Zach Stephenson, one half of the fledgling surf-rock duo Hockey Dad from regional NSW, has discovered that life as a touring musician has stifled the regularity of his wave riding. “We went on a surf trip the other week because we hadn’t had waves for so long because we’d been away; we finally got some time off, so it was good to actually surf for two weeks and get it a little bit out of our system again.
“It’s much easier to skate when you’re on tour; the surfing’s sort of a write-off.”
Zach formed the band with his best mate Billy Fleming in the Wollongong suburb of Windang. Windang is the indigenous Australian word for 'scene of a fight'. For Zach and Billy, the tour van is often the scene of a fight. “We both fight a lot still; we’re best mates but we probably fight more than most people.
“Being truthful about music has never really made us fight because we both understand that that has to happen; we more fight about who’s going to get the front seat, that big brother sort of stuff, we never fight about band stuff; just general horse play.”
Scoring the front seat is essential when you are traversing our giant continent as much as these dudes. Zach has already shared the Tarago with some of Australia’s hottest rock acts “The best [tours] we’ve done? We’ve done a couple early on. We did the Skegss [tour] last year, a regional one, which was pretty fun because we drove it all. We also did the Bad//Dreems tour and the DZ [Deathrays] tour; those guys made it really fun; they’re kind of like our big brothers.”
While Bad//Dreems have curated a hard partying persona, Zach thinks that he and Billy might have their number if forced into a drink-off. “Those boys like to talk it up; they party sorta hard but they’re good, they’re fun. They’re not as big partyers as they look.
“We’ve got the young blood; a couple of them are real good though; it would be a good race; I’d love to see that.”
Speaking of partying, Hockey Dad feature on the bill at OzFest. The pop-up Gold Coast festival features one act that Zach is particularly amped to see. “I’m excited to see British India again; they’re one of our favourite bands and they’re always good live.”
Hockey Dad will then embark on a regional tour of the east coast, where the band can expect a warm reception. “I think some of the regional shows are a bit better than the city ones; the kids seem to have a better time and enjoy it more.”
With 80 to 90 per cent of the follow-up record to debut album ‘Boronia’ written, the studio awaits in 2017. For now, though, the endless summer is here, so it is time for Hockey Dad to rock the stage and chase the swell where they can.
Hockey Dad Tour DatesSat 28 Jan - OzFest, Miami Tavern (Gold Coast)
Sat 4 Feb - Unibar (Wollongong)
Thu 9 Feb - Proud Mary's (Central Coast)
Fri 10 Feb - Small Ballroom (Newcastle)
Sat 11 Feb - Mona Vale Hotel
Fri 17 Feb - Players Bar (Mandurah)
Sun 19 Feb - Indi Bar (Scarborough)
Thu 2 Mar - Barwon Club (Geelong)
Fri 3 Mar - Karova Lounge (Ballarat)