The Coves finally formed in 2009, after ten years maturing the talents and experiences of its three founding members; 18 if you count the time between Pete Azzopardi (guitar/vocals) and Jarrod Brown (drums/Ricky Gervais impressions) meeting at an inter-primary school camp in 1990 and finally “getting it together”. The bond was sealed back then with the latter handing over his Led Zeppelin t-shirt as a parting gift to Pete after days spent talking up their mutual love of John Lennon and boasting how fast the other could transition between the C, D and G chords on guitar. They reunited years later at a Geelong high school, with friend Aidan Windle, as The Hollows, the moniker Pete and Aidan took when writing and recording 10 songs for a little-heard but well-loved four-track cassette album of earnest and whimsically-catchy pop songs.
Pete, Aidan and Jarrod day-dreamed and dollied about that glorious, fearful summer when high school ends and the big world lay at your feet, rehearsing Hollows songs (Jarrod taking up the drums after failing to crack that all-import E chord on the stringed instrument). But the gig never happened, and uni, early fatherhood, tedious customer service jobs (and equally tedious office jobs), Bendigo, etcetera, swept them apart. At the occasional party enthusiasms would be renewed, and the musical muscle remained rigidly flexed with Pete playing lead-guitar for Geelong country-rockers, The Happy Lonesome (and keys and drums in the short-lived confectionary pop of Beds in Zero Weather and Windsor Royale), and Jarrod perfecting his beats behind the kit in River Snake, The High Heels and Sherpa Sherpa. Aidan taught at a high school but always kept a ukulele handy.
In 2007, Pete recorded an album at home, and in time was writing songs on a regular basis. Feeling compelled to bring them to a wider audience, rehearsals began in earnest (as Aidan and Pete have never known to be anything but) mid-2009. Their first EP 4 Songs—a set of folk-rock tinged pop songs with a hue of J Mascis—was recorded and released independently before their first show that November, supporting Wagons in Geelong. The one Hollows’ song they revived for the debut, the closing number, managed to cause a black-out in the Geelong-CBD and the rest of the show was cancelled. It could not have been a more auspicious start for the band.
Typically, more shows and more songs followed, supporting the likes of the Jezabels, Diana Anaid, and Gun Street Girls, and playing several Melbourne pubs and lawn-bowls greens. October 2010 saw the download-only release of Rocket Pocket: 6 sweepingly varied jangle-pop songs recorded on a shoestring and funnelled to your wireless-port with the glee of an underwear thief.
April 2011 saw them paying-up in Preston’s Head Gap studios for that “big drum sound”, where they recorded two like-minded and downhearted folk-rock gems in “Fool For Love” and “You Created A Monster”. Paper Planes’s Claire Birchall played electric mandolin on the latter song, and Daniel Hall, former band-member of Jarrod’s in High Heals and Sherpa Sherpa, applied his Farfisa organ and his oft-cited “guns” to both numbers. This was followed up in 2012 with the ep Summon Your Dead, a six-track hymn to love, loss, nervousness and anything else that could fit in to three and-a-half minutes of Power Pop glory.
Work has tentatively begun on the band's debut long-player, with loads of songs to choose from, and loads of work still to do. Let us pray that it will be worth it.