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Ponting readies the Latrobe Ballroom 2) Bob Valentine and Claire
at 88.3 FM
Bob & Larry day - and the EPs have arrived!
31.8.11 - Bill and I had a short-lived
outfit called Bob
& Larry and it didn't occur to me till I put up the
pics above that I'd inadvertently had one of those days. Larry
Ponting (pic 1) contacted me a few days ago about performing
at the launch of the Entertainment
Assist organisation and so I duly turned up at the Latrobe
Ballroom in the Sofitel at 9.45 for a 10.00 sound check. I opened
the proceedings with an acapella version of I'll
Be Gone, which is an absolutely appropriate song for
such an occasion. I knew quite a few people in the room, but
I'd never met Iva Davies before (Iva's a patron of EA) and we
had an interesting little natter at the end of the official
part of proceedings.
I wandered down to The Basement Discs to check on Friday's lunchtime
launch - still with no word from Aztec about stock of the EPs
- and then wandered back up to the parking joint to pick up
the van. I was still in shock from the $62.00 parking fee when
I got to 88.3 FM in Mordialloc to have a chat with Bobby Valentine.
Bob played four of the BSAW tracks that I'd burned
onto CD and we had such a jolly time I'd quite forgotten the
pain of parking.in the CBD by the time I emerged.
Just a few minutes ago I got a message from Ted Lethborg saying
that the BSAW sleeves had finally arrived. Hopefully
that signals the end of the dramas associated with this EP's
to the rescue - again..
29.8.11 - I heard from Ted today that the
EP could be at Aztec as early (!) as tomorrow. In the meantime,
you can check out the Soul Man video on the Videos
page, dedicated to the original antipodean soul man, Max Merritt.
Note the Max soul-type horn section scored by former Meteor,
Jimmie Sloggett, who'll be playing with Spectrum at the 'real'
EP launch on this Friday at The Basement Discs. (While you're
on the Videos page you should check out a veritable treasure
trove of curious and curiouser past videos including the original
I'll Be Gone clip).
Incidentally I'm currently listening to The Pardoners second
album, Indulgences. Pretty damn brilliant too. Go to
to get yourself a copy.
watches the Tigers pull off another win in the rousing confines
of the Waltzing Matilda Sports Bar
Dacy and daughter Ruby helped make our day
Waltzing Matilda Sports Bar Sun. 28.8.11
and games at the Waltzing Matilda
29.8.11 - Daryl made a point of contacting
me after he'd played at the Waltzing Matilda a few weeks back
to tell me that it was a pretty uncompromising venue - and when
Bill and I walked in yesterday arvo we knew exactly what he
meant. (pic 1) When I was approached by Shane, the
room manager, and he asked if we played 'uptempo' or 'jazzy
blues' and went away muttering about some sort of 'miscommunication'
with the agency, I suspected it could be a rough day. Thankfully
we were joined by some friendly faces, including Steve Fraser
and Pete, Julie and Ruby Dacy (pic 2) and a table full
of their friends and the afternoon didn't turn out to be so
bad after all.
anyone? Mike and Steve Romig's new venture
Bentleigh Club Sun. 21.8.11
EP launch turns into a preview
22.8.11 - As intimated previously, the
'launch' at the Bentleigh Club last night was distinguished
by the absence of the one element seemingly essential to a CD
launch - a CD. In the event it was of little consequence as
the crowd, (such as it was), seemed happy enough to have the
transaction deferred to another day. Perhaps in hindsight, Sunday
evening wasn't the best time for our audience, but in any case
we chose to focus on getting some decent footage for a Soul
Man clip and I think there was enough footage shot to make
a mini-series thanks to the ever-patient Brenden Mason.
Not that there weren't any musical highlights, but even here
events seemed to be conspiring
against us - I got a call from Enza Pantano in the morning
saying she was in hospital and wouldn't be able to make it.
(All our love to you Enz). In the event, Gavin filled in for
her, which was effective enough but not quite the same thing.
And the Giant Edison Screw lightshow didn't get beyond the
loading- in stage and so we missed out on Hugh McSpedden's
idiosyncratic visual contribution - as well..
Thankfully Mark Holden showed up to give us a thoroughly over-the-top
introduction and Jimmie Sloggett was also there to sweeten
Right Into You, Brunswick St and Limbo Man
- and then he and the Wrokdown Circus horn section plus Gavin
and the girls brought Soul Man to full realisation
and despite everything the room was palpably moved.
To sum up, it was a difficult evening but despite everything
it all worked out OK - special thanks go to Wrokdown's Anita
Monk (and Anita Sulcs) for making the show happen at all.
and Lows at the Hi Fi Bar
Jim Keays soldiers on (see large
pic) 2) Spectrum tries to affect nonchalance at the Hi Fi
Jeremy went all the way downstairs to get my G&T 4) Aztec's
Ted Lethborg makes it clear it wasn't his fault
Hi Fi Bar Thurs. 18.8.11
Benefit brings indifferent news about the new EP
20.8.11 - When Jim Keays asked
me if Spectrum would be on the bill for his Myeloma Benefit
concert at Rock of Ages 3 last year I agreed instantly. I like
Jim a lot and his personal battle with Myeloma is an ongoing
and courageous one, but typically he wasn't interested in publicising
his own situation, rather highlighting the nature of the disease
through the concert and attracting more funding for research
to help others in the same predicament. It was quite a line-up
too, including Russell Morris, Madder Lake and Daryl Braithwaite,
so we were honoured to be invited.
Madder Lake opened proceedings and they sounded very smooth
indeed with their new engine-room. Daryl Braithwaite and band
played an unexpectedly long set, during which I suddenly realised
I'd left my pedal-board at home! Things are clearly not improving
in the memory dept. but I think I managed to scrape by with
a minor set readjustment. It's all the more galling that I had
plenty of time to rush back home had it occurred to me earlier.
I think I've been worrying about the CD situation a bit, (whether
they're going to be pressed in time for Sunday's launch), and
Aztec's Ted Lethborg confirmed my worst fears - from the audience
while we were on stage, mind you - the end result being there
aren't going to be any of the new EPs at the launch, which I
think is probably not only a first for us but for anybody I
can think of really. The 'real' launch, (with actual product
available to buy), will have to be the one we had planned at
The Basement Discs at lunchtime on Friday the 2nd of September.
Surely they'll be ready by then..
gals Deb Lobley Wright, Anita Monk and Enza Pantano 2) The Wrokown
Circus Horns plus Jimmie Sloggett
20.8.11 - It sounds far-fetched I know,
but I actually booked a room at Lighting Lab in Box Hill for
Thursday night for us all to get together and rehearse for our
EP launch night at the Bentleigh Club on Sunday evening. Rehearsal
rooms haven't changed one iota either - the room was cold and
smelled mouldy and the PA looked as if it had been in a car
wreck - but it was good enough for what we wanted and we managed
to negotiate the new BSAW songs successfully. Roll on Sunday!
Derek and Mike and mic
'senior moment' takes the gloss off
16.8.11 - It was as we were leaving
my place in Mt Waverley for our interview with Derek Guille
at the ABC studios in Southbank that Bill asked if I had my
camera. A few minutes later I realised that I didn't have my
camera - at all - and that the probability was that
I'd managed to leave it (unused) at The Lomond Hotel. (See
the gig report below). I shall ring James at The Lomond
today and see if it's been turned in, but I don't hold out much
We inevitably struck a huge traffic snarl on the Monash and
it was all I could do to stay calm as we crawled off the freeway
and took an alternative route to Southbank. Once we were there
though, all my recriminations evaporated as we were totally
indulged by the warmly generous Derek Guille - I think we must've
been on air for more than 30 minutes. We sang abridged versions
of IBG and Esmeralda and chatted about well,
everything, and had a lot of laughs before giving this legendary
fixture of Melbourne radio a final hug and heading home..
very good and slightly amazing news is that I rang James today
at The Lomond - and they'd found the camera and it was waiting
for me at the bar to be picked up. My faith in human nature
is patched up with BluTac, if not entirely restored..
from the Lomond, but here's the EP..
Lomond Hotel Sat. 13.8.11
trio works its arse off..
15.8.11 - Early in the evening Bill assured
the audience, to polite applause, that, as it was the 15th of
August, we'd been together for precisely 42 years. Which sounds
plausible enough, except that Saturday was actually the 13th
and, in any case, I happen to know that he made up that date
in the first place.
However, it was a matter for some celebration that the gig happened
at all. I got a call from Di earlier in the week asking if we
were actually playing, as she'd rung The Lomond and they didn't
know anything about it. It transpired we'd been double booked,
but perhaps seniority worked in our favour for a change and
we arrived on stage with no ugly disputation to contend with.
We 'premiered' Brunswick St from the new EP on the
|not that we've never played it before,
but we've not done it as it was recorded with the lyrics before,
and we managed it pretty well. Now all I've got to do is similarly
master the Soul Man and Limbo Man lyrics before
After we'd packed up I (almost literally) staggered across the
road to the Triple R studios and put in a brief appearance on
Headley Gritter's The Party Show. Dr Bob Mason was in the house
flaunting his considerable knowledge of The Beatles, as he apparently
does on an annual basis during the Triple R radiothon. I was
able to boast of actually having read his book, Magic Circles,
(I've reviewed it on this site somewhere), which surprised the
good Doctor a tad.
I was also encouraged to mention the Jim Keays' Myeloma Benefit
Concert at the Hi Fi Bar this Thursday and the EP launch on
Sunday at the Bentleigh Club. Bill and I are appearing on the
Derek Guille show tonight and so we'll give it a bit of a plug
there as well.
Richards' good advice..
McCausland's exhibition plus more launch news
10.8.11 - I was hoping that Ian
McCausland, who designed the Breathing Space As Well
cover, would be able to come to the launch, but it seems he
might have a prior engagement with his Rub It On Your Gums
exhibition opening at the Dancing Dog Gallery on the same day.
He still might make it down, so I hope he'll bring some of his
posters along to sell.
We're very lucky to have Hugh McSpedden setting up his Giant
Edison Screw Lightshow at the Bentleigh Club - so be prepared
for some outrageous as well as nostalgic images to be projected
onto the band as we roll through our set. There'll be a horn
section on the Max Merritt tribute song, Soul Man,
led by the one and only Jimmie Sloggett, formerly of Max Merritt's
Meteors plus a gorgeous girly backing vocal group with Enza
Pantano, Debbie Lobley Wright and Wrokdown's Anita Monk. As
mentioned we're recording a film clip for Soul Man
on the night - make sure you're there and you might even be
R&B Rumble & Bang doco
7.8.11 - I think it has been mentioned
here before, but there's a dedicated team in NZ which has
been beavering away on a Chants R&B doco for months, perhaps
bordering on years now. (The Chants was my first NZ band back
in Christchurch in 1964 and although we broke up in Melbourne
in 1967, the legend lives on, largely through the agency of
one John Baker, a legend in his own right, who released all
the known (and unknown) recordings of the band as well organising
as the first Chants' reunion gigs in Christchurch and Auckland
back in 2007 - but read on..)
The doco, (which I've not seen as yet), has been shown a couple
of times already. Chants' bass player Martin Forrer sent me
this note after a couple of his friends saw a screening in
couple of friends of mine, they're not musos, saw the film
today in Wellington, thoroughly enjoyed it and said it was
close to a packed house...
I asked Jeff Smith, one of the directors for an update and
got this response.
Bit of an update as the documentary has now played 3 times
in Wellington. Simon (the other Rumble & Bang director)
went down for the opening last Saturday and I attended the
two screenings on the Wednesday. Publicity wise it got buried
amongst the noise generated by the film festival in general.
That said we did get it on numerous music blogs and RNZ's
Music 101. The trailer is also proving quite popular on Facebook
as well. The response has been very favourable especially
among the scene makers and journalists who have seen it. The
audience so far has included people like Marty Duda, Nick
Bollinger. Chris Bourke, Redmer Yska, Roger Shepard and Lias
MacMillan. Mark Cubey from Kim Hills show on Saturday mornings
is going to do something the morning it plays in Christchurch.
This is a big deal as Kim's showis the top rated show on RNZ.
Mark her producer really enjoyed it. Simon is also onto Vikki
Anderson at The Press as well. Christchurch is the big one
for us and we are really looking forward to it.
You can see the very snappy trailer on YouTube.
Remaining dates for Rumble & Bang screenings
are Wellington's City Gallery, Thurs.
11th August at 1.30 pm and
Christchurch's Hoyts Northlands, Sat. 27th August
5.30 pm and Sun. 28th August 11.15 am.
Screening dates are in train for Auckland.
It's amazing how these things work out - the release of Rumble
& Bang intersects neatly with the launch of Spectrum's
latest Breathing Space EP with the song Soul
Man (dedicated to another Christchurch legend, Max Merritt),
that references the very time in 1965 when Chants R&B
were at the height of their popularity.
takes his pants off 2) Mike poses with the 50th birthday party
boy, Wayne Bissett
Bissett's 50th Sandy Football Club Fri. 5.8.11
6.8.11 - It was
scary to realise that it was fully ten years ago we played at
Wayne's 40th birthday. Where has the time gone? This time it
was the full line-up of Spectrum at the Sandringham Football
Club (in the Tim Bissett Pavilion) rather than the trio in Wayne's
shed in Narbethong, but in many respects it was for the same
result, by which I mean that Spectrum has been a personal indulgence
of Wayne's over the years that's been tolerated rather than
shared by his fellow 'thongians. In any case, this time were
playing a support role to local favourites Old Skool, an easy-going
bunch of guys who were only too pleased to share their equipment
with us and, most importantly, were guaranteed to end the night
in the style to which the audience was accustomed.
It didn't mean we couldn't enjoy ourselves though, and there
were some interesting musical moments for the band to savour
while the audience generally socialised - as you do at a birthday
party. The main thing was that Wayne was happy.
Robbo gets the Spectrum badge of honour for rising from his
sick bed to join us on the night. I hope he enjoys his Tone,
Tone, Semitone gig on Sunday..
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