Suburban Boy Warner Goes Elvis, The Starfish, 11th February 2105

Suburban Boy Warner Goes Elvis

by Jacqueline Lang
February 11, 2015


Dave Warner caught up with The Starfish in Cottesloe

The Suburban Boy, Dave Warner, is never still.

Churning out novels, singing, acting, commentating, he always has half a dozen creative projects on the boil.

Though Perth-born Dave has been based in Sydney for decades, he regularly pops back west to put on a show or two, much to the delight of local fans.

On this visit, David’s starring in a Fringe cabaret show he dreamed up, The King And Me.

He chats to The Starfish.

David, it’s a long time since we’d sit together in the canteen at WA Newspapers while I interviewed you for The Weekend News! How is it to be back in town?

It’s great. It’s always fantastic to come home and see family and friends. We did a From The Suburbs gig at the Charles recently, which went down well. Whenever we play here, about every 18 months or so, we get a good crowd.

In action on a recent Perth visit

In action on a recent Perth visit

Tell us about The King and Me.

I wrote it about ten years ago, for a Perth actor Shane McNamara. He’d wanted me to write a great Elvis musical for him. So I did!

So the main character is Elvis?

The main character is a sad-sack, middle-aged loser. Going nowhere. The only thing he cares about in life is Elvis. Then one day a woman arrives at his door trying to get him to go in a local Elvis “King of Kings” contest. She convinces him if he was to go in it, he could win his wife back and it would change his life.

So is Shane in this performance?

No, I’m now playing the sad-sack middle aged loser!

Are you using Elvis songs?

That was the original aim, but unfortunately a promoter told Priscilla Presley about it and convinced her not to give us permission. It was a real shame: but I thought “this is too good to languish.” So I came up with my own songs and ten years on, here we are!

Who else is in the show?

Perth actress-singer Caitlin Beresford-Ord. And Martin Cilia is on the guitar. It’s directed by Emily McLean.

What else are you up at the moment?

I’ve just finished a crime novel, Before It Breaks, set in the Kimberley and in Germany in 1979. I’d had the idea for this book for a long time, but life kept getting in the way. It’s out in June.

Dave’s latest crime novel, Before It Breaks, will be released in June

Dave’s latest crime novel, Before It Breaks, will be released in June

Does it feature Detective Snowy Lane, from your earlier crime thriller, City of Light?

I had thought about including him but it didn’t quite work for this one. I’m hoping to write about him again though.

Dave (centre) back in the day with band in WA

Dave (centre) back in the day with band in WA

I read with interest that Perth police came to your door in Sydney a few months ago, asking you about the “Claremont Killer.”

That’s true. A few people who’d read my crime thriller City Of Light – written before the women went missing around Claremont – thought my book was too similar to real life and had spoken to police about me.

Were you embarrassed when they came to the door?

It was a bit of surprise, but I coped! The officers admitted I was not high up of their list of people to talk to – actually I was at the bottom – but they had had to come over to Sydney anyway so it was worth paying me a visit.

How many books have you written?

Let’s see, three kids books, seven non-fiction books, and seven crime novels. Seventeen books.

How’s the family?

Wife and three kids are great. My oldest is 19 now and she’s studying science.

Do you think Perth is changing?

Perth is so vibrant these days. When I drive past Leederville, it’s chock-a-block.

Fringe is huge now! Bigger than Sydney’s main Festival. No show is longer than 70 minutes, and so lots of people are making a night of it, taking in two or three shows. There’s a lot going on in Perth these days, and not just when the Festival is on.

How did growing up here help shape you as an entertainer?

We were so isolated, we had to all look into ourselves and come up with something. That’s led to a lot of Perth musicians and performers coming up with something truly original.

Elvis and Me will be on at The Velvet Lounge from Tuesday, February 17 to Sunday February 22 at 9.30pm. For tickets go to

Starfish Photograph: Jacqueline Lang

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