Artists/Bands [B]

NB: If an individual’s Christian or surname is currently unknown this is indicated by an asterisk placed between brackets [*].

 

BACKLASH

(ca. 1986- )

Led by Stuart Kemp, a musician who also trained at the School of Audio Engineering, Backlash was an Armidale-based band with a repertoire of material covering rock standards by artists like Joe Jackson, The Angels, Australian Crawl, The Rolling Stones, Bob Seeger, J. J. Cale and Eric Clapton. The band was one of the feature acts at the 1987 Sunray Festival, along with Helga and the Blitzkrieg. A recording of the band’s performance at the festival has recently been unearthed. A CD will hopefully be available sometime in 2010.

Source: Clay Djubal (2009).

 

THE BEARDY BROTHERS

(1989 – present)

Founded in 1989 by Pete Stanley, the ‘human jukebox,’ the Beardy Brothers covers a variety of genres from pop/rock to country. The group’s album Been a Long Time (released in 1999) comprises original material (including Stanley’s instrumental “The Russian“), some country rock, ballads and rock standards. The CD was recorded at Oak Tree Studios, Armidale. The group can also be heard performing “Another Night Like Tonight’” on the Music of the North compilation released on Hadley Records (HCD 1324) to celebrate the various artists, musicians and singers from the North-west of New South Wales. Considered a popular middle-of-the-road act, the group has performed consistently in Armidale and other nearby centres for close to two decades.

Source: Dan Byrnes’ Regional Roundup (online)

 

BART BLACK

aka Bart Douglass

(1961 – )

  • Bands incl: The Phonic Carpet ; The Snoggs (1986-88) ;

Guitar/bass guitar/vocals/harmonica.

With more than thirty years as a professional musician, Bart Black (formerly Bart Douglass) began his music career in Armidale. Originally from Sydney he moved to the city in his early teens, later graduating from Armidale High School in 1978. His passion for music saw him collaborate with numerous local musicians (notably Doiran James) during his late teens and early twenties. After a spell in the army he moved to the Blue Mountains area in 1986, co-founding Katoomba band The Snoggs with James. When the band finished up some 18 months later he moved to Sydney for a period of time, continuing to play in bands and teach guitar. Black is believed to have also spent some time in Orange (NSW) during the 1990s and later studied for a period at the University of Western Sydney.

Sometime around the early to mid-2000s Black moved to Canberra where he established himself as a musician, composer, guitar teacher and actor. Two of the earliest theatrical productions he has been identified to date were written by local playwright Eris Jane/Harrison. The first was the the dark comedy Lifting Lucy (Belladonna Theatre Company, 19 May 2005). The second, presented in 2006 as part of the “Bunch of Fives” event put on by Jorian Gardner/The Street Theatre/ACT Region Playwrights, was the monologue, The Ultimate Couple (As You Like It Café, 10 Nov.). The following month Black took on the role of Nasty Neville in the Peter Pinne/Don Battye children’s musical, The Shoemaker and the Elves (Vikings Club, Erindale). In 2009 he was cast in the lead role for Agamemnon, the ancient Greek play by Aeschylus. Produced by We Three (in association with Canberra theatre company Ickle Pickle), the play was staged in June at Carey’s Cave near the village of Wee Jasper (situated between Yass and Tumut).

Black’s non-rock music achievements to date include the 2007/2008 Ickle Pickle production of Robin Hood, for which he was engaged as guitarist. 2008 also saw him receive Best Music Score (for the short film, CamBRA Boys) at the 5th Light, Canberra, Action Awards. Since 2008 Black has also been a member of Canberra band The Phonic Carpet (left)

 

Source: Bad Bart Black MySpace page • Clay Djubal (2010) • Doiran James (interview, 2009) • Phonic Carpet MySpace page. Images: Photos courtesy of Bart Black and The Phonic Carpet (MySpace)

 

BLOOD BROTHERS

aka The Song

(1988-1990)

  • Personnel incl. Peter Cozens ; Howard Dawson ; Trevor Dunham ; Cathy Hewitt ; Tim Hewitt ; Ian Mitchell (drums) ; Judy Mitchell (piano) ; Peter Mitchell (lead vocals/guitar) ; Tim Phillips

After recording the Arid Man album in 1988 and following the return of younger brother Ian from overseas, Peter Mitchell brought together a number of ‘old’ friends to jam. The sessions resulted in the forming of The Song, a Sydney-based musical collective that largely played together at parties. As Peter Mitchell recalls The Song was made up of various players, ‘including anyone who simply got up and joined in’ (p.14). Many of the rehearsals were recorded, and the best of these are presented on Spontaneous by Design (1992) an album put together under the name Blood Brothers. While the album was never distributed (and only one master copy made) a number of the songs appear on Mitchell’s autobiography in song The Great Unknown (Disc 3).

Source: Peter Mitchell. The Great Unknown (1995), p. 14.

 

BLUE MAX

(1976-1977)

  • Personnel incl: Rod Clay (drums/vocals) ; Simon Morgan (lead vocals/guitar) ; Dick Rummery (bass/guitar/vocals) ; Malcolm Toft (sax/vocals)

Formed by students from both Armidale High School and Duval High School, Blue Max was one of at least three student teenage which formed in the city around 1976/1977. Fronted by singer Simon Morgan, who had recently arrived in Australia from Birmingham (England), Blue Max was initially influenced by metal bands like Black Sabbath and contemporary English groups like The Sweet, Status Quo. American influences came from bands like Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper. Malcolm Toft’s sax playing, particularly on songs like John Lennon’s ‘Cold Turkey,’ also provided the group with a sound somewhat different to the other local high school bands.

Laureldale Reseach Station

The band’s only official gig was at a lunchtime concert at the UNE Union Courtyard in late 1976. All other performances were at parties and social get-togethers, most of which occurred at the Laureldale Research Station where the band did most of it’s rehearsals. Situated on the outskirts of the University of New England, which owns and operates the facilities, the ‘rehearsal space’ was made available courtesy of one of the father’s of a close friend of the band.

Following the demise of Blue Max Simon Morgan moved to Sydney where he played for a short period in a band called R.A.F. (which also included Craig Bloxom, later of v Spy v Spy). Rod Clay and Dick Rummery later formed the Armidale hippy punk band Health Club (with Doiran James and Dave Morris).

Simon Morgan and Dick Rummery during the Blue Max era (The Preens’ residence, 78 Mann St)
Source: Clay Djubal (2009). Image: Photo courtesy of Clay Djubal.

 

BOGISLAV

(ca. 1970-71)

  • Personnel: Rob Barwick (vocals) ; Ron Carpenter (drums/vocals) ; Tim Crozier (vocals) ; Dave Frogatt (guitar/vocals) ; Chris Hales (organ/vocals) ; Dave Highet (flute/bass/vocals) ; Andy Richardson (lead vocals/guitar) ; Don Walker (keyboards/vocals) ; Laurie Wheaton (bass)

Formed in Armidale sometime around 1970-1971, the original Bogislav line-up comprised University of New England (UNE) students Ron Carpenter and Dave Frogget, along with Laurie Wheaton, Chris Hales and Rob Barwick. About a year later the band was joined by Dave Highet, who initially provided flute and vocals, before moving to bass after Laurie Wheaton left. Ron Barwick was later replaced temporarily by Andy Richardson. In addition to playing at UNE (including college balls), Bogislav secured regular gigs in Armidale and nearby towns. The band also travelled to Tamworth on a number of occasions. Although heavily influenced by heavy rock and blues acts like Cream, Led Zeppelin, Traffic, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and Deep Purple , the band also played classic songs from the era by bands like the Rolling Stones (“Gimmie Shelter”), Chicago and Santana (“Soul Sacrifice”). Brian ‘Lanky’ Moore recalls the band jamming on “Gimmie Shelter” with seminal hard rock band Blackfeather during one memorable Armidale gig. The band also performed numerous original songs.

Sometime in 1972 Chris Hales left the band and was replaced by another UNE student, Don Walker (later of Cold Chisel fame). That same year the Bogislav entered Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds, but didn’t play the Armidale heats (believing that another local band, Mantra, was more likely to win).  A decision was made to play the Grafton and Tamworth events so as to increase its chances. This paid off because although the band got beaten in Tamworth by Just in Time, Bogislav won the Grafton heats. Around the same time, Andy Richardson left the band and was replaced by Tim Crozier (formerly from the Newcastle band Luke’s Harp). Crozier, who was then living in Sydney, had previously been asked to join the band after Ron Barwick’s departure but that fell initially through. With only a few days notice before the Northern NSW zone final (held in Newcastle), Crozier learned the songs from a tape and had one rehearsal with the band – the day before the event. Despite competing against a strong line-up, notably Newcastle bands Amageddon and Mata Hari, Bogislav went on to win. It then competed in the State Finals (held in Sydney) which was won by pop band Sherbet (which later went on to win the National competition). The 1972 competition also happened to be the last sponsored by the Hoadley company.

Bogislav (ca. 1972)

L-R: Dave Frogatt, Don Walker, Ron Carpenter, Tim Crozier (seated), Dave Highet.

Following its success in the Battle of the Sounds competition Bogislav returned to Armidale where it put its high reputation to good use by securing regular gigs through- out Northern NSW. The band is believed to have broken up in late 1972 when several members completed their studies and moved away from the area. Most of the group went on to join other bands either in Armidale or elsewhere, with Don Walker beconing the most well-known after co-founding Cold Chisel in Adelaide the following year. Ron Carpenter also played in an early AC DC line-up before joining former Bogislav members Dave Froggat abd Dave Highet to form Aleph, one of the most popular Northern NSW touring bands of the mid-late 1970s.

Bogislav : Friends, Beggars, Louts and Thieves” (Bogislav)  Live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds Zone Final (Newcastle, NSW).

Bogislav : “All Along the Watchtower”  (Hendrix)  Live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds Zone Final (Newcastle, NSW).

  • See also Tim Crozier’s Bogislav entry in the Newcastle Bands Database (online)
  • For further details on Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds see the NTMIA page (Industry: G-L) and the Milesago website.
Sources: Ron Carpenter (buoy.com interview – online, 2006; see his entry for further details) • Tim Crozier “Bogislav” entry (Newcastle Bands Database – online) • Chris Hales (correspondence, 2010 – thanks Brian Moore). Image: Courtesy of Tim Crozier “Bogislav” (Newcastle Bands Database – online). Music: Courtesy of Brian Moore. 

 

RHONDA BURCHMORE

(1960 – )

  • Bands: John Grigg Quartet

Born Sydney and raised in the suburb of Beverly Hills, Rhonda Burchmore spent much of her youth training as a singer, dancer and actor. At age 15 she left school to try her hand in the theatre but after a series of disappointing experiences returned to finish her schooling. In 1977 Burchmore moved to Armidale initially to undertake training as a primary teacher at the Armidale College of Advanced Education (A.C.A.E.). After graduating with a Diploma of Education she took up a scholarship to study Theatre Arts at the University of New England where she eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While living in Armidale between 1977 and 1979 Burchmore was heavily involved in both student and community theatre. Among the productions she has been identified with to date are The Death of Everyman (UNE Arts Theatre, April 1977) staged by the A.C.A.E. Drama Group; and Fiddler on the Roof (Armidale Town Hall, Sept. 1978), put on by the Armidale Drama and Musical Society.

An anecdote Burchmore tells from her time at Armidale concerns the almost complete removal of one of her toes while taking part in a university revue. “My girlfriend and I… were dancing in the bathroom, as you do, practising our steps to Cocaine. I hasten to add we were dancing to Cocaine the song, not dancing on cocaine. At one stage I whipped my leg around in some attempt at a fancy twirl and managed to put my foot through the ceramic basin of the bathroom sink which promptly smashed to pieces. And there was my little toe, just hanging there, all blood, bone and gristle. Lovely. I had to be rushed to hospital where for some reason the only doctor available was a neurosurgeon. Fortunately, he was as good with little toes as I hope he was with people’s brains and he stitched me up as good as new’ (Jacobson, n. pag.). Burchmore’s talent as a singer and performer did not escape the attention of the local music industry, and within a year or so of arriving in Armidale the 18 or 19 year old was invited by band leader/drummer John Grigg to front the John Grigg Quartet. In addition to Grigg and keyboard player Clive Gregory the ensemble also included Graham Wilson (guitar/vocals) who later went on to find fame as a member of the Four Kinsmen.


L-R: Rhonda Burchmore (Baby), Margaret Clay (Everymum), Peter Currie (Sonny) in The Death of Everyman (1977)

After leaving Armidale Burchmore made her international breakthrough in the 1982 film The Pirate Movie (playing the role of Kate). In 1987 she featured in David Atkins’ Dancing Man, and the following year she garnered much critical acclaim six years later, playing opposite Garry McDonald and Broadway star Eddie Bracken in Sugar Babies (1988). That same year she reprised her role in London’s West End opposite Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. A string of productions followed before David Atkins cast her in his musical extravaganza, Hot Shoe Shuffle (the role having been written especially for Burchmore). Following its successful debut in London in 1994 the musical toured Australia and received rave reviews from the critics and sold out audiences.

In 1997, Burchmore provided the opening performance at Melbourne’s Crown Casino with her own cabaret spectacular, Red Hot and Rhonda. The show went on to entertain 60,000 people. She followed it with a role on Broadway in the Irving Berlin classic Easter Parade, followed by another Broadway show Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim). Burchmore returned to Australia in 1998 and released her self titled debut solo album. Since then she has released at least four further albums – Midnight Rendezvous, Live At The Melbourne Concert Hall, Pure Imagination and My Funny Valentine. Burchmore’s career has seen her appear on numerous Australian variety television shows, most notably Hey Hey It’s Saturday (in which she often appeared in the ‘Celebrity Head’ segment. In addition to her performances and celebrity appearances she has been accorded a number of prestigious awards, including Australian Club Entertainment (ACE) awards for Best Female Variety Performer and Variety Performer of the Year (1999), and Best Female Variety Performer (2000). Burchmore also received the 2000 Mo Award for the Best Female Variety Performer.

Among her career highlights since the late 1990s have included playing the lead role in The Production Company’s first show, Mame (1999), and principal roles in such musicals as Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia, Urinetown: The Musical, Tom Foolery, Respect: A Musical Journey of Women; the stage shows Song and Dance, They’re Playing Our Song, Lend Me a Tenor; and her own productions – Rhonda Burchmore Sings ‘n Swings, My Funny Valentines and Fever. Burchmore also received critical acclaim for her performances as Queen of the Fairies in the Victorian Opera company’s productions of Iolanthe, Die Fledermaus (as Prince Orlofsky), Ruddigore and An Evening with Sondheim. In 2008, Burchmore again received glowing reviews and standing ovations when she revived her role in Mame for The production Company.

Sources: Rhonda Burchmore official website • Suzanne Carboni, ‘Giant Steps are What She Takes,’ Age 11 Aug. 2009 (online) • Michael Jacobson, “A Dish Called Rhonda.” Goldcoast.com 21 Nov. 2009 (online) Peter Thompson (interviewer), ‘Rhonda BurchmoreTalking Heads, ABC TV 15 Sept. 2006 (online) • Wikipedia. Images: Production photo (The Death of Everyman) from the Armidale Express 20 Apr. (1977), p. 11 † (courtesy of Margaret Clay) • My Funny Valentine LP cover courtesy of the Kaleidoscope label † • Rhonda Burchmore LP cover courtesy of W.T.S. Entertainment. †

 

GRAEME BURTON

(1964 -2007 )

  • Bands : ftprints11

Drums/bass/vocals

A longtime friend and collaborator with Richard Rummery, Graeme Burton was well-known in Armidale, having established himself in the local music industry for many years. In the early to mid-2000s he provided additional instruments for Rummery’s ftprints11 project. Burton passed away in late 2007 from complications brought on by diabetes.

Source: Richard Rummery (correspondence, 2009)

 

BUTCH, LIZ AND DUNCAN

(ca. 1974-76)

This harmony vocal trio is thought to have formed sometime around 1974 while the members were studying at the University of New England. In his review of the group’s performance as support to Mike McClellan at the UNE Arts Theatre in 1975 (22-23 Mar.), Terry McArthur records: ‘”Local group, Butch, Liz and Duncan (with Steven Kiely sitting in on piano) had in the preceding year built up a large following. This was due to their beautiful songs… Their trademark, as a group, was the wall of sound harmony” (p. 14).

The trio’s repertoire comprised a selection of original compositions along with traditional folk, popular, soul and gospel-style songs, including “Poor John,” “Rally for the Wounded” and “Leaving You.” The group also presented political satire as part of their act, with one ‘madcap’ sketch being “Spotlight.”

NB: Advertising for the McClellan concerts, as well as the 1975 Jesse Winchester performance (Madgwick Hall, 22 Sept.), indicate that the support act for both shows was called Organization. It is yet to be confirmed whether Butch, Liz and Duncan performed under that name (Terry McArthur does not mention Organization in his review).

Source: Terry McArthur. “Mike McClellan… Where Does He Go From Here?” Neucleus 7 Apr. (1976), p. 14.

 

 

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Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive

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