Mike Rudd's
Stop Press
Jan. issue #191

Mike does his very best at the famous Gov in downtown Adelaide at a very special tribute to the songs of The Loved Ones. Fri. 31.1.20

Mike plays on not seeing the moon is behind him (MG)

Mike plays a solo set in another state
4.2.20 - 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 par.
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 me).
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 again.
It was an honour to be part of this show. Thanks for the invite, Pembo.

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A repeat of the unexpected is what exactly? Anyway, the 2020 season starts almost as it did in 2019..

Robbo and Broc an hour or so before hitting the stage

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 holiday Monday.
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 Ronnie Charles.

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