Frog reaches for the stars

FREYLA FERGUSON discovers that when you want to know anything about music, there’s only one man to go to.

WHO else in Canberra can say they’ve not only met but worked with; Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Alice Cooper, André Rieu, Reba Mcentire, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, just to name a few?

“Frog” Harris can.

He knows his stuff – starting his career in the music industry in a record store at Sydney’s Roselands shopping centre at 18 years old. He was soon “tapped on the shoulder” by RCA Records (now Sony Records) and was plunged into the world of rock’n’roll.

Working in sales, marketing and promotions for RCA, then later CBS, Frog met with and made friends with some of the world’s biggest mega stars.

He made the move to Canberra to become promotions director of radio stations Kix106 and 2CC.

But when it came time in 1995 to start his own business, Songland Records – “the home of the hard to find” – he wanted to bring some of that superstardom to Canberra.

Songland recently relocated from Tuggeranong to Cooleman Court shopping centre and these days is Canberra’s only full-range, independent record store.

Frog has regular radio spots in Canberra (on 2CC) and Sydney (on 2UE).

“By design or by request, we do a lot more than just have a store,” he said.

“We’ve done probably about 50 or 60 in-store appearances with artists at Songland, before that when I was at Grace Brothers in Sydney, I did in-store appearances with artist from Tiny Tim to Gerry and the Pacemakers to the Heeby Jeebies.

“It’s great to work with acts in music that you really appreciate and you really help those people.

“You then build up a friendship with them, whether it be a John Schumann, Amber Lawrence or Melinda Schneider.”

Despite the music industry facing a change to digital, Frog said, for now, record stores will live on.

“We actually saw graphs that said ‘digital is going to be up there, it’s going to take over the world’, well it was never going to take over the world,” he said.

“The reason it wasn’t is that we still have the demographics out there that aren’t interested in digital products.

“I’m 50 and there’s people who are 50 and upwards, and some people like digital, I appreciate that, but there are people who love the physical product.”

But the real mystery is that Harris is universally known as “Frog”. Why? He’ll say no more than, as a teenager, he had wanted to be a vet and the nickname came from a series of “consequences” to do with frogs.

Songland Records at Cooleman Court, Weston, specialises in worldwide imports, classical music, country music, horror movies among a wide range of CDs and DVDs.


PHOTO ABOVE: Frog Harris at his store Songland Records. Photo by Silas Brown

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