The Indelibles and
The Indelible Murtceps in Lorne and Mike on his Todd @ The Basement
23.1.23 – Disclaimer. Those
who read these irregular columns will be aware that these are not reviews
in the usual sense i.e. somebody at a Ruddy gig offering an
informed impression of what they’ve seen and heard would always
be from an audience perspective. My Stop Press reviews are written from
the inside out, strictly from my point of view as a band leader, song-writer
and player, with my state of mind before, during and post-gig being
crucial to the perspective on what has transpired, all of which may
be completely at odds with the audience’s experience and opinions
of the same event.
That being said, you might well ask, WTF? Who cares and where’s
the review of the rumoured last gig of the year in Lorne? And what about
the Basement Discs’ Last Hurrah?
Well, apart from the plethora of well-known musos and entertainers dropping
off this mortal coil, nothing much has been on my rock radar over the
past couple of months, so I’ve given the whole schemozzle a rest.
At the same time I’m not certain the rest has done me any good,
but a rest from my perceived responsibilities as a player and a communicator
is what I’ve had and that’s why I’ve not been keeping
youse in the loop.
So, now I’m back, and for the purposes of this Stop Press review
I’m going to cobble together the stories of December’s Lorne
gig and the very recent Basement Discs’ gig, not because they’re
similar and not even because they’re totally dissimilar in nearly
every respect, but just because..
In the ‘70s Ian Lovell used to book the latter versions of Ariel
into the Eureka Hotel in Geelong at every opportunity and we used to
get very good crowds there too, so it was win for him and a win for
us. Whenever we’ve run into each other subsequently it’s
always a very nostalgic and affectionate occasion, so when he rang on
short notice to see if one of my bands could come down to Lorne to help
him celebrate his 70th birthday I went out of my way to make sure it
Ian told me that he and his partner Judi Kenneally had recently taken
over the locally famous Lorne Pier Seafood Restaurant,* coincidentally
next door to the Grand Pacific Hotel, a Heaters’ haunt back in
the ‘80s. The pier itself is best known in its role as the pier
in the famous Pier to Pub swimming event that resumed this year after
an enforced two-year break due to COVID.
Inside the venue was a bit of a shambles, but if the weather was good
Ian and Judi were thinking we could play outside picturesquely framed
by the Bay at sunset.
We’d had that Very Hot Day the day before the gig, but a cool
change arrived as we drove into Lorne, so it was just a question of
how and where we were going to set-up inside, which obviously required
a bit of furniture rearranging, but was the right choice.
There were forty or so guests for the birthday, unsurprisingly all our
vintage, so I knew we’d get a good hearing, but after partaking
of the freshly caught squid we were given a G&T each and maybe it
was then I became certain that we were going to make a connection that
went beyond familiarity and expectation.
I’d sold Ian the idea of having The Indelibles and The
Indelible Murtceps playing a set each, distinctions that even people
conversant with the Rudd oeuvre find mystifying, but Ian enthusiastically
agreed to the proposal, even if he wasn’t absolutely sure what
I was on about.
The Indelibles were in the support role and so were on first. The opening
song was Keep on Dancing and as soon as we started I knew we
were onto something. The Indelibles’ remit is to play selections
from the Spectrum, Ariel and Spectrum Plays the Blues output and it’s
always a lot of fun for us – we should do it more often.
Before the next set we all dressed up in our chosen Murtceps’
avatar clobber, (I’m My Crudd of course, but Robbo, Daryl and
Broc each have a chosen identity - see the Murtceps blurb),
just the sort of calculated conceit we never bothered with when Murtceps
was first conceived. I’ve found the dressing-up makes a huge difference
to what’s being projected from the stage and I can see us taking
it much further than it ever did back in the ’70s in every respect
– maybe a belated follow-up to Warts Up Your Nose would
Anyway, Ian was moved to write to me the following day:
Thankyou for yesterdays performance...
Saying thankyou seems seriously inadequate.....
You gave Judi & I the greatest gift of all...
Incredibly powerful selfless, perfect
, understated, dramatic, timeless, beautiful....
There was more, but although I took considerable
satisfaction from Ian’s response I already knew deep down that
it was a job well done by me and the lads. A nice way to end the year.
As I write this I’m oscillating between frustration with myself
and the hope that I didn’t disappoint the wonderful turnout of
people assembled at The Basement Discs’ break-up party on Sunday
afternoon. It felt like I was having an out-of-body experience and I
just couldn’t settle down, but everybody dutifully gave the impression
that they were enjoying it, so maybe I’m simply spoiling for a
fight with myself.
I’ve said quite firmly that I’m never going to perform solo
again, that is properly solo, but when it became clear that
piano-accordionist meister and good friend George Butrumlis
was unavailable to accompany me, I felt I had no choice. Suzanne and
Rod have been long-time supporters of things Rudd and we have such a
history together that it would’ve been unthinkable not to join
in them for the very last time for want of an accompanist.
Weddings, Parties, Anything's Mick Thomas singing and playing guitar
and fat-sounding mandolin, aided by singer and guitarist Brooke Taylor
and ethereal fiddle-player Xani (Kolac), put on a very likable and very
together set prior to my stumbling onto the stage to fumble
versions of Jamaican Farewell, I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her
Now and San Andreas, before straining the performer/audience
assumptions by insisting the crowd sing both I’ll Be Gone
and Esmeralda in their entirety, then concluding almost acceptably
with a final word from Bill in It’s a Lottery.
Well, it’s done now and, on reflection, how I feel about my part
in it is not the point. The end of days for The Basement Discs is a
sad day for CBD’ers who might’ve spent many a lunchtime
cruising the Basement Discs’ racks for musical gems on vinyl and
CD, or listening to bands and proper solo artists performing live from
behind a pillar to plug their latest CDs.
It’s a sad day too for those of us old enough to have lived through
the history of vinyl and CDs and who regret the excitement of it all
being supplanted by algorithm hummers and bean counters. Speaking on
behalf of all the musicians who were welcomed by Suzanne and Rod at
The Basement Discs, we truly appreciated being appreciated by real people
who lived and loved music for its own sake.
It's certainly the end of an era for Suzanne and Rod and I don’t
think my portentous-sounding comment about it being ‘the last
hurrah of the music business as we know it’ was that far off the
* Under Ian
and Judi's management now known as the Lorne Pier Art Bazaar