Artists/Bands [I-J]

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


(ca. 1978-1979)

The Inmates (L-R): Preston Stahlut, Peter Newell, John Solomons, Simon Morgan †
  • Personnel: Simon Morgan (aka Simon Proctor) (vocals) Peter Newell (bass/vocals) ; Preston Stahlut (guitar/vocals) ; John Solomons (drums) ; David Morris (guitar/vocals) ; Greg Woodland (guitar)

The Inmates’ reign as Armidale’s premiere punk band of the late-1970s may have only been brief, but was also hugely influential. The band was founded in February 1978 by Peter Newall and John Solomons. In an email to the NTMIA, Newall recalls that he had mentioned to Rod Gilette, manager of the UNE Bistro, that he had formed a punk band (“it was wishful thinking”) and when Gilette booked the non-existent band to play the venue the next weekend he had to round up a band quickly. “As was usual in those days,” says Newall, “I found everyone I needed hanging round the Armidale mall.”

The initial lineup, billed as Jack Hammer and the Inmates, comprised former Blue Max/Edge vocalist Simon Morgan; John ‘KK’ Solomons, drums and vocals; Peter Justin Newall (aka Jack Hammer) bass; and David Morris and Greg ‘Theo Rocks’ Woodland on guitars. The band rehearsed out at the old Rockvale Pub (later owned by Jon Anderson), and made its debut at the Bistro as organised. The line-up changed shortly afterwards, however, when Morris went to New Zealand briefly and was replaced by Preston Stahlut. Morris later joined another Armidale punk-influenced band, Vice Squad. When Woodland left shortly afterwards the band stayed as a four-piece and shortened its name to The Inmates. As the only punk and hi-energy band in town at that time, it “burned pretty brightly” recalls Newall.

With Simon Morgan as frontman, and Stahlut on guitar The Inmates’ visual energy and musicianship effectively raised the bar to a new level. Solomons, the band’s driving force, had the most professional experience (having previously played with Dave Warner prior to the formation of Warner’s From the Suburbs), while Newall was the member most in tune with the punk ethos (despite coming from the British blues revival tradition). One of the band’s last Armidale gigs, for example, saw him slice himself up on the UNE Bistro stage with a piece of broken glass he’d found on the stage – the blood streaming down his body as the band powered through its final numbers. Newly emerging hippy punk bands like Vice Squad took notice.

Simon Morgan and Pete Newell †

Typical of most Armidale bands, The Inmates played a mix of covers and originals, with the latter being written primarily by Stahlut and Newall. The covers included classics from the Stooges, Sex Pistols and Radio Birdman.

“The music was fast, loud and actually played quite well, particularly by Stahlut (arguably one of Armidale’s best-ever guitarists) and Solomons (a very hard-at-it but swinging drummer). Morgan was a fearless frontman, regularly leaping into the audience. Standout songs were ‘No Fun’, ‘Hand of Law’ and ‘God Save the Queen’ (Morgan: ‘Noooo  fuuuuuture for  youse fucken’ cunts’). A particular crowd favourite was a thunderingly fast version of Abba’s ‘Fernando’ titled, with typical wry humour, ‘Fuck You Fernando'” (Newall email).

One of the band’s biggest gigs was Rock Fest ’78, a radio benefit concert put on at UNE’s Great Hall (15 Sept.). Headlined by Melbourne band Stiletto, the local contingent also included Constable Green and Moore and Patterson’s Curse.

Late in 1978 a horn section – Robert Moss and Ian Reece on saxes – was added to the line-up; some Saints material – ‘Know Your Product’ – and songs of that type were also included in the repertoire. The band’s Bistro gigs were legendary, not least when fans Wayne Cockbain and Neville Lascar became involved.

In December 1978 The Inmates moved to Sydney where they attracted initial interest from Trafalgar Records. “Some gigs were played – at the Stage Door Tavern for example,” recalls Newall. “Some graffiti saying ‘Preston is God’ also appeared on walls round Surry Hills and Chippendale but The Inmates shortly broke up in January/February 1979 in a welter of drug and girlfriend difficulties.”

Simon Proctor/Morgan went on to form RAF with Cliff Grigg, Craig Bloxom and Michael Wiley. It mutated into Spy v Spy after he left the band. They recorded his minor classic “Dead Girls” (uncredited) on their first EP. Morgan’s increasing drug use and unpredictable behaviour saw him fall out with friends and associates and he eventually disappeared from the Sydney music scene and returned home to England. Newall indicates that he later turned his life around, however, and became a syndicated financial columnist. John Solomons, always the professional, went on playing and remains a musical institution in Newcastle (NSW). Preston Stahlut lived in Sydney for some time before moving to Grafton (NSW) and later Newcastle. He has remained largely out of the public eye for some time. Peter ‘Jack Hammer’ Newall became a Sydney barrister but eventually left Australia to live in Odessa, Ukraine. He formed a band there, which he describes as having some of The Inmates’ energy. A video clip of the band on tour in Crimea can be accessed below. Peter “Justice” Newall now lives in Kyoto, Japan, where he continues to perform live, now as front man for a blues band that he describes as “having some of the energy of the Inmates.” You can also read some of Newall’s stories through his website. See below for links.

Sources: John Maxman, “Inmates Sadly Missed,” Letter, Neucleus 28 Mar. 1979, pp.5-6. • David Povey, “Inmates: The Kids are Alright,’ Neucleus 27 Oct. (1978), 14-15 (thanks to Fran Stahlut) • Newall, Peter. email (31 Jan. 2014).   Images: Photos by David Povey (opp cit.).




(1961 -)

Doiran James on drums with Vice Squad (ca. 1978)
  • Bands: The Classic Dry Reds ; Black ; Guerilla ; Health Club ; Vice Squad ; Kordz ; Crash Landing ; The Zip ; Shoot the DJ ; Some Trippin Diggers ; The Snoggs


A multi-instrumentalist, proficient on drums, guitar and banjo among other instruments Dorian James is the third youngest of 10 siblings. He grew up in a musical environment, with most of his family taking up a musical instrument during their childhood, and after attending The Armidale School (TAS) he began to collaborate with other young musicians in the city, eventually co-founding seminal hippy punk bands Health Club (1978) and Vice Squad (1978-79) with Rod Clay, David Morris and Dick Rummery (Health Club only). He and Clay also formed a songwriting partnership, with a number of their songs being recorded during the late 1970s by Muscle Music Studios (Armidale). Several of these songs became staples for both Vice Squad and later bands, notable “Radical Boy” (aka “Put the Boy Down“), written in jest about David Morris, “You Can’t Do That,” “Christine Seventeen,” “Mayday” (with Peter Stanley), “Lolita” and “Paralytic with Intelligence” (with David Morris).

Following the departure of Clay and Morris to Sydney in early 1979, James decided to move from drums to guitar. With singer Bruce Jones and drummer Pat O’Brien he formed Kordz, which went on to become one of New England’s more popular bands of the period. James reunited with Rod Clay several years later, putting together Crash Landing with Katoomba drummer Ashley Carroll. The band later recruited former Elsess rhythm guitarist, Jon Anderson. In 1983, after Clay and Anderson formed Shoot the DJ, James co-founded The Zip. With debutant singer Sue Sims on lead vocals The Zip was the only band in Armidale at that time fronted by a female.

In 1986 James moved from Armidale to Katoomba (NSW), where he still lives today. Soon after arriving in the Blue Mountains he formed The Snoggs with fellow-Armidalian, Bart Douglass. A three piece unit the band played the played the Blue Mountains pub circuit until breaking up in 1988. James and Douglas also performed as a duo, with a recording of some covers being made in 1986 at the Some Trippin’ Diggers’ studio in Mona Vale. The Snoggs reformed in 1993 with a new line-up – James (guitar/vocals), Fraser Lumsden (bass/vocals) and Mark Newtown (drums/lead vocals). Although the new line-up soon established itself as one of the Mountain’s leading bands, and eventually expanding its gig network to Sydney, internal difficulties led to it disbanding in the mid-1990s.

James has worked with numerous musicians during the 1980s and 1990s, including Some Trippin’ Diggers and Black. His guitar playing can be heard on the collective’s latest release The Larrikin Demofestos (2008). James has also recorded several albums worth of original material since the early 1990s. He currently performs in the duo The Classic Dry Reds with violinist Gustaw Szelski. The duo has released one CD, Live at Mes Amis. James will release his first solo album in 2010.

The Snoggs : ‘Gotta Dance‘ (ca. 1994) The Snoggs : ‘I Could Have Danced All Night‘ (ca. 1994) The Classic Dry Reds : ‘La Paloma‘ (ca. 2004)

james-doiran-zipWith The Zip (ca. 1985)
Source: Clay Djubal (2009) • Doiran James (interview/correspondence, 2009). Images: Top photo courtesy of Clay Djubal • Bottom photo courtesy of Doiran James.


  • Bands: Thunderheads

Guitar, keyboards, sound

Phil James’ association with the Armidale music scene dates back to the early 1970s when he and his friends frequented the Armidale Coffee House. Throughout the remainder of the 197os he played with numerous local musicians and was involved in many parties and jam sessions. By the early 1980s he had formed a creative partnership with several musicians whose musical tastes had moved away from blues and psychedelic rock genres and towards reggae. Among these musicians were percussionist Phil Ferntree and bassist James Dacca. Together they formed the band It’s Not Us, which later morphed into Thunderheads. That band remained together for some five years, and found particular popularity within the Northern Tablelands and NSW North Coast hippie communities. They also played on a number of occasions in Tamworth.

James continued to be involved in numerous musical collaborations throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and in his later years as been engaged as sound engineer for local Armidale bands like the Jug Addicts.

Source: Phil James (interview, Aug. 2010)


(aka Alan Oshlack / Alan Japaljari)

Alan Oshlack (ca. 1973)

Al Japaljarri’s association with Armidale is believed to have begun in the late 1960s when as Alan Oshlack he undertook a degree at the University of New England. Politically active and heavily involved in student affairs, he is recorded in Neucleus as having been a Student Representative Council (SRC) officer between ca. 1969 and 70. Oshlack also established himself as a musician and singer of some note. In July 1972, for example, he teamed up briefly with fellow student Rod Noble to play as the support to American folk legend Phil Ochs and Ron Cobb (the US political cartoonist who had recently moved to Australia). It is possible that Oshlack and Noble were billed as “Motley” for this performance.

While it is not clear when Oshlack completed his studies he is believed to have either still been living in the Armidale area or was still associated with the city/university in some way in 1976. By that time, too, he had changed his surname to Japaljari (later Japiljarri). Saul Kibberman, in a review of the 1976 Split Enz concert at UNE (11 March), records that Japaljari had stepped in at the last moment to replace Liz Watters as the first support act on the bill. ‘[His] songs were strong in rhythm and texture and it is hoped that he will play the New England circuit more regularly this year,” he writes (17 Mar. 1976, p.17).

In 1979 Japaljarri formed Suta Records as a means of releasing and promoting his own material. His first album, Soul on a Shoestring, also comprised two singles. The following year Japaljarri supported English singer/song writer Ralph McTell on his Australian tour. Best known for his song “The Streets of London,” McTell was then without a record deal (Warner Brothers had not renewed his contract and his own label, Mays Records, was still a year away). McTell’s Australian promoter, Ian Oshlack subsequently set up a deal with McTell’s manager/brother Bruce McTell to release the the newly-recorded “Song for Martin” (backed with “Promises”) on the Suta label. The company also held an option on McTell’s last Warner Brothers album Slide Away the Screen, and arranged a lease deal with PolyGram to distribute both the album and a single in Australia through Polydor.

Suta’s next release was a single by Timelords Inc (with Japaljarri on bass). Led by Bo Kaan (later Bo Kahn or Bo Deadly) the Timelords were a cult radical punk/ska/reggae/ rock band which played the NSW North Coast between 1986 and 1988. The band also gained some TV and radio exposure with a number of film clips. In 1990, Suta released a mini-LP cassette, Local Issues, by Al Japaljarri and the Komradz.

For further details regarding Al Japaljarri, Suta Records and the Ralph McTell connection see:

Sources: Kibberman, Saul. “Spellbound with Split Enz.” Neucleus 17 Mar. (1976), p. 17 • Neucleus (1970-76) • Rod Noble (correspondence, Jan. 2010/Apr. 2010). Image: Alan Oshlack photo, Neucleus 29 Oct. (1974), p. 9 • Ralph McTell’s “Song for Martin” cover courtesy of the Ralph, Albert and Sydney: A Ralph McTell website (online) †



  • Personnel: Rhonda Burchmore (vocals) ; Clive Gregory (keyboards/vocals) ; John Grigg (drums) ; Graham Wilson (guitar/vocals)

Following the disbanding of the John Grigg JazzBand, in late 1978, John Grigg formed this four-piece ensemble sometime in early 1979. Referred to by some in the local industry as the ‘God Squad,’ in reference to Grigg’s immense size, the band built a strong following through gigs in a number of Armidale venues. It was also especially popular with the UNE Bistro crowd. The John Grigg Quartet’s first established gig was at the Bistro on 2 May 1979 (although it may well have played elsewhere before that), while the 16 May gig at the same venue the following year may have been one of its last before disbanding.

Two of the members of the John Grigg Quartet, Rhonda Burchmore and Graham Wilson, were not from Armidale. Burchmore, then a 19 year old UNE theatre student, had been resident in the town since 1977. She moved to Melbourne in 1980 after completing her degree and soon afterwards began to establish herself as one of Australia’s popular ‘all-round’ performers of the 1980s and 1990s. Graham Wilson is believed to have spent only about a year in Armidale, having come to the town looking for employment opportunities through his brother, Ray Wilson (then a member of Aquarius). Wilson returned to the Illawarra region in 1980 but shortly afterwards was invited to join the Four Kinsmen, a career move that went on to last several decades.

Sources: Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010) • Neucleus (1979-1980)


(ca. 1975)

  • Personnel incl. John Judge ; Penny Judge

The John Judge Jazz Band is believed to have formed in 1975 at the University of New England, and probably comprised a mostly student line-up. Both John and Penny Judge were heavily involved in running the UNE Jazz Club in 1975. Towards the end of the previous year Penny Judge had also briefly taken on the position of Neucleus editor (the October-November issues).

While it is not clear how long the group remained together, and whether the line-up was regular or floating, it is known that Judge secured a regular Thursday night gig at the Galloping Grape wine bar/bistro during the year (and certainly by October).

Sources: “Jazz.” Neucleus Jan. (1975), p. 23 • Neucleus (1975).


(ca. 1960 – )

  • Bands: Elsess ; Kordz


In 1975, while a student at Armidale High School Bruce Jones co-founded Elsess with Peter Kerr, Peter Makeham, David Lennon and Jon Anderson. Along with the Duval High-based Edge, Elsess was one of Armidale’s leading high school bands. Jones, who had a distinctive vocal and stage presence, later played with Peter Kerr in the pop/rock outfit, Kordz. Jones is the younger brother of Bob Jones (see below).


  • Bands: The Chooks ; Forever 15 ; Kelsey ; Le Club Nerd ; Manic Depression ; Midnight Flyers ; Silver Spuds ;  Stunned Mullet

Guitar / vocals / flute/songwriter.

Bob Jones’ parents immigrated to Australia from England in 1970 and almost immediately after settling in Armidale joined Manic Depression, one of two rock bands to form out of De La Salle Catholic College that year. Brian Moore recalls that Jones’ English ‘cool’ was as impressive as his record collection, and hence the decision to bring him in to the band, unfortunately at Michael Kregan’s expense). Between 1972 and 1976 Jones was guitarist/singer in the four-piece Kelsey (with Rocky Lane, James Arthur and Brian Moore). During that period Kelsey was arguably Armidale’s premiere band, and played at all the major venues in the town as well as touring to other centres.

James Arthur and Bob Jones

After Armidale Jones left Armidale for Sydney in the late 1970s he fronted the band Stunned Mullet land later formed The Chooks with Brian Moore and Kim Constable (both had previously played in Constable, Green and Moore). Of these groups The Chooks arguably had the most popular following, particularly in inner city venues such as the Sandringham Hotel, Newtown. The band released at least one single. a cover of the Herman’s Hermits classic, “Something Good.” The B-side comprised a Bob Jones original, “Heads or Tails.” Another of Jones’ songs, “I Want You a Lot” was an A-side for Stunned Mullet (backed by a cover of Michael Nesmith’s “Different Drum“). Following the disbanding of The Chooks in the early to mid-1980s Jones formed Forever 15.

Kelsey at the 7 Brothers – L-R: Ron Lane, Brian Moore and Bob Jones (James Arthur out of shot)
Source: Clay Djubal (2009) • Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010). Images: Photos courtesy of Brian Moore†
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Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive

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