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Day in Goodna with The Vagabond Crew
Storey Bridge leads into my room 2) Russell absorbs 3) Rob Hirst
rips it up (see large
listens to the Schumann Think Tank 5) Troy Cassar-Daley chats
to John, Hughie and Russell pre-gig
Goodna crowd good naturedly waits for The Vagabond Crew 7) Kat
Kraus is surprised by Rudd paparazzi
Brod Smith sings something or other that I'm not involved with
and then 9) focuses on the trip home
of my trip to Goodna in Qld
27.4.06 - Yep - that's where
Goodna is; Ipswich Qld, about forty five minutes out of Brisbane.
An early rise on Monday morning to get to Hughie's place in
Kew by eight o'clock, and then off to Tulla courtesy of Hugh's
friend, Adam. Meet up with some of the others in the Qantas
Club - not frequented by me normally, but John Schumann's
second home apparently - and have a little brekky before boarding
our flight and starting to read the Haruki Murakami book that
Richard has lent me.
Brisbane: On the way to the Medina Apartments in the cab,
start to get a feel for the Crew banter - a little different
from the Spectrum 'Feeble' humour, but otherwise good natured,
blokes-on-the-road stuff. Rehearsal on location in Goodna
called for midday, so we just get settled in and we're off
to Goodna in a couple of cabs.
Rehearsal is in the old Goodna RSL and goes on quite a long
time - Rob Hirst hasn't rehearsed with the band before today
and is energetically getting involved in as much as possible.
He is taking Toby's place in I'll Be Gone by request
and we do it a couple of times. The VC's version is a blast
- they ride the bass line in the bridges for all they're worth
and it sounds powerful.
The next day we sound check on the actual stage and I'm relieved
to see that one of the auto cue monitors is almost directly
in front of me, but I stick my cheat sheets on the stage by
my mic stand anyway. The lyrics that I'm supposed to know
off by heart have been bouncing off my brain cells harmlessly
for the last two weeks, and I've been panicking that I'm going
to let the show down 'cause I can't read my lyrics in the
gloom. It's quite taken the edge off for me in an otherwise
relaxed build up to the show.
Nobody goes back to the apartments, so it's a long wait till
we go on stage at sundown. I go out to buy an ice cream with
Toby and Shannon and we feel quite daring and label ourselves
the 'ice-cream splinter group'. 'What kind of rock & roll
show is this?' demands Russell.
Eventually we get on stage. The sun has all but disappeared
and the lights take over. The show starts and there's a wave
of emotion from the crowd that ignites the band and, for the
first time since we started rehearsing, it actually seems
to be the coherent show that John Schumann and Mick Wordley
must've had in their heads when they were originally planning
it. Of course there were hiccups, the most ironic being when
Shannon came to his defining guitar hero moment replicating
Ian Moss' solo in When the War Is Over - and one
of his pedals haemorrhaged and he was rendered totally mute.
By the time he re-established contact, the moment had gone.
The reception when we finally get off stage is darn-near euphoric.
Grown men in tears etc. I meet up with my loyal Qld
relatives in the RSL's gaming room, where Robyn and Margaret
are already feeling a 'but tunny'. I have a quick chat with
Syl and Fraser over a beer, and then it's time to go. I'm
given a lift back to Brisbane with VJ from the agency, who
talks about her fear of sharks and her beach volleyball and
her boxing, and I think if I was forty years younger.. We
meet up with the rest of the Crew for drinks and pizza at
a trendy bar over the bridge from the apartments, and we eat
and drink and chat until I can stand it no more and manage
to cadge a lift with Russell back to the apartments.
An early start the next day to catch the plane home, and I'm
suddenly back in Camberwell, feeling slightly wobbly - and
An ironic but predictable corollary: For the last couple of
days those recalcitrant bloody lyrics have decided that they'll
stick now thank you very much, and I haven't been able to
get them out of my head.
Act launch on TV - part 3
27.4.06 - Those of you who, on my recommendation,
were glued to the ABC's Stateline last Friday, will just have
to accept my apologies for the non-appearance of the advertised
item. Anyway, I'm now reliably informed that the Stateline
story on the Support Act Launch goes to air on the ABC tomorrow
night, Friday 28th at 7.30, and is then repeated on Sat 29th
at noon. Hooray!
poses with the lads at the Lomond
whiff of the Lomond
22.4.06 - It was quite disorientating at
first. Since our last visit, the Lomond has seen fit to install
a stage, and it took a bit of adjustment to, first: fit on it,
and second; get used to the 'new' acoustics and the new diagonal
view. I wasn't happy at the outset - the load-in has been made
more difficult - but after the first couple of songs I got into
the swing of it. We had a guest in young Tia Hunter (pic)
to sing Summertime, which added another dimension to
proceedings, and I don't think the Bistro doors have been opened
before, so altogether it was a night of firsts.
As an aside, I can't wait for a total ban on smoking to come
into effect - the Lomond is the stinkiest gig we play. I store
the gear in the studio, and it stinks for days.
good reason to check out the Demos page..
MIKE, BILL, ROBBO & DARYL!
I DOWN LOADED SILICON VALLEY ………. AND ………..
IT’S JUST AWESOME……… I AM PLAYING IT
REGULARLY IN CAR CD PLAYER AND I KEEP THINKING IT HAS TO BE
THE BEST IF NOT AMONGST THE BEST SPECTRUM TRACKS EVER………NOT
ONLY DOES IT REFLECT AN UPDATED SOUND BUT IT ALSO CONTAINS ECHOES
OF “MILESAGO MATERIAL” ………. BEING
A FIVE MINUTES PLUS TRACK IT IS REMINISCENT OF THE LONG HAUNTING
SPECTRUM SONGS OF OLD……… AS FOR I’LL
BE GONE (B) IT’S BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL AND CAPTURES
THE SPECTRUM FEEL PERFECTLY, I'M SURE THIS VERSION WOULD HAVE
QUALIFIED FOR INCLUSION ON SPECTRUM PT 1 ……. THEY
SAY SOME THINGS ONLY GET BETTER WITH AGE……..
P.S. WE’D LOOK FORWARD TO A SPECTRUM COVERS PAGE ON YOUR
WEBSITE …….. IT WOULD BE VERY INTERESTING TO LISTEN
TO OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS
POST EASTER REGARDS
PETER CAROLAN 18.4.06
Act launch to be shown on ABC TV
19.4.06 - The ABC shot some material and
interviews of the Support Act launch for Stateline, which will
aired on Friday 21st at 7.30pm, then repeated Sat. 22nd at noon.
Asylum TV on Channel 31 also taped the show, and that will air
this coming Tuesday night (25th) and repeated Thurs. 27th at
12:30am and Sat. 29th at 11.00pm.
(pic - Sun. Herald Sun 16.4.06)
Barter's Bosnian story
17.4.06 - Some of you will remember I promised
to pass on a classic road story, told to us in Tassie by Paul
Barter - well, here it is. Enjoy!
A drummer friend of mine, Greg Hynes, was on tour in Europe
in the mid-nineties with a band called Wild Pumpkins At Midnight.
At a gig one night, a young Bosnian lady convinced the band
it would be worth their while to play some gigs in her home
country. This was at the height of the Bosnian conflict, but
she claimed that the people there were starved of entertainment
and their appreciation would be overwhelming, and, she added,
it would also be very financially rewarding - even more so if
they could smuggle in a quantity of fax paper, which apparently
was in short supply at the time.
The band was doing it hard, so after much discussion they decided
to take a chance on doing the Bosnian gigs, and persuaded Greg
to stuff as many rolls of fax paper as he could in his bass
with Liam, Max and Warby's Tracy Bartram
Thyme lives up to its name
16.4.06 - The world's most intimate gig,
or at the very least Melbourne's most intimate, calls for miniaturisation,
and so we use half the PA and the small mixer, I use my small
(Champ) amp - and we sit very still when we play the Wild Thyme
Café. It's worth all the effort though, especially when
you have nights like last night - the rapturous reception for
our every musical twist and turn was food for our weary souls.
Bill was using my Martin guitar in place of his Yari, which
is still in traction, and it really worked nicely, especially
in San Andreas. Easter Saturday might've been a harbinger
of winter - Ron Barassi said there was snow on the hills - but
it was decidedly warm inside..
Act Vic. launch
Michael Chugg flew down from Byron especially to help with
the launch 2)
Peter Laffey eases out another solo
Wilbur plays jazz in blue 4) Steve Romig and Mick Pealing
enjoy the attention
Bob whispers to Paul Norton
Act launch goes off!
Support Act has been an entity in NSW for some years now,
and has been responding to the various dilemmas that musicians
and roadies in particular from all over Australia find themselves
in from time to time, but last night marked the inception of
the Victorian branch, which has been largely fostered by my
mate Bob Valentine and fellow Debonair members, Bob Murfett
and Mae Parker.
I arrived quite early and was there to see Pete Laffey and the
other Kingbees cruisily open the night's proceedings, followed
by his sister Mae Parker belting out some standard rock numbers
(including My Heavy Friend - the theme song for the
night) with Lisa Bade and Big & Horny.
After a few words from Bob Valentine, Michael Chugg then officially
launched SALVIC with an edgy speech, absolutely destroying a
hapless punter who dared to chatter during his rave, followed
by some jazz fom Wilbur Wilde, Alan Zavod and company.
|As is my wont, I left early-ish, (after a good
three hours imbibing smoke and G&Ts I'd really had enough),
and so missed some musical highlights, including the momentary
reformation of the legendary Truth, some songs from Mick Pealing,
and a couple from our friend the gorgeous Enza Pantano. You
shoulda been there..
can contact Support Act on www.supportact.com.au
Support Act launch on this Monday night
8.4.06 - The NSW branch of Support Act played a big
part in raising money for the Peter Dawkin's operation I told
you about last month, so it's about time they raised a profile
in this state too. Have you ever asked yourself what happens
to tinnitus-ridden old wrecks like me when we're put out to
pasture? Musicians are notorious for not planning for their
retirement, and there's nothing sadder than an old muso playing
air guitar in a gutter near you. At the Prahran Hotel, 82 High
St. Prahran (between Punt & Chapel) this Monday night (the
10th) from 7.00 till late, and for a mere gold coin donation,
you can see - maybe even touch - Wilbur Wilde, Nikki Nichols,
Bob Valentine, Lisa Edwards, Mick Pealing, Big & Horny,
The Bees, Mae Parker, and many more helping to launch this worthy
For more info, you can e-mail
or call Mae Parker on 0416 076 349. I'm gonna be there!
Manning, Max Merritt & Wal Bishop with
Mike & Bill
Chain and Max Merritt concerts planned for Rocktober
6.4.06 - Bill and I rolled up to Wal Bishop's
mansion today and met up with Phil Manning and Max Merritt for
a pow-wow about some concerts together later in the year, possibly
to be recorded for a special release DVD. Depending on commitments,
it all looks very possible too, and we all got quite excited
about the prospect of the three bands touring together.
We'll keep you informed as to how it all develops.
Behind Yer Roots tonight
4.4.06 - Just got the word from Daryl that
GBYR 2, starring Spectrum, The Hornets & The Wolfegang will
be on Channel 31 tonight (Tues.) at 11.00, as well as on Thursday
at 12.30am and Saturday night at 11.00. For more info, check
in Geelong this Saturday
5.4.06 - The full complement of Spectrum,
with Daryl Roberts on keys, will be gracing the Limelight Lounge
this Saturday night. I do believe this is the first time for
decades that the real-deal quartet has played the sleepy hollow.
6.4.06 - There are welcome signs
of a breakthrough of sorts between Aztec Music, who have expressed
interest in releasing Spectrum's back-catalogue, and EMI,
who own all the band's early recordings. You should
check out Aztec's
site to see what they've accomplished to date.
Pullan of Edensound Mastering and happy Mike
4.4.06 - 'Waddabout the new album?' I hear
you cry. 'It's coming', I reply with practised weariness. But,
in the meantime, this is as exciting as it gets. Texacali Rose's
Hugh Waylon approached us late last year asking if we'd mind
contributing a song to a compilation the Lomond was assembling,
featuring bands and artists that had played at the Lomond over
In a moment of sheer recklessness, I said we'd write a song
especially for the CD, and, inevitably I was called to account
a few weeks ago.
We'd actually recorded a couple of blues ideas in the interim,
but they were so lame I couldn't bear to offer them up, let
alone finish them, and so I exhumed an idea that was
|intended as an instrumental, called
South Wind, and on a very hot day added some lyrics
to it. The lyrics are about the very situation I was in, i.e.
on a very hot day, can't be bothered doing anything and
waiting for the south wind to bring a refreshing cool change
- so it's called inspirationally, Hot, Hot Day.
I've stuck an mp3 file of Hot, Hot Day on the
Demos page so
you can have a listen to it.
Gaye and John sass up the blues 2) Geof with one 'f' explains
where the accomm. is..
Spectrum with troublemaker Phil Culnane and brother Paul 4)
The damage to Bill's Yari
Gaye with a poster by her young bro' Malcolm 6) Robbo and China
fancier Bec in Deni
does Kevin at the Club
proves bigger than first thought
2.4.06 - The getting from point A to
point B in Canberra's always been a bit of a mystery to me,
and so it proved this time around, with just travelling a few
hundred metres being quite beyond our powers of navigation.
Fortunately, Geof (with one 'f') Cook from the Let's Create
agency, who suggested the gig in the first place, made himself
available to nursemaid us around for the night that we ventured
into the nation's capital to play the National Press Club bar,
and we survived nearly intact. The exception was Bill's Yari
classical guitar, (pic 4), which suffered the indignity
of being fallen on by Paul Culnane's little brother Phil, who
was celebrating his fiftieth birthday, and had his own navigational
problems to contend with.
Apart from the Culnanes, my dear Canberran friends Jane and
Peter Greagg made it to the gig, with Pam Cleary and her friend
Lynnette being other noteworthy
|arrivals from distant points of the
compass around NSW.
This is the very point that had eluded me when I was toying
with the prospect of stringing a couple of gigs together in
NSW - NSW is quite a large state, and the reality is that it's
almost as far from Canberra to Deniliquin as it is from Canberra
to Melbourne. It's probably just as well I hadn't considered
it rationally as it turned out, or we might have missed out
on doing one or other - or even both gigs. We didn't know what
to expect from the National Press Club gig, and, while I wasn't
unhappy to discover that it was quite an intimate (read 'small')
bar, it would be nice to play somewhere next time that caters
for our hardcore audience, which I know prefers to listen to
the various nuances of Spectrum in relative comfort.
Of course, this is exactly what The Crossing Café in
Deni (Deniliquin) does so well, with the added bonuses of excellent
food (best steak of the year!) and a couple of entrepreneurs
in Chris Bodey and Brett Allitt who not only know and love good
Aussie music, but are prepared to take pains to promote it comprehensively
The result was that audience was nearly twice the size that
we had on our last visit, and responded knowledgeably and enthusiastically
to our haphazard bill of entertainment - we sold quite a few
CDs as well - and being musos themselves meant that Chris even
lent Bill his flash Takamine nylon-string to cover the temporary
loss to misfortune of Bill's Yari.
We'll look forward to our next foray to the capital and to Deni
- I'll see if we can't find some other gigs that might break
the journey next time, though.
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