Diesel is as enthusiastic as ever about his music.
Diesel is as enthusiastic as ever about his music. Contributed

Diesel refuels for solo tour, looks forward to Gladdy return

MARK Lizotte, otherwise known as Diesel, is no rookie in the music industry.

After a career spanning 25 years, the blues and rock artist is touring the country on his Let It Fly Tour, which started in February.

The album is his 13th and his first studio set of originals since 2008.

This week The Observer spoke with the Aussie music legend, who is heading to Gladstone for an acoustic concert in May.

Tell me about the tour - are you keen to come to Queensland?

As a tradition I've been coming to Far North Queensland every year for a while now.

It's an annual thing for me and it's nice to go there in winter.

It's really nice to know people come up and say that this is their fourth time and will I be coming back next year?

Gladstone has its own unique look about it, like the far north of WA. It's not as remote as you think it is; it's pretty open.

How would you describe your music in a few words?

Eclectic blues. My kind of blues leads into the next millennium; it's modern and keeps reinventing itself.

I play a bit of everything - if you put a couple of my recordings together you wouldn't know they are from the same album.

When I see that they put me as a rock artist on iTunes, that's a bit weird.

With solo live shows, things come into my vision and make it into the set. I'll just remember a solo act and play it.

There's nobody looking at you wondering what the next song will be.

I think it's a great opportunity to do what I want and let the crowd be the indicator.

It's a bit like a game where you are following the moods of people.

It's a lot like boxing, not that I box, but I've got to be the champion at the end.

You jab, and then wait for the moment to do the knockout punch, in a nice, musical way.

What have you got planned for your show in Gladstone?

It's an opportunity to grab songs from all 13 records without trying to stand on one lily pad, which is really hard.

It's a good problem to have that many records; I would rather that than just have one.

I'll play other people's songs, bit of Jimmy Hendrix. People love those songs.

What do you like and dislike the most about being an artist?

I hate travelling, I'm so over the airport. The best feeling is when I feel the plane descend.

But I love 95% of my job, so how can I complain?

I love watching people's faces. I love the unity, that feeling of togetherness. It's like being around a campfire.

There's nothing better than going to bed after a gig and going 'I made people happy tonight'.

I like to feel like I'm giving people therapy - music is a healthy escapism at the end of the day. It gives you a break from the war.

Is music your full-time job?

I haven't had a job per se since I was 19. You could call it being self-employed now.

It comes with a lot of responsibility but more ups than downs.

Sometimes I want to let somebody else make the decisions for me.

What's the biggest lesson you've learned in your career?

Early on, I learned that no show is not important. We went to a gig in Washington DC in the freezing cold, there were rats on the floor and it was a hole-in-the-wall gig.

It was one of those 'this is gonna be a complete waste of time' moments.

Turns out there was a journo from the Washington DC Post there to review us.

We tried to make the most of it and played some weird songs.

Our manager blasted us and yeah, that put me off ever thinking that way again.

It was one of those immature moments and it was appalling, we felt terrible. You've got to give it your all.

You've been in the industry for a while now - do you still have the same passion you did 25 years ago?

I don't have the same naivety. You become more cautious and weary because you've been through it. I'm still gullible but I am an eternal optimist. I love playing, I just love it.

My passion for playing will never go.


WHAT: Diesel: Let It Fly Tour

WHEN: Thursday, May 22 at 7.30pm

WHERE: Harvey Road Tavern

TICKETS: http://www.harveyroadtavern.com.au or call 4978 7102

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