Having gone through the necessary evolution and experimentation all the best bands go through, singer, songwriter and guitarist Dan Nebe can now proudly say, will you please welcome The Band – Team Utopia – lead guitarist Mick Bristow from The Pretty Fingers, bass player Amanda Emblem, notorious from her roles in Diva Demolition and Legless, and drummer Sue Kennet (ex-Never The Sane).
Team Utopia was born in the mind and heart of Redcliffe, Queensland native Nebe back in 2011 and has seen some impressive musicians pass through its ranks to this point, not least legendary guitarist Bob Spencer (ex-Finch, Skyhooks, Angels), who played with the band for much of last year, before receiving an offer to join Rose Tattoo he could hardly refuse. Spencer featured on Team Utopia’s last two singles, including the first single, Strips Off My Soul, to be lifted off their forthcoming debut EP, I Never Said I Was Peter Pan, currently being recorded and mixed in Sydney’s Damien Gerard Studios with engineer/producer extraordinaire Russell Pilling, whose CV includes records by Radio Birdman, The Church, Jon Stevens and The Cruel Sea. The EP is due for release online through Brisbane-based Wild Weather Records.
“Having Amanda and Sue, a female rhythm section,” Nebe admits proudly, “is just amazing. They just rock! The three of us just work so well together and lock in tight. Having Bob in there was great – we had to lift our game, and that was the best part of that experience, and having him agree to play on the EP was fantastic. But Mick Bristow is amazing. We’ve been great mates for a long time. Bob has a certain presence on stage, but Mick goes to the next level and he’s taken us to the next level as well.”
One of the songs on that forthcoming EP is the current single, Calling Out To The Masses, a song about our need to stick by each other to try and facilitate change in this increasingly chaotic world. That’s something Team Utopia have tried to do in their own small way on a local level with their commitment to the annual Redcliffe-based funds and awareness-raising benefit concert, Rockin’ 4 The Homeless, over the past five years.
Over the past few years, as well as sharing stages with acts as diverse as America’s Richie Ramone – yes, drummer with New York’s legendary Ramones! – and New Zealand’s Bonjah, Team Utopia have played alongside local heroes The Radiators and Mental As Anything among many, as well as festivals like the Mitchell Creek Rock’n’Blues. At this year’s Rockin’ 4 The Homeless, they’ll be sharing the stage with Diana Anaid and The Hoodoo Gurus, once again among many.
Right now however, Team Utopia have the very pleasurable honour to be performing at this year’s four-day Way Out West Festival in Winton, Thursday 19 through Sunday 22 April, which bill includes The Living End, Jessica Mauboy, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and fellow Brisbanites Sheppard among 100-odd acts, Team Utopia headlining the Winton Hotel stage’s lineup over three big nights, all part of the celebrations at the rebirth of the Waltzing Matilda Centre.