Interview: With Billy Boyle Of Ellis Dewald

Ellis Dewald are one of Brisbane’s best hard rock bands. With a stoner/blues heavy rock sound and vocals that will give you goose bumps, these guys really know how to rock! Ellis Dewald are one of the carefully selected bands on the line up for Juicy Blue Entertainments Rock For Rain which is coming up on November 17th at the Jubilee Hotel in Brisbane. It is a charity event and all the money raised from ticket sales will go directly to our farmers in crisis via Drought Angels. Shannon from GC Live had a chat to frontman and guitarist Billy Boyle about the band, their upcoming single and EP, their upcoming gigs including Rock For Rain and a heap more.

Ellis Dewald have been around for a while now, when did the band first get together and how did the band first come about?

Our first show was in August 2017. Gary from Dr Bombay gave us our first show, gave us a foot in the door when we supported them.  The band came about basically because I was in another band called The Rared and that was with two of my brothers and Adam who is in Ellis Dewald and then another guy Chris. So The Rared was around for about 5 years doing a bunch of shows in Brisbane. Then my two brothers moved back home to Byron Bay. So The Rared never officially finished or anything but it just became impossible to do shows. So while that was kind of winding down, Adam and I started Ellis Dewald with Brooka who played bass for Terror Parade at the time. Then we had one drummer that didn’t work out, then we found Scott who played with a band called Somnio, an Ipswich based band. We worked out that we had played together at Rock The Reef, another charity fundraiser gig. So we all got in a room and as soon as we worked out that Scott was a demon behind the drums *laughs* we sort of went from there. There were maybe 5 or 6 months of pretty intense jamming and getting a set together and then we kicked off in August 2017.

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Ellis Dewald: Billy, Brooka and Scott. Photo by Trace McLean.

How did you come up with the name Ellis Dewald?

We had a name and then when we switched drummers we were like well let’s make a clean start, let’s choose a new name. But at that stage we were so over the process of selecting a name. I think we literally had a list of… like it was just becoming ridiculous, like people where suggesting names that didn’t even sound like real words anymore. Brooka suggested Ellis Dewald, who is the bad guy from Beverly Hills Cop 3. It was just a name that rolls off the tongue and Eddie Murphy does a whole speech about it. So he said that and it was literally the first name out of about 100 that I didn’t passionately hate * laughs* and so I think the consensus was yeah nah, that’s it! In the movie the whole scene is him saying the name over and over in this acceptance speech, you should watch the clip on YouTube, it is ridiculous. It is really funny.

Exciting stuff happening in the near future for Ellis Dewald! You guys have a new single being released soon as well as an EP not long after that, can you tell me some more about that?

Yeah! So basically we recorded a whole album. We recorded like 12 tracks that we are just sitting on. Mainly because, not out of any like grand strategic reason, but because we want to make sure that if we release something that we can back it up with shows. We just want to make sure that we have the time in our schedule and that we have a clear run and we have momentum. I can’t even tell you what the single is, we have got 12 there. We are going to release one maybe the beginning of November and then probably release the EP in January. I have got a seven or eight show tour coming up in November and December of which Rock For Rain will be a part of. Then we will release the EP in probably late January and probably do the same. For the single we are keeping it fairly local. Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lismore, a couple of Sydney shows, maybe a Sunny Coast or Byron. Then when we head off on the EP tour we will go further afield and go to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Port Macquarie, Newcastle. That is the idea.

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Billy on stage with Ellis Dewald. Photo taken by Elizabeth Sharpe of Ummagummamumma – Live Music Photography.

I think the local hard rock/stoner/blues rock scene is really taking off now with bands like Ellis Dewald, Stoker, Royal Artillery, Hobo Magic and the list goes on… would you agree?

Completely; I have seen even in the last 6 years or so, there was Hobo Magic and Royal Artillery and Heavy Roller and now you have bands like Stoker coming through. Kids of that age and when I say kids of that age, you have to put this into perspective, I taught one of them in primary school! It was a hilarious moment where we had been put on the bill with this band that I had heard a little bit about but I didn’t know any of them and I didn’t recognize any of them. There was a spirited comradery going on but this one kid was like being really kind of extra attentive and almost polite in his conversation with me. We were just chatting and the conversation kind of didn’t necessary reach it’s natural end and he wanted to keep talking and I was like cool, I will just grab a beer and I will come back. I got a beer and I came back and we chatted some more and then I got distracted by someone else and he sort of leaned in close and he was like “Hey Um, so like I am pretty sure you were my teacher in primary school” and I couldn’t help myself I just looked at him and the first two words out of my mouth were F**k Off! *laughs* It was the ultimate ‘I am an old man’ moment, because I am not that old Shannon, I am 32! So I was like you have got to be kidding me! *laughs* But it was super sweet, particularly cool that he then got on stage and absolutely blew everybody away! because they are an incredible band. One of our shows is with them on this tour; we are going to play with them in Lismore. We doubled up; we have Rock for Rain with them too. Bands like Baltimore Gun Club have been kicking on and constantly playing shows and putting bums on seats in venues of all types for so long and they do it so well and again The Royal Artillery and Hobo Magic are doing the same.

What are some other local bands that you really love that you’d like to give a plug too?

Oh alright. So many. So many. How long have we got? I will say this. Friends of mine that play in other cities often express to me their jealousy in a way of how tight and supportive and genuinely positive the scene in Brisbane is. I don’t have a lot of experience of playing in other cites, I have got a bit and I have a small insight into what the music communities are like there, but I think it is pretty fair to say that the Brisbane music scene is very very positive it is very supportive. There is none of this behind the scenes sniping or ego or competitiveness that seems to infect scenes of other places if some of the stories are to be believed. So bands, alright, I am going to go as quick as I can off the top of my head, The Bear Hunt, Some Jerks, Machine Machine, Heavy Roller are one of the mainstayers of rock and roll, Port Royal, Dr Bombay another mainstayer, Stoker, Hobo Magic, Baltimore Gun Club, Mister Sister a shameless plug to my new band who I play bass for, The Eagle Junction, Georgie Neilsen and the Growing Pains. In fact if I had to give a plug for one band that I thought was going to take off it would be them. Keep an eye on Georgie Neilsen and The Growing Pains. They’re amazing, she is wonderful. They are supporting Donny Benet at The Foundry this Friday. Rude Rum that’s another one. I watch a lot of music Shannon * laughs*

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Billy performing with Ellis Dewald. Photo taken by Trace McLean.

Ellis Dewald are on the line up for Rock For Rain with 12 other awesome and hard rocking bands, you guys must be keen and looking forward to playing the gig?

Yeah, again, that reference that I had to the Brisbane music scene is like Rock For Rain. That’s indicative of the festival and for people like you and everybody who is associated with organizing this; obviously that part of it is required. For people to actually step up and say we are going to spearhead this and put it together and then you know what a wonderful advertisement for the community, like I can’t imagine bands not waiting to be a part of something like this. You’ve got an amazing venue; it is going to be a kick ass day! I am super pumped, it should be really good, but yeah I think everything I have said about the Brisbane music scene and how it can use this type of real collective undertaking is really admirable. The Brisbane music scene and their attitude towards collective engagement in this stuff is just super positive and I am really happy to be a part of this festival.

The line up for Rock For Rain is truly awesome with all of the bands being extremely talented musicians and also just really lovely people. We are all banding together for a higher good; rocking out to raise some funds for our farmers who are doing it tough. GC Live are proud to support local music and gigs that bring us together for a good cause. Get your tickets now to Rock For Rain via Oztix. Make sure you follow Ellis Dewald on Facebook to keep up with what they have happening and stay tuned for release dates for their upcoming single and EP and for tour dates too. Ellis Dewald are an amazing band to see live so you do not want to miss them!

Follow Ellis Dewald on Facebook  HERE. 

For the Rock For Rain event page and link to tickets click HERE.

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