Few musicians in the Great Southern can lay claim to starting 11 bands. But Torbay musical maestro Dave Rastrick can — and most of those bands are still going. As a passionate performer who plays gigs most weekends, there wouldn’t be many people in the local music industry who don’t recognise the name. A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, band leader and session musician, Rastrick is truly at the heart of the south coast’s music scene. He can play the trumpet, flugelhorn, valve trombone, tuba, acoustic and electric guitar, double and electric bass, percussion, keyboard — the list goes on. Right now, he is learning how to play ukulele, and he also wants to get his hands on a middle-eastern guitar called an oud. With more than 20 years of performance experience, the skills of a jazz musician with classical and contemporary grounding have allowed Rastrick to play any style with many bands on multiple instruments. Growing up on his family property in Torbay, Rastrick started playing trumpet at age 11. Studying music at school in Albany, Rastrick went on to study at the WA Academy of Performing Arts in 1992, but he dropped out because he did not like the city. He played in bands before he decided to return to university in 1996, before quitting his course again and going back to live music. “I finally finished my music degree a few years ago via online education, then did my honours and I’m doing PhD at the moment,” he said. Rastrick completed a diploma in music and a diploma in conservation and land management at Denmark’s South Regional TAFE in 2011. In 2018 he completed an honours degree in music at the University of Southern Queensland, as well as a degree in sustainable development at Murdoch University and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. To top that off, he is studying a graduate diploma in carbon and energy studies at the same time as doing a PhD in music. Rastrick said he discovered his passion for music at high school. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” he said. “I started my high school band and went on to play in bands after school. I busked at one point in the South West and over eastm trying to make a living on the trumpet. “When I went to uni the second time round, I got serious about it and started playing trumpet four to six hours a day and it just went on from there. “I’ve never seriously considered not doing it.” Belonging to an impressive line-up of bands, Rastrick said it took time to manage everything. The Rainbow Coast Big Band, Southern Soul, reggae band Rastatrix, Jazztrix, psychedelic trio EXP, and brother and sister duo Riverbeats are Rastrick’s regular bands that play around the region. So, how does the man of many bands make it work? For starters, he keeps a good diary and prioritises the material he needs to rehearse. “There’s lots of behind-the-scenes work,” he said. “In the old days we’d learn stuff by ear and sit around jamming for hours trying to work things out.” Rastrick said it took dedication to become a successful musician. “It’s also a lot of passion and self- reflection, otherwise when things get challenging there are easier ways to make a living,” he said. “I love jazz, I love the potential to express, here’s a lot of scope for improvisation and self-expression while at the same time it’s mentally stimulating, “There’s spontaneous collaboration. “There are certain rules to work with, and from there you can create music that can be played differently every night.” Rastrick has also been involved in environmental and sustainability organisations and campaigns since 1995. He contested the seat of Albany for the Greens party at the 2017 State election. You can see Rastrick in action this weekend with the Rainbow Coast Big Band at the Stirling Club on Friday night, and EXP live at Six Degrees on Saturday.