Davey Lane banks his new-found confidence on third solo album

VERSATILE: Davey Lane on stage in Newcastle last year performing Abbey Road Live with Kram (Spiderbait), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger) and Mark Wilson (Jet). Picture: Paul Dear
VERSATILE: Davey Lane on stage in Newcastle last year performing Abbey Road Live with Kram (Spiderbait), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger) and Mark Wilson (Jet). Picture: Paul Dear

BREAKING out as a songwriter and frontman in his own right hasn't been easy for Davey Lane.

He was still in his teens in 1999 when he was invited to join one of Australia's biggest bands, You Am I, an act Lane was so fanatical about he used to transcribe their songs into guitar tab for websites.

For the past 20 years Lane's been a familiar fixture in the Australian rock scene as You Am I's lead guitarist, and he's played with a stellar cast of artists such as Crowded House, Jimmy Barnes and Todd Rundgren.

Despite this, Lane admits at times his confidence has been lacking.

But experience has a way of overcoming self-doubt. At least that's true for the 39-year-old on his third solo album, Don't Bank Your Heart On It.

"I had an old band [The Pictures] that started not long after I joined You Am I and that was a bit of fun, but I was very aware at a young age of my shortcomings as a songwriter and as a singer," Lane says from his Melbourne home.

"With the experience of working with a bunch of different people, and especially being around [You Am I frontman] Tim [Rogers] and working with him, you learn more about the craft of songwriting. That shapes what you want to do.

"I think my confidence as a writer has come along a lot in the last few years. It took me a long while to build that confidence up, but better late than never."

Lane is also vocally far more confident. His version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps last year when Australian supergroup ARC performed Abbey Road Live was the show's highlight.

Lane's voice drips with similar emotion on Don't Bank Your Heart On It's epic opener, I'll Swim Ashore.

"Usually singing would be something I would dread," he says. "Recording in the studio or singing live would be something I'd have an anxiety attack about because I thought I'm gonna sing bum notes and my noise is gonna crack.

"Those things still happen when I sing live, but with age comes experience I guess."

Don't Bank Your Heart On It is a mixed tape of sorts, with Lane taking the chance to showcase his broad range of musical tastes. There's everything from the Buddy Holly-styled Affection's Walkin' The Wires, the '60s Britpop of Some Other Wonder, proto-punk on I'll Set You Free and even synth-rock on Acceptance, which is a collaboration with American '70s hit-maker Todd Rundgren.

"I love heaps of different types of music and I'm a musician and a songwriter, but primarily I'm a music fan," Lane says. "I've loved music since I was a kid and have a voracious appetite for new sounds.

"I've described this album as a mixed tape. It's not any one particular sound. If you put it in a genre you'd say it's rock music, but it's got elements of lots of different things in there."

Lane boasts one of the best contact books in Australian music and used it to good effect. Tim Rogers, Jimmy Barnes, Vika & Linda Bull, The Living End's Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon, Tommy Stinson from The Replacements, Robyn Hitchcock, All Our Exes Live In Texas vocalist Georgia Mooney, Mark Wilson from Jet and King Gizzard's Stu MacKenzie all appear on the record.

Each of the collaborators helped steer Lane's songs in new directions, particularly Rundgren.

JOINT EFFORT: Davey Lane called in his many musical friends to collaborate on his album.

JOINT EFFORT: Davey Lane called in his many musical friends to collaborate on his album.

"I sent him the rough idea for the song and left him to his own devices for a couple of weeks and he sent me back something that was completely different to what I had in mind," Lane says.

"In hindsight, it was 100 times better to what I originally had. That's the song that definitely changed the most from its inception to where it ended up."

Melbourne's battle with the coronavirus pandemic has meant Lane has been off the road for the longest period in 20 years.

However, he's remained busy. Besides laying the finishing touches to his album, he's also worked on You Am I's 11th studio album.

"We're kind of halfway through it at the moment," he says. "We don't like to dawdle and sit on things for too long. It'll definitely be out at some point next year.

"It was a strange recording process because Tim and I are down here in Melbourne and [bassist] Andy [Kent] and [drummer] Rusty [Hopkinson] are up in Sydney. They've been doing their parts remotely, which is strange for us as the whole point of our band is the energy we feed off with the four of us being in a room."

Davey Lane's Don't Bank Your Heart On It is released on Friday.

This story Changes in Lane the result of experience for You Am I guitarist first appeared on Newcastle Herald.