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Bill's Last Gig

1) The Strathie pavilion with the impressive marquee looming over the tennis courts

2) The screen saver of Bill looking studious oversaw proceedings 3) Rose and Georgina at the lectern

4) Geoff 'Goof' Miller and his daughter Andie came over from SA 5 )Steve Romig sings 6) Part of the feast on display

7) The new-look Spectrum with Dirk Dubois on bass. I'm the tallest bloke left on stage now..

8) Ariel's Tim Gaze joined Spectrum 9) Warren Morgan and Gil Matthews joined Phil Manning

10) Phil lets a lick do the talking 11) Blackfeather's Neale Johns sings Seasons of Change

12) The Pardoners' Glyn Mason dressed for the chill 13) Sam See went for the Left Bank

14) Jennie and Dr Wazz dancing in the aisles 15) Robbo (obscured) Dirk and Mike blow out Bill's Last Gig candle

16 & 17) The memorial tree by the Chads Creek bridge bears tribute to the passing of Strathie Bill
gig report
Sat. 17.8.13 Bill's Last Gig Strathewen Sport & Recreation Reserve
Sun. 18.8.13 Molesworth Hotel
Bill's 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 my cue.
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 & 17)
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 Hotel's bar.
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.

*pic 1 by Michael Granat pics 2 - 5 & 7 - 14 by Peter Koryn pics 6 & 15 by Warren Sellers
**Laurie Tunnicliffe relates the impression Bill made on his world on the Correspondence page

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..

18) Peter Carolan (right) and Bob came to the Molesworth pub 19) Dirk Dubois waves goodbye at Tulla


Steve Romig performs at the Vesbar but this time he's an audient
gig report
Sun. 11.8.13 Vesbar Wine Lounge
Somerville 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..

The Bill Putt shrine accumulating in Rosemary's cottage
Bill's 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.
Some 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 with the podcast of Red Symons' tribute on 774. There's a nice bit in Thursday's The 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 The Dwarf too.

Some more links..

- 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 song Jenwah live in Phil's loungeroom. And a brief story by Vin Maskell in Stereo Stories

Bill Putt 22228.3.47 - 7.8.13

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 around him.

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.


1) Meet the reigning backgammon champion of Strathewen, Mr Bill Putt 2) Andrew Garton enthuses
The 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 fact.
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.

Brenden welcomes me to the Badlands video shoot
The 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..
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