Ahead of this Friday’s benefit gig for ex-You Am I Manager, Kate Stewart, some of the artists set to perform at Enmore Theatre have spoken about the importance Stewart had on their careers and Australian music.
After suffering a severe stroke last September, Stewart will be honoured at the show by the likes of Bernard Fanning, Paul Dempsey and of course, You Am I, with all proceeds going towards the Kate Stewart Appeal.
Check out the tributes below and for more details on the gig, click on theGuide or scroll down.
I was so honoured when Tim Rogers asked me to perform at Kate’s benefit. She played such a big role in the early days for You Am I – a band with voluminous spark and verve, a band that influenced my songwriting and my guitar playing. Kate’s devotion and passion for music helped bring to life and shape the Sydney music scene in the ’90s.
Quality people. Quality musicians. All getting together to help out a mate in one of Australia’s best venues to see bands. What could go wrong?
It was 1993 and the You Am I launch of Sound As Ever at The Phoenician Club on Broadway. CROW had just played and we made our way to the generously-sized band room upstairs. It was packed throughout the venue and the band room no exception. The room descended into an ambience level somewhat on par with the screeching and squall of the stage. Out of this cacophony came the piercing cry of a young woman, “If you’re not in You Am I, can you please fuck off!” Heads immediately turned to sight the proclaimer and the room started to empty. This is how I first recollect Kate Stewart. As the room thinned out, Kate quickly and adeptly let a bunch of us know individually, “You can stay”, and “I don’t mean you”. She had to be tough but that didn’t mean she was ever rude or dismissive, and Kate had every right to give the band who were riding a pretty exciting wave, a bit of space and room to focus on the task ahead.
We got to know Kate in those wild years and she never failed to display generosity, care, politeness and integrity. It’s a known observable fact that men tend to show their affection by doing stuff; mowing the lawn, washing the car, buying beer and alphabetising the record collection… and we intend to follow this tradition and play the mightiest show we can muster, to show her we care, love and wish her well.
ADAM YEE (SMUDGE)
Kate and Smudge (in our various guises) go back until before the mists of Teen Spirit. Always a getter-of-things done and figurative herder of cats, we couldn’t have asked for a more level head and sterner presence if we were crossing gig paths. If you did it the Kate way, you did it right. Kate has always been the glue to Sydney (and beyond) music’s crazy and we can’t wait to mach schau for her. We’ll tip one or two for you dear Kate and then come and enjoy a few with you soon. Love to you, love Smudge.
I know what an important and loved member of the You Am I family Kate Stewart is so I didn’t even give it a second thought when asked if I would be involved in the Concert for Kate. It’s a night of mates getting together to help a mate so I think the atmosphere will be really special and I know there’s also going to be some collaborations and covers that people are not likely to see again so it’s going to be a lot of fun. And I’m quietly confident that no one is going to make a single Something for Kate joke. Actually, I’m sure of it.
YOU AM I
Before we had half a clue, our band approached Kate Stewart for some advice on how to get shows, how to make a record, how to be a group. We asked her because she had a reputation for being a straight talker, no bluster, and someone who thrived on getting stuff done. She was also a great late-night drinker, raconteur, confidante. To our enormous surprise she suggested management. Rapidly we got an education in ethics and morality in a community where the edges on such behaviour were often blurred. As Rusty has written, she was our centre of moral authority. And our friend. When she gave us our ten bucks a day on tour for “sustenance” it came with sage advice on how to stretch it. When that per diem bulged to twenty, the nights after a show just got longer. As offers and shows came our way, and no doubt our sense of our worth bloated, Kate persistently reminded us in no uncertain terms that we were of no more worth than the gals and guys lugging gear, rolling leads, stamping the wrists, no matter how much bloody velvet we were wearing. We shared floors, vans, longnecks, fights and a thousand sweaty hugs. She was the first person to give us a chance, and the last person out of the venue for hundreds, maybe thousands of shows. Though we parted ways a while back we remain dear friends, as again, she has given us chances when we maybe didn’t deserve them. Now she needs some help (she never asked for it. Never would.) So, we are putting on a show with some wags who also wanna give a little something back to the woman who gave us everything.