The Mesa Story

Before we start, I invite you to close your eyes for a few moments. Imagine you are enjoying the ambience of one of the oldest exposed rock formations on the planet. It’s a new day. The sun is peeping over the horizon and throwing a mystical hue of orange pink and grey hues across the land. In the bushes you hear the rustling of small animals and the occasional touch down of a kangaroo seeking refuge from the coming day’s heat. The insects are starting to dull, the last are slowly waking…

keep your eyes closed, imagine you are there…… smell the morning air, the Spinifex, the ore that taints the ground, the dusty track underneath your feet. Inch your face toward the sky and imagine for a moment you are on the edge of a magnificent timeless gorge in the Karijini Park, with the gum trees and the land stretching to greet the new day in this timeless, almost perfect land… as you enjoy the most mystical time of the day.

You are now listening to the MESA BAND. And the song Karijini.

Our Story Starts

Our story starts many years ago when there were two little boys growing up in opposite ends of the Earth. Fast forward several decades and plant yourself in one of the most isolated regions of the world and somehow you will discover a recipe for the Mesa Band.

One of those boys David Morgan – was born in Bristol, England -   and somehow he managed to find his way as an adult to the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It was a world away from the Cotswolds but amidst the dust, heat and hostile environment, Morgan saw a fragile beauty and became bewitched by the land he chose to call home. 

Meanwhile, in the coastal Pilbara town of Dampier, a young Steven Spouse was growing up and was spending endless sunny days enjoying the intoxicating world of the Pilbara Morgan had come to love. Unknown to each other they were both developing a passion for a remote region of Australia that continues to capture the hearts of the ever growing numbers of Grey Nomads that meander through the region every winter. 

And as fate is one of those unexplainable things in life, it was one evening in a Karratha restaurant in 1987 that Morgan watched the younger Spouse belt out a few tunes and they instantly developed a rapport. Karratha was a boom town where construction workers from all around the world were united to build Australia’s first LNG plant. Jimmy Barnes, Midnight Oil, and INXS ruled the airwaves, so the boys put together a  band and played covers around the local pubs and construction camps. 

They called themselves the Mugshots after a band Morgan played in England and it was not long before their popularity grew across the Pilbara and they soon found themselves regularly travelling the dusty Pilbara roads or flying as far afield as Broome, Newman & Exmouth. It was a good band and over their five long years together they developed a diverse sense of humour amongst themselves that could rival any scene from Spinal Tap.

Those endless road trips only served to harden their love for the Pilbara, often they would stop to view the rugged beauty of the red rocky ranges, and they once witnessed the rarely seen migration of the Pebble mice in the Karijini.

There is no doubt the Pilbara burned itself into the souls of Morgan and Spouse and continued to grow and haunt them long after their departure from the region  in the mid nineties.

As is the story of fate continued, the niggling need and the calling to go “home” and write continued to eat into their being. They wanted to write songs about the region, at the time nobody had ever captured the unique culture and character of the Pilbara in words and music. It was time someone did.

In February 2006 it was Morgan who started writing the words and music for the songs. He wanted to truly reflect the Pilbara’s modern culture whilst capturing the essence of the mystical beauty that had captured his heart.  In October 2006, Morgan and Spouse went to Sydney and under the guidance of Morgan’s long time friend, Sydney Producer David Holmes, they started the recording of Nor West Friends. The Mugshots became the Mesa Band… although they still look like Mugshots!

The boys called in a few favours and were joined during the recordings by such well known musicians as Pete Northcote (Angels), Mark Oats (Bushwackers), Adrian Wallis (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and the legendary Brazillian conga player Ricky Kugler. 

Given the diverse styles of music captured during the production process, there was only one person considered for the mastering process – the Sydney based Don Bartley of Benchmark Mastering (Powderfinger, Living End,  Paul Kelly, Thirsty Merc).

Norwest Friends is a musical journey though the heart and soul of the Pilbara and will bring back the friendships those early construction workers made throughout the region in the construction camps. It will remind you of the agony of today’s fly in fly out Mums & Dads. It will show you the rush of a cyclone, the sadness of Wittenoom, and the power of the Pilbara moon.

Nor West Friends it is claimed could easily be a mini movie with the most brilliant underscore in times of reflection. If you choose to steal yourself away and immerse yourself in the heart and sounds of the Pilbara, your soul will sing and you will never be the same.

The name Mesa? Well, that’s simple, Mesa is the name given a flat topped hill in the Pilbara.

Their passion for the region provided the opportunity to write Warlu Way for a Australia North West tourism marketing campaign.

In 2008 Morgan went to work in Southern Vietnam where he discovered a passion for the South East Asian country that equalled his passion for the Pilbara and he was inspired to write songs about the places he visited.  He realised that there was an opportunity to help promote Vietnam to western tourist and in early 2013, with Spouse they recorded four songs at Rocket Studios in Sydney and then went to Soul Entertainment Studio, Saigon to add a few Vietnamese instruments.

Morgan even registered the songs and the ‘Hello Vietnam’ logo in Vietnam which was a challenging experience. Morgan and Spouse successfully launched the ‘Hello Vietnam – Volume 1’ CD in Saigon and there has been a good acceptance by the Vietnamese people who are intrigued that a western man wants to write and perform songs to promote their country.

Perhaps the biggest accolade to Morgan was when much respected Vietnam journalist and song writer Ha Quang Minh said after listening to the songs in a coffee shop, “David you write the words to your songs just like you are Vietnamese. You know my country well”

The ‘Hello Vietnam CD Project’ certainly took Mesa in a new direction, and the concept still remains very unique and will remain a work in progress. It also added a new dimension to the Mesa live performance and the stories of the Vietnam songs interwoven with the stories of the Pilbara songs now provides a very entertaining experience for audiences.

It was the popularity of the Hello Vietnam CD in Vietnam that led to Morgan being asked to write a song for the Vietnam Swans Aussie Rules Footy Team. The inspiration and story of the song is well documented in the discography section of this website but it’s interesting to mention that two years after the release of the song a You Tube video was launched of the song playing to photos that related to the words of the song.

Morgan says “It took a long time to find the right photos to suit the song but the finished product now tells the story in full. It was a very heart-warming project.”

The success of Forever We Will Run inspired Morgan and Spouse to start work on a new long awaited Pilbara album. They made several inspirational visits to the Pilbara and by mid-2015 the songs were written. Evergreen Perth guitarist Graham Ford (Lead) and former WAPA graduate Jayden Williamson (Drums) were invited to play on the tracks.

It was late 2015 when recording finally started at Perth Sound Engineer Tory Rao’s Studio Zed and it was April 2016 when Sydney Producer David Holmes received the Perth recording files.

As with previous MESA recordings David Holmes added guitar and keyboards and he recruited Sydney session singer Jess Pearson to add backing vocals on a few tracks. It was during a visit to Sydney by Morgan that it was suggested Jess sing the lead vocals on the old Church classic ‘Under The Milky Way’ – the only ever cover recorded by MESA.

The ‘Long Road’ CD artwork was completed in Singapore by Snooze Graphics and the first CD’s were manufactured in Vietnam in the August – it’s interesting to note the cover shot has a street sign – LONG RD which is taken from the end of the street where Morgan grew up in South Gloucestershire, England.

Sample Mesa Band music above.

Live Performances

MESA are now finalising live dates around Western Australia and will soon be back on the road to promote the new album

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Make your next event one to remember! 

Mesa Band are available for:

• Tour support
• Corporate events
• Country Festivals

For more information please contact us