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Mike on the Headley Gritter Show tonight!
6.6.09 - (Yes, I know it's June, but we've drawn a complete blank gig-wise so it hardly seems worth the effort). However, a very large door clangs shut and a wee window opens, and Triple R's Headley Gritter just rang me, (after striking out with his preferred guests), and booked me for the midnight shift of his eclectic Party show. Could be fun - well, it's always an anarchic riot - so why not give the station a call!
See Mike nude!
1) John Carver 2) Mouse over Mike's pic to see him nude
Mike goes nude on PBS radio!
30.5.09 -
It was all for a good cause, but PBS listeners were shocked this morning as Mike stripped off an item of clothing for every listener that rang in and subscribed to the station during his spot on John Carver's Across The Tracks show. (pic 1) It was all part of PBS' annual subscription drive, and Mike was as happy to get up really early and hurtle down to Collingwood as he is to write about himself in the third person. Anyway, as well as some new PBS subscribers, he was able to get a couple of tracks from the new EP previewed on the show and mention the launch at The Basement Discs on July 10th, so it was all worth it
More pics from the For Pete's Sake do..

1) James Black has an encounter of the third kind 2) John the piper and Mike the poo-poo

3) Robbo with Laff and Jim 4) Robbo with DC's drummer on the night, Angus Burchall

5) Lisa Edwards belts out It's A Long Way To The Top
Robbo's For Pete's Sake pics
28.5.09 - Bloody hell, I'm going cross-eyed here! Robbo has sent me a swag of his pics from the For Pete's Sake concert as well.. That's an interesting one of Lisa Edwards playing drums on the Long Way To The Top rendition at the end of the night. Presumably she picked up some drumming chops when she and my old mate Trevor Courtney were co-habiting way back when. Robbo was impressed anyway.
Pics from the For Pete's Sake benefit

1) The man of the moment - Laff takes his hat off 2) Bob Starkie helped Mae Parker put the show together

3) Jim Keays was in an ebullient mood 4) Daz is with Ross when he discovers that he doesn't have his tuner

5) Jo Imbroll, Cres Crisp and John Grant 6) Brian Mannix shares a great idea for a show with Bob Starkie

7) Anita Monk Wroks down with Paul Norton 8) Anita moves on to the next bloke for a predictable snap

9) Ross is intrigued with my T-shirt from the last benefit we did 10) Wrokdown's Wendy Stapleton and Paul Egan

gig report
The For Pete's Sake benefit
27.5.09 -
Bill arrived at my place last night feeling a little unwell, but he was feeling quite a bit better by the time we arrived at Spenserslive, thank goodness. Neither of us had been to the venue before, so we had no particuilar preconceptions. We walked into the main room, which is an uncomplicated, quite large box-shaped space with a perversely tiny stage at the far end, to find it pretty much full of people rallying behind the Laffy cause, which must have been gratifying to the principal organisers, Mae Parker, (Laff's sister), and Bob Starkie, (pic 2) in particular. We immediately bumped into the Robbos and Tracey, (who's back from Dunedin), who were watching the latter stages of Wendy Stapleton's set, (pic 10) and then proceeded to trek through the audience to find the band room, a cavernous space underneath the stage, so we could dump our guitars.
As I walked down the stairs and into the band room, I had a flashback to the 'evil' bandroom on the LWTTT tour, or any of the Debonairs' luncheon fixtures for that matter - imagine a basement full of partially deaf musos in varying stages of decrepitude yelling wisecracks at each other with at least half of them smoking like the Yallorn power station. I felt right at home.
Bob Starkie was far too relaxed to be in control of events on stage, but Mae was probably keyed-up enough for both of them and checked with us at least a couple of times as to whether we were ready and how many songs we were going to do etc. I would've been quite happy with just the one song, but as we'd been allotted ten minutes I added I Just Wanna Make Love To You to the inevitable IBG, which was why I'd brought in my guitar. If Bob Starkie was anxious about anything, it was whether I'd be happy using his amp, and he supervised my every move when we finally got on stage after Hanna's rambling reggae set. ('Might as well be Pink Floyd', sighed Mae). As it happened I accepted Bob's adjudication on the volume, even though I suspected that it was going to be insufficient, but in any case, before we played a note the raffles had to drawn, and I was chosen to draw the ticket for the main prize of a fab guitar. (pic 11)
While the raffle business was going on I'd been quietly remonstrating with Bill for not tucking his guitar lead under his strap - he's not used to standing up these days and I thought it very possible he'd stand on his lead. As if by divine demonstration of this very point, after Mae had announced us as 'Mike Rudd and the boys' and was leaving the stage, an emotional and animated Karl Van Est pushed past me and grabbed my microphone, proclaiming himself the winner of the guitar. This declaration gleaned no response at all from the audience, which was getting a little restive by now, truth be told, so Karl expanded on his theme for a few minutes, and then abruptly wheeled round and tripped over my guitar lead!
Instant Karma
you might say, (or 'instant camera' as the rhythm section would have it), but the fact is, had I not had my lead tucked in, it might well have been broken. So nyaah to nay sayers.
I'll Be Gone predictably went OK - the crowd sang along even though there were musos in the mix (is that just an Aussie thing?) - and then I started playing the I Just Wanna lick 'Yee hah! Country!' laughed Robbo as my twang disappeared under the graunch of the rest of the band entering the fray.
Crap! I gave up trying to sort out where my guitar was in the mix and concentrated on singing, and again, I think it went over OK - there were a few cries of 'more' as we vacated the stage.
Daddy Cool was on next, and Hannaford joined with Ross, Wayne Duncan, James Black and not Gary Young for a really laid-back set of DC faves. I wandered downstairs to find Bill on his own eating a banana - between us we'd eaten all but one of the bunch on offer - and I checked my watch. It was after midnight, and NQR Bill had to get all the way back to Strathewen, so we ducked out the side alley to avoid the crowd before the threatened It's A Long Way To The Top jam.
I was surprised to see Laffy at the benefit (pics 1 & 14) - I'd understood he was in the States still, but he explained that he'd had some visa issues and was planning to go back to rejoin his wife when the problems were resolved. He said he was feeling a lot better than he had been when I last saw him before Christmas (his appearance at the Deb's luncheon prompted my We Thought He Looked Pretty Bad At The Time remark in the Snippets column). I've always thought of Laff as a very cool dude and he's mentioned a couple of times recently how our guitar styles have converged over the years, which I take as a great compliment. Who knows what the future holds? We can only wish him the very best and hope that last night's fundraiser helps him access the help he so desperately needs.
Alana Galea has sent me some pics from last night - that's them below. Thanks Alana!

Alana's For Pete's Sake pics

11) Mike draws the raffle 12) Daz affects his Ricky Ponting distracted gravitas look

13) A nice shot of Bill with no undies 14) A tired looking Laff snuggles up to Daz
More ACT pics

1) Annie MacKinnon and 2) David Jenkins, who both wanted to be on our e-mail list

3) Bill must be remembering his lost beanie 4) Robbo is thinking of post-gig chocolate

Mike likes his own work..
Some more Canberra pics from Lynnette Timmis
27.5.09 -
Lynnette is the Lynn I mention from time to time in the story about our recent ACT visit (Mike's diary of Spectrum in the nation's capital - below), and she is quite obviously an accomplished photographer. I think she's captured some nice moments with the shots she took at the Old Canberra Inn last Friday night - especially the pic of a smiling Bill. These versions are not the same size or framing as the originals, but I think you'll agree they're special.
The two head shots are of Annie MacKinnon and David Jenkins who were both at the Old Canberra Inn on Friday night and who both wanted to be added to the Spectrum e-mail list, but I didn't give them the opportunity and so Lynn took the initiative. I only opened the CD case when pestered, and then reluctantly.Sigh! I'm my own worst enemy sometimes.

Ben and Lou's pitcher..
Progress on the Breathing Space Too EP
26.5.09 -
It was in Canberra (see the gig report below) that I got an e-mail from 'our' publicist, Lou Ridsdale, asking me if I could show up at Aztec today and do an interview with Rock City Networks' Ben Pitcher. (pic)
I'll never turn down the chance to get my mug on anything, so of course I agreed to that, and while I was in the building I thought I might take the opportunity to do some pitching of my own. (Sorry Ben). First I wanted to chat to Lou about the possibility of her helping us with the publicity for BST, and then have a word with Aztec's Ted Lethborg, who helped us out with the first EP, about pressing and packaging.
Lou was enthusiastic and I'll hear more about her involvement soon, and Ted took it a step further and suggested that Aztec would be interested in helping with the distribution of both EPs!
That can't hurt! This is getting exciting!
Spectrum gently rocks Canberra..

1) How we are remembered in Canberra 2) The paint job on this sign could put you off this paint crowd

3) Geelong boys, Justin Carter, at the Old Canberra Inn 4) 2CC's Mike Welsh plays Xavier Rudd first on Oz radio

5) Scott Greagg at his version of the Hampton station 6) Peter J Casey waves to our readers from the ABC

7) The proof that I wasn't dreaming 8) Two idiots in the crowd at the Albert Hall market

9) The unmistakable facade of the National Library 10) Lynn and Pam finally say goodbye to Spectrum at the library

11) Peter and Jane Greagg with friend Maria at the Yacht Club 12) Phil Bircher came all the way from Sydney

13) Gaye displays our wares at the Yacht Club 14) Mike acknowledges the Greaggs (pic Greaggs)

gig report
Mike's diary of Spectrum in the nation's capital

Robbo had teaching commitments on Wednesday, so it was just Bill and me that left Camberwell just before midday. Even leaving a day early, you don't need the hint of a mechanical problem, and while the van is pretty noisy at the best of times, there was a new and ominous noise that sounded as if it was coming from the back axle area that added to the tension. As I'd just had an horrendously expensive service a couple of weeks before, I was hoping that it wasn't due to some apprentice's carelessness, but in any event, we reached Cockburn Ave in downtown Curtin the predicted eight hours later, just in time for some burnt chicken offerings from our ever-cheerful hostess and agent, Gaye Reid, one half of the Let's Create team that persists in bringing us to the ACT for the fun of it..
We caught up with all the latest goss, including Geof-with-one-'f's recent car accident that left him with cracked ribs and some facial damage, (no big hugs for Geof!), before catching a bit of the Foxtel program and retiring.
The next morning Bill and I had breakfast at Gus', our traditional Canberra breakfast spot, and did a little shopping. Bill bought a new woollen beanie to replace his precious hand-knitted one he lost at the Dog On The Tucker Box BP garage outside Gundagai, and I found some woollen socks on special at Myer. Hooray for wool!
I'd rung Chadstone Mitsubishi from Gus' to advise them of the van's noise problem, and at their suggestion booked it into a local garage to have the diff' inspected at 4.00, about an hour and a half after Robbo was due in at Canberra airport. Of course, Robbo's Tiger fight was delayed by an hour or so, which meant he was due in at the same time as the van was due to be inspected, but I managed to get the garage to move the time forward so we got to the airport right on 4.00. (Incidentally, there was no obvious problem with the diff', but there was uneven wear on the front tyres, which suggested there might be a problem with the front shockers). Bill has bought himself a handy-cam, so he had fun filming Robbo's arrival as his first effort behind the camera. Beware of pointless band trivia being brought to you on YouTube in future !
Bill, Geof and I had loaded in at the National Press Club before going to the airport, so it wasn't the usual enervating rush, but the addition of a grand piano in the recent Press Club Bar refurbishment meant that we actually had less space to work with than before. However, the good thing about the alterations is that they've removed the accursed acoustic tiles, so the sound was a lot brighter and fun to play with as a result.
So, in essence, the evening went OK, especially as we hadn't played a note together since Mt Beauty all those weeks ago. There wasn't a large crowd, but there was a nucleus of interested people who were known to us, including the Greaggs, Pam Cleary and Lynn, and some unknown to me who felt moved enough to make complimentary noises at the end of the night, including Tony Wright, national affairs editor with The Age, who said he was inspired to briefly become a sound engineer after seeing Spectrum in Hamilton as a schoolboy in the very early '70s.
The Press Club closes at 10.00, which is when everybody in Canberra goes to bed during the working week apparently, so there are no shops open anywhere and we arrived home empty-handed - but we were treated to a Gaye-special cheeseboard and cups of tea anyway. Then we all watched a fairly dire episode of Elvis Costello's Spectacle, featuring his wife, Diana Krall, before collapsing into our beds. Bill woke up to find that he'd somehow managed to lose his new beanie.. Sigh!
Today, a gig-less day, has been proclaimed 'Footy Day', and all is right with the world, because 1) Bill found his beanie (in his room, where I said it would be) and 2) Geof has just today got the Sports channels connected on his Foxtel account, so the chaps can now watch their games of footy, and I might even get to watch the Crusaders/Bulls game.
The gig last night at the Old Canberra Inn began inauspiciously. The support band, (Justin Carter - pic 3), had set up their drum-kit and were considering bringing in their own PA when we arrived, rather than using Robbo's kit and our PA as we had on our worksheet, which would've had the effect of doubling the changeover time. After some discussion they happily relented and reverted to the arrangement as we understood it. I ended up quite enjoying their set too.
Unfortunately, the Justin Carter entourage let down the team by hanging around the stage area chatting noisily during our first set, and then an inebriated Irish labourer, (excuse the tautology), was moved to commandeer my mic a couple of times for a few Guinness-soaked moments, much to Bill's ire, but once they'd all gone we settled down to a well received couple of sets. Pam and Lynn made a return appearance, as did the Greaggs, (much to my surprise, as Jane usually can't stay up too late), and our old mate Paul Culnane even staggered in after the first set sporting a newly dyed coiffure to record his attendance.
We've had a fine breakfast at Gus' again this morning and visited an over-crowded market at the Albert Hall (where Bill and I played with The Stahely Bros all those years ago) and had a geek at the National Library, where we ran into Pam & Lynn one last time before they headed off home.
I popped over to see my friends the Greaggs yesterday arvo. They are looking comfortable in their new home and have a new white puli (Ziggy) to celebrate. Scott (pic 5) is well on the way to setting up his train platform and has already overstocked his walk-in wardrobe with uniforms etc. Jane and I talked the talk over cups of tea while Pete prepared the evening meal in his kitchen-to-end-all-kitchens and interpolated the odd pertinent observation as he felt the urge.
All in all it was a pleasant thing to do, but there was a Footy Day to contend with back at the Let's Create hacienda, so I bade the Greaggs farewell, (until we see them again today at the Yacht Club, of course), and headed into the gathering dusk to Footy Day curtain time in Curtin.
There was some obstruction on the bridge which slowed me down. Emergency lights were on and there were emergency personnel and police everywhere. I wondered if somebody had tired of having to drive round in endless circles and had decided to end it all by jumping off the bridge. (pic 7)
The previous night we'd undergone a breath test just a little further up the same road on the way home from the Old Canberra Inn. When the policeman proferred me the breath testing instrument, I'd leant forward to blow in the funnel, but discovered there was no funnel. The policeman asked me to count to ten, and when I'd got to four said that was enough. I don't know if he looked so amused because I hadn't had any alcohol or because I wasn't familiar with the ACT variation on the detector theme.
When I got home, the chaps had set up two tellies, thinking that their respective games were on at the same time. As it happened they weren't, but in the meantime Gaye had cooked up a storm and we all sat down to a delightful roast meal accompanied by a pleasant enough Marlborough pinot I'd bought on the way home. Bravo Gaye!
Robbo's Pies then annihilated the Eagles, (while the second TV played one of the Alien sequels), and then Geof and Gaye retired while we sat up and watched the Crusaders get knocked off by the Bulls. Well, Bill and I managed to stay awake for the entire game - Robbo fell asleep in the second half.
Now Bill and I have an interview at the local ABC radio station, (triple 6!), with a Peter J Casey, after which we'll do a late breakfast and prepare for the final gig at the Canberra Yacht Club followed by our immediately hitting the road for home.
We've had a late breakfast at Gus' and are preparing for the Yacht Club gig. The interview with Peter J Casey (pic 6) at the ABC seemed to go OK . Bill and I did a couple of blues tunes and had a bit of a chat - while Robbo slept in. Peter J had done his research and knew what he was talking about - Gaye says he's a 'cabaret' musician, whatever that means, but anyway it was a fun interlude and may pull a few people to the Yacht Club with any luck
We've bought provisions for the trip i.e. chocolate and biscuits, and I've filled the tank. First stop Gundagai - maybe Bill will be reunited with his first beanie..
Tuesday. Well, we're back safely and getting mentally prepared for tonight's spot at the Pete Laffy benefit. The gig at the Yacht Club was probably the highlight of the trip. It's not an easy load-in, but Gaye chipped in (!) and we managed OK. Gaye insisted on being the marketing bitch and sold quite a few CDs too, and we got some new additions to the mailing list as well - thanks Gaye. The Greaggs showed up with Jane's friend Maria, (pic 11) and quite a few of our mailing list people, including Phil Bircher (pic 12) who made the trip from Sydney especially to see us (and catch up with a few ACT friends). Jane gave us even more chocolate fro the trip home..
There were a couple of young boys who'd come with their parents to the Yacht Club, one of whom declared that he was starting his own band and already had a nine-year old girl drummer lined up. I met up with him in the toilet just before we left. 'Guess how old I am?' he asked . I'd heard somebody mention he was eight, so I said, 'eight'. 'How did you know that?' he said. 'I'm a genius' I replied. He looked at me speculatively, perhaps sensing an opportunity for absolute domination of his sibling. 'Well, how do you make a person blow up then?' he wanted to know.
About ten minutes out of town I said to Bill, 'This doesn't look right to me. I think we're on the wrong road'. We were too, and we had an exciting cross-country drive to join up with the Barton Hwy at Murrumbateman, coincidentally where Ian Miller was buried on Friday. I'd had half a cup of coffee before we left and my heart was pounding, but I didn't say anything. And, miracle of miracles, Bill was indeed reunited with his favourite beanie at Gundagai! He is once more a believer in the goodness of human nature.
The cross-country excursion was the first half hour lost, and we lost another forty minutes or so at Glenrowan where the appropriate BP servo had lost electricity and we had to back-track to get to its counterpart on the other side of the highway, so it took us a neat nine hours rather than the usual eight. But we made it, and all in all we had a ball. Let's do it again soon!


Ian McCausland is surprised by my phone camera

Breathing Space Too edges closer to the real world
19.5.09 -
I drove into the wilds of Glenroy today to re-establish contact with Ian McCausland, (pic) reclusive graphic genius and designer of the original Breathing Space EP (as well as Milesago) sleeve. I found him on yard duty sweeping up leaves, a job he cherishes too much to be called a job really. I gave him the new band photo, but little else by way of detail, 'cause I still had to master the final track for the new EP, and until that was accomplished, nothing was certain. Ian showed me the progress he's made with his Red Truck animation ('only ten thousand more images to go') and we agreed to talk again after we get back from the ACT. It's a happening thing!


Vale Ian Miller
19.5.09 -
Back in the old days, when Spectrum used to haunt EMI 's office opposite where Capers now is in Hawthorn, Ian Miller joined the company and nurtured a few acts, including the Moir Sisters as I recall. I believe he was an excellent guitarist, and with his handsome looks I can remember being surprised he didn't persist as a performer.
He always looked a little peaky mind you, but I didn't know he was ill, and now he's dead. He's pictured (left) with Dom at one of the recent Debonair do's.


The chaps recover from a big giggle-fest in time to be shot..
Pizzas for five
14.5.09 - I invited the other guys over last night to bond, (we haven't seen each other for weeks), and have a listen to the new EP tracks before I went into Edensound to get them mastered today. Robbo brought Lisa along too, which was handy 'cause we haven't had a group shot for a while, and as she was responsible for the (unattributed) shot used on the first EP, she's got a credible track record - not to mention she's free..
So, we had a listen to the tracks and ate pizzas, (some had pinot), and finished with a photo session out in the cold night air, which ended in a giggle-fest - and a couple of usable shots. Thanks Muffy!
For Pete's Sake benefit
12.5.09 -
I suppose this could come under the heading of We Thought He Looked Pretty Bad At The Time, but it seems that Pete Laffy has fallen on hard times health-wise, and by way of underlining that there's a benefit being held on Tuesday the 26th of this month at Spenserslive to raise funds for 'ongoing treatment in the States'. (See the gig flyer for the line-up details). I've contacted Mae Parker with a view to Spectrum playing a song or two and she's up for it, so we'll see you down there!

Breathing Space Too launch
12.5.09 - So, I've booked in to Edensound for Thursday to master said disc AND booked a date in July to launch the same at The Basement Discs. Sounds as if things are moving along apace don't it? I'd better actually start moving apace then I s'pose..

WHY's Woman of Steel on the Videos page
12.5.09 - I'm on a SNIPPETS roll - must mean I should be doing something else. Yes, I've discovered another piece of our past on YouTube site. Check it out - and while you're there, check out Bill's moving Rosewood clip.

Nigel gives us the thumbs up from the Philippines
OK - it's May already!
8.5.09 - Well, it's been such a disgusting start to the month I haven't really wanted to acknowledge it's actually under way. It's not like we had a lot of gigs anyway, then Kenny calls me on Monday to say that our Mother's Day gig at the Dandenong Workers is off, and today he e-mails me that the couple of gigs he had booked for us (at The Glacier Bar) have gone too. While I've been beavering away at the mixes for the new CD, (I'm getting very close too), and that's good, not gigging is bad for my morale, as well as catastrophic for my income stream.
The odd event raises my spirits though. Today I got an order for a boatload of CDs from Nigel (pic) who lives in the Philippines. He says: G'day Mike, A belated note to
thank you for the great music and the tee-shirt. It brings back fond memories. And "Living on a Volcano" is great. Really great. We've just put in a repeat order for five more (and a few more discs to complete the collection) for Christmas presents for musically inclined family and friends...
..And as requested on your invoice, we had a few G & Ts while we remembered the good times. The occasion was our first wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. We stayed at a little hotel on Cebu. To that end, please find attached photographs of the inaugural meeting of the Spectrum Appreciation Society of the Philippines (Catmon Chapter). The sound box is playing "I'll Be Gone" (but of course) and "Living on a Volcano."

Hooray! You see, that makes me feel a little more cheerful. Why don't you go to the CDs page and buy someone you know a bonzer collection of our CDs? If you order enough of them you might get a free T-shirt too - and you'll have the added bonus of making an old man happy..
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