Local band feature: Seven Ten Split's Blake Allen
MUSICIAN Blake Allen said the four years he spent busking was a great experience.
"I finished school in Gladstone and took off for eight years following my music and getting some life experience," he said.
"I spent a couple of years in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Byron.
"I wasn't tied down anywhere, so wherever I could find a busking spot I'd play.
"I lived off busking, I found it worked best around south-east Queensland and Byron.
"But I was so nervous the first time I did it."
Blake returned to Gladstone earlier this year to catch up with his family.
"I decided at the start of the year it was time to become more professional," he said.
"As fate would have it I met Dan Giles who's taken me on as an a bit of an apprentice.
"In June we started working on putting a band together."
The pair were joined by drummer Benji Drane and guitarist George Filmer to form the band, Seven Ten Split.
We've been getting a few gigs around Gladstone playing rock, blues and a bit of heavier stuff," Blake said.
"Dan plays the bass guitar but he knows how to grab people's attention.
"He does a lot of interacting with the crowd."
Blake started playing guitar in high school and said his musical influences are classic rockers.
"My favourites are The Doors and Bruce Springsteen," he said.
"But I like the Neil Young and Bob Dylan too.
"I've also written a lot of songs, I throw in a few if I think they'll go down well."
Has he busked in Gladstone?
"I haven't, but I try to go out as often as I can to see who's playing and listen to them," Blake said.
"A few people I know started busking a few months ago.
"If I'm about I'll stop in and have a bit of a jam with them.
"I'm just really grateful to be playing music."