MOST people know him as Duke, but his real name is Erling Grønhaug – a Norwegian who has made Newcastle his home.
He has played in The Snake Oil Merchants and The Hauntingly Beautiful Mouse Moon, but since fatherhood, his son Oscar is seven years old, and a full-time job as a cameraman at NBN, music has been a little harder to manage.
His current band is The Main Guy and the Other Guys.
“I was stuck behind a drum kit all those years and I thought, ‘stuff this, I want to be the main guy and then I will just get some other guys,’” Duke says with a guilty laugh.
“It’s more of a hobby than my other bands have been.”
“Whenever we do play we get a great turn out and all walk off stage going ‘F*** that was fun; we gotta do that some time again soon.’”
The band formed in 2012, but the first material they performed, written by Duke, came from a previous band called Ergo B Bag and His all Action All Stars, a 15 piece ensemble, which included a Lycra-clad dance troop and back up singers. It made a memorable performance at the ABC’s music awards at Civic Theatre in 2006.
“I had a pile of comedy songs from Ergo B Bag,” he said.
“I was climbing the walls and just wanted to do music again.”
“I wondered if I could do the songs as a four piece band, as a simplified version.”
The songs are funny, but are also well crafted pieces of music which criss-cross various genres.
“I have spent a lot of time trying to make the songs as well put together and as interesting as they can be,” Duke said.
“They are good musical songs, just with really stupid lyrics.”
The line-up sees Duke on keyboard and vocals, Sean Costigan on bass, Eliot Lee on guitar and Jacob Stuart on drums – all members sing.
“The aim has always been to make music videos as much as doing shows,” Duke said.
They have their own YouTube channel on which one video, shot in the Press Book House, Game of Thrones (a tribute) has had thousands of views.
“They are fun but take a lot of effort and energy to do properly,” he said.
“I have a lot of skilled friends who are willing to be a part of it and help out.”
Duke came to Newcastle at 22 to complete a communications degree at the University of Newcastle.
“I guess my whole adult life has happened here,” he said.
“Joined a band, met a girl, got a job and had a child.”
“I was going to get my degree and get out of here.
“But I have made this my town.”