When Dobe picks up the Lagerphone, the music comes alive


More than an instrument, ‘The Lagerphone’ is a symbol of The Bushwackers’ identity, longevity and ultimately, friendship.

The Bushwackers’ new single The Lagerphone was written by Roger Corbett and co-producer Liam Kennedy-Clark and on the surface, tells the very practical story of how to build a lagerphone. But look deeper and it’s not hard to see that The Lagerphone is a heartfelt tribute to the contribution Dobe Newton OAM (The Bushwackers front man) has made to the music, the genre and the band throughout his prestigious career.

For those in the dark about a ‘lagerphone’, it is a percussive instrument used in bush bands initially around Australia, and then around the world. Originating in Australia, made mainly of bits and pieces of metal and wood found in hardware stores and pubs, at its most basic it’s a stick with bottle tops attached. The lagerphone is played by flogging it with another piece of wood in time to the bush songs which are also unique to our heritage.

The lagerphone described in this song is the ‘virtuoso’ model as played by Dobe Newton, who has taken his instrument all around the world and who is indisputably the premier exponent of its virtues. “It’s part drumkit, part weapon, and an enduring symbol of passion for the bush music we have been playing in our band for over 50 years” Newton says. “It has hurt me more than a few times with crushed toes, pulled muscles and even a severed artery, but I do love the thing and have made many custom lagerphones over the years.”

“And I can bring the songs old mate, if you will make them go….” sings Roger Corbett, who has played guitar alongside Newton for the last 41 of those 50 years. “Without Dobe and his energy and enthusiasm, we wouldn’t have lasted beyond a few years. His electric energy communicates so well to our musicians and our audiences, that we continue to enjoy performing and entertaining to our wide and multi-generational audience, 50 years on from when the band first began.

To witness Dobe in full flight with The Bushwackers is exciting, energising, frightening, and always a highlight of any Bushwackers show.”