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Weekend flurry of gigs

1) Rob Judd strikes the pose 2) Ron (left) Di and Vince prop up Mike at St Andrews

gig report
Nighthawk Blues and St Andrews
31.7.06 - There's no doubt we create uncertainty in the minds of the average Saturday night crowd at the Nighthawk Most of them come to dance and socialise and don't care too much who's playing as long as they can dance to it, so when they hear stuff they don't immediately recognise, it stops them in their tracks. Oh well, we had fun anyway, and it was nice to catch up with old buddy Rob Judd (pic 1) - and I think there were even a few converts on the night. There's no such problem at St Andrews, and we have the added musical bonus of hooking up with Daryl Roberts on keyboards. We even managed to debut Love's My Bag without any prior rehearsal - now that's relaxed!
Tox only slightly rocked..

1) This seems to be the place.. 2) Joe Dolce feels a mighty wind comin' 3) The mo'-man himself*

4) Mike falls asleep in midrif*

gig report
Toxic dump found in cubicle #1
28.7.06 -
Joe Dolce was comparing corduroys with Spectrum in The Brown Room before the show began, and surmised this comfortable mode of dress consigned us to a particular vintage. OK, well, the evening did have a familiar '60s/'70s feel to it, especially the bit where the audience doesn't turn up. Unfortunately, as well-intentioned as the whole thing was, it was all a bit last minute, and compared to the halcyon days of Eeyore, today requires hype, hype and more hype to stir a prospective audience from another night in front of the plasma set. The last time I was at the Hi Fi Bar was to see TISM, and there were people hanging from the rafters. This was like the night after that, when the joint was shut.
That being said I enjoyed watching Joe perform - he's got a lot to say musically and his protest singer-songwriter stance is ready-made for a cause like this one -

or any cause for that matter. The OutKrys, whose show it was, seemed more than happy to loan their equipment to us, and as well as being passionate about their cause were very polite young men. I can't really comment about their music as we got button-holed at the start of their set by some blokes who were thrilled to the back teeth to discover that we were still alive and bought us all a beer.
I was talking to OutKry's manager Kelvin Fahey as we left and he was confident they would have another crack at it sometime soon, only this time he was hoping to get Paul Kelly involved. I'll let you know..

* photos by Miranda Worthington
History sort-of repeats..
26.7.06 -
The first mention Spectrum got in the straight press was in, I dunno, 1970 perhaps, at the height of the Moratorium protests. The first maxim of any-publicity- being-good-publicity is to get your name spelt correctly, and they (I'll spread the blame) recorded me in print, albeit beneath a very fetching photo, as one Mike Rudet, which does have a revolutionary ring to it. Anyway, that one mention got us pegged in the public mind as a band with a social conscience, which, in all good conscience, we weren't. And now, a mere thirty-six years later, here we are again, lending our name to a cause we know very little about. We're appearing at the Hi Fi Bar in town
tomorrow night (Thursday 27th) with St. Joe Dolce and OutKry, a band that very definitely has a social conscience and is responsible for throwing this shebang together at the last minute. I've got no idea about a lot of things, but you can find out more about the cause by consulting the flyer I sent out to everybody.
We'll hardly be on stage for any time at all at this concert, so for all you LP-type listeners the gig on Friday night at Nighthawk Blues in Mentone could be the go, and if you're in the mood for rustic surrounds, I recommend you try the St Andrews' Pub on Sunday arvo between 3.00 and 6.00, where we'll have the full quorum featuring Daryl Roberts on keyboards..
Party time!

1) Malcolm Ebb and Frontier colleague Kim 2) Kim again with Dorinda from WA and Robbo from Hughesdale
The last frontier..
21.7.06 -
One of the unexpected benefits of teaching harmonica came home to roost last night when one of my former students booked the band to play at his company's (Frontier Software) awards night. It was also timely - there's been a lull in bookings under my lax stewardship and there are no regular gigs until the weekend after this - and going 'corporate' made for an interesting change from the band's usual fare.
The musical part of the evening started inauspiciously enough with a malfunction from Bill's line-out into the PA, (this is after three leads failed at the previous weekend's gigs - what's going on?), but we managed to cover that misadventure OK and were actually having a little bit of fun with the music. After the first set I was approached by Kim (pics 1 & 2) to see if we could play a number featuring Malcolm on harp, and after some initial hesitancy, (which required the unmasking of the suspicious lump in his trousers), Malcolm agreed and ultimately acquitted himself very handsomely, to the plaudits of his surprised colleagues.
I sometimes wonder if I would be better off in regular employment, what with the security of a regular income and all the other benefits, but after last night I've decided the prospect of being surrounded by attractive young women all day long would be just too distracting. (Pick the tragic flaw in the reasoning..)
There were stairs up and down and in and out, so I eventually got home at about 1.30 to a freezing house. I made the mistake of collapsing in front of the telly - Alien v. Predator was on and I didn't have the energy to resist its dubious sequel credentials and hung in like a zombie until the credits started to roll. I managed to summon enough energy to shower and rid myself of the evil tobacco smell before finally putting myself to bed, but my ludicrous inner clock kicked in and I awoke unrefreshed at just after 8.00, with the result that I still feel like shit. At least I didn't have to go into the office..

Nicky Campbell (left) as he was in the I'll Be Gone clip
Curly calls in
17.7.06 -
The backbone of a hardworking band back in the early '70s was the roadcrew, or as it was in Spectrum's case, the solitary roadie. Spectrum was often expected to perform at two or three venues a night, and when we were lumbered with a full-size Hammond organ as well as all the other typical rock band accoutrements, it was panic stations getting from one gig to the next, even if, as was the case with Berties and Sebastians, they were just down the road from each other. Nicky 'Curly' Campbell (pic) was Spectrum's stalwart roadie for quite a number of years and contacted me last week out of the blue. I knew you'd be interested, so I asked him to give me a brief history of his career before, during and after Spectrum. Check it out
Wazza and Castlemaine mini-tour

1) Mick and Bill talk about the big tours that came to town in the '70s 2) Bill poses with local Wazza identity Tom

3) Tom harps on into the morning 4) I wouldn't think of it..5) Bill reads from Mr Bump at Gwenny's

6) The Wazza Hotel's Chris Matthews is set up by the band 7) Nick Lyon fiddled with Spectrum at the Criterion
gig report
Spectrum plays Warracknabeal and Castlemaine
10.7.06 -
We hadn't been to Warracknabeal before so we weren't quite sure about how long the journey took, but as it happened we arrived in plenty of time, only to find the town looking totally deserted. The Warracknabeal Hotel turned out to be the last of four hotels in the main drag that had all seen better days, and it was only really distinguishable from the competition by having a blackboard out the front advertising our appearance that night. We loaded in to an unpromising looking room that could've held six hundred comfortably, and opted to eschew the distant stage at the far end of the room for the more friendly space opposite the bar, which importantly also had the heater.
Chris Matthews took over the pub about three years ago, and it would be fair to say that it's a work in progress. To be blunt, the township and immediate countryside around Warracknabeal is dying, and as a result Chris is finding it impossible to get the tradespeople in to finish the alterations already begun, let alone the mountain of work that the place requires to realise his vision. He loves his music though, and wants to give the town the best musical fare he can, even while the pub is going through its painful transition. In any event, later that evening a brave crowd of Wazza-ites, well rugged up against the cold, confronted the band in the harsh neon glow, and did their best to comprehend the musical journey our regular audience takes for granted. Happily, after some initial confusion they succumbed, and I didn't even mind having to do I'll Be Gone twice.
After we'd packed up, Chris gave us a bottle of red to go with the ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches the kitchen made for us at 2.00am, which we ate as Tom the Dutchman serenaded us with his harmonica - it was that kind of night. The best rooms had been taken by paying guests, so the band got the leftovers, which we managed to survive more or less intact, and I woke the other two at 9.15 to get breakfast over the road at Gwenny's. Gwen had been at the show and cheerfully made us a wholesome breakfast as Bill read us the stories of Mr Bump (Bill) and Mr Uppitty (me). Chris Matthews showed up at Gwenny's along with most of the rest of town it seemed, so we belatedly got a group shot (pic 6), which backs up my assertion that Chris looks a bit like a mini-me version of Chris Wilson, don't you think?
After brekky we headed off down the Sunraysia Highway to Castlemaine, with plenty of time to spare - or that's what I thought. It was only as we were finishing a relaxed lunch in Maryborough that I realised we were due to load in at the Criterion in fifteen minutes! That we managed to arrive within fifteen minutes of our advertised starting time says something about the zippy time we made getting there, and that we were almost ready to go at 6.00, (and barring one faulty lead we would've made it), tells something of our frantic load in and set up.
Despite all the haste and panic, the afternoon went very well and was warmly received by all and sundry - lots of families with kids running about enjoying themselves. Fiddler Nick Lyon (pic 7), whom we had met some years back at the the Pig & Whistle, added some very nice touches to the last set, which made for an actual musical highlight as a bonus.
We had quite a few Castlemaine friends there we hadn't seen for a while, including Viv and Marv (with sons Ry and Brennan) and Ray and Leah Mow (remember the latter-day Troubadour in Fitzroy?) with their 14 year old daughter (!), not to mention (oh, alright then!) the irrepressible Flo and Meredith, and we're looking forward to going back in the not too distant future and consolidating our audience there.

New addition to PayPal index
5.7.06 -
It's not new, as in new new, but it's newly available to you on PayPal. I'm tallking 'bout Golden Miles, the Raven double album with the quintessential collection of worthy Oz rock classics. It's still a steal at $35.00 + postage, but check it out on the CDs page if you haven't done so already - you might find some other treasure there that's previously escaped your notice.


1) Stephen May studies his new badge 2) SAL's Ron Murfett brandishes a $5,000 cheque
Debonairs' third anniversary luncheon
4.7.06 -
It didn't dawn on Dom for a while, but eventually he announced that the Deb's had been eating and drinking themselves rotten on the first Tuesday of the month for three years today. I'd invited my French Island friend Stephen May to join me at the lunch to add a
little colour to his visit to the big smoke, (and so I had someone to talk to whose name I could remember), and there were a few other new chums on the day, including Spectrum's first drummer Mark Kennedy. You might remember I was a little vague about the Last Hurrah gathering, but Jeff Joseph cleared up something for me when he handed over a $5,000 cheque from the night to Mae Parker for the Support Act fund. Well done everybody!

Prince Albert has a drag
gig report
The Prince Albert and Lomond hotels double
3.7.06 -
I knew I was tempting fate when I booked these two gigs next to each other. I had thought that the Lomond was the most toxic gig in Melbourne, but that was before we did our first night at Williamstown's Prince Albert. With a direct comparison under our belts, it was no contest - the Prince Albert gets Spectrum's Iron Lung award as the smokiest gig on our regular pub circuit. Having said that, both gigs were great fun to do, despite Wally telling us when we arrived that that the police were getting very pro-active on the Willy residents' behalf in monitoring noise levels and finishing on time. (In fact, the police rang as we finished up just five minutes over time, but we had no other complaints, and certainly none from the punters). The Lomond by contrast, was concert-like for the first set, and you could've heard a pin drop. The owner James said he'd never seen or heard anything like it in all the years they've been operating. I think that's good..
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