Well we promised news a long time ago and here it is 100% guaranteed not to be “fake”.

With an intro like that where to start? Where to start…?

Let’s go back further than we need to – let’s talk about this guy. Welcome aboard Omid Shayan!

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Photo by Emma Phillips

Yes – we know he’s been in the band since early 2016 but what a year it has been! A new American president, a new Australian Prime Minister and a sizeable percentage of every important 20th century icon of arts, culture and music – DEAD! That’s why we’re leading off with a good news story. Omid joined up to fill the shoes of the departing Jason Chalmers and brought with him not one but two saxy tones including both tenor and baritone.

Omid like many Offtopics players is a band leader in his own right. His own band “Shayan” play just the kind of structured jazz that made you think you wanted a picture of John Coltrane on your bedroom wall next to that Jimi Hendrix poster. Being Iranian, Omid likes to thread Persian melodic influences into his jazz. In the Offtopics though it’s all about dripping funk.

And he brought hair – SOOO much curly black hair! We think The Offtopics benefit from his low, baritone rumbles and, in our own small way, we like to think we’ve contributed a little something to Omid. Sometime in 2016 Omid and his partner found out they were pregnant.  Does associating with The Offtopics increase your sexiness and fertility? Well – you might think so. You might very well think that indeed but WE couldn’t possibly comment…

Moving the clock forward to the end of 2016 we lost Dan our guitar player. Don’t panic – he’s not dead – he just decided it was time to move on from the group. This was a bit sad as he’d been a massive part of the formation of the band. All of our early rehearsals were at his house – in fact, we recorded the early demos in his lounge room. If Dan hadn’t been so generous, sympathetic and kind to Polash after he left The Deans in 2012 there would be no funk dynamo.

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Photo by Emma Phillips

We’ll miss his exciting lead breaks and if you find that you are missing him as much as we are you can see him playing country in The Pheasant Pluckers and rocksteady with Tim in Johnny Longshot.

How ever will The Offtopics manage without a guitarslinger, you cry? Fear not! We’re incredibly lucky to welcome aboard two of the tastiest players in Melbourne. First up is Anthony Mark Shannon.

AKA “Tone”

AKA “Skull”

AKA “The Beulah Bullet”.

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Photo by The Funk Dynamo

Why so many nicknames? Well he usually goes by his middle name but we already have a Mark on keys and maracas. Having two would be confusing so for the moment we’re just going to use all of Mr Shannon’s handles until something sticks. Some trivia about this guy:  Did someone say “TRIVIA”???  As a former Sale of the Century Champ he’s officially the king of trivia in The Offtopics! Some of the other guys might find that hard to swallow but there may well be a new leader for obscure music history facts. The Buelah Bullet comes with a good music pedigree. His brother Dean was in Ballarat alt-rock outfit Epicure and his son is the creative force behind Melbourne dreamy rock band The Bickies.

When it comes to guitar this guy knows how to keep it “Stanky”.

And now onto the other part of The Offtopics double axe attack:

Introducing – or rather reintroducing Dave Sheehan!

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Dave had been taking a bit of a break from music and wasn’t sure if he could commit to a band – after all there were cricket finals to think of, work, family etc. The argument was clinched by his young son who took a break from riding the ferris wheel at Inverloch to weigh in on the quality of the band’s demos. It was decided. The “band was impressive” and “the grooves were dug”. “Dad, you should definitely join!” were the words of the young scion – and that was that.

Polash caught up with international Glenroy Pop Sensation Kylie Auldist at the launch of the Brunswick Music Festival. When he mentioned that her former Curtis Late bandmate Dave was joining The Offtopics she went very quiet and still for a second.

“How did you get him?” She breathed… “You are a lucky, lucky man…”

And The Offtopics are a lucky, lucky band!

That’s all for the personnel roundup. Stay tuned for the next installment where we tell you all about our studio project with Kalacoma’s Nick Hererra. There’s definitely a gig coming up in May and hopefully another one before that. All will be revealed but for now – get stanky and stay funky.

 

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