Normie Rowe, known as the original King of Pop has been entertaining audiences for over fifty years with no sign of stopping. Normie and his band The Playboys will be bringing their show to the SteamPacket Performance venue at the historic Maldon railway station on Saturday 25th February. We spoke to Normie before he was about to jump on a plane to Brisbane and Melbourne and congratulated him on reaching a milestone birthday when he celebrated his 70th on 1st February. “It was a fantastic night”, said Normie “It was great to see so many good friends, some I haven’t seen for years, who wanted to share a special day with me”. Normie stays fit and healthy, which he needs to be as his shows are high energy and often run to a 90 minute set, something that would test much younger performers.
When he hit the heights in the sixties, it seemed like it was almost an overnight success, but Normie had been dreaming and working toward his goal since he was six years old. “I was singing for money when I was twelve, then five years later I was recording” he said “It was through clubs, pubs and radio stations supporting me that I gained recognition. Unfortunately, today radio and television is not being used in a way that can help young performers gain attention” he said. His voice has been described as ‘edgy tenor’, which he says is a fair description. Asked if he was aware of the strength of his voice and where it might lead, he replied “I wasn’t aware of it, but I knew there were certain people I wanted to sing like so I asked around about good singing teachers and Colin Cook, who lives in Kyneton and was a great mentor recommended his teacher Jack White. I joined Jack and through him and other great teachers I learned about voice control and strategies”
It’s well known that when Normie left the army after being conscripted and serving in Vietnam, he found his career had virtually ended in the two years he had been away. “It was a tough time”, he said “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but as show business was the only thing I did know, that was going to be it”. From that point, Normie moved into acting with a long stint on Sons and Daughters and theatre where he played the role of Jean Valjean in the Sydney production of Les Miserables to great acclaim. He is also actively involved working with the Vietnam veterans and other charities and has received an AM for his work.
Slowing down doesn’t seem to equate with this perennial performer. He and The Playboys did 100 shows in 2016 and 2017 is looking to be just as busy. Normie said “we are really looking forward to the Maldon show, it will be terrific fun and then we’re playing at the Crown Casino”. It just goes to prove that ‘old rockers’ just keep on rocking.