When you listen to the Hussy Hicks you can be sure what you are listening to is good and will suit your mood. Their name, as well as their music, is reflective of the diversity in the two women, a keen sense of humour and their journey. These two ladies bring their passion to the music and take fans on a trip across multiple musical genres giving the audience glimpses of the influences, travel, and life that inspires them.
At the 27th Bluesfest in Byron Bay I had the opportunity to catch up with Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker, aka the Hussy Hicks. Being led backstage from the small encampment of the ‘media’ we were sat down in the hall way of the green room to await the interview. The stars of the show, Mick Fleetwood, Robert Randolf, and Jack Johnson ambled about, chatted on mobiles or chased their kids around. It was a little awe-inspiring to be there with the Hussy Hicks and to think that this local band has made it from the Buskers Stage to the green room with these iconic musicians.
The warmly lit small room was a great place to do a quick interview and after getting cosy we got to business. It would have been logical to assume that winning the busking competition in 2010 gave them the impetus to start touring, however, Julz put the record straight.”We started touring internationally in 2008, before the Buskers, we had to practice because it is a really tough competition.” As the story so often goes the ‘sensation’ of the Hussy Hicks actually began in 2006 with their first album ‘Life Plays Out’ being produced by Bill Chambers.
The Hussy Hicks are still winning today taking out the Best Artist of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards and delivering their acceptance speech from Germany. With 5 albums to their name and an international touring schedule they have certainly earned the accolades. At present they are performing at several festivals across Europe before they head home to start the Australian festival season. They have been doing this for a few years now and have also played some of America’s festivals including HangOut supporting Kristy Lee. When I asked how Bluesfest compared to international festivals Leesa stated:
‘It is one of the best festivals on the planet. Without a doubt, we have played a lot of festivals and been to a lot of festivals. This one – I mean we are so lucky to have it as our local festival you know. It’s phenomenal. You know Peter Noble has the most amazing team and they all know their shit and are really, really good at what they do. And they are so passionate about music, they still love music that is why it is a good festival.’
The Hussy’s Hicks have been long time Bluesfest patrons coming with their parents before they began playing music and commented that they would be at the festival regardless of being on the bill. Their dad still comes along and has guest appearances on harp during their sets.
The discussion turns to the future of music festivals and where the Hussy Hicks see them heading. Leesa answered: There is definitely a fad element to the festival scene at the moment. But at the end of the day people love music, you know ,its like no matter what happens people still love music, they love connecting with something that is external to anything that they understand and going out with the lockdown laws and all this crap and like trying to get a taxi home. Julz joined in with her comments: You see people whingeing about getting out of here – well try to get out of Surfers on a Saturday night – it’s no different but you just haven’t seen the best bands in the world. I think there will always be a place for the big festivals like this. I think there will also be more and more of these small boutique festivals. I mean some of our favourite festivals are tiny. We just played Nancara Festival near Geraldton in WA and it is one day festival that goes from 5pm til 1 in the morning and it’s one of the most beautiful camping festival weekends that you could possibly imagine you know and they only have 5 acts and it is really special. There is a place for everything I think.
At the finals of the Buskers Competition held on the stage of the Beach Hotel in Byron there was a lively debate being held about the name “Hussy Hicks”. Both rolled their eyes and went on to argue about which one was which. Finally agreeing that they could be both on any given day. They admit it was a joke that stuck and when they were pressed to change the name – nothing came to mind – now of course, the decision has been made and there are a multitude of band names that come to mind.
When asked if they would change the name the answer was – I don’t think we will, I think we will probably do side projects and we will do all sorts of other things but I think we are Hussy Hicks and it’s a stupid name but it is fun and you know we don’t take ourselves too seriously and I think it will be really cool to be 92 and in a band called the Hussy Hicks. Here Jules sucks in her lips to do an impression of an old lady – calling out ‘wheel out them Hussy’s, has someone got the teeth for the singer she can’t do her s’s if she ain’t got her teeth’. Giving a firm impression that they will still be sitting on a porch or in someone’s back yard playing music for years to come.
When they are on stage the love of what they are doing is visible and probably stems from the fact that the Hussy Hicks just love to play music. This creates a new fan base after each concert. In the signing tent there is genuine affection and happiness to be with their fans. They are still surprised and grateful that anyone wants to come and see them and that they brought the T-shirts.
This year you can see the Hussy Hicks at several festivals. For a very laid back experience with a definite guitar twist try – Mitchell Creek, and for a more intimate experience they will play jazz,roots and funk at Brass Monkey in Cronulla.
The Hussy Hicks may have an unusual name and that only serves to point out their uniqueness and willingness to include all music and people on their journey. To some the name may be important and may even take them to the Jimmy Fallon Show, for now they are content to play music whenever they can where ever they can for who ever will come and see them.
For fans this is a blessing – so make sure you catch them when you can.
Here is the link to the official video for ‘That old Heartache’ released in December 2015.
Six Bar Jail – Bridgetown Film Festival
Festivals that Hussy Hicks have played – to name a few
The Kiamo – USA
Rhombo- USA Festival Cruise
Blues on Broadbeach
Blue Balls Festival
Les Gets Lounge Music Festival
Rock Les Baine
Nannup Music Festival