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gig report  

1) Two Petes - Peter Robertson and Peter Dougherty
Frenetic weekend for Spectrum
27.3.06 - (Relatively speaking, of course - we are getting on a bit). First there was my solo gig at the Clifton Hill on Friday (report below), then on Saturday night, Spectrum's return to the Bodhi Tree Café in Healesville. The first gig last month, whilst fun, was sparsely attended, and I was rather hoping that there'd be a few more this time round. As it turned out, The Games phenomenon was still influencing not only the weather but the populace's entertainment choices, so it wasn't much improved, but it certainly was a mixed bag. On the quality side, and speaking of the weather, TV celebrity and environmentalist Rob Gell was there with a group of friends, and we managed to have a bit of a chat.

2) Jess and Michael show off
The birthday girl of a couple of weeks ago, Debby Cheeseman was there also, but it was some of the other more eccentric locals that made for a colourful night. First there was Peter Dougherty, who not only confessed to being a Spectrum fan from 'day one', but that he'd scored a few roots back in the '70s due to a passing resemblance to Bill Putt. Judge for yourself (pic 1 above).
Then there was this bird who offered to 'double up' with Robbo and me in the uni-sex toilet, and then, at the end of the night while Robbo was packing up his kit, suggested that while he was down there he could 'lick her out'! Goodness, I thought those kind of suggestions were long behind us! The light wasn't very good though..
Last night (Sunday) we had the very pleasant task of providing some music for Brenden Mason's daughter's wedding reception at the Port Melbourne Yacht Club. Bill's known Jess since the day she was born, and with Blackfeather's Neal Johns provided some guitar accompaniament at the service at the Fairfield
Amphitheatre, (while Robbo and I revved it up with Cuban Slim and The Bay Of Pigs at Broc's BBQ!).
I graciously got to the Yacht Club early and bumped in most of the gear until the Bill and Robbo turned up (they'll pay!), and was still changing into my (white-ish) shirt when the guests started to arrive.
In brief, the reception was a lot of fun, the catering was superior, and the guests appreciated our contribution. Jess and Michael made a lovely couple, and their friends, as represented by the bridal party, seemed to be a bright, resourceful lot. Brenden went out of his way to look after the band and made for a proud father.
I hung around at the end to oversee the PA being used as a disco and then bumped out the gear all by myself, while Robbo went to another gig (!) and Bill headed home. I was pretty exhausted by then, but still couldn't resist watching a bit of cricket before finally crawling to bed. Hooray!
gig report

1) Mick O'Connor, Mike and Brod Smith 2) Brod joins Mike on harp to flesh out I'll Be Gone (pics Jeff Turnbull)

Brod Smith at the Clifton Hill Hotel
26.3.06 -
Brod is based in Castlemaine these days and doesn't visit Melbourne all that often - he told me he'd just got back from doing a gig sitting in with The Backsliders in Broken Hill - so it's even more noteworthy that he's recently been doing a series of Friday night gigs at the Clifton Hill Hotel's Emerald Room with a varied list of guest artists. I guess with the Games in full swing it was going to be problematic whether there was going to be an audience, and so it turned out on this occasion - I would say there were barely a dozen in attendance - but with Brod in hilarious anecdotal form, not to mention the attractions of his harp playing and easy, grainy singing style, the thousands elsewhere missed out on an entertaining evening's performance. And in a spooky preview of the epic Lawson gig coming up in May, Brod joined me on harp to play I'll Be Gone at the end of my short introductory set - amongst the long list of things I haven't done, I have yet to master the playing-the-harmonica-on-a-harness trick.

Brod and Mick will be playing the Emerald Room at the Clifton Hill Hotel with Fiona Boyes next Friday 31st.

Spectrum returns to the Bodhi Tree Café
23.3.06 -
And we're all looking forward to this one on Saturday night, the second in an initial series of three at our happy hippy home in Healesville. Don't forget that Mike makes a solo appearance early (8.15ish) at the Clifton Hill Hotel tomorrow (Fri.) night, in company with the incomparable Brod Smith and the Reverend Mick O'Connor

Website back on line
23.3.06 -
I'm happy to report that the problem with the Contact page has been resolved. My apologies to those of you who may have been inconvenienced.

1) This is the place!
The Forth Valley Blues Festival
20.3.06 -
Spectrum hadn't been to Tassie this century, and still wouldn't have had it not been for the good offices of Paul Barter, the brains (and brawn) behind Barter Drums, the drums of choice for Spectrum's very own Robbo. Paul not only invited us over, he and his good wife Di put us up in their fabulous house just out of Devonport, not to mention drove us back and forth from the airport and the festival site.
We arrived on Friday and spent a relaxing evening with the Barters and enjoyed Paul's seafood paella. Bill put in his first entry for DOTT (Dick of the tour) by casually elbowing Di's priceless reclining porcelain figurine onto the floor and decapitating it, but I had a few surprises in store and felt confident of snaring the award.
The next day Di took us down to the festival site and we had plenty of time to look around and check out the stalls and chat to some of the other musos. more

2) Qantas' Anthony answers the lager phone 3) Paul Barter takes a breather before a cuppa

4) Hula hoops have arrived in Tassie! 5) Those naughty sex aids girls go into a huddle

6) Mike and Mad Dog remember good times 7) The tireless Kaz looks forward to something
8) The Lemon Sucking Daddies rock on 9) The standard fashion statement by harpists is still snakeskin shoes

8) A neat shot of my favourite band of the day, (you should check 'em out), The Detonators

The Forth Valley Blues Festival (cont.)
The weather was fine and a good crowd was expected. I dropped our CDs off with the ever-cheerful Kaz and listened to some of the other bands on the bill. The Forth Festival is unusual in that most of the acts play two spots - one in the afternoon and one in the evening - which is an idea worth considering for other festivals.
It wasn't till we got on stage for our first spot that my first contender for DOTT was revealed. I'd unusually locked my guitar case for the flight over, but I'd

9) Ask not for whom the crowd applauds - it's for somebody else

cunningly left my keys back at the Barters' and had to force the case open with a screwdriver. Not bad eh?
After our set Di drove us back home where I used the proper key to open the case and determined there was no major damage to the lock. We watched some footy and Di drove us back to the site to play our second set, the retro-set, which went down OK, even though the crowd really wanted to dance.
The next morning we dicovered that Bill had got his picture in the paper, sub-titled 'Stringer: Spectrum's Bill Putt strums along to the music', which caused Bill some little discomfort as he despises strummers for some reason. We shouted the Barters lunch for their kindnesses and then sat around chatting and watching videos till it was time to go. Paul told us a wonderful story about a band playing in Bosnia during the troubles there, which I will trouble him to record so I can pass it on to you - it's a genuine classic.
Paul and Di drove us to the Devonport airport, and it was then I played my master stroke to convincingly win the DOTT award, when I discovered to my horror I'd left my keys (car, house etc.) back at the Barters' house! Fortunately I carry a spare car key with me, so there was no major drama, but I was ribbed all the way home.
All in all it was a fun trip though, and I'm determined not to leave it so long till we go back to the Apple Isle again.

You can contact Paul Barter about all things drums on

For Pete's Sake CD launch

1) Mike and Peter Dawkins (check large pic) 2) Tim Gaze with unemployed bouncer, Russell Morris and Bernie Cannon

3) Troy Cassar- Daley and Tim Gaze duet 4) Glenn Shorrock plays background knees

5) Brian Canham and the boys listen uncomfortably to Wilkins' warm-up 6) James Reyne adjusts his mic stand

7) Pete poses with the team of surgeons who restored his health 8) Mike, Russell, Ross Ryan and Mark Holden

9) Wilkins and Birmingham fry the audience 10) Wilkins salvages the auction from Glenn Shorrock

11) Pete Dawkins on drums with Tim and Mike (pic Ryan)
For Pete's Sake industry bash
- I hope many of you saw the inspiring episode of Australian Story on the ABC that described Peter Dawkins' battle with Parkinson's Syndrome. It was on the LWTTT tour when Bill and I met up with Pete last, and the prognosis was looking very grim, so it was something akin to a miracle to see him bouncing about energetically at the For Pete's Sake CD launch, hugging friends and chatting away happily.
Tim and I opened musical proceedings unannounced to general unengagement, so Pete demanded that we play I'll Be Gone (we hadn't planned to) and then sat in on on drums, which certainly got people's (and cameras) attention. I'm told it even made Channel 10's news. 

1) Mike consoles Debby late in the the night 2) Deb's daughter Keira (right) and Casey
Debby's birthday goes ballistic!
14.3.06 - Last weekend was a biggie, what with Debby Cheeseman' s birthday on Saturday night, and the more regulation St Andrews' pub on the very next arvo. Debby's party was great fun, with nearly everybody dressing up as some Hollywood star or legend, complemented by the backdrop of Debby's

3) Elaine, Jeff and Mike - wearing the same smelly shirt!
stunning horsey property just back of Healesville. Robbo and I dropped in a couple of weeks ago on the way to the Bodhi Tree Café to check some last minute details and picked up a bucket of passionfruit for our trouble - Debby and Ron are those kind of people. Youngest daughter Keira has even done a school project on Spectrum!
Sunday saw Spectrum re-emerge slightly bleary-eyed as a quartet with the affable Daryl Roberts on keyboards, and there were some almost sublime moments of musical dialogue, especially in the first set - it just keeps getting better!
We had some special guests too - coincidentally including Jeff and Elaine Edwards whose birthday party we played at late last year.
Spectrum at St Andrews this Sunday
10.3.06 -
I've been a bit too handy with the mailouts of late, so just in case you don't automatically peruse the Gig page (you should!) we're on this Sunday the 12th at St Andrews, again with the added lustre of Daryl on keys, so the retro-Spectrum set will be a happening thing.
Darren Jones Memorial show
10.3.06 -
Most Melburnians will be aware of that horribly regrettable incident that resulted in the death of young musician, Darren Jones. There's a show on to raise money for the family at Ruby's in Belgrave on this Monday 13th from 2.00pm till late. It's a good lineup too - for more info ring 9754 7445
Piledriver rocks on!
10.3.6 -
Status Quo tribute band Piledriver and the self-evident Twin Lizzy return to the Greyhound Hotel in St Kilda on Fri. April 7th, and Piledriver go it alone at the Evelyn Hotel in Fitzroy on Sat. April 15th (Easter weekend). This is just the start - soon they'll be rockin' all over the world..
gig report
Get Behind Yer Roots

1) Broc teases out another cascade of notes to Diana Wolfe's approval 2) Moderator Billy Pinnell

3) Craig Horne is a lying blues singer 4) Jeff Burstin 5) Wayne Duncan wonders which train to catch home

6) Handsome Wayne Burt
Plenty of roots at the Willy RSL
6.3.06 -
The Get Behind Yer Roots show at the Willy RSL yesterday (Sun.) went about as well as organiser/organ grinder Daryl Roberts could've hoped. In a frenzied outpouring of altruism, possibly unsustainable in the long term, Daryl found the sponsors, booked the venue, the PA and the bands, persuaded Billy Pinnell to compere and played the opening set with Spectrum, while still managing to find time to help me load in and out.
Not content with these achievements, he got Asylum TV along to film the resultant event, and with any luck, bits of the show will be broadcast in a few weeks time - I'll let you know when and where.
I spent most of the afternoon chatting to people, (see ASR) interspersed with affecting to snooze and guesting with The Wolfegang and The Hornets (playing Spectrum's Going Home - hooray!) on mouth harp. Admittedly I was trapped, not being able to get the gear out till the show finished, but I still had a good time.

1) Sarah's friends came to the Modewarre Hall from far and wide - some even brought caravans

2) Sarah's speech is hijacked 3) Steve considers a retort
Sarah's birthday bash in Modewarre
5.3.06 -
We've known Sarah, her husband Steve and the former Little Jimmy, (now Enormous James), for many years now - whenever we play anywhere in the vicinity of Geelong, the Ramsays are inevitably present, or sending their apologies. So it was a very happy occasion for Bill, Robbo and me to play at Sarah's birthday party on Saturday night. The Modewarre Hall fairly resonates with the sporting deeds of former Modewarrens and safely saw out another generation's idea of birthday fun. The theme was the seventies, so we fitted right in, and more people than usual actually remembered who we were.
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