I'm back! And I don't mention the Mighty Tiges once!! (oops..)
Hello and welcome. After one month and one day with a lower back problem, I am at last back in the land of the vertical. I cannot express the joy I feel to be be TALL again and of being able to do THINGS. But, let me tell you... after all that long time being idle, I came back ready to do EVERYTHING! All charged up and full of beans (or should that read full of shit?) Anyhoo, so it's back to work, meaning lots of studio recording with a smattering of good gigs thrown in. Last Thursday we did a gig which was recorded and filmed for a DVD, which is soon to be released (or so we're told). It features a few of our old mates and a few people I had not seen before. It gave us a chance to use a few extra players i.e. Jimmy Sloggett (kb and sax), Pip Robinson (flute) and Brenden Mason (guitar). I even got to debut on lap steel (open E tuning) during the free-for-all finale. A good time was had by most. read more
Dealer of the month
17.11.03 Brenden Mason, seen here cradling a Gibson Super 400 he's currently restoring, is our dealer of the month. Again, not a CD retailer, but a partner in the well known guitar retail and repair shop,

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Real Guitars, located in High St Glen Iris. Brenden looks after Bill's and my guitars and so comes highly recommended. There's a great range of guitars of every persuasion on display, so it's worth a visit just to check them out. I guess I've been taking my guitar (and mandolin) problems to Brenden for fifteen or more years now, so that makes me either a satisfied customer or someone determined that he'll get it right eventually.
Ian Holding (now that's the name of a dealer!) is Brenden's partner. Ian rides a motor bike to work, which signals an underlying optimism if nothing else.
Brenden was one of the founding members of Madder Lake, which explains the enormous toilet bag he carries around. He's now providing tasty guitar licks for Forever Young and does the occasional gig with the Blackfeather reincarnation. He's even played a few songs with Spectrum at the Seasons of Change gig.
Real Guitars 1535 High St Glen Iris (03) 9885 0020
Robbo's Blah #1
Hello everybody. Welcome to my very first Robbo's BLAH....isn't it exciting (yeah right). First off I must say that I'm still getting over the second Grand Final loss in a bloody row and I was there for both of them...*!#!*?#%!#!*?%#!BRISBANE!!! My black & white Collingwood heart is still hurting (shut up Bill and stop laughing Mike).All I can say now is GO WALLABIES!!!!
Musically I've been keeping kind of busy with teaching, gigs, recording and rehearsals for various projects and hopefully with the warmer months ahead the gig scene will improve and Spectrum might get more gigs...YAY!
On a final note, if there's anyone out there interested in learning to play drums and/or percussion, I am available for tuition. You can contact me via the website or at a gig or by e-mail on peter_robbo59@hotmail.com I'm going to go now...it's been fun and I'll catch up with you next time. Come and say Hi at a gig real soon. Cheers....Robbo
The Promoters
I've taken this month's theme title from a recent book by Stuart Coupe about the Australian music industry. It semed particularly relevant because Bill and I have just returned from a couple of days in Queensland where we were the only musicians invited to help celebrate Phil Jacobsen's 60th birthday - unless you count guys who sing and strum guitars to pre-recorded backings as musicians, and I don't. (It's a moot point anyway - we were invited, and they were, somewhat depressingly, employed). Perhaps I should explain that Phil Jacobsen was Spectrum and Ariel's manager in the '70s. In fact, Phil acknowledged in his birthday speech that it was my asking him to be Spectrum's manager that changed him from a typical boring accountant to one of the most powerful men in the Australian music industry. Mike Gudinski, Frank Stivala and Michael Chugg, the unholy trinity of Australian Rock, were at the party, and Phil was
(and still is) the largely unseen presence that makes their risky and occasionally outlandish deals stick (It was kind of heart-warming to see the re-uniting of Chuggy and Gudinsky over the two days - there'd been some sort of feud happening and they hadn't talked to each other for some time apparently).
Anyway, Bill and I were greeted by all and sundry like long-lost bosom buddies. You could see them relax when they saw us. Tame musos. There were some odd moments though. For instance, Chuggy was shocked to hear from Bill about Barry Sullivan's death. There wasn't anything about it in the straight press, but this is a man with his finger on the pulse and he hadn't heard? But it's when you try and engage these men in conversation that you discover how short their attention span is if the talk isn't about money - or, in Philip's case, money and horses. That's not to say they're not often funny and outrageous, and even occasionally very generous and genuinely concerned, it's just that they're mostly rude and obnoxious and preoccupied with one-upping each other. It's simply the reality of the symbiosis. Musicians, and artists in general, are more concerned with their art and having a good time with their art, than about money. That's why there are promoters, agents and managers. (And record companies for that matter).
The highlight of the trip was when we got in touch with Ian 'Harv' Harvey, an old mate who lives just out of Eumundi. I've actually known Harv's wife Jeni for longer than Harv - she was Paul Grant's girlfriend in the Instant Replay days, and my late wife Helen took a shine to her then. Harv and Jeni have been going through some tough times lately, with the result that Harv is effectively living on his own. He's recently got up a second band called the Pleasure Kings, and he played us a CD of part of a live performance they'd recorded just a couple of weeks earlier. He'd taken the sound unaltered direct from the FOH desk, and I have to say it was absolutely stunning - both from a sound and performance perspective.
Harv's mate Eddy (Eddy Van Driver) arrived, and it was decided we'd drive up to Noosa in Harv's jade green Parisienne and have lunch. It felt like we were cruisin' in our own American Grafitti movie (the Parisienne is enormous and has no seat belts), and it proved to be a very pleasant, and probably very necessary interlude from the jostling of egos back at the party.
That night we were back in Noosa for the second stage of the extravaganza. Bill and I had brought our guitars and harps with us in case the opportunity presented itself for us to perform for Phil as our joint birthday gift. (Phil had very kindly paid our return airfares, but we still couldn't afford a gift of any significance). We toyed with the idea of following Phil around all day like a couple of really annoying minstrels, and we had actually accompanied him with some of Bill's instrumentals as he had a fag on the verandah that morning, but Eric Robinson had something more formal in mind for the restaurant.
That night the speeches from Eric, Chuggy and Gudinski were typically crude and funny - and very revealing. Phil's softer, family-oriented side was exposed in a joint speech from his daughters Kate and Emma, and there was a very funny race call done with a number of Phil's (and the Dundas Lane consortium's) horses involved, but...
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Chuggy meets Putty
The people you meet when you haven't got a gun! Chuggy waves to the camera as he weaves along Phil Jacobsen's verandah in Verrierdale Qld. All the music industry heavies were there to wish Phil a happy 60th birthday - and so were Bill and I. Find out more


Would you like to have Spectrum play at your place this New Year's Eve?
It can be done. This year we're in town and available - simply get in touch with Jenny pronto (0419 842 312) and get the best band in the world (that's us) at your place this NYE!!!


Seasons of Change
For a full wrap-up of the Seasons of Change concert, check out Stop Press (pic - Bob Spencer does 'Rosie') (Mind you, I missed Kerri Simpson's performance, so it's not a totally full wrap-up, but it's a reasonably comprehensive full wrap-up..)
Events Warehouse gig
Mike had an uncertain day with his balance, at one stage tripping over a lead and sprawling headlong onto the polished wood floor - but otherwise, the EW gig was an outstanding success. Read about it..

This month's highlights in

Holy Christmas Batman! What happened to the year?
18.11.03 I have to admit it - this time of the year really pisses me off. Why can't we let Christmas just sneak up on us, instead of starting two months out with the guilt-inducing commercial claptrap that hammers at our fragile psyches? But what galls me the most are the endless ranks of talentless children who feel obliged to inflict their instrument of choice on a hapless public, tunelessly garbling the same bloody carols from every conceivable shopfront. Parents should not encourage this tendency, even though it's nice to get the little, and not so little darlings out of the house. It simply adds to the general air of grumpiness and panic that pervades the streets as we last-minute-larries buy boxes of cheap Christmas cards to send to our annually rediscovered relatives and OS acquaintances.
Christmas as we know it is a joke. So we have a holiday. Hooray. But let's drop the religious connotations and the northern hemisphere depths-of-winter trappings, and create in its stead a real Aussie celebration of mateship and over-indulgence - with NO CAROLS!!!!!!!!!!
18.11.03 Well, here we are again - another month's deadline missed by a mile. This home page will probably have to do into the New Year. You can still catch up with all the latest news in Stop Press and the gigs are still on the Gigs page.
I've been getting some good correspondence re' the downloading and related issues - keep the e-mails rolling in!

Issue #4