Mike plays a solo set
in another state
- So, I get this
call from John 'Pembo' Pemberton in South Australia asking if I'd be
interested in doing a solo set supporting Ronnie Charles' Celebration
of the songs of The Loved Ones at the most famous-est Adelaide
live music venue, the Gov (the Governor Hindmarsh to you).
I suppose I should've felt grateful - and I was too, especially as it
was dropped in my lap utterly unsolicited - but in light of some ambiguous
solo performances in the recent past I knew I'd have to put in a few
hard yards - well, quite a few really - to get myself up to
Such reservations aside I simply can't afford to refuse a gig and immediately
began my preparation.
On the actual day, in between the sound check and arriving back at the
Gov with Maria, there was an spectacularly prolific tropical-type storm
- Hindley St was a river - and despite all the available fans going
full tilt at the Gov, the apparent absence of air conditioning meant
that everyone, on and off stage, was in a sweaty lather.
I'd managed to coordinate a useful guitar and vocal sound at sound check
and when I eventually started to play I was gratified that it sounded
even better now that it was supplemented with the front of house.
My nerves were admittedly jangling but the work I'd been doing for the
previous weeks paid off and kept me on track. I'd made some interesting/personal
selections song-wise that meant a good part of the audience wasn't necessarily
engaged all the time, but that didn't concern me as much as putting
on a mistake-free performance.
I looked at my watch. Good Lord! Nearly an hour had passed already and
I still had three or four songs to play.
Oh well. I decided to draw stumps without my crowd-pleasing finale (Esmeralda)
and got a nice round of applause anyway.
Before Ronnie and the band came on Pembo conducted an interview with
Treva Richards, former Loved Ones' keyboardist whom I hadn't realised
had been inducted into the SA Hall of Fame, probably one of the reasons
for the show in the first place now that I think of it.
The Loved Ones were a very important band in my personal musical journey.
My own band, Chants R&B, had just arrived in Melbourne from Christchurch
when we saw TLO at Sebastians back in 1966-67.
Being in a band that wholly played covers, The Loved Ones were a revelation
to me. On reflection I think that night probably sowed the seeds of
the Chants' demise some six short months later, after which I eagerly
accepted an offer to join Ross Wilson's The Party Machine as bass player
when Ross had just begun the process of building a repertoire of his
own highly original songs.
TLO's drummer, Gavin Anderson, was later to become The Party Machine's
manager and during Pembo's interview with Treva, Gavin appeared on video
looking very prosperous. ('He was always good with figures' Treva told
It was also Pembo who asked if I wouldn't mind playing some harp with
Ronnie and the band during the Loved Ones' part of the night and I had
a bit of fun with that. Maria thought it was the best part of the night.
Gerry Humphrys' wife Claire was in the room and asked me if I played
Momma, Did Jesus Wear Makeup? because she and Gerry listened
to it over and over when they were in London.
I think she was a little disappointed when I said that I didn't think
I'd ever played it live, but just the fact that she was there added
extra credibility to the night.
In fact, there were Loved Ones' fans from all parts of Australia in
attendance and the night was judged to be a great success both as a
show and a drawcard.
It's interesting though. Ronnie told me that the band he had backing
him on the night was one of the better bands he'd worked with, but it
just emphasised to me that TLOs were by no means a regulation rock band.
Individually they weren't even great players, but they had a Plan and
something magical happened when they wrote and performed their songs
- this magical ingredient ensured that the whole was far greater than
the sum of the parts.
Perhaps their lack of rock virtuosity meant they were actually compelled
to invent their own musical vocabulary, but as a result their songs
sound like nobody else's - ever, anywhere.
They also had the nerve to write hugely dramatic songs with an overtly
sexual narrative that naturally appealed to their principal audience
of young girls, (the Plan), particularly when the songs were sung by
Gerry Humphrys, that wicked gypsy singer, master of ceremonies and perverter
of young girls' morals the like of whom will probably never be seen
It was an honour to be part of this show. Thanks for the invite, Pembo.
The first Spectrum
gig for the year goes..
28.1.20 - I
got the call from Brenden Mason about a month ago. Spectrum had
been asked to play at Rick Evans' Australia Day Picnic in rural Beaconsfield,
the gig that I had attended for the first time the year before when
Madder Lake backed me for a couple of numbers.
It's not really a gig - it's an Australia Day picnic, with
most of the extant glitterati from the Melbourne '60s' scene in attendance
- but it still feels like a gig when you haven't played anything at
all for several months.
Spectrum keyboardist Daryl Roberts was unavailable and bassist Broc
O'Connor was in doubt, still recovering from his serious operation,
so I wondered at the time if it was possible at all, but Broc, the eternal
optimist, figured he'd be well enough by then and I thought we could
make it without keys OK for a thirty minute set, so I accepted.
Maria had decided that she'd like to come and so we picked up Broc in
the trusty-rusty van and headed off to Beaconsfield on a pleasant enough
Just before we arrived I suddenly had a sinking feeling that I'd left
my harps behind. It turned out to be a false alarm but presaged some
more senior moments to come.
We'd arrived at just after 1.00 for a 2.00 set, but there had been some
delays and we ended up taking the stage after 2.45.
My set-up was interrupted by the presentation of a birthday cake to
David Briggs and I forgot to check a) my tuning and b)
every other pedal on my pedalboard.
As a consequence I began the first song (We Are Indelible)
noticeably out of tune, but worse was to come. When it came to my solo
I discovered that my volume was way out of control and at the same time
my delay was on a setting I'd never before encountered. And this was
only the first song!
As a result I was a little unsettled and when it came to starting the
second number, Indelible Shuffle, I went blank. I helpfully
remembered how it went some hours later.
Ultimately it was a very quick thirty minutes and we didn't even get
to play the entire set as planned. A trim-looking Sam See said it sounded
really good and everybody else that spoke to me was complimentary, so
it definitely wasn't as bad as it felt.
In fact, there were some very good things. For example, I noticed that
Brenden really nailed his solo in Some Good Advice. Broc manfully
tied up the bottom end throughout like only he can.
Andy Burns sat in on keys for the whole set while Robbo fired up the
grooves on Gil Matthews' kit - he said later he almost felt at home
on the drum rostrum after playing a set earlier with The Hibernators.
Incidentally, I had a couple of nice chats with Normie Rowe before and
after the set. Norm's had some health issues lately but it looks like
he's finally on the mend.
Now a note for my SA readers. I've been working hard in preparation
for the gig at the Gov this Friday. I suspect I might have too many
songs still, but I'm happy with the balance of ancient and less ancient
songs from the Mike Rudd Songbook.
It'll be just me and the Morris nylon-string guitar with sparing recourse
to the Ditto loop pedal. As a nod to my rock & roll heritage I'm
gonna try standing this time, but don't be too surprised if that changes.
I'm looking forward to playing and then staying for the overdue tribute
to the songs of the innovative Loved Ones presented by the indefatigable