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Happy Birthday to Bill..

1) Mongolian Bill with the Robbos 2) Taswegian Peter Havery and Bill's partner, Rose, huddle together for warmth

3) Daryl wasn't allowed to bring his keyboards, but Roy doesn't care 4) The Robbos again with Lance O'Reilly
5) Cenred was happy 6) My room with a view of the house 7) Natasha says good morning Saturday

Bill's sixtieth b'day bash
31.3.07 -
Bill's never been one for ceremony, so it came as a surprise to discover he'd actually been persuaded that his sixtieth birthday was one occasion that positively demanded celebration. Getting to the party's location at Rosewood, Rose and Bill's idyllic home in deepest Strathewen, was an adventure in itself for most of us townies, but I don't think we lost anybody, (on the way there, anyway), and by 8.00 there was a healthy crowd of well-wishers from suburbia and Strathewen locals, (who all brought plates), and it was decided that the music should begin. Bill and Rose and family had spent the entire day setting up tarpaulins over the patio in case of inclement weather, I'd brought up the band's PA and backline, Robbo had brought his drums, and various other musos had brought guitars etc, so the rest of the night, although quite chilly, was pleasantly enough whiled away by substance-affected musicians playing to an equally affected but forgiving audience. Standout performances were in the minority, but I seem to remember Lance O'Reilly's Irish jig certainly got the crowd excited. Bill and Robbo are played all night - Bill because he wanted to, and Robbo because he had to...
Rose had insisted I stay overnight, and in the event I slept quite comfortably in Rose's studio, with another overnighter, Natasha, taking Bill's studio. A civilised breakfast of eggs and bacon was presented to the survivors this morning by Rose, and we swapped stories in hushed tones about what we imagined had occurred the night before and what we were planning to do with the rest of our lives. It was a grand night, but thankfully the last bloody sixtieth in the band for years now.

The Soulenikoes celebrate
Judgement Day at Thomas Carr College
30.3.07 -
I managed to get hopelessly lost on the way to the Thomas Carr College, which is a pretty new school back of Hoppers Crossing and wasn't even built when my Melways was printed, but I was safely guided home on my mobile phone by Richard Goodman, who'd been instrumental in suggesting me as a judge in the first place. The kids were utterly oblivious to who I was of course, but I was made very welcome by some of the staff, especially Graeme Dent, who confessed that he and his mates had even followed Ariel over to Adelaide when we toured there! There were eight bands altogether, mostly around the fifteen and sixteen years age bracket, and I was generally very impressed with the standard, particularly given that at that age I hadn't yet played a note on guitar. My co-judge Rob Dellar and I had a tricky moment or two separating the top three bands, and any one of them could have taken the top spot, but the crowd-pleasing Soulenikoes took the honours with a spirited and consistent performance.
Life is a cabaret, old chum..

1) The New Capers' host, Ian Plummer, introducing 2) the old Blackfeather in full flight

3) The reverend Ross Ryan is plainly far too happy 4) Robbo and Alana embrace

5) Robbo with Mandi and Alekya 6) Mike and Bill don't know where to look with aspiring rock guitarist Brayden

Derek Guille just enjoys life
gig report
Same old at The New Capers

- It started innocently enough with Neale Johns and me doing a congenial interview with Derek Guille (pic left) at the ABC on a warm and humid Friday evening, but later that night the weather changed, and I awoke at 3.00am to find the lounge ceiling leaking prodigiously - and my morning's sleep was shot to pieces. Load-in at The New Capers at 4.00 the next afternoon was followed by a thorough sound check - for Blackfeather, which naturally left no time for a sound check for Spectrum. There was a good roll-up of punters though, including some old friends, (pic 3), and we were treated to a good meal before showtime. I took the opportunity to watch most of Blackfeather's set, and thought the inclusion of drummer Mick Holden had given the band some warranted transparency, from which some of their subtler material clearly benefited. Bill sat in with Blackfeather on lap-steel for a couple of numbers, which was enjoyed by all.

Spectrum's set felt slightly uneasy, with some unresolved sound balances and buzzes courtesy of the absent sound check , but we soldiered on. I tried to be a little more adventurous with the programming than usual, mixing ancient and modern with occasional annotations - and I wore a tie, which apparently went down well with the sartorially aware in the audience (pic 3).
Bill stayed overnight at my place for an early start to our Shelford Grammar gig in Mt Eliza the next day. Thankfully it didn't rain, (Bill was sleeping in the lounge), and as I'd set the alarm for 8.00, we got away in plenty of time for the projected midday start in Mt Eliza. It wasn't till we were nearly at our destination that we realised that, due to the ending of daylight saving that morning (!), we were an hour early, so we adjourned to Mornington for a subdued breakfast and coffee.

Supergirly goes over the Edge
In the event we had a lovely afternoon playing a mix of Volcano and other songs with the unflappable Enza to the good Shelford Girls Grammar School parents and friends, and I would imagine it might be something we'd all be up for next year. We even managed to sell a couple of CDs.
After I got home I remembered I'd promised my sister-in-law Kath that I'd to go to the Edge Theatre at Fed. Square to catch a show there (as part of the Fina budgie smuggling celebrations) starring my niece, Louise (Lulu) McClatchy (aka SuperGirly). (pic left) I was happy to make the effort as I've never seen her perform live, while she (and Miss Molly) have caught a number of Spectrum gigs. It turned out to be a highly entertaining hour or so - Louise has a wicked bent for adapting current pop songs to make acid commentary on (mostly) other female singers, and a host of other (mostly female) issues, backed up by a happy ability to send herself up, not to mention a pretty terrific voice. See her before she sees you.. Why not check out her MySpace site?
More fab Humania and Spectrum shots
22.3.07 -
These go back to the Don't Tell Tom gig on March 3rd, but they certainly warrant having a gander at. Sue Nicol sent a couple of hundred (!) shots on disc for me to sort through, and I've selected a mere half dozen from a dazzling bunch. Check 'em out. We're looking forward to working with Hugh again when we're a little closer to the Aztec re-issue release dates.

1) Phil Kafcaloudes 2) Spotty Minnie's brother, Errol Bannister
A busy morning for Mike
21.3.07 - I haven't listened to Radio National for a few weeks, so although the name Phil Kafcaloudes didn't really resonate, I put it down to a program change when I was asked to do an interview with Phil to promote the Capers gig this weekend in tandem with Blackfeather's Neale Johns. We were warmly greeted by and Adelaine Ng, whom I initially took to be the program director, but soon discovered to be the show's co-host as it was beamed to all parts of Asia. (So it was Radio Australia, not Radio National - we got a text message from Brad in Cambodia, but I'm not sure he's gonna make it to the gig). It was a fun
interview anyway - Neale got them to play Blackfeather's soon-to-be released single, (featuring Bill playing lap-steel), and I left a few CDs for them to give away. After the interview I met with Errol Bannister and Larry Ponting (Johnston Audio) at South Bank for a chat over coffee. On the agenda was the projected ANZAC Day show at Sydney's Entertainment Centre, similar to the one at Goodna last year with John Schumann, but on an exponentially larger scale. I'm going to be singing I'll Be Gone of course, but I'm also obliged to do another with the theme of war, or peace, or anything that relates to this wide brown land. Do I have one of those? I might have to do a cover..
Don't panic!
19.3.07 - Overnight there has been a fundamental change wrought to this website in that it's found a new server. There will be the odd link or two that needs refreshing, so bear with me. If you find something that needs attention, you could even let me know..
Aztec release dates for Spectrum re-issues
20.3.07 -
With all the excitement in changing servers, I forgot to mention that I'd popped down to Aztec Music last week and spoken with Aztec's publicist, Lou Ridsdale. It seems the releases of Part One and Milesago are going to be staggered over two months, which are now slated for June and July, just a little later than we were anticipating.

James blows that thang..*
James Reyne does I'll Be Gone
10.3.07 - I got this from Brecon Walsh today:
'James Reyne and the Rockwiz Orchestra did I'll Be Gone as James's (pic left) chosen tune last night in front of about 8,000 at The Alexandra open Moomba With Kutcha Edwards, Rebecca Barnard and the extended Rockwiz band doing Long Way To The Top with didgeridoos and bagpipes. Paul Kelly, Dan Kelly and Missy Higgins doing a new Kev Carmody epic song. A wonderful and soulful rendition that had the throng singing along. It was Daddy Cool's last ever show and a truly magical gig and event captured for TV and later DVD. I just thought you would like to know.' Thanks Brecon.
Alana Galea wasn't quite so uncritical: 'By the way, I saw James Reyne performing I'll Be Gone yesterday - apart from stuffing up the words he sounded great.' How can you stuff up the words? (I know really). Alana's putting up a bunch of shots on her site as we speak - check 'em out.
* pic Alana Galea

Bill and Mike talk down to Asylum's Paul Egan*
Capers show with Blackfeather coming up
9.3.07 - Mike, Bill and Robbo were just at Capers (see the report below) but in their capacities as Debonair diners rather than performers. Paul Egan, (pictured left interviewing Bill, and Mike for Asylum TV at the Hey Gringo CD launch), has been instrumental in putting together just the sort of nostalgic night's entertainment that the new Capers seems to favour. Neale Johns and Blackfeather are teaming up with Mike, Bill and Robbo to evoke a time that wasn't cluttered with obese toddlers and their iPods, but on the contrary, full of hope and garnished with young girls in mini skirts. Not that our boys noticed, so dedicated were they to discovering all they possibly could about making exciting musical noises..
* pic courtesy of Alana Galea

1) Bill met up with Joan, with an old family friend 2) Wilbur and Allan Zavod play Thorpie's signature tune
Debonairs' respectful Thorpie send-off
6.3.07 -
It's been a while since my last Debonairs' luncheon, and Bill and Robbo haven't been before, but as we couldn't get to Sydney for the official service, we felt it was the right thing to do. The venue for the luncheon has changed in the interim, moving from the Prahran Hotel to (the new) Capers in Hawthorn, coincidentally the venue of Spectrum's blockbuster gig with Blackfeather on Sat. 24th. Wilbur said a number of words about the man and played an impromptu rendition of Over The Rainbow with Allan Zavod, before racing away to do his radio show. Bill, Robbo and I had a pleasant hour or two chatting with all and sundry, while images of Billy's last solo performance at Capers and then the DVD of the LWTTT played on the big screen.
freak out baby!.
I warned you about flashbacks - (mouse over image.)
The tip of the photographic iceberg..
5.3.07 -
It's started - the predicted wave of pics from Saturday night's very photogenic show with Hugh McSpedden's Humania lightshow have begun to roll in. Jeff Turnbull took this shot, (pic left), and I've got some large versions of some of Jeff's shots for you to look at. Check 'em out. In pic 2, where we're playing I'll Be Gone, the archival shot on screen is from circa 1983, I think. (That's Ray Arnott on the left). Be warned: if you ever attended the TF Much or Much More Ballrooms back in the '70s, you may experience a flashback - it must have been something in the hippy vegie-burgers you ate..
Hey Gringo on
Asylum TV This

5.3.07 - If you missed the launch for Hey Gringo's latest album Live FromThe Vault - available in stores now JB Hi Fi, Readings, The Basement Discs, The Last Record Store,
Offbeat Music etc. check it out on TV. Hey Gringo with guests Spectrum, Neale Johns, Marcus Alexander & Brenden Mason are on Channel 31 tomorrow night (Tuesday 6th March) at 11.00pm and again on Thurs 12:30am and Sat. at midnight. Hanna OK
8.3.07 -
Bill rang me in a tiz today and said he'd been told that Ross Hannaford had suffered a heart attack, and as he was on the way to a guitar lesson, asked if I could find out more. So I rang Ross Wilson. Ross happened to be in mid-
rehearsal with the other Cool dudes, and told me that Hanna had experienced chest pains about ten days ago and had spent a couple of days in hospital while they did some tests. In the event they turned out to be clear, so everybody's alright! Hooray!
All the fun of the fair at the Knox Festival

1) Bossanation plays in the rotunda to the happy throng at the Knox Festival

2) Jane Clifton talks food in the Miele tent 3) Malcolm Russell models his hip headgear

4) Mal Leishman dropped in to say hullo 5) Boat people shelter from the rain in the rotunda

6) Bill finally meets his match
gig report
Mike & Bill at the Knox Community Festival
4.3.07 -
For some reason I failed to review last weekend's gigs at the Lomond and St Andrews. Well, in a word, sublime! It was very nice to get back to our comfort zone and the audience and band enjoyed both gigs in equal measure. Yesterday (Saturday) was always going to be challenging, with Bill and I playing at the Knox Festival in the arvo, then trucking down to Brunswick to join Robbo, Daz and Hugh McSpedden at Don't Tell Tom for a preview of the Aztec and Breathing Space CD launches. In the event, the festival was a pleasurable doddle, and there was even some variation in the weather to keep things interesting (pic 5). Former Queenscliff Festival booker, Malcolm Russell (pic 3) booked the gig, and he and the rotunda crew made life as easy as possible. We even knew a few people there, including Jane Clifton (pic 2) and Mal Leishman (pic 4) - Ralph Clapton was just beginning his set as we left for Brunswick.
Meanwhile, in downtown Brunswick..

1) Ray Moon takes in the moonlight 2) Hugh doesn't like the flash 3) Music Box interviewer Aidan

4) Miranda Worthington on camera and mic girl Schy 5) Pauline White & Colin Rochford were in the massive audience
gig report
Spectrum and Humania at Don't Tell Tom
4.3.07 -
Well, as I suggested, this gig was always intended as a test run for the upcoming CD launches, (still no firm dates incidentally), so I wasn't overly concerned that there weren't a hell of a lot of punters. The fact that everybody who came seemed to be wielding a camera of some sort means that I'm expecting a veritable flood of fantastic shots in the next few days, so that'll be something to look forward to - being the guys pointed at the audience means that the band never gets to see anything, and the comments about the light show suggest we missed something really special. Miranda Worthington and her team from Deakin were there with movie cameras recording the night for the Music Box show, and she's just got in touch to say she's sending me an mpeg of some of the highlights, so I'll be able to get some idea there too.
Musically speaking, we played a few songs (old and new) we haven't played for some time with mixed results, and resident DTT sound engineer, Ray Moon, did the best he could with the sound, given the rather fragile acoustics of the former Brunswick PO. All in all though, it's whetted my appetite for a really creative liaison with Hugh over the next few months - I know a whole lot of people are going to get very excited when they see it.
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