Johnny Allen “Jimi” Hendrix was born on a crisp autumn morn November 27th, 1942, in Seattle, Washington. Soundly dubbed the greatest guitarist- oh, wait a minute. This isn’t an article about Jimi. It’s about Australian Hammond keyboard slayer Lachy Doley.
Yes, “The Sydney Slayer” of the Hammond organ is at it again, this time with a face-melting bone-splitting version of arguably the most badass classic psych rock tune, Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child.” It’s a bold move to release a cover of such an untouchable classic, but by God Doley may have the most unique cover of it to date, what with his utter destruction of the Whammy Clavinet.
Doley is renowned as one of the most electrifying Hammond organ players alive, and his lively soul blues-rock playing has caught the eyes and ears of many, including one Bootsy Collins and Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple. Just check out the quotes.
“Makes u feel good the way he plays that clavinet.” – Bootsy
“The greatest living keyboard player in the world today.” – Glenn
The hype is real.
Doley went viral on social media with his videos quickly racking up millions of views, and his blues tune, “Stop Listening to the Blues,” is now sitting at 4.8 million Facebook views alone. “A player who can pump, pamper and occasionally pound the most unbelievable sounds from a keyboard: sounds that are intense, ferocious and sometimes transcendent.” Just check out some of his videos and you’ll see this to be accurate.
Doley and his group have played over 300 shows and festivals around the world since they first hit the scene in 2011. The group’s latest studio album, Make or Break, debuted at #1 on the Australian National Blues and Jazz Charts, even surpassing their previous release, Conviction, which reached #5 on the UK Blues Broadcasters Charts, #1 on the Australian iTunes Blues Charts and #1 on the Australian Blues & Roots Airplay Charts. Doley is also an avid music teacher with a number of online lessons he offers.
Doley and his band have a 10-year retrospective album coming out this October called Double Figures, and you’ll want to keep your eyes and ears out for that.
We shot some questions around the world to Doley who was kind enough to answer them, so without further adieu…
So when did you start playing music, and who or what got you into it?
When I was a kid, my mum’s boyfriend was a blues guitar player that loved to smoke pot and play the blues. Therefore, I grew up listening to all these incredible blues artists like Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and I started trying to mimic them on the home piano around the age of 8.
What made you gravitate towards the piano/keys?
My brother was already playing blues piano, so I guess I was mainly inspired by him.
Who are your top three piano/keys players?
Booker T. Jones, Jon Lord, Jerry Lee Lewis.
So it was your new single and cover of a Mount Rushmore classic psych rock tune, “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix that caught our ear. What made you choose this song to record and release?
It was a song my fans had been requesting ever since they heard what I could do with the Whammy Clav. I had resisted for seven years and then thought…why Not?
Do you play other Hendrix tunes?
I’ve played “Little Wing” many times, but usually on the Hammond. So it sounds very different but cool. Such a great tune.
Can fans expect to hear it on an upcoming EP or LP?
Yes- I have a 10-year retrospective album coming out in October called Double Figures. [It’s] a mixture of previously released original tunes, plus two new covers- “Voodoo Child” and “Gimme Some Lovin”.
Can you provide some context for that Bootsy Collins quote on your website?
Over the years, Bootsy has shared three of my videos on his Facebook page. That quote was taken from one of his posts. I’ve since recorded for him, which will hopefully come out someday. He’s been really complimentary over the years comparing some of my playing to the late great Bernie Worrell.
I see you’ve played all kinds of shows and festivals all over the world. Which one or two immediately jump to mind when reflecting on some of the most memorable ones and why?
I would say BOSPOP 2017 in the Netherlands. That was one of the biggest shows we had ever done at that point. I thought we played with a real excitement that made us a lot of new fans and really brought my career to a new level in Europe.
Second would be Blues on Broadbeach on the Gold Coast Australia. Such a great part of the world, and the filmed concert footage has been seen millions and millions of times over the last four years.
Is it a pain in the ass to lug that big organ on the road and bring it on and off stage?
It sure is. It sucks in many ways. BUT it’s so worth it. Nothing sounds as great as a well maintained Hammond and Leslie.
Can you give us a rundown of the gear you primarily use?
I use a 1957 Hammond C3 into a early sixties Leslie 145, plus my crazy Whammy Clavinet. A fully stringed keyboard that’s been fitted with a giant whammy bar which at times can sound reminiscent of an electric guitar.
Can you talk about Lachy Doley School and your online Hammond Course? And is that a similar deal to your 90-Minute Skype lesson?
The Hammond course is over 100 hundred videos I filmed covering all of what makes my playing unique, as well as many important techniques I use, which all organ players should have under the belt. Whereas the 90 minute lessons are tailored specifically to whoever I’m teaching. Could be learning a particular song or certain technique, soloing in a certain key or groove. Almost anything.
What’s your teaching style like? More funny and friendly, or maybe more rigid and to the point?
I wouldn’t say rigid. I don’t read music, so the way I teach is very much me showing, and the students coping, working, and growing on it from there.
What might fans expect from The Lachy Doley Group to close out the year?
Thanks to Covid, I plan on doing another livestream event, most likely tying in with my Double Figures album release. I’m working on a lot more collaborations too. They will most likely be social media releases only. Always working on something. So stay tuned 🙂