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The Official Biography

Mike Rudd’s bands, Spectrum, The Indelible Murtceps and Ariel were highly respected in the ‘70s and inspired many of today's popular music icons. Spectrum's 1971 national number one hit, I’ll Be Gone (Someday I'll have money), still features on radio playlists and inspires crowds to sing along all around the country.

Spectrum was formed in 1969 and today still features founder-member and principal songwriter Mike Rudd on vocals, guitar and blues harp. Drummer Peter ‘Robbo’ Robertson joined Mike and Bill in 1997 when they’d decided to resume the Spectrum name and keyboardist Daryl Roberts joined a few years later, evoking the original organ-based Spectrum line-up. Bassist Broc O’Connor joined Spectrum after Rudd’s long-term musical partner Bill Putt’s unexpected death in 2013.

Mike Rudd and Bill Putt's early bands played alongside such legendary ‘70’s artists as Deep Purple, Manfred Mann, The Kinks, Joan Armatrading, Leo Sayer, Garry Glitter (!) and Marc Bolan as well as playing all but one of the legendary Sunbury Festivals. Ariel recorded at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios in the ‘70s (Rock & Roll Scars) and artists as diverse as John Williamson and Manfred Mann (see the discography) have recorded versions of Rudd’s I’ll Be Gone.

In 2001, thirty years after it was a number one hit, I’ll Be Gone was honoured by being included in the APRA’s list of the top Australian songs of the last 75 years (it came in at No.13). I’ll Be Gone was featured in the ABC TV’s A Long Way To The Top series and the band was included on the fabulously successful Long Way To The Top tour, which toured the nation in 2002.

Spectrum released five albums up until 1973, including Spectrum Part One and the double album Milesago, followed by The Indelible Murtceps’ quirky Warts Up Your Nose. Ariel released a similar number of albums including A Strange Fantastic Dream and Rock & Roll Scars, (the latter about to be reissued by Aztec Records).

After Ariel’s break-up in 1977 other bands followed, notably Mike Rudd and the Heaters (The Unrealist) and the ambitious WHY project, which incorporated synchronised video projection into their live performances with an erratic drum machine called Weird Harold. In 1983 the band spent some time recording at Klaus Shulze’s* I.C. studio in West Germany and travelled round Europe recording their experiences to use in their live shows.

Then, in 1995, after a ten-year hiatus from playing live, Mike and Bill re-emerged as a duo with an acoustically skewed new CD, Living on a Volcano (three-times the Herald Sun’s critics’ choice) that saw the pair maturing as songwriters, producers and instrumentalists.

Later in the ‘90s, Mike and Bill teamed up briefly with the late Paul Hester, another long-time Spectrum fan, which culminated in an appearance on ABC TV’s Hessie’s Shed. In 1999, Spectrum released Spill - Spectrum Plays The Blues, a CD that revisits Rudd and Putt’s blues roots. Spill features such famous guests as Men at Work’s Colin Hay, (who says of Rudd and Putt ‘those guys are my heroes’), and ace blues harpist Chris Wilson, another unabashed Rudd /Putt fan. The second highly entertaining Spectrum Plays the Blues CD, No Thinking, features musical guest, long-time buddy Ross Wilson amongst others.

* Check out Klaus Schulze story

The Official Biography

Aztec Music has re-issued two seminal Spectrum albums, Spectrum Part One and the acclaimed double album, Milesago, which has reminded '70s aficionados and music critics alike what an important band Spectrum was in the Australian rock scene. The live recording of Ariel’s final performance, Ariel Aloha – More From Before has just been re-issued on Sandman Records. More recently still Spectrum has embarked on releasing the Breathing Space series of EPs and is on the point of releasing the fourth in the series. Work is in progress to complete a blues album, It’s a Lottery dedicated to the late Bill Putt.

But playing live is what Spectrum is all about. Mike and Bill played alongside each other since 1969 (!) and understandably there seemed to be some kind of empathetic communication on stage that now Robbo, Daryl and Bill’s replacement on bass guitar, Broc O’Connor seem to share, as Spectrum switches seamlessly from blues, to rock, to almost ambient music without losing focus. Newer songs, like Xavier Rudd is Not My Son, Rocket Girl and Silicon Valley slip right into the eclectic Spectrum mix, before the audience is treated to a guided tour of Spectrum classics, including such weird and wonderful tracks as Fly Without Its Wings, the Crab Saga, We Are Indelible and much, much more (never forgetting I’ll Be Gone of course). In the Spectrum Plays the Blues set, even the most predictable blues classics come alive with Rudd’s distinctive vocals and harmonica playing..

Over the past few years Spectrum has played the Port Fairy Folk Festival, the Goulburn Blues Festival, the Dandenong Ranges Folk Festival, the Queenscliff Music Festival, the Sydney Opera House, the Tamworth Country Music Festival (!), the Healesville Sanctuary Unplugged Concerts, the Arts Centre Lawn Concerts, the Melbourne Zoo Concerts, the Bridgetown Blues Festival in WA - as well as the odd gigs in NZ and California.

Mike & Bill memorably guested with the late Billy Thorpe playing I’ll Be Gone at the Tsunami Benefit at the Myer Music Bowl, and Spectrum played at the Lobby Loyde benefit, as well as the Melbourne International Music & Blues Festival, the Canberra Blues & Rock Festival and the Thredbo Music Festival, (the two live tracks on the No Thinking CD were recorded at Thredbo), and the 2009 Byron Blues Festival. In 2014 Spectrum Plays the Blues played the Sydney Blues & Roots Festival.

In the last few years Mike has also enjoyed a parallel solo career with appearances on the ABC's Specks and Specks and SBS' RocKwiz TV shows, the latter with a much talked about duet with Jess Cornelius of the Roy Orbison classic Crying. Mike's also made cameo appearances on the Morning of the Earth stage show (with Ariel guitarist Tim Gaze) and Ross Wilson's Five Decades of Cool show, both culminating with the Byron Blues Festival appearances.

Mike's also been involved with a couple of reunions in New Zealand of his first band, Chants R&B, and the resultant Rumble & Bang documentary has been shown at the 2012 NZ Film Festival featuring live footage from the 2010 gigs in Christchurch as well as previously unseen footage from the early '60s and a host of interviews with most of the original members of the band and fans.

Spectrum and Spectrum Plays the Blues continue to tour Australia as well as make the occasional overseas visit. They are enthusiastically received wherever they play and obviously enjoy what they do as much as their audiences. See and hear them - and be inspired!

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