Philip Moriarty has seen almost everything there is to see in the world of music.
Moriarty's father always had a clarinet laying around the house, and as a child he said he was naturally drawn to the instrument which isn't synonymous with the Australian pub rock scene.
The best thing about punk was you could do anything for a while, then the skinheads came in and it was really unpleasant.Philip Moriarty
But jazz is where it all began for Moriarty. He remembers hearing Benny Goodman's live album recorded at Midtown Manhattan's Carnegie Hall at the age of just six, and one track took hold of his attention.
"It had all these jazz songs I didn't like but Sing, Sing, Sing sounded wild and exciting," he said.
"That track just got me."
He started the Gadflys with his brother Mick in the early 1980s Canberra music scene. It was time when punk had been overrun with racist skinheads, and many punks, including the Moriarty brothers, shifted genres while keeping hold of the original anti-establishment attitudes.
"Me and my brother got into some early punk in '77, but then it got really heavy and turned a corner, and we really weren't into it," Moriarty said.
"A lot of bands didn't want to be controlled by the punk ethos, but there was still a little bit in there.
"The best thing about punk was you could do anything for a while, then the skinheads came in and it was really unpleasant."
He remembers a day in 1985, when almost 100 mods and skinheads were involved in an all in brawl in the centre of the nation's capital.
"There were people kicking and punching each other," Moriarty said.
"They were copying what they saw in movies. It didn't make sense.
"We repudiated that kind of thing and didn't want to play just one style of music."
It was a time when Moriarty says Canberra was "finding its feet", and in the early days of punk the brothers were in two of just the four bands doing the rounds.
"Canberra has eruptions of scenes, there would be nothing and then all of a sudden there would be a scene," he said.
His band took a dive into the electronic sounds of the time, splitting in 1985 before reforming in 1989 with again a new sound.
"We hacked on with an acoustic thing for a while," Moriarty said.
He eventually shifted to Sydney, where as a taxi driver he remembers Paul Kelly filming a music video in one of his cabs.
"I had a hard time," he said.
The group went on to nation-wide popularity through the 1990s and were eventually chosen as the stage band for the ABC's much-loved TV show Good News Week, hosted by the energetic and quick witted Paul McDermott.
In 2000, while the band was enjoying their time at the top, the band's bass player, 33-year-old Andy Lewis, tragically took his own life after battling a gambling addiction.
"It really knocked us around," Moriarty said.
His love of the forest and a growing dislike of the city landscape, Moriarty moved to the hamlet of Candelo and has been enjoying the intimate shows the setting provides.
"After a while the city didn't suit me," he said.
"I've always thought the New South Wales coast is the most pleasant and livable place I've seen."
Last year he suffered a cardiac arrest while on stage at the Tathra Pub, forcing him to give up the booze and smokes, but is now, aged in his 60s, feeling as creative as ever.
"Getting the music across to people is important, we're not theatrical, we just play music," he said.
"We want the crowd to come to us. Which is why we prefer to be a little more subtle and earn the crowd every time," he said.
"Once you start playing the bigger gigs there's less space to dance and it feels more formal.
"We've always like being with the crowd. When it's not too loud you can play with the other guys in the band."
- Moriarty will play with Gemma Clare the launch of Navigate Arts at 1140 Tathra-Bermagui Rd, Tanja, on Saturday, March 25. The night begins at 6pm and will also feature The Blue Angel and Dr Wiedemann, Melanie Horsnell, Mica Mahani and the Haniyami, Delia Silvan and Gabrielle Journey Jones.