Friday, March 29, 2019

His Royal Enfields inspired him to write songs

Graham Warrender and wife Juliet pose on a sand dune.
"Wildbill" and wife Juliet create songs about riding Royal Enfield motorcycles.
The joys of Royal Enfield motorcycles are the subject of original songs, written by Graham Warrender, of Australia, and posted where you can hear them, on the Internet.

His unusual output of Royal-Enfield-inspired pop music, featuring the appealing voice of his wife Juliet on one entitled "500cc," was pointed out to me by another member of the Classic Motorworks Forum.

You can hear "500cc" in MP4 or MP3 formats.

Four photos showing titles of songs.
Songs and reviews about Royal Enfields are Wildbill's specialty.
Graham is a frequent contributor to the Classic Motorworks Forum, under the screen name Wildbill. I wrote to ask him about his music, but first there's something else you must know about this Royal Enfield enthusiast: He buys (and then often quickly sells) a lot of Royal Enfield motorcycles.

Wildbill's "Forum signature" lists these Royal Enfields:

2011 C5 black/chrome
2012 C5 maroon/chrome
2013 B5 black
2014  GT
2014 C5 tan
2015 Black/chrome
2015 Dispatch
2016 Lagoon blue 500
2016  Ash white 350
2017 Graphite/chrome 500
2018 Gun metal gray 500
2018 C5 Pegasus 500
2017 C5 Redditch 500
2018 C5 gun metal gray
2019 650 Interceptor

He even finds the time to purchase other brands.

Graham Warrender with two motorcycles.
Graham Warrender with just two of his motorcycles.
"Actually, the next bike I buy will be my 20th new bike in six years," he wrote on the Forum, at one point.

I'm not the only Forum member who finds this remarkable, so Wildbill has tried to explain the practice more than once:

"Well, thankfully I am in a position where if I'm not satisfied with what I buy I can abort... To date I have aborted quite a few."

And:

"You may be happy with your one and only Enfield and I commend you for that. I wish I could too, but I know if something goes wrong I will cash (in) and buy another. It's a fact and there is nothing I can do about it. Plus you might think it's fun being about to do it... well it's not, as you are never happy!"

And:

"Well I could say 'just unlucky I guess,' or the real reason — they would be the cheapest toy I have bought over the past 30 odd years and the few $$$ I lose per unit is nothing compared to what I've lost on cars."

Wildbill has shared his decisions to buy and sell on the Forum, and even posted photos of 12 of his Royal Enfields.

It's obvious from his posts that he takes his time with his purchase decisions and will put time and energy into trying to improve any Royal Enfield he likes. Highly critical of flaws he spots, he nevertheless is a big fan of the brand and his posts often contain advice on how to maintain and improve the motorcycles.

He often writes that he thinks Royal Enfields are getting better, while acknowledging that if you don't appreciate their special appeal, a Bullet may not be for you — and there are other, trouble-free motorcycles you can buy.

He has done a series of YouTube reviews of his Royal Enfields, sometimes combining a review with one of his songs. He is one of those Royal Enfield enthusiasts who contributes to the hobby. He's probably the only one who does it through song writing.

So, what's with that?

I found Graham's name on a recent hunting magazine article featuring, of all things, a Royal Enfield Pegasus motorcycle in addition to a pretty young woman with a rifle. He explained:

"I use to do a bit of magazine work, mainly hunting magazines back in '85-'95, then nothing for 20 years and just a couple of articles recently on what it was like to hunt foxes in the early '70's when they were worth a good $$$.

"Recently, when I had the Pegasus motorcycle, I thought it would be interesting to see a Royal Enfield motorcycle featured in a hunting story in an Australian magazine. The editor of the mag liked the idea so I added a girl as the main character, as the added interest point, and it went from there.

"I own a kids amusement business — jumping castles etc. Been doing that for 20 plus years. Prior to that I was in accounts."

I asked if he was a musician or singer.

"No, I have no interest in singing at all, but Juliet likes singing as a relaxing past time etc. and one day I thought, if I can write a hunting story I think I might as well try and write a motorcycle song, and seeing I like Enfields and it's a 500 single and no-one else has had a go at it I thought I might try, and "500cc" would be a pretty good song to try and kick off with.

"There was drama in all directions once the lyrics were put together. I had trouble finding some music to go with it plus getting someone to actually sing the song. I originally had three people lined up as I thought a guy would be the best option to sing a motorcycle-style song. Two actually pulled out of the idea and the other wanted to be paid for his services.

"In the end it was down to the wife to either have a go at singing it or I'd say it would never have happened. Not many women want to sing about motorcycles but she decided to give it a go. Pretty hard, really, for a woman to sing a song written for a guy to sing — well I think so.

"What I actually like about that song is,  it tells the complete story. The lyrics start from the time you get out of bed 'til you end the ride, so it covers the journey completely.

"The pack song was written for several guys I get along with on the Forum so, I just added us all together in one long (imaginary) ride and called it 'The Pack.'

"After '500cc' I put together roughly 20 songs or lyrics to songs in three months. One woman in England sang one  ('I Remember') and another guy sang the other. You may have heard him. He actually changed my lyrics a bit and butchered my song — or I thought he did. I don't sing, full stop! I have not written any more songs apart from those 20."

Here are links to Graham's Royal Enfield songs I found online. I am no music critic, but I think you'll enjoy them:

500cc song

500cc song with Pegasus review

C5 song

Continental GT song

Royal Enfield Song — The Pack

Windscreen review with original song

My thanks to Forum member Mike Monteith in Virginia, for pointing out "500cc" to me.

One last thing: the answer to a question that has been in the back of your mind as you read this article.

"Some wonder where I get the cash to buy all these bikes/cars/watches etc.," Graham wrote.

"I breed very expensive mutation finches."

Finches perch on a rod.
Special finches are very pretty birds, and very expensive, too.
He sent photos of the birds, including one of five young in a nest.

"Three are worth U.S. $1,000 each and the other two, say, U.S. $500 each, so providing they live and go the distance that is a U.S. $4,000 nest. No tax in Australia on hobbies either, but it’s a gamble and sometimes you win and sometime you lose big time. So when things run smooth its not hard to buy a bike very quick. These are very popular birds here."

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article, I often wondered if he kept all those bikes.

    ReplyDelete

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