Proudly hailing from Melbourne’s West, The Hackkets are a band made up of members with and without disability, brought together more than 25 years ago as part of FCAC’s ArtLife program and still going strong! The band originally focused on covers, immersing themselves in universal classic hits that win over even the most hardened in-car sing-along scrooge. Since 2011, they have channelled their love of such classics into their own reinvented AM radio fan-fiction.
Singers Stuart Flenley (guitar/vox), Peter Tolhurst (guitar/vox) and Victoria Cini (keys/vox), bring three distinctly different approaches to the songs they co-write in the band. Stuart merges his twin heroes Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra with sense of humour that invariably breaks through, while Victoria has crafted her own ‘Rock Chick’ persona through which she projects a rebel without a cause for the smart-phone generation. Peter’s songs explore the anxieties and frustration caused by miscommunication, being ignored, lack of pragmatism or changeable weather.
Rounding out the band are Dan Parsons, Zac Rush (Darling James, Dan Parsons) on guitars, Robin Waters (The Boat People, Machine Translations), long-time member and veteran of the live music circuit Joe Vella, and drummer Andrew Paganella. Of the drums, Andrew says, ‘we had an electric keyboard where you press one key and it plays a whole song but all the songs sounded like Italian songs; old fashioned songs. I chose drums because I want to get somewhere to make the crowd jump out. Once I switched to drums I stayed.’
1- The Hackkets at Reverence Hotel, 2017. Photograph by Snehargho Ghosh.