Johnny Locks was only 10 when he gave his first live performance in front of a 100 people at a Christmas function. By the age of 13, he was already a seasoned performer, playing guitar three nights a week at an Italian restaurant.
‘My dad bought me a guitar when I was eight years old and sent me to music lessons,’ Johnny says.
‘I don't know why he bought it, he just came home one day with a guitar and I fell in love with it. From then I haven't looked back. It just really felt natural to get up on stage and do what I had to do. It was quite exciting.’
Over the intervening decades, Johnny has played guitar and sung to audiences ranging from wedding parties to the Sacred Heart Mission, from pubs to corporate events. Currently he has a duo act called the TOFs, or Two Old Friends, plays in a five-piece covers band and also performs as a solo act.
‘You're getting this whole different vibe every time that you play and you're experiencing different emotions from the different music that you're playing,’ he says.
Despite the length of his career, Johnny says performing has never lost its allure.
‘Every gig is a new challenge because you don't know who's out there and you've always got to do your best to entertain. I believe you don't have to be the best musician in the world — you can have the best voice in the world, but if you stand there like a stunned mullet and just sing, you may as well put on a CD.
‘The key is to really get out there, entertain, give people a good time and take them away from their worries for an hour or whatever the case may be.’
Watch Johnny's 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance.