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R&B rock Christchurch - again..
cathedral where Mike once sang 2) The Stagedoor as it is now
3) Davey Johnston
bassist, Marty Forrer 5) Ace axeman, Tim Piper 6) Former Stagedoor
habituée, John Dalton
chats to Tony Steenhart at rehearsal 8) Marty and Tim discuss
options at the Radio New Zealand studio
9) Trevor Courtney hams it up at Radio New
Zealand 10) Barry Saunders at Al's Bar
Simon Ogston 12) Trev Courtney's wife and guest door bitch,
Lyndsay Hammond, and hairy friend
former Art School mate Brett de Thier 14) Dennis from Oz and
his mates Tony and Grant at Al's Bar
Al's Bar Fri. 26 and Sat. 27.2.10
Chants R&B - the saga continues
9.3.10 - Ever since the first Chants
R&B reunion gig back in November of 2007, Al Parks, the
'Al' in Christchurch's Al's Bar, has been agitating to have
the Chants back, and after a bit of to and fro-ing, Chants'
drummer Trev Courtney and I eventually settled on the end
of February. Since discussions began, Trevor and his wife
Lyndsay Hammond, (pic 12) have moved back to NZ and
bought a property near Oxford about thirty minutes out of
Christchurch, and so Trev was able to be pretty hands-on in
the on-going negotiations.
At the last minute, Matt Croke, who'd played guitar (along
with Jim Tomlin) with the Chants in 2007, had to pull out
due to work commitments, so I approached Tim Piper, who coincidentally
was Matt's replacement back in 1966, to see if he would be
interested in joining Trev, Marty Forrer and me for the two
As it turned out, Tim was more than happy to be involved,
so a couple of weeks ago we met up at Davey Johnston's (pic
3) house for our first (bass-less) run-through - Marty
had work commitments and was only able to join us for the
one rehearsal. Neverthless, both rehearsals went smoothly
enough and afterwards we had time to chat with old Chants'
fans John Dalton (pic 6) and Tony Steenhart, (pic
7) as well as record a couple of interviews with Simon
Ogston, (pic 11) a local film maker who had approached
us to make a documentary of the reunion.
Although John Baker wasn't directly involved in putting on
the gigs this time around, we'd asked him to help us out with
the promotion and he'd organised a live-to-air interview with
Radio New Zealand's Jim Mora on Friday, so we spent a very
relaxed hour or so at the Radio New Zealand studios (pics
8 & 9) and chatted with the very well researched
Jim Mora. We played three tunes (Dimples, Kingbee
and Sitting On Top of the World). which Tony Brittenden
told me sounded really fine, so and I'll try to get hold of
the recording and put it up on the site.
The gig that night started edgily - for me at any rate. One
of the problems I had on both nights was the lack of light
on stage and I blundered around in the dark trying to get
things ship-shape, to finally suface and check that everybody
was ready and say a couple of words to the bemused audience
- when I was interrupted by Al Parks who'd neglected to tell
me he was introducing the band.
By then I was so off-balance I launched into I'm Your
Witchdoctor without Tim's introductory chord, (I was
totally oblivious of this until the next day's sound check),
and as a consequence it took us a few numbers to settle down.
But settle down we did and the rest of the set went off pretty
There was a bigger crowd in on the Saturday night and there
was an air of excited expectation when I walked into Al's
Bar. The support, Barry Saunders, (pic 10) sounded
more relaxed than the previous night, and despite making a
couple of minor adjustments to the Chants' set list, everything
felt more settled in the Chants' camp as well.
This time the start of the set went flawlessly, the crowd
was into it and I was beginning to enjoy myself. At one point
I jumped into the crowd and discovered Tony Brittenden's daughter
Ro standing there with her two flat-mates and she looked so
happy I just had to give her a big hug.
At John Baker's suggestion Simon Ogston had been joined by
Jeff and Jude Smith from Deep Animation in putting
together the doco and they were busily filming the night's
show - I've seen some of of what they captured on film that
night and it looks pretty exciting. Hopefully we'll be able
to coordinate any future tours with the broadcast of the doco.
The reunion was great fun and it was terrific playing with
Trevor, Marty and Tim again. Perhaps we'll plan shows that
are a little more considerate of our audience next time around
- maybe a Sunday arvo at a winery for instance - and John
Baker reckons we should take the show to Melbourne too. Bring
to change your shirt, Mike!
Pat Bromilow and Mike 2) Dave is wondering what Mike is up to
when - flash!
Swift poses with young Hayden and McTubby
Pat Bromilow's 50th 13.2.10
Manningham Sports Bar 14.2.10
busy weekend for the trio
15.2.10 - Pat Bromilow's 50th
(pic 1) was actually a double celebration for him and
Linda and so was billed as a 100th birthday party. It was at
Pat's place, a rambling Through the Looking Glass kind of home
set in the steep hillsides of North Warrandyte. Pat's a genial
kind of chap and his guests were of the same disposition, with
aunts and uncles and mums and dads chatting over a wine while
the kids jumped in the pool and Dorothy did her best to carry
the food from the kitchen to the tables set up under the awning
picturesquely overlooking the valley.
The last set went for about ninety minutes, (!) so we were
|starting to get the staggers by 10.30,
but I had remembered that I was required to help my niece move
some belongings back from Parkville to the family home in Warrandyte
the next morning, so the gear had yet to be unloaded when I
Sometimes tiredness can work in your favour, i.e you
don't have the energy to be edgy, and perhaps that was the case
at the Manningham yesterday, or maybe we're just comfortable
with the gig these days. In any case, The Trollops noted there
was a very good crowd in, which may have been because it was
Valentine's Day, (certainly there was a posse in to check out
Fevola's first appearance for his new club), but, for whatever
reason they were there it was good to see a nice crowd and we
put on a relaxed and well-received show.
Dave (pic 2) said he gets my e-mails, (and that's why
he turned up at the Manningham), but he rarely checks out the
rest of the site, so I took the snap to encourage further investigation.
After we'd eventually packed up I wined and dined with The Trollops
in the Manningham's bistro, before drifting off home in a contented
daze. That's what I call a rewarding weekend's work.
The pic of Robbo with Taylor Swift? (pic 3) Robbo's
been up in NSW with his Rats of Tobruk Pipe Band for the past
week or so, and it was when they were hanging around at Sydney
airport he noticed the Taylor Swift entourage and brazenly demanded
a photo op. His mate, 16 year old Hayden Middleton, is totally
smitten and is the envy of his mates.
Wade and Mick Pealing at the Clifton Hill Hotel
Clifton Hill Hotel 10.2.10
leaves his brain at home..
11.2.10 - Bill came round earlier
in the day and we discussed the set list for the inaugural Acoustic
Sessions night at the Clifton Hill Hotel, as sponsored by the
tireless Rod Claringbould. It was still pretty hot so we decided
against having a run through, which in retrospect, was a cavalier
decision, to say the least.
On the way in I was running through Dreaming in my
head and found I couldn't remember the first couple of lines,
so I was already flustered when I arrived. Mick Pealing and
Steve Wade (pic) were still playing and I'd just asked
Bill if he could ring Robbo to see if he could throw any light
on the missing lyrics when I was approached by Anne
| O'Rourke and Ric Dempster who wanted
to to brief me on my part in presenting a petition to the government
about the current indiscriminate application of the licensing
laws, which has seen the high profile closure of The Tote and
numerous other marginal music venues closing their doors.
Perhaps it was excusable then that I was still flustered when
I arrived on stage, but what followed was a very edgy performance,
with the world's shortest version of Healthkick and
various sloppy synchronisational lapses, mostly engendered by
The crowd was very forgiving though, and I got some 'lovely'
feedback, but my night of misery wasn't quite over. Just as
I was about to march out the door I heard someone mention they'd
found a camera. No prizes for guessing it was mine. (Thank you
very much to the honest person who found it and gave it to the
looks happy to find a gig to wear his RocKwiz jacket
pics from The Minya and more..
10.2.10 - Phil Thomson was on photo duty
at The Minya a couple of weeks back and pulled off some really
nice shots, a terrific example of which appears left. If you'd
like to get in touch with Phil or check out some more of his
work, you can find him at redbubble.
I heard from Rob Harwood too, and it seems we just missed
him and Geoff Achison at St Andrews on Saturday night. (See
story below). Rob's collected many interesting performances
via his desk over the years, and he's got a song or two from
Spectrum as well. Check out Rob Harwood's ning
year after Black Saturday
and his son Chris with Bill at the book launch 2) Flowers on
the stage at the Strathie cricket oval service
Chocolate .Lilies choir with Bruce Rogers smokin' on didge 4)
The kids' choir prepare for their song
wishes Rosemary good luck before her reading
book launch 6.2.10
Strathewen memorial service 7.2.10
8.2.10 - This was a significant weekend
for many Victorians, and Bill and his partner Rosemary were
no exceptions. (Check last Feb's Stop
Press for the story). I was honoured to be asked to accompany
Bill on two events over the weekend - the first on Saturday
at Bridges in Hurstbridge was a book launch for Footsteps
In The Ash, the story of the fires as they affected the
communities of Strathewen and St Andrews, and the second Strathewen
Community Commemoration service early on Sunday morning at the
Strathie cricket oval, just minutes from Rosewood.
|The book launch was very well attended,
and John Brumby and Julia Gillard both made fine speeches along
with local CFA hero, Captain David McGay. Bill and I played
some instrumentals before and after the speeches, which were
well received and highlighted Bill's profile in the district.
Afterwards, we adjourned to the St Andrews pub where Bill and
Rosemary shouted me tea (dinner) and Stan proudly introduced
us to his grandson, Xavier, who was intgrigued to meet with
Rose's beautiful grandaughter, Tilley.
Given the early start the next day, it was more practical for
me to stay overnight at Rosewood and I slept pretty comfortably
in the portable granny that also serves as Bill's new studio.
Rosemary's daughter, Georgina, is on the Strathie renewal committee
('Renewin' Strathewen') and had already been down to the oval
to supervise the erection of the stage and facilities by the
time Bill made everybody porridge for breakfast.
Rosemary (pic 5) told me over breakfast that she was
nervous, but I didn't really understand why - until she was
called up onto the stage at the start of the proceedings to
read her poem about the fires. (She did really well too). The
Chocolate Lilies choir (pic 3) sang four songs with
Rogers on didgeridoo (he made my didge), Cam Tapp
sang his Lest We Forget song with the children's choir,
(pic 4) and Bill and I played in the background as
the people from the 1500 strong crowd signed dedications to
the devastation wrought to the community on that fearful day.
I was invited to stay on for a BBQ, but I had arranged to meet
up with Chris for a trip down to Choclatté and regretfully
declined. Last night I watched the Black Saturday doco on the
ABC and it reminded me of just how lucky I am to still have
my mate Bill to play alongside, not to mention to be included
so whole-heartedly by his extended family in the Valley of Ewen.
R&B reunion at Al's Bar
3.2.10 - Some of you - well, most of you
- wouldn't be familiar with my first band, Chants
R&B. We started playing a residency at a sweaty little
cellar called The Stagedoor in Christchurch, my home town, back
in 1964, which only ended when we left for Melbourne in 1966.
We had our first reunion in 2007 and played at Al's Bar in Christchurch
and another gig at Auckland's Monte Christo club a couple of
This time we're playing just the two nights at Al's Bar on Fri.
26th and Sat. 27th of this month, and this time we're joined
by the legendary Tim Piper on guitar, which I'm really looking
forward to. Check
out Chants' flyer
|3.2.10 - Always good to start off
with some good news. This advice comes from Jan &
Mick Cox, stalwarts of the music industry, re' the rumours
of Ray Arnott's demise: Hi Mike and Bill, It seems
that all is well with Ray Arnott. I have been in touch
with his ex wife Cina, and she tells me that Ray is just
fine. I think he is up in Brisbane these days...
Maybe this the perfect time to pass on this cautionary
tale I received courtesy of Peter McKechnie.
In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely
lauded for his wisdom.
One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said,
"Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied, "Before
you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called
the Triple Filter Test."
'Triple filter?" asked the acquaintance.
right," Socrates continued, "Before you talk
to me about Diogenes let's take a moment to filter what
you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you
made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me
"No," the man said, "Actually
I just heard about it."
said Socrates, "So you don't really know if it's
true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter
of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "You want to
tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even
though you're not certain it's true?"
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued,
"You may still pass the test though, because there
is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you
want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
Socrates, "If what you want to tell me is neither
True nor Good nor even useful, why tell it to me or anyone
The man was bewildered and ashamed. This is an example
of why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such
It also explains why Socrates never found out that Diogenes
was having it off with his wife..
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