mowif.com About Me

15-Apr-2008

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Welcome to mowif.com

G'day! My name is Toby Martin and I am from Blackwood, Adelaide, South Australia.

I am a dad of four (7, 6, 3 & 1), husband of one, and chief caterer for two dogs (Oskar & Emilie), one cat (Peach) and two fish.

A qualified primary teacher, in my spare time I try to be a musician.

The youngest of three, I was born in the nation's capital - Canberra - on the 15th of January, 1972. A few months later my family was posted to the Hague, in the Netherlands, where we spent the next three years. After another two year stint in Canberra we were posted to Jakarta, Indonesia for another three years where my siblings and I attended the notable Jakarta International School. (It was during this time - around 1978 - that my brother Adam and I formed our first band - The Vanilla Band - spawned from a summer school project in which Adam built a drum kit made of empty vanilla ice cream tins. We made at least one recording featuring three original songs and a cover version of "Bound for South Australia".) This was again followed by another two year stint in Canberra, after which my parents took up a posting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia while us kids were shipped off to boarding schools in Adelaide.

I was 11 years old when I began boarding at the Collegiate School of St Peter (Saints) and stayed there for seven years. During this time my parents divorced, my mother returned to Adelaide (where she grew up), my sister Briar finished school and moved to France, and my father remarried, took a posting to India and began a second family. Fortunately my brother also attended Saints and was in the same house as I (Wyatt & Allen) for three years until he finished and moved to India with dad for a year.

Despite achieving some academic success in this prestigious school - indeed perhaps in spite of it - it was here that I developed a passion for Drama, which led me to successfully persuade the Headmaster to allow me to become the school's first Matriculant in the discipline. It was also around this time that I rekindled my interest in music, inspired by Adam's forays into the electric guitar.

On leaving school I embarked upon an acting career landing a lead role with Unley Youth Theatre in their acclaimed 1990 Adelaide Fringe Festival production, which in turn led to a professional role as an actor co-lead in the ABC children's television production "Here's the Beat". Meanwhile I took on a number of other amateur roles in preparation for the end of year NIDA, VCA and Flinders University auditions. By the time the auditions came round I was involved in another production with Unley Youth Theatre where I was reintroduced to a young woman, Daina, whom I had known of for some years both as a member of the theatre company, and as a friend of a former schoolmate and fellow musician Paul Inglis. We have scarcely spent a day apart since, and it almost goes without saying that the auditions passed without incident. Intriguingly, I suddenly seemed to lose all interest in theatre.

Indeed my infatuation with Daina saw me try four different jobs, move house three times, drop out of two uni courses, and tour Southeast Asia once, all in three years. Eventually, one budgie, a canary, a rat, a cat, and countless goldfish later, we decided to get married and follow our dreams interstate to Melbourne.

Meanwhile, in the early 90s I had joined a band born out of a social experiment at my brother's place of work. Originally fronted by the subsequently successful singer/songwriter Visnja, with a schoolmate of mine Adam Fiske on drums, my brother on guitar, a workmate of his Matthew Madden on keyboards, and myself on bass. We initially called ourselves "Visnjachips" until eventually settling with the more appropriate "Ease On Down", based on a Jacksons number from the film "The Wiz" typical of our funky pop/rock repertoire. By 1993 Robyn Smith and Paul Parker had replaced Visnja and Adam Fiske respectively, and the name had changed to "Funktion", reflecting both our musical leanings, and our employment as hospitality workers. Later that year however, the band had run its course and just faded away.

While 1993 also saw me make a brief return to theatre with a well received lead performance in Cumquat Theatre's production of "Cloud Nine", my passions (apart from Daina) had firmly shifted to music, and by the end of the year I was playing bass and singing back up with emerging originals band "Poxsii Barccs". With the eccentric musically naive Gary Hopper out front, the clever and diligent former schoolmate Paul Inglis on guitar, and the brilliantly gifted Andy Strachan on drums (who now plays with "The Living End") we fancied ourselves as a rather formidable combo. So much so that within twelve months, after barely a dozen gigs and two recording dates we decided to pack up and try our luck in the big smoke - Melbourne!

The wedding of Daina and I on the 18th of December 1993 was a momentous occasion not only in itself but also in the way it brought together all the aspects of our lives past, present and future and stands today as a indispensable point of reference in relation to us for those who were there. For example, it was the first and last time my mother, father, sister, brother and I have been on the same property since 1984. Set in my mother-in-law Inara's backyard in the afternoon of a hot day, the proceedings began with a string quartet followed by violin soloist Jacob Plooj. The ceremony was followed by a feast catered by the highly regarded Providore, accompanied by a jazz ensemble I assembled from former band mates and schoolmates, many of whom were studying or had studied jazz at uni. This was followed by a performance of "Poxsii Barccs" which eventually - no thanks to Barry Piltz's homebrew - disintegrated into a blues jam.

After a two week holiday in Queensland we sold up and moved almost everything we owned apart from our beautiful cat Neneh to Melbourne in September 1994. We found a nice one bedroom flat in Brunswick, and the band tried its hardest to get work.

Only ten years to go.....................

 

     

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