Dan Tucker’s Musical Philosophy

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“My earliest memories of my dad talking to me about music was about The Beatles. He was telling me about this band that was all the rage when he was a kid.  I thought, ‘this has gotta be the coolest band ever if my dad thinks they’re so great.’ So [I’d] go to all my friends and be like, ‘you guys should check this out, The Beatles are so cool!’ and they’d be like, ‘what the hell are you talking about dude?’ They’d be listening to modern music.”

Danny Tucker is a 22-year-old musician from Port Elizabeth. He’s been in Grahamstown for the past four years, studying TV journalism at Rhodes University. “What I wanna do is make documentaries. If some of those are music based, then who knows… Being a professional musician would be awesome but I sometimes think, ‘if I were to do that would it take away from the joy of it?’”

Doing something that he loves is important to Tucker. He began his journey at Rhodes studying law. “I woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I’m quite an artistically-oriented person. Sitting there with all those people who really want to be lawyers, [I would think], ‘do I really want to be a lawyer?’”

Appreciation for music has been a huge part of Tucker’s life. “I want to be playing [music] and performing, hopefully, till the day I die. Even if it’s not professionally [and] I’m playing in some pub on the corner in some dodgy town or whatever. I really don’t care as long as I’m still playing music.”

After being absent from the live music scene for some time, Tucker recently got back on the stage. “I’m playing with The Islanders at the moment. They’ve been playing together for a few years, but one of their guitarists cut his finger recently. They had a gig this weekend and asked me to come stand in…They play very much the kind of music that I’m into.”

Tucker’s father instilled a love of music in him and his older sister, Jamie. He also inherited an interest in vinyl. “I have a big collection of vinyl records…I got a lot of [them] from my uncle, and I got this old record player from my gran… I learnt Neil Young’s, ‘Old Man’ and I played that [on Sunday]. I kinda wish my dad could’ve seen it.”

Despite being relatively new on the Grahamstown scene, Tucker is no stranger to the world of music. “I started playing piano when I was six and I did lessons till I was about twelve or thirteen. I [played] the trumpet as well for about four years.”  Tucker also plays the harmonica and bass guitar and is an incredible vocalist.  “When I was in high school I was in an alternative rock kind of band, [Your Version, My Story]. That was … my first experience playing in front of people.”

“I’m glad that I’ve moved on to singing and playing myself,” says Tucker. “I’ve got some original songs which I’ve written but I’m very shy about them…There’s so much music out there- it’s daunting. The stuff that I’ve written is quite personal. I’ve written two really deep songs and it’s both about girls. I want to branch away from that kinda stuff because I think I think it’s cheesy.”

Being the sweet, sensitive guy that he is, being cheesy may just work. “One of the reasons why I’m quite shy about playing my music to people [is that] I think they’ll see right through me. I suppose that’s part of it. It’s supposed to be a true reflection of yourself.”

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Eastern Cape musician, Danny Tucker, at the Drosty Lawns, Rhodes University, Grahamstown

When Tucker’s not making music, he’s probably somewhere outdoors. “I’m very active I love to go hiking… Unfortunately, I injured my back…so I can’t row anymore which is a big blow because I rowed for nine years.” This is one of the reasons why Tucker’s been more focussed on his music. “I have a lot more time on my hands that I’m trying to fill up with other things… I have a lot of time to put in my music this year.”

Grahamstown will be seeing more of Tucker, whether it’s his solo endeavours or as part of The Islanders.  Despite his burgeoning success, receiving recognition is not what Tucker is about. At the end of the day it’s about doing what you love and being with the people you love.  “First thing I do when I get home after coming back [from] varsity is sit on the couch and jam with my dad; the look on his face that he gets when I play. I can tell how proud he is. That’s a huge part of the reason why I play. Apart from the fact that I just love it, myself.”


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