarist. I soon moved on to the heavier glam rock icons of the late 80’s early 90’s like Guns ‘n’ Roses (Slash was my idol) and never looked back.
In my house electric guitars were frowned upon because they represented Rock’n’Roll, ”The music of the DEVIL!” so my sound palette was limited to acoustic guitar. On the acoustic I could mimic the notes and feel of the music, but not the beautiful tones and colours of the sounds that I was hearing…and it frustrated me no end. That situation was not tolerable to me, so as soon as I started my first job (bricklaying) and got my first pay cheque, I went straight to my favourite music shop and brought an electric guitar. It was one of those beginner packs with a practice amp and a lead and strap and the guitar itself was a white Fender Stratocaster copy…and I thought it was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen. (The pic below is example only…I don’t have any photos of the actual guitar.)
When I got it home my parents hit the roof…They could not believe my blatant rebellion. I calmly explained that it was money I had earned with my own hands and that I was entitled to spend it on whatever I liked! Thus began a rough downhill road that would see me ex-communicated from my family within the next two years.
After leaving home I enrolled myself in a TAFE college music course to learn how to read and write music. In college I was encouraged to sing more, because I had started to write my own songs and everybody thought they sounded better when I sang them… I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt when I did that. I started to busk in the local mall regularly, to earn some extra cash, and it was through my busking that I was asked to join my first band… Doctor Schmeg. To my astonishment they wanted me to be the LEAD SINGER!
Within a month we had our first gig and of course, with that kind of time pressure, we over-rehearsed to the point that my vocal chords were bleeding and I could hardly speak by the time we arrived at the venue for sound check.
This was my first ever gig as a singer and I had no idea what was going to happen when the band started…Nobody did. None of the other band members realised what we were about to unleash!
As soon as the first beat on the drums started my body started to move like never before! The adrenalin kicked in and my voice was there again. I sang my guts out and danced around that stage until it was all used up… then I jumped off it and into the audience… I felt like I was on a huge stage in a stadium and I was living one of those dreams I’d had when I was younger. My onstage persona was kind of like a mix between Anthony Keidis (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Iggy Pop. Later that year I even took on the stage name Tim Keidis! Ha Ha! So young…so impressionable.
It was a thrill beyond amazing. It was nirvana. I was where I was meant to be. This was my calling.
The band went nuts…the crowd went wild…and we stole the show from the headliners. It was a hugely successful first gig….I couldn’t utter a SOUND with my voice for a week or two but I didn’t care. I now knew what my purpose was.
Off the back of those humble beginnings DOCTOR SCHMEG went from strength to strength and very quickly gained notoriety as a “MUST SEE BAND” around the local music scene. We became the top band of our time in Tasmania, winning band competitions, talent shows, sponsorships and legions of fans. We supported the Hoodoo Gurus in front of over one thousand screaming fans. We recorded an album, toured the island constantly, appeared on TV several times, had numerous groupies and over-indulged in all the wrong things…LIVING THE DREAM!!
Here’s an interview I did back in those days:
Fast-forward 26 years to 2019, and here I am, still living the dream.
The lifestyle is more subdued (thankfully!)…the music is different…the types of instrumentation I use have expanded…my song writing has matured…my audience has changed… But I’m still that same kid, on a musical high, dreaming of a big stage…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In 2015 something happened that was one of the most confidence boosting experiences of my recent music career. I received a scholarship award for “Outstanding song writing, stagecraft and artistic vision” through The Alex Legg Memorial Foundation (ALMF) and it was voted by my peers. They made a big fuss about me and I felt so proud I could have burst. People really WERE listening. My art DID matter to someone.
It’s very important to acknowledge at this point, that every time something positive and confirming has happened in my career it is because of SOMEONE ELSE’S ACTIONS. Someone has encouraged me, mentored me or applauded my efforts. Every person who has bought a ticket to a show or purchased an album, every punter who has talked to me after a show and explained why they liked it…Those are the things that keep me going…keep me believing that I’m doing something worthwhile and positive in this world. So thank you if you are one of those people or are about to become one. WITHOUT YOU, THERE WOULD BE NO PURPOSE FOR MY MUSIC.
With the help of the ALMF I was able to record my latest album “GET LOVED!” which I truly believe is my best work to date. It brings together all of the early rock, funk and reggae influences I had and blends them with the newer folk, blues sounds I have developed. It all distils into a really unique but very listenable product “reminiscent of The Eagles and Ben Harper” according to one reviewer. Or as Stuart Coupe wrote “This is an album that will find a welcome home amidst any music collection that includes the likes of Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Jeff Buckley, Bill Withers, Jeff Lang, The Dirty Three and Paul Kelly. Hulsman is a major emerging talent on the Australian roots/blues/folk/country soul music landscape.”
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone in my musical journey click here to listen to GET LOVED!
Thank you for being a listener. By that simple action you are giving my music it’s purpose and becoming a companion on this wild journey.