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 7, realised that music was for me. It was Thursday 18th August 1977, I was watching a small black and white TV. On the screen was the procession of the burial of Elvis Presley. I was in awe that the streets were lined with mourners for this man. This man had affected so many people around the world. It was at this point that I realized that music was so important that it had the power to change the world. From that day on I decided to become a guitarist and start my journey of changing the world.
That year my parents got me a Tempo F hole, slim body electric, with a matching amplifier. The action was a train wreck and the amplifier had an open back so it was 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 my gear really was not the best but I really didn't know any different. I remember practicing every night, my guitar was my life.
I skip to when I was in year 10 at high school, where I got my first go at work experience at the Guitar Factory Mt Druitt. This placement went for a week and it was scary, exciting and a real eye-opener to life experiences. The gentleman ( I will be very kind ) that was in charge of me was a real musician of the time. He was a guitarist, so almost a God to me, as I got to work by this man's side. Well my euphoria really diminished as the week went on, working next to the tattooed, hairy guy whose eyes I never saw through his sunglasses and at times would just fall asleep and he would leave me to run the store. I learned a lot about what not to do as a musician. The main thing was I wanted to learn as much as I could over that week - and I did ! I was repairing guitars under this Guru of a man, and pretty much learned how to run the store. The work-experience week finished, but I volunteered and scored a job for about 6 months. Unfortunately, the carefree mentor really did not do the right things and the store ended up closing down. As much as there were many bad points of being in that environment, I learned and cemented my dream of making music my life.
I studied hard to go to the Conservative of Music in Sydney.
I was on track by doing exams with a private tutor 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 - for my Christmases and Birthday's for the rest of my life - but I say it was worth it. I still have it today! It was mid-year 11, I was checking my plans for the end of year 12 and my acceptance for the conservatorium. I found out that all the entry qualifications had changed, after checking and seeing (so-called) career advisers at the time, my dream of going to the conservatorium was out of reach. I decided to finish off year 11 and go get a job. At this point, I enrolled in Electronic Engineering at TAFE with mates that were also interested in electronics.
From 16 to 27, I did odd jobs, taught guitar, played in many bands. At 21 I married one of my groupies ( she will never admit that ) my beautiful wife Samantha. We moved to Queensland in 1991 from NSW. I again did odd jobs, taught guitar and played in bands. Samantha joined me in a few bands such as "Burn" where we were runners up in what was called back then "Battle of the Bands" competitions - they where real competitions - great times.
In 1995 Samantha and I were fortunate enough to visit the Cavern Club in Liverpool in England. It was at this time we decided that I needed to get serious and start a music shop, that we would call Music Cavern. So I built my clientele and started to work on my skills, working along with some of the best luthiers and electronics engineers and in April of 1997 we opened our first store on George Street, Beenleigh.
We quickly outgrew those premises to move to Johns Lane in 1998. We grew the store to over 10 tutors, 6 service personnel and 2 administration staff. Our services included lessons, repairs, servicing, event hire, event management, rental and hire, installations and so on. We basically would do anything with music. I had now been living the original dream of changing people's lives through music. Being a family-owned business we have supported so many local organisations and many overseas families. We are so proud that we have shared our profits with those less fortunate.
Now bring it on into 2020 - almost 23 years later. I have labeled myself as the Music Doctor and with this will now move and restructure Music Cavern to have a more service-based model of operation. I will be introducing "pop up" Music Stores, which will offer onsite repairs where possible, sales of accessories and taking orders as needed. Working in Shopping centers, community centers, Libraries and the like, I will be traveling all over Brisbane filling in the gaps where music stores have closed over the past years.
So a big thank you goes out to my wife Samantha and our children Joshua and Jordan for putting up with so much, from having our own business, the long days, the crazy ideas and all the bad moods I brought home with me. I also have to thank the thousands and thousands of customers that have supported the dream that started back in 1977.
In 2020 the journey continues - I will update this in 2021!
Owner / Operator Noel Camilleri