ABOVE: Dexter Owens, whose father Dave Owens co-wrote the song Real Wild Child performed by Johnny O’Keefe and the Dee Jays including Dave Owens.
ABOVE: Dexter Owens, whose father Dave Owens co-wrote the song Real Wild Child performed by Johnny O’Keefe and the Dee Jays including Dave Owens. Cathy Adams

Life’s a drag for wild child

WHEN Johnny O'Keefe sang Real Wild Child he could have been singing about knockabout Lismore removalist, Dexter Owens.

Dexter's father Dave Owens co-wrote the rock classic with Johnny O'Keefe back in the '60s when Dexter was growing up and he still receives royalties - some from Iggy Pop's version of the song that kicks off Rage on ABC TV every weekend.

"Some cheques are good, others not so good. It's a few dollars here and a few dollars there but mostly it's a nice connection to Dad, who passed away in '96," Dexter said.

"I sort of grew up at The Basement in Circular Quay and places like that. We lived at the Cross when I was young then we moved to Redfern so I'm an old Redfern boy (thus the Rabbitohs emblems all over his truck).

"Dad played The Basement often so I spent a lot of time there, or rather the pinball parlour across the road where I shouldn't have been."

Dave Morris Owens was an expat American jazzman who played sax with Johnny O'Keefe and the Dee Jays throughout the 1960s.

After splitting up with Dexter's mother in the late '70s he returned to the States.

"I always knew he was famous. He was always off playing session music and people were always ringing up wanting him to do this and that," he said.

"The Dee Jays used to play up at Surfers Paradise a lot… I just remember getting in the car and being sick driving from Sydney to the Gold Coast for gigs."

Dexter runs a small local removal business and looks after his elderly mother. He moved to the Northern Rivers in 1988 to "escape the Sydney rat race" where he raised his daughter, though he still gets stuck into Lismore's live music scene (except jazz) and drag races motorcycles on the weekends.

"I'm an old rocker, I never got into the jazz that much.

"I love Lismore, just love it. The job's great and I can still go out on a Saturday night and have a bit of fun.

"I just bought a new motorcycle so I'm in heaven. It's the best thing I've had between my legs in years… so that's what I do now, spend all my money on back tyres."



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