Before they rock in the Easter Weekend with ‘Another Really Really Good Friday’, we sat down with Brian Nankervis of RocKwiz to chat about the show and its journey over the years, his favourite parts of the show and where he sees going in the future.
For those not familiar with the SBS quiz show, here’s Nankervis’ “RockWiz for Dummies” explanation.
“It’s a rock and roll quiz show featuring a nationally adored, charismatic host, her trusty, excitable, music-nerdy co host and adjudicator, a singlet wearing, mostly mute Roadie who holds up scorecards and tunes guitars and a dynamic, experienced band, the RocKwiz Orkestra” he said.
“Some of Australia’s most well known musicians combine with rising stars and members of the audience to answer music trivia questions, pick riffs and share their musical loves and memories. The musicians sing their own songs and duet on rock classics. A fine time is had by all! As a fan once said … “RocKwiz is so inclusive, it reminds me of a large family game of cricket at Christmas time. Everyone gets a turn to bat and bowl. You can’t get out on the first ball. You have to run if you hit the ball, hit catches after 3 goes and you can only bowl underarm to the kids and nanna””.
If that doesn’t sound like a show you want to be a part of, I don’t know what does. This is the second time they’ve presented the Good Friday show, and it’s a little different to the studio show.
“We experimented with a slightly different format of our live show last year … combining musicians with stand up comedians … and it worked really (really) well. The whole thing was loosely themed around Good Friday, with references to religion, the traditions of the day, boiled cod and white sauce, the Easters of our childhood and of course songs that were connected to the theme” Nankervis said.
“This year we again have two fabulous comedians, a local gal, Anne Edmonds, who is the talk of the town and Irish legend, David O’Doherty, alongside Kate Ceberano, Kylie Auldist, Mick Thomas and Billy Bragg … if you don’t mind!”
Nankveris is the co-creator, co-writer and often the scorer and adjudicator on RocKwiz since its beginning.
“The show has evolved and improved over the years, while maintaining its original beating heart. I think we’ve all grown a little wiser and more experienced. It’s worth noting that we still have pretty much the exact same cast and crew that we began with eleven years ago, which is quite remarkable for a show like this. The pace of the show has probably increased. We have become very relaxed about doing the show live, in all sorts of venues. We love performing in big theatres and without the cameras, everyone stretches out a little more and we can experiment and improvise.
There’s been many highlights over the years, and too many too cover all of his favourite moments, but he shared a selection of them.
“Billy Bragg and Courtney Barnett singing ‘Sunday Morning’ by The Velvet Underground, filming in front of 2000 screaming fans in a big tent at Bluesfest at Byron Bay, Paul Kelly singing ‘Hey Ya’ for our Decades Special, Archie Roach leading the packed Espy singing ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, performing at the Myer Music Bowl for ‘RocKwiz Salutes The Bowl’, Martha Wainwright singing ‘Slave To Love’ with Dan Kelly”… just to name a few.
They’ve continued to perform live at theatres, entertainment centres and all sorts of venues around Australia, but the show will be returning to its roots and it’s beginning at The Espy in St Kilda this season.
“We recorded our last season of shows for SBS in the renovated Gershwin Room. Fortunately it was the first section of the Espy to be finished!” he said.
The future of RocKwiz is bright and involves more, more, more in his eyes.
“It’s such a joy performing with Julia, Dugald, the Orkestra and the various musicians who we have on the shows. Audiences love the show … the depth of their enthusiasm and involvement has been a crucial factor in the ongoing life of the show. We are able to explore the nostalgic nature of first musical loves, present the many legends of the Australian (and international) scene, as well as giving much needed coverage to new artists on the scene” he said.
Selling out last’s year’s show has confidence in the show and a venue change.
“We’re moving from The State Theatre to Hamer Hall, which we are all very excited about! We are following a similar structure to last year’s show, but with new artists, songs, riffs, questions, audience members … and a couple of new twists! Don’t miss out! We aren’t recording the show so the only chance to see it will be to be there. I shall be handing out Easter Eggs in the foyer … c’mon!”
If he wasn’t at Another Really Really Good Friday, handing out Easter eggs and spreading rock and roll joy, he might have been having a bracing swim in Westernport Bay, gardening, reading, avoiding boiled cod and white sauce or getting ready to perform at Bluesfest, Byron Bay.
“In my youth, growing up in a church going, fairly conservative household in North Balwyn, Good Friday may have gone a little like this …
“Good Fridays felt like Sundays, but with an air of melancholy. It was a Friday … but rather than walking to school with Leigh Harkness, playing footy, drinking warm milk in Autumn sunshine and wondering if today I’d kiss Maxine Mayberry behind the shelter shed, I’m dressed in short shorts, walk sox and a collar and tie.”
“Listening to cryptic stories about a betrayal kiss, a last supper, a group nap under Olive trees and a high priest losing an ear… Jesus wears a crown of thorns, gets nailed to a cross until the earth shakes, darkness falls and a curtain rips. He’s speared through the side, wrapped in linen, marinated in herbs and spices and put in a cave behind a large stone that may or may not be moveable. What? Church eventually finishes and we stand around in an awkward silence and go home to eat fish and cold white sauce. And we stayed sad … until Sunday, when they said it was all okay … Jesus was alright” he mused.
Don’t miss out on this hilarious once a year event, with Another Really Really Good Friday at Hamer hall on 14th April. Tickets at: https://www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/whats-on/2017/popular-music/rockwiz-live-another-really-really-good-friday