Lead singer, guitarist, The Bites 2003-2005, Hand Hell 2005-2007
The Bites and Hand Hell were two of Melbourne's most underrated bands. They played a kind of raw, urgent 90ish indie rock and I was a huge fan. They wrote great catchy riffs and clever lyrics and had a DIY aesthetic I loved - lots of beautiful screenprinted and hand-sewn album covers and gig flyers. Singer and co-songwriter Kirsty Stegwazi worked as a machinist by day and the band name Hand Hell referred to the constantly cut up state of her hands from metal shavings and fixing machines all day.
In 2007 Kirsty had some kind of operation on her throat. Rather than take a break while her voice healed Hand Hell played a series of karaoke gigs with different guests on vocals. I was lucky enough to be asked to do a couple of songs. It was a fan's dream come true but it was pretty damn nerve wracking doing it with Kirsty standing right there watching me. We did 'Fired' as the finale to the set and it ended with a wrestling match - the whole band and all the equipment in a huge pile in the middle of stage, me on the bottom, screaming my guts out. Kirsty had started it all and she was laughing away with a huge grin on her face - so I figured it had gone ok.