Diesel in the raw

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Mark “Diesel” Lizotte will bring the raw sounds of his new Americana album to Geelong next month.

The American-born Aussie guitarist will pay tribute to the artists who have influenced his own music by putting his unique stamp on classic songs.

“It’s such a broad term, Americana – it means different things to different people,” Diesel said.

“After moving out here from America – then moving back and forth again – I wonder if I would have as much of a fascination in American music if I had just stayed in America all my life and never made it out to Australia. I think it’s safe to say I probably wouldn’t.

“The music may be American but it’s very Australian what I’m doing. We’re not scared of mixing things up here and breaking the rules.”

The six-time ARIA award winner opted not to listen to any of the original tracks and instead relied on his memory to find personal meaning in each of the songs he would cover using a slightly different tuning.

Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run was one of the more challenging.

“It’s like someone saying, ‘I’m going to rewrite the bible’. You just don’t touch it,” Diesel laughed.

“But I thought, if I’m going to make an Americana album, I may as well get in the ring with Muhammad Ali; the featherweight’s going to take on the heavyweight and we’ll see what happens. So, if Born To Run is a stranger, I’m going to go right up to that stranger on the street and kiss ’em on the lips. That’s it.”

Diesel grew up in a musical household with seven siblings.

His father would often buy orchestral instruments from the music shop including saxophones, clarinets and a cello, which Diesel still occasionally incorporates into his tracks in the recording studio.

With a range of instruments readily accessible during his childhood, the consistent absence of a guitar led to Diesel’s yearning to learn how to play a six-string.

“It’s been over a year since my last solo tour so it’s great for people to see me perform in a different light,” he said.

“My shows are very dynamic, raucous and they feel like a full rock show. I think people can forget there’s only one guy on stage sometimes.”

Diesel will perform on 3 June at Gateway Hotel.

Originally published at Geelong Independent.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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