Bob Murphy: Creating the perfect tune

An article about Mark Seymour and his links to the Western Bulldogs AFL club. A podcast accompanied this article.

Author:  Bob Murphy, Western Bulldogs.

Date: 25 April 2019.

Original URL:


Article Text

To those of us who can’t do it or haven’t done it yet, the idea of writing a hit song appears from the ether like some kind of magic trick.

How can you just create sounds that fit into a structure and then layer those sounds with a beat, some words of truth and a pretty melody bouncing along the top of it all, like a wild brumby running free and unbridled in the Victorian highlands?

How do you do that? It must be magic.

This week on the Western Bulldogs podcast Freedom in a Cage, Chris Anstey and I sat down with song-writing troubadour (and Bulldogs fanatic) Mark Seymour to chat about life, football and music.

Fittingly, Mark’s devotion to the red, white and blue was sparked from music. An unlikely gig, of sorts, was playing to a gathering of the Bulldogs’ inner sanctum from the Terry Wallace era.

Up until then, Mark was not that interested in footy, he told us, but his musical partner at the time was a man named Rod Davies who was a passionate Dogs man.

Through the excitement of Davies and playing that gig at the Whitten Oval, Mark was hooked. He’s now a regular at Bulldog games.

While Chris and I were shooting the breeze with the Hunters and Collectors front man this week, I put this theory of the ‘song as a magic trick’ to him, and Mark went on to describe how he sees it.

It was a mesmerising few minutes to sit and listen to one of the world’s best describe the discipline of song writing whilst acknowledging there is often a moment or sound of inspiration. Mark spoke about the idea of ‘building a song, piece by piece’.

I couldn’t help but connect that conversation to the game of football itself. Everything Mark described in the magic of song writing could be applied to teams trying to build a season.

That’s the Bulldogs lot right now. After such optimism in the early rounds, we face our first big challenge of the year. How will we respond from last week’s disappointing loss?

This 2019 team is trying to build a season piece by piece, brick by brick, game by game.

If I was to ask you, of this current team, which players were the beat? The structure? The lyrics? The notes and the voice? Your mind might race to who best fills those roles.

But the question is what can they do when it all comes together? Every week, a 22-man band steps onto the field and they try and work it all into a song. I wonder what our boys will play for Fremantle this weekend?

Something with a bit of volume and ferocity out of the blocks might be the order of the day, I reckon.

For all of the teams playing this weekend, they will do so behind a backdrop of the ANZAC spirit.

Eighteen teams, working together for a common cause, each trying to create their own song. But it will be the silence of this weekend that will perhaps reign supreme over all of us.