Phil Graney - the view
from Mt Gambier
I suppose trom a personal point of view I regard this period (1969 to 1977) as the most productive, diverse and creative by Australian musicians and bands in the thirty years that I have followed Aussie music. There were major influences by the influx of New Zealand musicians and bands in that period. There was a great range of music available for the punters before the bloody disco crap killed of a lot of venues. The names of bands that spring to mind that I followed were Ariel/Spectrum/Murtceps,Carson, Dingoes, Greg Quill's Country Radio, Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons,AC/DC, Tamam Shud, Tully, Russell Morris, La De Das, King Harvest, Fraternity, Blackfeather, Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls, Kevin Borich, Thorpey and the Aztecs, and the Adelaide bands like the Angels (in their various metamorphoses from Moonshine Jug and String to Moonshine to Keystone Angels), Cold Chisel from The Arkaba and groups like George Washing Machine, Sid Rumpo and a stack of Blues bands in various pubs in Adelaide. There was a real push for groups like Sherbet, Brian Cadd, Little River Band, Hush and Kush etc. but I could not stand them - I remember nearly crying when Harvey James left Ariel and went to bloody Sherbet. A sidelight to this was how Australian Music stood the test against anything the rest of the world was producing - I always want to vomit whenever that January by Pilot is played on the radio and consider Meldrum's pushing of that song on Countdown as possibly the only Capital Offence we should have on our statutes. The Spectrum / Murtceps/ Ariel recordings are one of the best bodies of work produced by any Australian Band.. most people are unaware of the volume of work produced and the sheer quality qf the work - many generally only know of I'll Be Gone or Jamaican Farewell. Among the circle of friends that I have A Strange Fantastic Dream is the best album ever produced in Australia - not a bad song on the album and an incredible range of music types. My favourite amongst the other albums are Wart's up your Nose and Rock and Roll Scars. As a live band they were peerless and I suppose I would have seen 100 or more bands over the years including 20 or so overseas acts. Any way I digress, the best part of the music in those days was the range of music being produced on albums and the availability of venues to go and see a band. Even living in the Mount we were able to see every major act and many not so famous and we could travel to Adelaide, Melbourne, Warnnambool or Portland or we could attend any of the various pop festivals that were staged. It's interesting that everyone remembers Sunbury and forgets that just about every state had several pop festivals inthat period. I went to about 5 and got the exposure to all the bands that did not travel out to the country normally. The La de Das with Leo De Castro were a great band and so were the Dingoes.
Bruce Milne - the view from the 'burbs of Melbourne
February 1972. I was 14 and going to my first ever rock concert (well, not counting High School dances). It was at the Much More Ballroom, a venue that was already legendary in my mind as an avid reader of Go Set. Held at Cathedral Hall in Brunswick St (the venue is still there, between Victoria and Gertrude). It was packed. I'd like to say the air was thick with the smell of marijuana, but I'm not honestly sure I would have known what that was back then. Given the penalties back then, I doubt anyone would have been game to light up. No alcohol, this was before you could easily get a drink in Melbourne. The headlining band was Spectrum. It may have been the launch of their Milesago double album. Whatever, it was an incredible experience Long weaving songs unlike anything I'd experienced before. And Bani McSpedden's light show. (actually Hugh McSpedden's lightshow- ed.) Can I say it blew my mind? I was a music fanatic, but fairly obsessed with 50/60s rock'n'roll. I had nothing but contempt for the music I had to endure at mends parties - Deep Purple / Zeppelin / Sabbath and Carole King / James Taylor / Arlo Guthrie (when the girls took over). Spectrum was something completely different. After that night, I went to see Spectrum every chance I got. One weekend that year, I managed to see them four times. Spectrum also evolved their alter-ego band, Murtceps - at that time. Spectrum was the concert band, they were perfect in a setting like the Much More. Murtceps was a stripped down rock version - suitable for suburban gigs (Q Club, Box Hill Town Hall, and the evolving pub gigs). I loved them both. Listening back now, Murtceps still sound fine on record, but Spectrum never captured "it". Their sound was an untouchable live experience of a time and a place. No one else even came close.