He may be a member of one of the biggest bands on the planet, but Guns N' Roses drummer Frank Ferrer proved himself a down-to-earth guy who just loves the heck out of music while in Brisbane with the iconic outfit earlier this month when he joined in an epic jam session at a local venue.
The Music has learnt that Ferrer was in West End on the Sunday (5 February) before GN'R's show at QSAC Stadium, when he stopped into beloved live venue The Bearded Lady during its nascent weekly CHURCH improv session, the brainchild of multi-faceted local musician Ofa Fanaika (Chocolate Strings, Captain Dreamboat).
Following the first set of the day, Fanaika struck up a coincidental conversation with the renowned drummer — who, she is the first to admit, she did not recognise at the time — and found out that he was "just travelling through" with his band.
"I asked him what the name of his band was called, and he said a rock band called 'The Gunners' and asked if I'd heard of 'em," Fanaika said of the fortuitous meeting. "I said nah… but that doesn't mean much — I'm a bit out of the loop with these kinds of things. Always heaps of rad stuff happening in the neighbourhood, so I get a bit sheltered here."
Despite being "pretty wrecked" from the journey to Australia, Ferrer gamely agreed to join the next improvisational piece when invited up by a Fanaika, who was evidently ultimately informed of the man's pedigree, and herself lends some deeply soulful improvised vocals to the 10-minute long gospel jam, along with fellow vocalist Kel Timmons (Bankrupt Billionaires) and instrumentalists Lee Brackenborough (Moreton, Captain Dreamboat, Big Dead), Andrew Fincher (Big Dead, Swingset) and Brandon Mamata (Weightless In Orbit).
Suffice to say, it was a pretty damn special moment for all involved — and somewhat par for the course these days, Timmons says.
"I know we have something special in West End," she said. "It's not unusual that big name artists (with spirit) sniff us out when they're on tour here. They see it too. I've seen it many times with many artists that have been to many places. That's how I know it's not just bias. People get impressed and uplifted."
Luckily for all of us who weren't there to witness the magic in action, the entire jam was caught on video by local filmmaker Thea Schroder (of Silent Haitch), and you can watch it all unfold from its easy-shuffle origins to its hugely ebullient ending below.
"I was definitely feeling it," Fanaika enthused. "So I improvised a bunch of lyrics and got deep into it. Was an experience to remember."
If you'd like a shot at being a part of future experiences to remember — hey, you never know who'll pass through those venue doors on a Sunday afternoon, then you'll be pleased to know that CHURCH is down to be held every Sunday from 3pm at The Bearded Lady. Inspired by Fanaika's fundamental Christian upbringing, the idea behind this musical temple is to be a communion of elation and "improvisational divinity … full of music and love and nothing else".
As Fanaika says: "It's been really nice hearing my friends say, ‘See you at CHURCH, Ofa,' and for there to be no hidden religious agenda behind those words."
For more information about becoming a member of the CHURCH parish, see The Bearded Lady's Facebook page.