by Marie Patane
Gosford local Billy Field is open, friendly, charming and cheeky. Oh yeah, and he’s an Australian music legend.
You would have had to be living under a rock in the early 80s if you hadn’t heard of singer, songwriter Billy Field. His jazz-pop singles ‘Bad Habits’, ‘You Weren’t in Love With Me’ and ‘True Love’ were massive hits and he was one of the most popular acts on the Australian music scene. For those of you who weren’t around in the 80s, firstly, I hate you for being so young; and secondly … go to iTunes and have a listen. My 14 year old son has recently downloaded a couple of Billy Field classics! Billy also established Paradise Studios in Sydney, where some of Australia’s biggest names recorded albums – Air Supply, Cold Chisel, The Angels and INXS, just to name a few.
Billy is still making music today, having just completed an album of his favourite jazz standards (working title “Songs for Happy Feet”). In person, he has the mischievous energy of someone half his age and is still unmistakeable in his signature glasses. Watching him record a demo in his home studio, I can’t help but sing along to his honest, husky voice as I tap my foot and smile. It’s obvious to me that this is what he loves to do and he wouldn’t want to be doing it anywhere else. The Central Coast, he says, is home.
WHY DID YOU MOVE TO THE CENTRAL COAST?
Life during the height of my so called “fame” in the 80s was hectic, large and took its toll – both personally and professionally. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for those years and wouldn’t change them. I had a lot of fun, but I needed to get away – to somewhere that was still close enough to the city but far away enough to get some peace! I’ve lived in Gosford now for 14 years and I love it.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO IN THE AREA?
I absolutely love to walk around the bay here in Gosford and I do it most nights – I think it’s beautiful and a good walk clears the head. I love the beaches of course. Terrigal and Pearl Beach are probably my most visited. Terrigal can get very crowded but sometimes I just sit on the beach with my guitar and play music while overlooking the ocean. Pearl Beach is lovely and quiet, so it depends what mood I’m in! There are also so many beautiful waterways up here – I love Wagstaffe and Lake Macquarie. I have friends all over the Coast and my perfect weekend is to take a short drive to one of the many beautiful areas for good food and wine with interesting, open minded, people.
WHAT’S A “NORMAL DAY” FOR BILLY FIELD?
A walk, a coffee, some work in my recording studio, a drink, a lovely dinner either alone or with good friends. And music. Always music – it’s still a big part of my life. I really enjoyed recording my latest album in my home studio here in Gosford. I was so thankful that I could work and then just step outside for a walk around the bay if I needed a break. Living in such a beautiful place really helps with work. There has to be a balance – that’s one thing I’ve learnt as I’ve gotten older. It’s all about balance.
GOSFORD SEEMS TO BE UNDERGOING A FEW CHANGES …
Yes! It’s having a bit of a resurgence! There are lots of new apartments going up, there’s new restaurants and cafés opening … It’s getting better and better. I’ve certainly noticed more families and young people living in the area now, which is great because that creates a need for more businesses. The beaches here on the Coast are popular, but Gosford also has its own vibe. There’s established places like ReviveR and new places like Pinocchios on Kibble Park, a great pizza and wine bar. And if you want something a bit more low key like me, Gosford Hotel is a great drinking hole. There’s now some great cafés down by the water, and I’m always reading about the plans for redevelopment down there. Gosford is an exciting place to be right now and of course it’s like the gateway to the beautiful Central Coast.
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE?
Well I think there are too many “rules and regulations” forced on venues these days. And this has really affected the live music scene everywhere, not just here! It’s so sad because when I was living in Sydney in the 80s you could go and see live music seven nights a week and they played until the early hours. They were the good days. As I mentioned, there are so many talented musicians living up here and it’s a shame that they all can’t make a living by playing live. I believe there’s a hunger for live music but I suspect the rules and associated costs have made it “too hard” for venues. I do like listening to live music at the local pubs around the Coast on the weekends though. There’s lots of young up-and-coming talent here, as well as us oldies – the Central Coast is brimming with talent!
Billy’s picks in Gosford for …
COFFEE: Dulce Mamá Espresso Bar & Patisserie
DRINKS: Hotel Gosford for a beer!
DINNER: BBQ Korea Restaurant
TAKE AWAY: Hungry Wolf’s, Wyoming