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After 23 years in the Lane – Music Cavern has now evolved to the Music Doctor

Where did it all start?
I, Noel Camilleri, at the age of seven, realized that music was for me. It was Thursday, 18th August, 1977 and I was watching a small black and white TV. On the screen was the funeral procession of Elvis Presley; I was in awe that the streets were lined with mourners for this man. This man had affected so many lives around the world. It was at this moment that I realized how important music was and that it has the power to change our world. From that day on I decided to become a guitarist and start my journey of changing the world.

That year my parents bought me a Tempo F hole, a slim body electric guitar with a matching amplifier. The action was a train wreck and the amplifier had an open back, so a great amplifier for me to start experimenting with. At the time, I was grateful for the gear I had and made the most of it. Thinking back, even though my gear was not the best, I really didn’t know any different. I remember practising every night; my guitar was my life.

I skip to year 10 at high school. I had my first opportunity at work experience at The Guitar Factory, Mt Druitt. This placement lasted a week and for me it was scary and exciting but, a real eye opener to life experiences.

The gentleman – and I am being very kind – who was in charge of me was a real musician of the time. He was a guitarist and so almost a God to me. However, as the week progressed my euphoria quickly diminished. Working next to the tattooed, hairy guy whose eyes I never saw through his sunglasses, I learned a lot about what not to do as a musician and business owner. At times he would just fall asleep and leave me to run the store. This was my opportunity to learn and I took it.  I wanted to learn as much as I could during that week – and I did!. I was repairing guitars under the guidance of this guru of a man and, at the same time, pretty much learned how to run the store. The work experience week came to an end, but I volunteered and scored a job for about six months. Unfortunately, my carefree mentor did all the wrong things and the store soon closed down. Although there were many bad points about that environment, that is where I learned and cemented my dream of making music my life. I studied hard to try and enter the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. I was on the right track by doing exams with a private tutor who I visited once a week. I joined every school band and I played as much as I could. My parents bought me my first real guitar – a Washburn A20.  Enough for all my Christmases and birthdays for the rest of my life. It was well worth it and I still have it today!

It was mid- year 11 and I was checking my plans for the end of year 12 and my acceptance into the conservatorium. I was devastated to find that all the entry requirements had changed, even though I had checked with the so-called career advisors at the time. My dream of entering the conservatorium was unattainable. I made the decision to finish off year 11 and get a job.  At that point I enrolled in Electronic Engineering at TAFE as I had mates who were also interested in electronics. Between the ages of 16 and 27, I did odd jobs. I taught guitar, played in many bands and, at 21, married one of my groupies (although she will never admit to that) my beautiful wife, Samantha.  We moved from NSW to Queensland in 1991. Again, I did odd jobs, teaching guitar and playing in bands. Samantha joined me in a few bands such as ‘Burn’ where we were runners up in a competition called back then, ‘Battle of the Bands’. They were real competitions – great times.

In 1995, Samantha and I were fortunate enough to visit the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. It was at this time, that we decided I needed to get serious and start a music shop. We would call it Music Cavern. Over the years, we built up my clientele and I started to work on my skills, working along with some of the best luthiers and electronics engineers. In April of 1997, we opened our first store in George Street, Beenleigh. A proud moment.

We quickly outgrew these premises and moved to Johns Lane in 1998. We expanded the business to include over ten tutors, six service personnel and two administrative staff members. Our services included lessons, repairs, servicing, event management, rental equipment and hire, installations and so on. We basically were prepared to do anything associated with music. I was now living the original dream of changing peoples’ lives through music. Being a family-owned business, we have supported many local organizations and also many overseas families. We are very proud that we have shared our profits with those less fortunate than us.

So, a big thank you goes out to my wife Samantha and our children Joshua and Jordan for putting up with so much. The long days, the crazy ideas and, admittedly, sometimes the bad moods I brought home with me. All part and parcel of running your own business.

Also, thank you to the thousands upon thousands of customers who have supported the dream. The dream of a seven-year-old boy watching Elvis’s funeral back in 1977.

In 2020, the journey continues. I will update our story regularly.

Owner / Operator Noel Camilleri

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