down to the start of the month
The Strathie pavilion with the impressive marquee
looming over the tennis courts
The screen saver of Bill looking studious oversaw
proceedings 3) Rose and Georgina at the lectern
Geoff 'Goof' Miller and his daughter Andie came
over from SA 5 )Steve Romig sings 6) Part of the
feast on display
The new-look Spectrum with Dirk Dubois on bass.
I'm the tallest bloke left on stage now..
Ariel's Tim Gaze joined Spectrum 9) Warren Morgan
and Gil Matthews joined Phil Manning
Phil lets a lick do the talking 11) Blackfeather's
Neale Johns sings Seasons of Change
The Pardoners' Glyn Mason dressed for the chill
13) Sam See went
for the Left Bank
Jennie and Dr Wazz dancing in the aisles 15) Robbo
(obscured) Dirk and Mike blow out Bill's Last
& 17) The memorial tree by the Chads Creek
bridge bears tribute to the passing of Strathie
Sat. 17.8.13 Bill's Last Gig Strathewen Sport
& Recreation Reserve
Sun. 18.8.13 Molesworth Hotel
Last Gig and the post-Putt Spectrum trio gig
20.8.13 - Maria,
my son Chris, Dirk Dubois and I arrived together
in the van at the Strathie pavilion just after
11.30 and found the marquee erected the previous
day for Bill's Last Gig resolutely in place (pic
1) despite the buffeting it took from the
gales overnight. The big screen (pic 2)
and the impressive stage were in place and the
food (pic 6) and the bar were being made
ready. As I walked into the marquee it occurrred
to me for the first time that we might possibly
have over-estimated how many people would turn
up - after all there was seating for a thousand
and standing room for a few hundred more - but
I needn't have worried because as 1.00 approached
the seats were filling up rapidly.
Jeff Joseph, who'd presided over the private funeral
on the Wednesday was officiating again and after
a short preamble he introduced Rosemary's grand-daughter
Celia singing The Rose accompanied by
stepfather Wes on the piano. I didn't know Celia
sang and it would've been quite understandable
had nerves got the bettter of her, but she was
brave and sang so well that I was very impressed
- and proud of her for some reason.
Bill's partner Rosemary and her daughter Georgina
(pic 3) got up to speak with Rosemary
reading the prophetic lyrics (Life's a Fuckin'
Lottery) that Bill wrote in the hospital
waiting room, followed by a very vivid evocation
of Bill as all-round concerned citizen and Sheriff
of Strathewen by Malcolm Hackett on behalf of
the valley community.
Rose's brother and the valley's bush poet, Ian
McKimmie, got up and read his poem about Bill
which was in turn followed by Bill's Valley
of Ewen DVD, summing up from two perspectives
what the Strathewen community meant to Bill.
I got up to speak and riffed on something or other
about our long association - I really don't remember
much about it - and then Spectrum and Ariel's
manager in the '70s and long-time friend Phil
Jacobsen eventually found his way to the lectern
and explained how much Bill had meant to him in
his formative years in the rock industry.
Tracy Bartram strode to the stage and made us
all laugh when she talked about Bill the fellow
tall person, then Jeff Joseph announced that a
Geoff Matthews was going to speak. When nobody
materialised Gil Matthews invoked a comparison
between Bill (Putt) and Billy (Thorpe) which may've
mystified a few punters. Bill's great Adelaide
bass-playing mate Geoff Miller (not Matthews)
and his daughter Andie finally took the stage
- and Andie made me cry for the only time that
afternoon when Geoff lifted her to the microphone
and she said, 'goodbye Uncle Bill'.
The shattered remnants of Spectrum plus Bill's
stand-in, Chain's bassist Dirk Dubois, wandered
onto the stage after Jeff's wrap-up of the serious
part of the afternoon's proceedings and played
The Song (I'll Be Gone) which brought
tears to the eyes of the most hardened Spectrumites.
We then played Going Home and We
Are Indelible with Geoff Miller on bass (sporting
a big paper moustache), followed by Bill's inevitable
suggestion when I was scratching for a song, Fly
Without its Wings. I picked up my Morris
nylon-string and we began I Play My Guitar
whereupon Tim Gaze arrived on stage and started
adding his fantastical embellishments.
Robbo gave up his drum kit for Nigel Macara and
we played a short Ariel set including Jamaican
Farewell, Red Hot Momma and Worm-turning
Blues and by then things were really cooking
- the guitar exchanges between Tim and me made
me feel young again.
Steve Romig made the first of three appearances
and then Phil Manning was playing his superb guitar
piece, Migrants Dance. Dirk, Warren 'Pig'
Morgan and Gil Matthews joined Phil for a rousing
blues trilogy which I was supposed to join on
harp, but I'd been waylaid in the meantime by
multitudes of friends and well-wishers and missed
Next on was Blackfeather (pic 11) followed
by Pardoners' Glyn and Sam (pics 12 &
13) and by now I doubt the punters could
believe their luck at the line-up on show. But
all good things have to come to an end, which
is what the day was all about really. The air
was chilling and people were starting to drift
off home by the time Spectrum returned for two
last blues hurrahs.
Dirk, Robbo and I blew out Bill's candle on Dirk's
rig (pic 15) and saluted the man and
the bass-player one last time. As we left Strathie
we paused at the Chadds Creek bridge and photographed
the dedication on the tree. (pics 16 &
A huge thank you to Andrew and the team at Light
and Sound, Rob Harwood, Jeff Joseph, the Strathewen
community including the local divisions of the
CFA, the Hurstbridge police, Malcolm Hackett and
especially Graeme McKimmie and Philip Jacobsen,
without whose contributions none of this would've
been possible, Di Buetell and the ladies who put
together the magnificent feast and the St Andrews
Most of all thanks to Bill's partner Rosemary
and her daughter Georgina who had the vision and
determination to make this event happen. There
have been mentions of continuing the concept annually
by way of a perpetual memorial to Bill. If the
feedback we've been getting is any indication,
we'd be foolish not to.
1 by Michael Granat pics 2 - 5 & 7 - 14 by
Peter Koryn pics 6 & 15 by Warren Sellers
Tunnicliffe relates the impression Bill made on
his world on the Correspondence
I'm not sure what I had in mind when I declined
the opportunity to cancel the Molesworth pub gig,
but in the event it proved to be a distraction
from the necessarily sombre proceedings since
Bill died. Mind you, it was a big test for bassist
Dirk Dubois learning two-thirds of the Spectrum
repertoire in barely enough time, but he accomplished
the task cum laude, as perhaps you'd
expect given his luminous career as Big Goose's
replacement in Chain. And he's a good
guy. (pic 19)
We'd never been to Molesworth before so enjoyed
the scenic drive up, although the weather started
to turn on us as we arrived. We loaded in then
enjoyed a more than adequate meal while the entertainment
officer went through his auctioneering routine.-
Maria accidently bid on some trinket while waving
across the room to the Drs Sellers.
Peter Carolan and Bob (pic 18) and Jennie
made the journey up, with a surprise visit by
a visibly shaken Alana Galea. Dirk was absolutely
on the ball and I was able to relax and enjoy
the playing - it was a fun afternoon given the
circumstances. The publican Dave James was grateful
we made the effort, as were the knowledgeable
elements in the crowd who gave us a standing O
at the end of the day. I think we'll be back -
whoever we are..
Peter Carolan (right) and Bob came to the Molesworth
pub 19) Dirk Dubois waves goodbye at Tulla
Romig performs at the Vesbar but this time he's
Sun. 11.8.13 Vesbar Wine Lounge
a welcome distraction
14.8.13 - I could never have
imagined the circumstances I'd be in when this solo
gig was booked, but in the event I thought it might
be a distraction from the turbulence of the moment.
And so it proved to be, despite my frame of mind
and having the barest preparation I managed to totally
immerse myself in the moment and glean quite a bit
of enjoyment from the experience.
In the meantime there's the coming weekend to be
tackled with Bill's Last Gig and the trio
gig on the Sunday at the Molesworth Hotel. I've
talked Chain's bassist, Dirk Dubois into coming
down to Melbourne from Uki in NSW to play with us
- should be fun..
Bill Putt shrine accumulating in Rosemary's cottage
Last Gig - times and location details
10.8.13 - As per Bill's wishes,
'Bill's Last Gig' will be held this coming Saturday
the 17th of August at the Strathewen Recreation
Reserve, 160 Chadds Creek Rd, Strathewen. Tributes
and other formalities are planned from 1.00 - 3.30
to be followed by music from Spectrum's Mike, Robbo
and Daryl who'll be joined by special guest Dirk
Dubois (Chain) on bass with other musical contributions
from fellow musicians in the room.
The Strathewen community will rally around and plates
will be brought, parking will be marshalled and
warm Strathie hospitality extended to one and all.
More to come.
links to stuff about Bill
9.8.13 - There have been some links
that you might like to check out in relation to
Bill including The
Music.com.au with the podcast of Red Symons'
tribute on 774. There's a nice bit in Thursday's
Age too. The last recorded version of I'll
Be Gone with Bill looming large and looking
very dapper from the recent Masters of Rock concert
is on Asylum
TV Some nice pics of Bill in full flight on
Some more links..
18.8.13 - Try Sunday's The
Australian for Alan Howe's comprehensive tribute
and a lovely YouTube
clip from Mark Holden. And here's another audio
clip from 3MDR's Phil Sheppard featuring Bill's
live in Phil's loungeroom. And a brief story by
Vin Maskell in Stereo
8.8.13 - Yesterday I learned of
the death of my long-time best friend and musical
companion, Bill Putt. In as much as one ever thinks
of these things, I never imagined Bill would be
the first to go. Apparently he had a heart attack
while chain-sawing wood over the valley from his
and Rosemary's home in Strathewen just after midday
yesterday (Wednesday). He was by all reports happy
and doing something he loved, but I know this
isn't what he'd have wanted. Bill has been a rock
to me ever since I've known him and his love and
generosity of spirit touched everybody he met.
His unassuming and gentle nature will be sorely
missed, especially by children whom he adored.
I am beyond devastated. Bill was an exemplar of
the understated bass-man and his recent songwriting
reflected his love of the people and the world
I've been inundated with messages of support from
friends, fellow musicians and people whose lives
he's touched.. I shall let everybody know of arrangements
as they come to hand.
Robbo and Lisa, Daryl and
Deb and Maria and I extend our love and sincerest
condolences to Rosemary and her family.
Vale Bill, my old friend.
Meet the reigning backgammon champion of Strathewen,
Mr Bill Putt 2) Andrew Garton enthuses
Super Slide Show - a celebration of Hugh McSpedden's
original shows projected..
4.8.13 - Bill and I were invited by Andrew
Garton (pic 2) to meet with him yesterday
at the Bridge 2 Eden café in Hurstbridge
to discuss the Hugh McSpedden Super Slide Show
event planned to be held at the Hurstbridge
Hall on the evening of Saturday the 14th of September.
The event is contingent on a grant coming through
in time, but Andrew seems confident that it will,
so I'll keep you appraised of progress as it comes
to hand. It'll be great to work with Hugh again
of course, but the musical side, with Andrew's Sun-Bus-5
and special guests (Bill and me) performing a new
psychedelic ambient work, Waning Crescent,
accompanying Hugh's projections and archive of slides
from the original Super Shows and Christmas Hills
Festivals, sounds very intriguing - unmissable in
Of course Bill had to show off his Backgammon trophy
(pic 1) and then celebrated the Tigers'
win over the Hawks later the same afternoon, so
he really had a day to remember.
welcomes me to the Badlands video shoot
Madder Lake album saga rolls on..
2.8.13 - From time to time
I drop in on Brenden Mason (pic) at Real
Guitars with some annoying guitar problem or
other which he attends to while we discuss our ludicrous
post-terminal music careers. Last time I was there
he played me the video for Badlands, a
cracking track from the Madders' forthcoming World
album and mentioned that they'd like to shoot some
video of me doing the harp parts.
I eventually got the call and turned up at Bren's
Surrey Hills' residence last night and we adjourned
to the studio at the end of the garden with fellow
Madders Andy Burns and Kerry McKenna. After forty-five
minutes of prancing about in front of the camera
I was just warming up - but the shoot was already
over. Story of my life really..