Xavier Rudd Drops In

If you’re from the U.S., you might not have heard of Xavier Rudd – one of Australia’s most famous musicians. I’ve been a fan of his music since last September, when I went to one of his concerts near San Francisco. In fact, two of his tracks are in a playlist that I just listened to yesterday morning.

So imagine my total astonishment when Xavier Rudd himself washed in here yesterday afternoon! At first, all we heard was a garbled radio message from Swanie that “two tourists” had driven past all the CLOSED signs and were asking questions about Diamond Gorge. Swanie was about to tell them to turn right around and go home, but something clicked. Ten minutes later, everyone at Mornington knew we were hosting a rock star. It wasn’t unlike having Johnny Cash unexpectedly knock on your front door, assuming you lived in the middle of the Sahara desert.

Turned out, Xavier was just traveling around this region with his girlfriend, and they decided to make the six-hour 4×4 drive to Mornington Station on a whim (closed signs notwithstanding; they even had to cut a cable-tied gate to get in here). After some initial confused communication, they stuck around to watch the sunset at Sir John Gorge and joined us around the pizza oven late into the evening, eating pizza, hanging out, and telling stories. Xavier was obviously ripped, and took in the scene as any famous musician/surfer dude should; when I explained to him, at one point, over a beer, how I had lived with penguins in Antarctica, Xavier sank deeper into his seat: “Far out, man,” he replied. “What were the polar bears like?” Even if he had his wildlife facts a bit backwards, it was surreal to be talking to the celebrated musician under a starry sky, staring into the flames of the pizza oven, and feeling the heat of the day wafting up from red soil.

In the end, the singer grabbed a guitar from his rig, gave us a couple songs, and said his goodbyes just before midnight; he had to drive out to appear at a “Save the Kimberley” fundraising event the next day, then was off for an 8-month world tour of Australia, North America, and Europe. We told him not to run over any owls on the way out, gave him a piece of Jen’s chocolate cake, and watched our random guest drive into the dark, back to surfing trips with Jack Johnson and gigs with Ani DiFranco. Here, though, he was just another tanned, Aussie surfer dude – maybe a bit out of place at a wildlife research camp, but welcomed nonetheless; and one random encounter I definitely won’t forget!

10 replies
  1. Leila Snow
    Leila Snow says:

    Have you ever played the game “Brushes with the Rich and Famous?” In which one tries to come up with the most bizarre story of encounters with the same? With extra points if it’s once or twice removed? Well, I can’t wait until the next time I play, because now I can say I once knew a guy who was hanging out in the Australian Outback…

    We’ve been having Raunchy Joke Nights here in Oregon. It started because some SEHS kids I work with just couldn’t seem to get on track. So I had them to a huge lasagna dinner, we threw political correctness off the balcony, and proceeded. It was by turns awkward and hilarious, and they’ve now agreed to stay PC at school if we can occassionally have a private raunchy joke night. Tonight my cousin came to dinner, I told her about the evening, and Prim Amy promptly ripped a few off. I was amazed! So if you get bored around the campfire, you may be surprised at some of the disgusting/hilarious/seriously offensive jokes some of your comrades know…

    Enjoy your posts and might even trade one soggy Oregon spring day for a 108 degree scorcher. Vice versa, I’m sure.

  2. Chad Bulosan
    Chad Bulosan says:

    No F*n way I love Xavier Rudd. So jealous. Wish I were there too. Well in Australia, not in morningstar; I could do without, ant-ass-ids, haha for puns. Miss you Noah.

  3. Elaine Beebe
    Elaine Beebe says:

    G’day! Your dad sent me this link. Oddly enough just two days ago my daughter asked where you were studying birds at the moment; I said we needed to check your blog, then promptly forgot to.

    Before you leave Australia PLEASE try to tack on a trip to Heron Island, in the GB Reef. Half research station, half resort (but doable on the cheap with shared bathrooms). It’s among my top 5 favorite place on earth.

  4. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Elaine – Good to hear from you! I’ll check out Heron Island. If it’s among your top 5 places on all of Earth, then it must be good…

  5. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Chad – Yeah totally weird when Xavier showed up out of the blue, especially after I had been to one of his concerts last fall in the U.S. As for ant-ass-ids, ouch, groan…

  6. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Leila – Raunchy Joke Nights, hm, sounds intriguing. Maybe I can chalk that on our whiteboard under “swimming” and “pictionary” – might be interesting with a bunch of academics/researchers! And, yes, let’s trade climates for just one day, please…

  7. Ed Conrad
    Ed Conrad says:

    Totally jealous you got to hang out w/ Xavier Rudd and listen to him play a couple tunes. That concert at the Mystic was pretty epic. One question: was he barefoot at Mornington? I still get a kick when I think of him on stage barefoot the entire way w/ a gigantic smile across his face playing the didgeridoo.

  8. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hey Ed – Yeah, totally! Xavier was barefoot here (of course) and, little known fact: he can stub out a cigarette on the sole of his foot. I watched him do it twice without a flinch. Yikes.

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