A proposal to name a Fremantle laneway in honour of beloved local musician Richard Lane is being considered by the Fremantle Council.
The council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation committee last night supported a motion to name the thoroughfare behind Fremantle’s historic Artillery Drill Hall ‘Richard Lane’.
The Drill Hall is home to the popular live music venue Freo.Social, and was previously the home of the iconic Fly-By-Night Musicians Club.
A talented guitarist and keyboard player, Lane was a founding member of much-loved Perth garage band The Stems. He passed away in May.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said naming the laneway in honour of Lane would be fitting tribute.
“Before its refurbishment as Freo.Social in 2018 Richard leased much of the Fremantle Drill Hall for his music school,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“It was there where all of his unique abilities and traits were brought to the fore. He was an instigator, conduit, leader, showman, educator, and sage – inspiring a new generation of musicians all the while subtly challenging them to constantly reach new heights.
“On Richard’s recent sudden passing, a general feeling was shared by the community that some kind memorial recognition was appropriate, and given his association with the old Drill Hall this location feels especially relevant.”
The laneway naming proposal is supported by Richard Lane’s partner Cathy and a petition with 162 signatures from the Friends of Richard Lane group, submitted by friends Dickon Oxenburgh and Damon Hurst.
“For over thirty years as an ARIA winning rock musician Richard entertained tens of thousands of people all over the world and all over Australia, contributing enormously to Fremantle’s reputation as an arts powerhouse, but it was on the ground in the Fremantle community that Richard’s contribution really took root and flourished,” Mr Oxenburgh said.
“Naming the lane after a much-loved citizen who had deep links with the area is also a small but meaningful way of celebrating Fremantle’s respect for the people who help create its vibrant arts community.”
Mr Hurst said he hoped to create a light-box inspired artwork in the laneway that will not only make the laneway safe at night but also be an activation point for young musicians.
“Richard taught many hundreds, if not thousands, of aspiring musicians in Fremantle over his lifetime, so in activating this space that’s the perpetual gift from Richard I want to create,” Mr Hurst said.
“Richard once said to me ‘I never teach kids how to be a rock star, I teach them that music can be a comfort, a companion for life’. He was so humble, so authentic, and a real teacher.”
Richard Lane co-founded The Stems with Dom Mariani in 1983. The four-pieced played its first gig at Perth’s Old Civic Theatre supporting The Saints and The Triffids.
The Stems released their seminal album At First Sight, Violets Are Blue in 1987 but disbanded shortly thereafter. The band reformed in 2003 and in 2007 released a second album, Heads Up.
In 1989 Lane founded The Chevelles before moving on to The Rosebuds, as well as contributing to other local bands such as The On and Ons, The Painkillers and Big Boss Man.
In the 1990s he founded and ran a Perth-based record label, Idaho Records, oversaw a venue booking agency, worked for X-Press Magazine and performed with a myriad of other musicians, all the while tending to his own career as a recording songwriter and musician.
The council’s FPOL committee also supported a motion to recognise and commend Richard Lane’s valuable and lasting contribution to the Fremantle community and convey heartfelt condolences to his friends and family on his recent passing.
The naming of the laneway will now be considered by the full council before being referred to Landgate for approval.