Funding ‘crucial’ for music programs

Perth rock band Vida Cain.
Perth rock band Vida Cain.

Johnstone grew up in Gosnells and has had success in many facets of the music industry over the past 15 years, from releasing Vida Cain’s debut album The Rule of Gravity last year, which featured high on the commercial radio rock charts, to performing at the Big Day Out with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

The band is working on a new single and preparing for a tour of Europe.

Johnstone said his music career was kick-started by attending a suburban music program when he was a teenager ” the Tuesday Night Music Club ” run by Armadale musician and youth worker Mal Osborne.

‘It was where I formed my first band, learnt about song writing… where I first collaborated with other musicians who were either at a similar or higher level of musicianship as me,’ he said.

‘And it directly led to me playing my first ever gig at Gozzy Rock.’

The music program was the first of its kind and paved the way for jam sessions and workshops with Mr Osborne, who recently won an Australia Day Active Citizenship Award for creating opportunities for youth in the community.

Johnstone said if he didn’t have the opportunity to become involved in a music program, his life could have gone in a very different direction.

‘I was a bit of a troublemaker growing up, but music is what kept me off the streets and kept me focused on a positive career path,’ he said.

‘Ongoing funding is crucial. There should be more programs like Tuesday Night Music Club, especially nowadays.

‘Maybe then we would have more kids rocking out in bands, rather than singing into an auto tuned microphone on manufactured TV shows like Australian Idol and The Voice which, if people can’t see is killing live music and the longevity of talented musician and songwriters’ careers, then God help us.’

In a bid to give something back, Johnstone recently collaborated with Mr Osborne to create a 10-week music program, which will cover all aspects of the music industry from song writing to touring.

The free 10-week music program will hopefully be delivered to schools and community groups later in the year.