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Breathing Space Too
Spectrum EP charts in Adelaide!
28.7.09 - I got the news from two different sources and confirmed it on Radio 3D's website - Breathing Space Too has charted at #10 first week in on the 3D Top 20 + 1 chart. Mind you, this is obviously not based on sales and they make a point of advising that: The Top 20+1 chart is comprised of the most played albums from past week. Tracks for the playlist are chosen purely at the announcer's discretion - nevertheless, the tenth most played CD is pretty neat.
All the comments I've had back so far have been favourable. If you have some thoughts, let me know..

Mike and Bill hold up 50th birthday boy Paul Tyzack

gig report
Paul Tyzack's 50th goes off with a bang!
26.7.09 -
It's been months in the planning, but last night, all the secret negotations between Paul Tyzack's wife Kym and me proved worth it. Paul's face (pic) was a classic clichéd mixture of shock and disbelief when Bill and I walked into his semi-rural Bellarine Peninsula home last night. (It turns out that Paul and his mates had showed up at Spectrum's last Geelong gig at The Studio).
There was a party going on of course, and Bill and I proceeded to play a most enjoyable set, which went down a treat with everybody - Kym got in touch this morning and said we'd set the mood for a great party.
If you'd like Mike & Bill at your party, go to Book Spectrum

Mark Noke's Basement shots

1) Jimmy Sloggett blows up a storm 2) Strathie Bill and Robbo McTubby strut their stuff

3) Daryl does the Chopped Liver 4) Mike goes formal in the full Mr Morris Nylon rig
Photo gallery
- I promised to show you some of Mark Knoke's shots from The Basement Discs and so here they are. I think I like the costume idea - modest as it is, it still manages to lend a little bit of character to the overall presentation as Mark's pics would seem to endorse.
A legend in their own launch-time..

1) Mike with Kinglake's Joan Davey and friend at the Warrnambool PAC 2) St Andrews' kids check out the band
gig report

1) 17.7.09 Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Xmas party
2) 18.7.09 The Lomond
3) 19.7.09 St Andrewes

The band survives a gruelling weekend schedule
20.7.09 -
For some reason it took us a full hour to get from Warrigal Rd to the Westgate Bridge on Friday, so we needed every minute of the five hours I'd allowed to get to Warrnambool. When we finally arrived we were greeted with a Spinal Tap style 'Rock and Roll!' by Graham Gill, who'd been instrumental in convincing the Social Committee that we would be perfect for the Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory's Xmas party gig. The accommodation at Quest (luxury!) was only fifty metres away from the Performing Arts Centre ('the PAC') where we were to play that evening, and, despite the load-in being a complete bastard, we were set up in plenty of time and shared in the fine menu on offer to the guests while we chatted with the WC&BF's Social Secretary, Andrew Drake. It was during this conversation we discovered it was Andrew's 39th birthday, which gave us a handy entrée to start the night.
As soon as we started playing, our ally Graham was up on the dance floor, urging and cajoling people to get up and dance, but predictably it wan't until the last set anybody took him up on it. One of those who did participate was Joan Davey, (pic 1) who comes from Kinglake and who had lost four of her family in the fires - she told me that this was the first night she'd been able to go out and enjoy herself since then. If we'd had an indifferent evening, that single story would've made the night worthwhile, but, in fact, we rather enjoyed ourselves, despite the Spinal Tap-at-the-air-force-base connotations.
When we arrived at the Lomond Hotel the next evening we were delighted to find Derek (and Barb) Guille still in da house. Derek said he'd had occasion to play Xavier Rudd, (although not on his 774 show yet), and also said he'd rather enjoyed listening to the EP, so perhaps he'll get round to playing a track on air this week..
Because we weren't playing to a 'listening' audience in Warrnambool, I'd been a little more uninhibited than usual and it seemed to pay off at the Lomond, where I've been known to become a lttle over-analytical on occasions. In any event we had a lovely night - I even managed to run out of Breathing Space Too EPs to flog.
I thought that by the time we got to the St Andrews pub on Sunday afternoon I'd be thoroughly exhausted, but strangely that wasn't the case. The place filled up nicely during the first set and we seemed to pick up where we left off at the Lomond and the afternoon ended up being quite a rave-up.
Early on in the piece, a gentleman with an impressive looking camera asked me if it was OK to take some photos, to which I said it was fine with me. We got to talking later, and it turned out we share quite a bit of history, albeit in parallel worlds. His name is Lloyd Godman, and he's a Kiwi who's photographed some major acts at some major festivals over the years. I've checked out some of the shots he took on Sunday and they're especially fine. If you want to have a look at them click on Lloyd Godman  and scroll down to the 'S' section

Patrick, (front), Rod, Mike and Suzanne and Mikey.
Breathing Space Too
The launch goes to plan, but Bill loses the plot..
16.7.09 - Not being The Basement Discs' regular Friday in-store, we might've expected to lose a few punters, but there was a handsome turn-out nevertheless. As well as Daryl, we had the bonus of Jimmy Sloggett in the line-up, and we signed lots of copies of new EP that people had bought, which was the point really.
Less edifyingly, on the way home, Bill rang Robbo from a mobile phone he'd been donated after the fires and tricked Robbo, who didn't recognise the number. So, a few minutes later he rang Bill back on the same number, and, as Bill doesn't have hands-free for that phone, Robbo teased him that the cops were going to get him. And they did..

BST's cover artist Ian McCausland lets the sunshine in
Breathing Space Too
An unbiased critique of the new EP

15.7.09 - Just one more sleep till the official launch of Breathing Space Too, and I've received some feedback from Ray Hogan, one of our interstate subscibers who has received the EP.
Got the BS2EP this a.m. It's a killer set of tracks! Love the playing from you and all the boys and your vocals are a feature. With no disrespect to BS1, this is (more like) the Spectrum I know and love. It's still got a bit of everything, but seems more coherent.
The humour has returned in the lyrics, in addition to a bit more grunt (to use a technical term!) in the playing and production. I think our friend David would even
enjoy the "surf music" influence on Silicon Valley.
What can I say? Congratulations and well done! One can only hope you earn some money from such a fine effort.
That'd be a fine result. In the meantime, kudos will suffice. Incidentally I popped over to see Ian McCausland, (pic) BST's cover artist to deliver him his copy, and he was thrilled with the way it's turned out - he might even show up at the launch!

Strathie Bill, Capt.McTubby, M. Nylon & Chopped Liver
Xavier Rudd film clip shoot
12.7.09 - It had to happen - it sounds like it should be a single, only we don't do singles these days, but in any case we felt it would be a good idea to have a clip of some sorts for the Xavier Rudd song. The usual cast of idiots got costumed up as Strathie Bill, Capt. McTubby, Morris Nylon and Chopped Liver, (pic) and assembled at Wattle Park (my local) this morning, and bro' Dick operated Bill's spanking new camera to capture the action on film.
That's as far as it's got at this stage. Assuming we actually have some footage on tape, I need to integrate it with the Wrokdown footage that Anita Monk kindly took (see article below) and whatever footage we can glean from the Xavier Rudd camp.
Spectrum on Wrokdown this Saturday night at 9.00
10.7.09 -
The headline says it all really, except that it's on Channel 31, the phantom channel that only half Melbourne's population can pick up. That being said, if you can pick it up, you're sure to find the show pretty interesting. My first interview on Wrokdown a couple of years ago turned out to be the opening episode of the series, and it looks like it's going o be the same for this series. The difference is that it's a spiffy new set, (filmed at the Lilydale Secondary College Performing Arts Centre), and I'm joined by fellow Spectrum stalwart, the one and only Bilge Pump, who helps flesh out my garbled version of events - and we preview a track from the new Breathing Space Too EP, Xavier Rudd Is Not My Son..

Aztec's Ted Lethborg plays peek-a-boo with the new EP
Breathing Space Too
The new EP arrives!
9.7.09 - In a way I'm glad the release date was moved back by nearly a week, even though we would've just made it for the original date of tomorrow. Very handsome it looks too, (pic) the artwork again rendered by our mate and legendary graphic artist, Ian McCausland. (Check out Ian's fabulous poster art on his website).
Just to remind you, the launch is at The Basement Discs next Thursday (the 16th) lunchtime at 12.45 - 1.45. If you're not familiar with TBD, you're in for a pleasant surprise. They're an 'old fashioned record store' in the sense that they really care about the music they sell, not to mention the musicians that create the music.

Robbo McTubby poses with cub photographer Oriana
Debonairs' luncheon
7.7.09 -
I can't really afford to go to too many Debonairs' luncheons. but I thought it mightn't be such a bad idea for Spectrum to put in appearance at this one, given that we have the new EP about to be launched. First Daz couldn't make it, and then on the way into Prahran I got a call from Bill saying he was feeling nauseous and was bailing out. A few minutes later I got another call from Bill saying that he'd thrown up and was feeling a lot better, so he was heading back to Greville St. How very senior rock 'n' roll, I was thinking, until I got yet another call saying he was heading home again. Oh well, Robbo and I had fun anyway..
No sticky date pudding for Mike..
Mike finds the cheesecake is very rich..
Mouse over this pic to see what happens when Mike eats his cheesecake too quickly..
gig report The Soundgarden Sat. 4.7.09
Spectrum meets some old friends at The Soundgarden
5.7.09 - It's good to get to The Soundgarden in North Laverton early for a couple of reasons: 1) there's no stage entrance, so you have to bring the gear in through the room, which is easier done when there are no bodies getting in the way, and 2) it's nice to have time to have a look at the menu and have a relaxed meal before you start playing, especially as The Soundgarden's food is so damn fine.
When the crowd did start to pour in, it was evident they were 'our' people, and apart from Alana and Jenny, (pic) Mick Newman and Aztec Music's receptionist, Kath, they were mostly people who had not been to a Spectrum gig for thirty years or more - or so I gleaned from the conversations I had with some very enthusiastic punters during the evening.
Anyway, we got a terrific reception for all three sets and Maree made sure we sold a few CDs as well, so it was a fun night and worthwhile. As per tradition, we all sat down at the end of the night after loading out and sampled Maree's cheesecake and brownies with a mug of hot chocolate - even Strathie Bill stuck around to enjoy the experience this time!
The Soundgarden's Dave and Maree are a couple who continue to enjoy the business of bringing fine food and music to the Melbourne's far West, and continue to bend over backwards to make it enjoyable for us as well. Long may they prosper!
Norm Sweeney dies
1.7.09 - I had an e-mail from the Darcys a few days ago informing me that Norm Sweeney, ('one of the good ones'), had died on the night of Friday 26th. It wasn't entirely unexpected, as Gil Matthews told me he'd heard that Norm hadn't long when I was in the Aztec office a week ago. Norm was one of the Sydney clique of roadies, so Spectrum only came across him every now and then. The last time was on the LWTTT tour back in 2002, and I recall he wasn't too well even then. Norm was ever the gentleman and always fastidiously turned out - often leaving in his sartorial wake the musos in his care..

Breathing Space Too still on track
1.7.09 - Speaking of Aztec, I spoke to Ted Lethborg again today and the BST discs have arrived in the office and we're now just waiting on the digipacs, (covers), which Ted expects should be in sometime next week.

Ross Wilson's '5 Decades of Cool' concert
1.7.09 - I had reason to contact Ross Wilson last week (I was looking to find the whereabouts of former DC saxophonist, Jerry Noone), and in the flurry of e-mails that followed, Ross asked if I'd be interested in showing up to play bass on a couple of Party Machine numbers at his 45th anniversary gig at the Palais on Friday August 14th. (See the concert flyer for more details). I said I would..
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