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Spectrum trio does Tassie

1) The gig - the imposing Tassie Devils Restaurant & Bar 2) Sound man Bryan Phillips has a PA for sale..

3) Robbo's bedroom - just over the road from Tobacco Road 4) The Giants' Stu Wood

5) A bumble bee messes with Mark's garden 6) Tassie Devils Restaurant's co-owners, Stu Wood and Mark Greig

7) Kaz wants to dance! And she did too. 8) Mike shows Kaz how he can take their pic and Kaz is very impressed..

9) Former 5KA jock and now Tassie resident, David Woodhall 10) Folksinger Alex Myers

11) Matt Finish's David Hugh Adams and Mike 12) Yorktown French Bakery's Torben and Helen Donnerborg

13) The best toy ever - I want one! In fact, gimme three of them! 14) Leonie and Robbo share birthdays

15) Macaque Monkeys preening
gig report
Tassie Devils Restaurant - tall tales from Tobacco Road
29.2.08 -  I didn't sleep too well knowing that I had to do the BAS return before we left for the airport. So, what's new? None of us had flown Tiger Airways before, but we weren't entirely surprised to discover that our guitars were going to cost extra. Thankfully the girl behind the counter exercised her discretion and it only cost us $30.00, but I could see that we weren't necessarily going to be so lucky on the way back. At the Tiger terminal we hooked up with Bryan Phillips, (pic 2) a long-time mate of Stu Wood and our sound engineer for the two nights at the Tassie Devils Restaurant. The flight was uneventful, (I quite like the A23 Airbus), and we were met at the Launceston airport by Stu and Giants' guitarist Mark Greig, co-owners of the restaurant. They drove us back in their tour bus to their Carrick spread to settle in before rounding us up again and taking us down to the gig to sound check and eat. Stu, Mark, Bryan and Isaac, the restaurant chef
who lives there too, are all heavy smokers, so I immediately dubbed the house Tobacco Road, but in all other respects it's an ideal place for a band to hang out. Anybody who knows Mark (pic 6) as the archetypal guitarist, would be surprised to discover that he has developed quite a talent for growing things, and even cooks up jams and chutneys to exchange with the neighbours - all the while looking as if he could just pick up his guitar at no notice and amble on stage. It's all part of Mark's second-chance lifestyle, after he very nearly lost his life some years ago falling down the Espy stairs and breaking his neck. It was Mark who insisted I use his Deville amp after the sound check, which I only regret because I liked it so much I now want to get one for myself.
Anyway, the gig went over very well. Kaz (pics 7 & 8) whom I remember from the Forth Blues Festival and beyond, was there, as well as David Woodhall, (pic 9), with whom we did some wacked-out interviews on Radio 5KA's graveyard shift in Adelaide in the early '70s. David had cooked up a plan to do lunch the next day at the restaurant with some of his mates, so I asked him to ring me in the morning and remind me. As it turned out, that was a wise precaution.
After some toast and honey I watched some TV with Mark and Isaac in the Evil lounge while the others watched DVDs in the Good lounge, where my make-shift bed was, so it was getting pretty late by the time I crawled into bed. I barely slept, a fairly typical first-night-on-the-road phenomenon, so perhaps I can't be blamed for not thinking too clearly. I thought it would be a good idea to breakfast in Deloraine, twenty-odd k's from Carrick, and we were a couple of k's down the road when I got the phone call from David Woodhall reminding me about lunch - at midday. As it happened, we made it back to the restaurant at just a couple of minutes before twelve, only to find that, apart from David and a well-known (in Tassie anyway) folksinger Alex Myers (pic 10), we were the first there. Another hour passed before we had a quorum, and then we had a pleasant enough chatty lunch, although Bill had decided he wasn't going to eat just then because he'd just had breakfast.
The gig that night started off a little quietly, but by the second (and last) set we'd really relaxed and Stu actually said it was the rocking-est set they'd had at the restaurant so far. It was Robbo's forty-ninth birthday the next day, so we all sang happy birthday to him and fellow birthday girl, Leonie (pic 14). At the end of the night I was approached by Matt Finish's David Hugh Adams (pic 11) who said he'd thoroughly enjoyed the show and even felt 'inspired'. I was touched.
The next morning Bill and I took Robbo to the airport before heading into Launceston for breakfast at Torben Donnerborg's (pic 12) charming little French-style café in Yorktown Square in the heart of the CBD, a picturesque location Bill and I remembered from some previous visit. Torben had been chatting to Bill on the first night and had invited us for a free breakfast on the Thursday morning. Musicians never turn down a free feed, and we duly rolled up and partook of a very pleasant brekkie - with a slice of lemon tart thrown in. Torben and Helen said they were going to see Rod Stupid in Melbourne that night, so we shouldn't have been that surprised to run into them at the airport - but we were.
The monkeys? (pic 15) After breakfast we wandered round the town and came across the monkeys in the domain/park, which pleasantly diverted us for an hour or so. And then it was off to the airport on The Giants' tour bus (via Perth, just so we could say we'd been there), and the inevitable confrontation at the Tiger terminal - where we were duly whacked $120.00 for the guitars, (we should've given Robbo a couple to take with him). Two hours hanging round, (we won't do that again - two hours early is just ridiculous), then we were in the air and back home in no time.
We won't forget that mini-tour for a long time - Stu and Mark were very gracious hosts, and Stu has a bottomless well of hilarious road stories, (quite a few of them involving Mark), that should be recorded for posterity. I'm looking forward to going back already..

Ron Glover hoping that I won't put this pic in Stop Press
gig report
Spectrum at St Andrews
25.2.08 - In keeping with most of the rest of the week, it was a cool-ish, overcast day on Sunday, and I was half expecting Stan to have the fire going, but, in the event, the fire wasn't going and it turned out to be an unusually quiet arvo. Mind you, my son Chris and the rest of the Vermont St mob made it, and it was really nice to catch Chris looking very pleased to be there. Almost regular Ron Glover (pic) was there too, and, as well as buying a swag of CDs, passed on a couple of CDs of memorabilia he's accumulated from radio broadcasts over the years, which will be fun to review on a rainy day. We're off to Tassie tomorrow on Tiger Airways - wish us luck..

Bill Bartlett beams down to Oz
Songwriters take note
21.2.08 - I often get asked what I think of today's music, and I suspect that more often than not it's a loaded question, with my anticipated response a tirade against anything and everything produced since the seventies. Well, occasionally that's true, but not most of the time. The fact is that the opportunities to express yourself musically have never been greater than now, and while there were some good things about the sixties and seventies that we'll never see again, grumbling about it ain't going to change anything. Take the case of Bill Bartlett (pic) my mate from Jacksonville, Florida. We first met Bill when he came over to Oz in the early seventies. In those days he was a program director in Jacksonville, and he used to program Australian bands like Little River Band and AC/DC on his shows - even Spectrum and The Indelible Murtceps! He's retired from the hurly-burly of the biz and these days writes his own very individual take on hypno-trance music. Check out his Alien Amusement Park album and be inspired!

Matt looks thrilled with his gift
gig report
Matt Gibson's 40th
17.2.08 -
A few days ago I got an e-mail from Mark, one of Matt's friends, asking if I'd like to get involved in a subterfuge involving an Epiphone guitar he and some other friends and family had chipped in and bought for Matt's birthday. The plan was to smuggle it on stage and play a song or two with it before calling on a hopefully surprised Matt and presenting it to him, which is exactly what happened. (pic) That's the kind of party it was - infiltrated as it was by a bunch of people, starting with Matt, who cared a great deal about their music. Mind you, I'm not sure it was Spectrum particularly that they cared about - the evidence suggests there's a considerable coven of Frank (and Dweezil) Zappa fans in Healesville and the surrounding hamlets.
It was quite a long day. We didn't know what to expect and arrived an hour before the guests were scheduled to arrive - and then had to wait a couple of
hours for the sun to drop behind the hills so our instruments wouldn't melt down in the heat. Then it was just a question of avoiding being eaten alive by the swarms of bloodthirsty mossies and laying back and enjoying the party. It was luxury to have Daryl playing with us and I dragged a few songs out that hadn't been dusted off for a while, but it was all good fun, and I still had a double episode of The Bill to look forward to when I got home..

1) Cres Crisp (keyboards) seen here with Tabasco Tom's band
gig report
Laffy's Lounge
16.2.08 -
This was the second of the Laffy's Lounge series at the Upwey Tecoma Cricket Club rooms, and, while there were some teething problems, there is obviously a lot of good will and the prospect of a hills' institution in the making. There was even the traditional brawl at the end of the night, for heaven's sake, just to make everybody feel right at home.
It was a bit of a fiddle setting up the PA, and we ended up patching together ours and promoter (he won't be happy with that description) Peter Laffy's - in retrospect it might've been better

2) Ariel's Glyn Mason and Howard Freeman 3) Harvey's partner, Faye, Harvey the lumberjack, and Peter Laffy

4) Clare Moore, boring Mike and sartorial Dave Graney
just to bring ours in. Bill and I went into the Upwey village to get ourselves pizzas while Tabasco Tom's outfit (including old mate Cres Crisp on keyboards) (pic1) was playing its set. In fact, it was all a bit of a homecoming, with Glyn Mason (who mentioned that Stockley, See & Mason are getting back together again!), and Howard Freeman (pic 2), not to mention Harvey James, of course. Harvey rang me earlier in the week and offered to play a couple of numbers with us, which stretched to four, but was all good fun, not to mention slightly historic, I guess.
After the first set, I was surprised by local resident (and still King of Pop) Dave Graney coming up and having a chat, and even more delighted when he and Clare were
still there at the end of the night, having apparently enjoyed the show. I'm not sure they were still there for the free-for-all fracas. Anyway, it was nice to see them both and they added the touch of class the night needed.
It had to happen..
15.2.08 -
It was inevitable, what with the idea being around for so long, but we've been ripped off - by a bank! Oh well, I s'pose it can't hurt. I saw this poster (pic) yesterday on a bus shelter on Warrigal Road. Speaking of Breathing Space, I delivered the (almost ) final mix of Rocket Girl to Miranda to stripe onto the clip yesterday. I'm guessing that means the clip must be close to completion - can't wait to see it!
Not completely related, but banjo-ist Peter Somerville dropped in yesterday and put some banjo-picking on the Xavier Rudd song. I'm trying to organise some cameras to film a video so I can get it up on YouTube soon..

Bilge tunes up picturesquely
gig report
Crudd & Pump at the Clifton Hill Hotel
14.2.08 -
I'd spent a good portion of the afternoon trying to finish a mix of Rocket Girl for Miranda to stripe onto the clip, (see the first version on the Videos page), and so I already felt a bit flustered. I'd been told there was a bit of a flap on 'cause one of the acts hadn't shown up, but Dave Steel was still doing his thing when I arrived, admittedly interspersed with some long anecdotes, (perhaps to cover the non-appearance of his partner Tiffany Eckhardt due to illness), but in the event we got on stage about when we were originally scheduled to. I decided to sit down for a change, and maybe this had something to do with my curious interpretations of a couple of the songs- in particular Health Kick. Bill suffered it all with his usual patience and good humour and held it all together - Kev bless you Bill! As I was leaving, Miss Vicky pointed out that Dave Steel had left me a copy of his new album to listen to. Thanks Dave - when I get a moment...

13.2.08 - Tonight (Wednesday) Bill and I are playing at the Clifton Hill Hotel Acoustic sessions. Our old mate Rod Claringbould has been running these nights for years, and it was this particular gig (when it was in Middle Park) that enticed Bill and I out to play again in the public arena after ten years or so in seclusion, so it would be nice to see some of you there. You might've noticed on the splash page that we're having a special guest at the Laffy's Lounge gig (at the Upwey Tecoma Cricket Club) this Friday in Ariel's Harvey James - just a couple of numbers, but it should be a bit of fun. I've just done an interview with the lads at 3MDR and they've gone to the trouble put up a dedicated Spectrum site that you should have a look at sometime. On Sunday I'm up to Warby again judging the Limelight Kudos for Musos song contest finals. Keep an eye on the Gigs page for more developments.


Adele Spence and Lou Ridsdale are all vibed up..
Breathing Space - the cogs fall into place
11.2.08 -
I woke feeling a little weary from the exertions of the weekend, but looking forward to a lunchtime meeting in North Fitzroy with publicist Lou Ridsdale and her accomplice, Adele Spence. I parked in Pigdon St opposite where the Pigdon Restaurant used to be and ambled round to the Café Milato, where I was joined by Lou and a few minutes later by Adele. We discussed the imminent launch of the Breathing Space EP (and the Milesago album, of course) and their role in it over a refreshing lunch, which was when I took the photo. (left) When I got home I rang back Rod at The Basement Discs and pencilled in a midday show on the same Friday as the Capers date. Rod said it'll be just like the old days. Yeah, should be a breeze..

1) The scene in the Sporting Club after the first set - the place was buzzing!
gig report
Mordialloc Sporting Club
10.2.08 -
On the way to Mordialloc, I said to Bill I wasn't sure there would be anybody at the Sporting Club, that the agent definitely wouldn't be there and there was a lift to take our gear up to the first floor. I was wrong on all counts: the Mordialloc Sporting Club has a core (mostly local) audience, and we attracted a near record crowd on the day, Kenny Leroy (pic 5) from Westside Talent, the read more

2) Brayden snaps Mike, Robbo and old school friend, Nady, and Bill 3) 3CR's Steve Fraser snuggles up to Mike

4) The two Pauls put in an appearance 5) Westside Talent's Kenny Leroy gets close to Mike's new red shirt

6) The Sporting Club has a great view of the bay behind the stage
agency that books the gig came up and intrduced homself to me at the end of the second set, and while there was indeed a lift, it was out of order and we had to lug our gear up the stairs. With the exception of the lift, I couldn't have been happier to be wrong. Helen Duffield, the room's manager, and her partner Michael, (who supplied us with PA speakers, saving another trek up stairs), made us very welcome, and with the agency, have obviously done a great job in building up the room. This was our audience, and they were enthusiastic right from the start. If I'd had the energy I could've sold a shitload of CDs..

1) Our generous host, Wild Thyme's Allan Seppings 2) Bill cuddles the Darcy munchkins
gig report
All quiet on the Warby front
10.2.08 - We weren't to know, but I thought something was up when our waitress asked us if we were going to the 'big show' later. In the event there was a sparse crowd at the Wild Thyme, which is pretty sad in such a tiny venue. Not that we didn't have a good time anyhow, although my
Morris decided to bring an apparent electrical fault to my attention as I was tuning up, which rendered my usually reliable nylon-string guitar mute for the night - I've already booked a visit to Real Guitars' Brenden Mason for Monday. Our old friends the Darcys (pic 2) showed up as we were setting up just to tell us they weren't going to make it as they'd had a huge day in town, and I received an e-mail apology from Katherine Seppings, cousin of Wild Thyme's owner Allan Seppings (pic 1) saying she'd come next time.. Yes, I suppose there's always next time..
DIG this!
9.2.08 - Just when you think nobody in the world cares, you get an e-mail from Dave Dosser confirming what my friend Roger Pyke (Daniel) has been telling me for months - somebody in radio-land still cares!
Just a short note to tell anyone who is a fan that they should listen to the ABC Dig radio digital channel on Saturday mornings as it is probably the only chance these days of hearing Spectrum on the radio. Also they play a very interesting range of different music!! Hey, they just played Loves My Bag - see I'm not making up stories. You can hear Spectrum on the radio!!!

Brod Smith discusses phone technology with Mr Pump
Brod Smith in talks with Spectrum
7.2.08 -
That's the way they would have put it in Go-Set all those years ago, but these days nobody gives a toss either way. Still, it's worth reporting that Brod came over today and we did have discussions on getting a tour together on the Murray for later in the year, with Phil Manning mentioned as the other 'head'. As Brod pointed out, the choices are limited these days with so many boomers choosing to be dead. I should quietly slip in the fact that the first gig of the tour was going to be at Capers on Friday the 28th of March, but that didn't suit Brod, so Spectrum has taken over the date instead. It looks like it could be the perfect occasion to launch Milesago and the new Breathing Space EP - more news to follow imminently..
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