Eddie Perfect and Tripod: A Musical Feast with a Touch of Comedy

Eddie Perfect, Gatesy (Steven Gates), Yon (Simon Hall), Scod (Scott Edgar)
Eddie Perfect, Gatesy (Steven Gates), Yon (Simon Hall), Scod (Scott Edgar)

Following their sell out seasons in Melbourne (January 2013) and Brisbane (May 2013) the four musicians who make up Perfect Tripod are set to perform in Perth (at the Regal Theatre on 30 and 31 August) and Sydney (Sydney Theatre 19-21 September).

Aussie Theatre’s Jan Chandler managed to catch up with Eddie Perfect to chat about his solo career and what it’s like to be part of Perfect Tripod.

Perfect! What a name for a comedian and cabaret performer who delights in challenging audiences to think about their attitudes and values! It’s not surprising then that I couldn’t help but start our conversation by asking whether Eddie was born ‘perfect’ or had to become ‘perfect’. As he told me, “I was born perfect, Edward Thomas Perfect … the first two were given and the last one, a given.” Apparently the name wasn’t so great growing up, one can only image the jibes in the school yard, but, as he says, “it’s pretty good now”.

The other question I simply had to ask was which came first, comedy or music? Music was the answer. Perfect grew up in what he describes as a “pretty musical family” There was lots of music in the house; his father sang in choirs (the full range from classical to pop) and on long car trips the tape player in the Combi worked overtime playing the likes of Sondheim, Jesus Christ Superstar and Tom Lehrer; Sweeny Todd was a particular favourite with the family. Perfect learned piano and guitar early on and has sung in choirs all his life; he describes his first CD purchase as “pretty nerdish” – it was the cast recording of Sondheim’s Company.

Although Perfect had always loved doing comedy, usually interpreting other people’s material, it wasn’t until he graduated from WAAPA that he began writing songs, “satirical, cabaret type songs which ranged from being kinda off kilter and quirky through to really darkly, satirically funny”, and they got a good response. Angry Eddie, his first solo show, a mixture of funny and serious, was the result. With all the “unfunny bits” cut he found that had “an hour of streamlined comedy/satire, mostly about domestic politics” which he entered into the Melbourne Comedy Festival. And that’s when things took off for Eddie Perfect, comedy writer and performer.

Like Perfect, Tripod already have a successful career. The band has been performing on the comedy scene since 1997, offering their own special mix of improvisation, pardoy and satire combined with superb musicianship. So how do idiosyncratic artists like these manage to work together?

Perfect once described Tripod’s process as “mysterious and terrifying” but he found the collaboration in creating Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs a really positive experience. He explains that what the four have in common is their love of music and their recognition, from experience, that the music too often comes second to the comedy. Creating Perfect Tripod gave them the chance to put the music first, whilst paying tribute to Australian songs (which none of them have written but which they all love) by re-arranging them “in interesting new ways that make people listen to the songs all over again”.

When asked if there had been any difficulties along the way Perfect’s response was “Shit, democracy is difficult, isn’t it?” Perfect has come from what he describes as “a fairly collaboratively, dictatorial format”, where ultimately he always had the final say. Combine this with the fact that Tripod are a well oiled team who have been working together for some sixteen plus years and there had to be a steep learning curve involved.

Perfect admits to having learned a thing or two, like “how to negotiate, to admit that you are wrong – A LOT – know when to push, when to lobby and when to leave it alone and just go and watch a Tom Cruise movie”. He remembers everyone being on their best behaviour for the first ten days. Before too long he discovered that Tripod argue through “silence and passive agression … It works for them, no one yells at anyone, there are no big fights … it was a good way to work – it’s hard to please four people who have really different tastes in music”

Despite these understandable hiccups, the collaboration turned out to be both fun and satisfying. It was agreed that they wouldn’t do anything if any one of them was unhappy with either the song choice, or the way it was arranged. Along the way they got to know each others voices well and to play to their strengths so that they were able to paint a sonic picture using the best of everyone’s voice. The resultant performance, as Perfect explains. is full of vocal gymnastics – jumping from bottom D to Top C and then falsetto – and very much “a fun show to do”. Music may come first in this performance, but there will no doubt be moments of pure comedy along the way, as I suspect it’s almost impossible for any of the performers to ‘behave’ themselves for too long.

And what of those states who have yet to be honoured with a visit from Perfect Tripod? Perfect assures me that they have not been forgotten. However it is not always easy for the four to get together; they have to find a gap in their individual touring commitments. For the performers this is a positive as they have a few months break from each other and are able to come back together refreshed. Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Darwin Festival in 2014 are definite possibilities, but no promises at this stage.




Regal Theatre: Friday 30 August @ 8pm & Saturday 31 August @ 7pm


Ticketek: www.ticketek.com or 132 849

Regal Theatre: www.regaltheatre.com.au



Sydney Theatre

Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September @ 8pm

Saturday 21 September @ 7pm


Ticketmaster: 1300 723 038 or www.ticketmaster.com.au

Sydney Theatre: 02 9250 1999 or www.sydneytheatre.org.au

Jan Chandler

Jan has been working freelance in the arts industry for some 15+ years in a variety of roles including: arts management; journalism (print, radio and online); publicity; and media relations. Passionate about the arts in all their variety, Jan has worked in film (production assistant; reviewer); dance (publicity; producer and presenter of 'Dance Dialogues - 3CR) and Board Member of Ausdance (Victoria)); performing arts (company manager, performer, reviewer, online editor). Jan had the honour of being the General Manager of Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre for some 18 months.

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