Self-taught muso soars like an Eagle

by Kathy Dumbleton

Self taught musician and Rocky local Darryl ‘Jenko’ Jenkins has been playing guitar and drums since he was 13.  Now 61, he is still gigging as a solo artist and playing in Eagles tribute band Eagle Rocks.

When he bought his first guitar he picked up some sheet music with chord charts and used the pictures to teach himself to play, starting with 1970 hit Yellow River.

Jenko on drums

"A year later my parents bought me a drum kit.  They were in no end of trouble because of the noise!’ Darryl remembers.

In high school, Darryl formed a band with a few mates.  Still a novice on the guitar, he took to vocals and drums.

"We played Beatles covers, they were the super gods back then, we did some Creedence and the ilk."

Playing with the big boys

"The big comp in Rocky back then was the Battle of the Bands," Darryl remembers.

"There have always been a lot of really good musicians in Rocky.  We thought we were good,
but when we saw the older musicians we knew we had a long way to go!"

The Battle of the Bands gave Darryl his start.  Their school band came in third, leading to his first paying gig at the competition venue, the Lionleigh Tavern.

Darryl spent his teens playing with four or five different bands, before opportunity came knocking from CQ's ultimate 80s party destination.

Young Jenko rocks out

"A couple of blokes were looking for a drummer, and I ended up playing a six month stint with them on Great Keppel Island.

"A few rehearsals and away we went and I learnt as much as I could.

"We played six nights a week, only had Sunday off.  By the time Sunday came we couldn’t wait to get off the bloody island, even if it was only to the Pine Beach Hotel!"

While on Keppel Island Darryl was offered another job in Wollongong by one of the resort guests.  This six month gig would give the country kid from Rocky even more musical skills. 

"It really was a learning curve. I was playing with guys in their late 20s, early 30s and I was learning something new every hour."

Darryl moved back to Rockhampton and continued to play and give guitar lessons from home while his young family was growing up.

The tribute band Eagle Rocks was formed about three years ago, when Darryl ran into a his old friend Gary Quinlan in Brisbane.

"We’d played in a band together 20 years ago!

"It took about 18 months to get it together," Darryl said.  "It's fairly technical, learning the songs with four-part harmoniess and dual guitar playing."

While the rock and roll lifestyle may be behind him, Darryl's love for music is still a big
part of his life.

"You don’t look at it as work - it’s more of an outing."