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Reformed John Swan Celebrates Life, Music

Reformed John Swan Celebrates Life, Music

Who: John Swan and Swanee
Where: Sydney Junction Hotel
Author: Aaron Parnell
When: Tuesday August 24, 2004

WHEN John Swan attended the funeral of 24-year-old Darren Dowlet from Disco Montego last week.

Thursday August 11 he shed a tear and realised how lucky he was to be alive.

Darren and his brother Dennis had enjoyed worldwide success as DJ duo Kaylan before they teamed with Katie Underwood under the guise of Disco Montego.

Darren recently lost his fight against cancer and Swan, the older brother of Australian music legend Jimmy Barnes, said the world had lost a brilliant musician.

``When I was younger I joined a band at 13 and instantly started acting like a 20-year-old,'' Swan said.

``It was all drugs, booze and rock 'n' roll.

``If I had my time again I would like to think I would be like Darren and Dennis because they are very talented musicians and they have their heads screwed on properly.

``The world has lost a very good musician.'' Swan said he now considered life a gift and wanted to do as much as he could to help people understand that they should do the most with their lives and that alcohol and drugs limit that opportunity.

``It wasn't until five years ago that I found myself again,'' Swan said.

His wife Virginia left and gave him an ultimatum.

Swan said cleaning up was the best decision of his life.

``I'm loving my music right now.

I feel like a 13-year-old again,'' he said.

``When I was 13, I was a decent drummer and I loved music.

``I'm feeling that pure love of music again and I'm enjoying the chance to perform.

``I also have been given the chance to give back to the community and help people learn from my mistakes.

``I go to the jails and go to schools and help people understand where drugs and alcohol took me and how it nearly killed me.

``I also have been teaching a group of 11-year-olds how to play music.

``They've formed their own band and are doing really well. The only drawback they have is putting up with their tough teacher.'' John Swan and Swanee nf will play at the Sydney Junction Hotel next Wednesday, August 24.

His song list for the gig will include hits such as Hold Your Head Up, Gloria, Is This The Way To Say Goodbye and Stand By Me.

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