A BREAK from recording has freed up The Vasco Era musicians Ted O’Neil and Michael Fitzgerald to return to their other passion – football.
The pair, and Ted’s brother Sid, would usually be “locking themselves away” to record their fourth studio album during winter, but Sid is planning a six-month trip to Europe, so the band put its recording on hold.
The break was a blessing in disguise for Apollo Bay-bred Ted O’Neil and Fitzgerald, allowing them to re-join old mates on the football field for the Hawks’ 2012 campaign.
O’Neil, 30, and the band had been pursuing music for the past decade, winning the Australian National Campus Band Competition – the largest band competition in the southern hemisphere – in 2006, and supporting bands like Wolfmother at The Astoria in London.
But O’Neil said he was loving being back in the brown and gold stripes this season.
“I played all my juniors there from when I was 14 or 15, since I was 18 I’d played mainly off and on in the ressies just because of band commitments,” he said.
“I’m living in Anglesea now, I was living in Melbourne but I got a bit sick of it and wanted to be closer to the coast and late last year I heard that Tim Smith and Martin White and a few other of my good mates that I grew up with were coming back.
“I thought I may as well have a shot as well.”
O’Neil said he enjoyed joining the Hawks for their pre-season training under returned coach Tyson Holt.
The bass player earned senior selection in the Hawks’ breakthrough win against Irrewarra-Beeac in round one, ending a 16-game losing streak that spanned all of season 2011.
“After that first game there was a crew there that have been there through the past 18 months which have been really hard on them,” O’Neil said.
“So to sing the song, it was really good to get a win on the board for them,” he said.
O’Neil returns to selection for the undefeated Hawks after missing the weekend’s win against Colac Imperials playing a gig at Youthfest in Sydney.
“The show was good fun, it was crazy on Saturday, it got to about two o’clock and I was so itchy to play footy, I kept texting to get score updates but I’m back this week,” he said.
“Obviously I’m not the best player at the club but I put in a decent pre-season so hopefully my form is good enough to stay in the ones.”