Artists/Bands [M]

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

 

MIKE McCLELLAN

(1945 – )

Mike McClellan’s association with Armidale and the New England/Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales began in 1963 when he undertook a year of training at the Armidale Teachers’ College. While there he learned guitar while singing pop tunes with the college band. He is believed to have performed at a number of shows in Armidale, including the C. B. Newling Auditorium at the Teacher’s College. In a Rolling Stone magazine interview McClellan said of his time in Armidale, “it was my first opportunity to get involved with music away from home” (ctd. McArthur p. 14).

During occasional trips to Sydney McClellan became aware of the developing folk scene there, and this in turn influenced the direction of his music. It was also a period when folk music was becoming more widely recognised through Woody Guthrie and emerging artists like Bob Dylan, Jonie Mitchell, Peter Paul and Mary and James Taylor etc. After graduating he returned to Sydney to take up a career as a teacher but at the same time immersed himself in the local folk scene – both as a solo artist and as a member of the Currency Blues Band. Among his peers were the likes of Gary Shearston (who had an international hit in 1974 with his of Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You“), Margaret Roadknight, Jim Carter and Doug Ashdown.

McClellan’s teaching career effectively ended after he won a heat of the TV quest New Faces and subsequently took up an offer of regular work on the variety program Sound of Music. He released his first LP  Mike McClellan on Col Joye’s ATA label in 1972. It includes the song “There is a Place (New England’s Hills).”  That same year he played the first of many annual visits to Armidale and other Northern Tablelands centres. Terry McArthur records that McClellan’s saw these gigs as a way to renew his roots and as a means of returning something to the town that provided him with much of his initial impetus (p. 14). By 1974, when he released his second album – the top-selling Ask Any Dancer – McClellan was already one of the country’s leading folk entertainers.  One of the songs from the album, “Rock’n Roll Lady,” was voted ‘Song of the Year’ at the 1975 Australian Music Industry Awards. His popularity in Armidale by that stage meant that he was required in 1975 to play a second concert – the first having been booked out weeks in advance.

McClellan’s albums from the 1970s were Until the Song is Done (1976) and An Evening with Mike McClellan (1978, live). In 1979 he compered National Star Quest on television, and this led to him taking over the host role for the ABC’s Country Road program. It continued as Mike McClellan’s Country Music for three years.

Mike McClellan’s songs have been covered by a number of artists in Australia and overseas, including John Farnham and Rick Nelson. Over the years he has toured with such international acts as Roger Miller, Melanie, Dr Hook, The Hollies and Leo Kottke. His album releases to date also include Laughing in the Dark (1908), The Heartland (1990) and Time and Time Again (2001) a 2CD retrospective.

Sources: Terry McArthur “Mike McClellan: Where Does He Go From Here?” Neucleus 7 Apr. (1976), p. 14 • Mike McClellan Official Website • Malcom J. Turnball “Key Players on the Sydney Coffee Lounge Scene” (online).

 

PETER MAKEHAM

aka Groover

(1959 – )

On tour with Helga and the Blitzkrieg (1985)
  • Bands incl.  Elsess ; Helga and the Blitzkrieg ; Powder Monkeys

Peter Makeham attended Armidale High School where his mother also taught English. While a student he joined the band Elsess as its bass player and in the mid-1980s joined fellow Elsess associate Jon Anderson in forming Helga and the Blitzkrieg. Although he later left the band when his relationship with Karin Moorehouse ended, Makeham did not end his association the ‘Helgas’ altogether. He was, for example, the front of house engineer for the band’s final gig (Sunray Sunday ’87).

In the late 1980s Makeham, along with Jon Anderson and Dick Rummery co-founded the Armidale Musicians’ Club. Makeham was later a member of the Powder Monkeys.

Sources Jon Anderson (correspondence, 2009) • Clay Djubal (2009). Images Photo courtesy of Clay Djubal.

 

MANIC DEPRESSION

(ca. 1968- 1970)

  • Personnel: Robert ‘Bob’ Lane (guitar/vocals) ; Neil ‘Nobby’ Osborne (lead guitar) ; Graham Tilbrooks (drums) ; Wayne Yoemans (bass)
  • Also associated with the band: Eris Shannahan (vocals).

Manic Depression was one of two bands to form out of De la Salle College (laterO’Connor Catholic High) and named after Jimi Hendrix songs – the other being Purple Haze. The cornerstone of the band were cousins Bob Lane and Nobby Osborne, who founded the band sometime around 1968/69.  Neil Osborne, who was in 3rd form at the time (now Year  9), recalls that he and Bob decided to start their own band because their brothers (Rocky Lane and Garry Osborne) were in the high profile local band Mantra. They initially invited Eris Shannahan to sing but he did not work out and Bob Lane reluctantly took on the lead vocal duties.

Manic Depression’s repertoire was similar to Mantra’s as Bob would learn many of their songs from his brother Rocky (Mantra’s bass player). Among the numbers played by both bands were: “Smile” (Bee Gees), “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (Rolling Stones). Manic Depression also played songs by The Easybeats and… of course Hendrix.

When Manic Depression disbanded Lane and Osborne joined forces with three members of Purple Haze to form Shane.

Source: Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010).

 

MANNA

(ca. 1976)

  • Personnel: Colin Bale (bass/vocals) ; Bruce Hooper (12 string guitar/vocals) ; Helen Hooper (vocals) ; Bill Hurditch (guitar/flute/harmonica/vocals) ; Bill Johns (Classical-style guitar/vocals) ;

Manna were an Armidale-based Christian group which played a combination of traditional religious and gospel-style songs as well as original compositions. In a review of their support to Family in 1976 (UNE Arts Theatre, 3 July), Paul Ridgewell records: “From their first song, Manna showed themselves to be a thoroughly polished, skilful and sensitive group, with a clear, crisp sound, especially featuring the marvellous finger style guitar playing of Bill Johns… The lyrical content of the songs clearly reflected the Christian faith of the members. There were songs of hope, joy and encouragement, mixed with some Billy Borker-type humour. Manna are a very good group and the audience at the concert echoed these sentiments by giving them a strong reception” (p. 29).

NB: The Paul Ridgewell review includes a photo of the group but the quality of the microfilm copy is too poor to reproduce here.
Source: Paul Ridgewell. “Manna and Family,” Neucleus 11 Aug. (1976), p. 29.

 

MANTRA

(ca. 1970-1974)

The early years:  L-R: Ralph Monley, Larry Townsend, Garry Osborne, Ron Lane and Greg Goldsmith (Armidale Gold Club).
  • Personnel: Greg Goldsmith (keyboards/bass) ; Ron ‘Rocky’ Lane (bass/cornet/vocals) ; Brian Mosley (keyboards) ; Ralph Monley (guitar/vocals) ; Gary Osborne (drums) ; Neil ‘Nobby’ Osborne (guitar/vocals) ;  Larry “Snowy” Townsend (lead guitar/flute)

Mantra morphed out of mid to late-1960s Armidale bands Artisans and Firebirds, with Rocky Lane, Ralph Monley and Greg Goldsmith having been members of the two earlier groups. The band featured two musicians who also played non-traditional rock instruments – Rocky Lane occasionally playing cornet (with Greg Goldsmith moving to bass), while guitarist Larry Townsend sometimes doubled on flute. When Goldsmith left the band he was replaced by Brian Mosley. Neil Osborne later replaced Snowy Townsend.

Ca. 1971 (possibly playing a B&S ball): L-R: Ralph Monley, Larry Townsend (seated), Garry Osborne, Ron Lane, Greg Goldsmith.

Mantra’s position as arguably Armidale’s most popular band of the early 1970s was cemented in 1972 when two other local bands, Bogislav and Trek (Uralla) decided to compete in the Tamworth heats of the national Hoadley Battle of the Sounds competition rather than go up against them. As expected Mantra won the Armidale heat, but never went to the Northern NSW finals at Newcastle due to lack of money and difficulties brought on by the current state-wide petrol strike. Runners-up Shane appeared in their place (and went on to place third behind Bogislav and Mata Hari).

Winners of the 1972  Hoadley Battle of the Sounds (Armidale) heats. Armidale Town Hall.

Mantra :  “Time to Make a Change” Recorded live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds competition. 

Mantra : “Alabi”  Recorded live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds competition. 

Mantra : “Smoke on the Water” (Deep Purple) 

ca. late 1974 (with Neil “Nobby” Osborne)
Source: Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010) • Neil Osborne (correspondence, Nov. 2010; Jan. 2011).  Images: Armidale Golf Club photo by Tiny Anderson (Anderson’s Photographic Centre)• Other photos courtesy of Neil Osborne. Music “Time to Make a Change” and “Alabi” courtesy of Brian Moore • “Smoke on the Water” courtesy of Neil Osborne.

 

NICK MILES

  • Bands:  Some Trippin’ Diggers ; Shoot the DJ (II) ; Soul Survivors

Guitar/harmonica/vocals/songwriter

Originally from Grafton (NSW) Nick Miles pursued a career as a registered male nurse while also playing guitar in a number of bands during his teens and early twenties. In late 1984, having moved to Sydney several years previously, he began contributing guitar, vocals and harmonica to the Some Trippin’ Diggers collective, then based in Mona Vale. He was subsequently invited to join the reformed (three piece) Shoot the DJ in 1985. Miles also collaborated on several of the band’s new songs and contributed some of his own, notably “La La (Love You Babe).”

Since Shoot the DJ (II) disbanded Miles has continued to enjoy a musical career playing in the band Soul Survivors.

Source: Clay Djubal (2009). Image: Photo courtesy of Clay Djubal.

 

SIGFRIED ‘ZIGGY’ MIRZA

(1958- )

  • Bands:  Captains of Industry ; Flight ; Native Tongue ; Serpico ; Shoot the DJ ; Some Trippin’ Diggers

Guitar/bass guitar/vocals/songwriter.

Of German and Pakistani descent, Siegfried ‘Ziggy’ Mirza spent much of his formative years in Adelaide where his father practiced law. He moved to Armidale in the early 1980s to undertake a science degree at The University of New England, specialising in water hydrology. Having played the guitar since early childhood Mirza also immersed himself in the Armidale music scene, initially playing in the band No-Mates before eventually joining Shoot the DJ in early 1983 as the band’s lead guitarist. With Shoot the DJ he toured throughout Northern NSW establishing himself as one of the region’s premiere guitarists. In late 1983 he and fellow band members Clay Djubal and Ian Mitchell moved to Sydney to start up other musical projects and Mirza soon found himself sought after as a session guitarist, playing for acts like John Paul Young. Towards the end of 1984 he joined the Mitchell brothers, Ian and Peter, in Captains of Industry, remaining with the group until it disbanded late the following year. In addition to guitar Mirza contributed original material for a number of the band’s songs.

While still with Captains of Industry Mirza co-founded Native Tongue with  former No-Mates bass player Kendall [*]. Later that same year he also became involved with the Some Trippin’ Diggers collective during its formative period. One of the first recording sessions, with Clay Djubal, drummer Matt Hirst and keyboardist Des Smith, resulted in the Some Trippin’ Diggers EP (1985).  Mirza and Djubal later recruited former Shoot the DJ drummer Ian Mitchell into the collective. With other musicians (including guitarist Ross Stagg) they recorded several albums worth of material. Some of the songs from this period are to be released by HGWT in 2010 under the title Paralytic with Intelligence. Mirza was also involved in co-writing much of the collective’s original material.

Ziggy on bass

Mirza was unable to join Mitchell and Djubal in reforming Shoot the DJ in 1985 due to his commitments with Native Tongue. When the new three piece version (with guitarist Nick Miles, Mirza) undertook a tour of Northern NSW with Helga and the Blitzkrieg, he was able to take time off, however, and joined the band as bass player (allowing Djubal to concentrate on lead vocals and keyboards).

Mirza spent much of the late 1980s and 1990s teaching science and math at high schools in Sydney while continuing to play music with various bands. He eventually returned to a more or less professional music career, using his musical talents and pedagogical experience to teach music privately. Among the bands and artists he has been associated with are Serpico and the jazz-funk ensemble Flight. The latter band is described on the Jazz and beyond website as ‘an  engaging diversity of jazz, funk and ethnic music and sounds, spanning deep chill to infectious exuberance.’

  • To visit the Serpico website go to : Serpico.
  • To visit the Flight website go to : Flight.
  • To hear songs by Ziggy Mirza and Flight go to Flight on MySpace.
Source: Clay Djubal (2009). Images: Photos courtesy of Clay Djubal.

 

IAN MITCHELL

Ian Mitchell with Shoot the DJ (1983)
  • Bands:  Al Heany’s Rhythm and Blues Experience ; Blood Brothers (aka The Song) ;  Captains of Industry ; The Deep End ; Delilah ;  ftprints11 ; The Great Unknown Band ; Hey Charger ; IanXS ; The Rudiments ; Shoot the DJ ; Some Trippin’ Diggers ; Speedweasel (aka Zeitgeist)

Drums/sound/songwriter

1985 †

Ian Mitchell was born into a musical family. His father and grandmother were accomplished pianists, while his his older siblings, Peter (guitar) and Judy (piano) began playing from an early age. Ian’s choice of instrument was the drums. Both influenced and inspired by his older brother he began playing in bands while a student at Duval High School. The first to actually play a gig was formed with Ian Fitzgerald and Ian Woolsey, leading to the obvious name – IanXS. Mitchell and Woolsey later formed another school band with three other students Tim [*], Shannon [*] and Ferris [*]. By 1982 Mitchell was also developing his skills by providing the rhythm tracks (via a drum computer) for his brother’s four track recordings. His input also soon led to assisting with sound and production techniques. During the early 1980s Mitchell and his friends sometimes frequented the Walnut Tree (formerly the Coffee House), which still offered emerging musicians an opportunity to perform in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

In 1982, while undertaking his final year at high school, Mitchell was invited to join a band founded by former Crash Landing members Clay Djubal and Jon Anderson. He was offered the position after having impressed all concerned with a guest appearance on a couple of songs during a charity gig at Puddledock (the fill-in drummer for that gig was former Crash Landing drummer Doiran James). The other musician engaged to play the gig, UNE student Ziggy Mirza (guitar) also agreed to continue the association. Within a few weeks the band had a name, Shoot the DJ, and played its first official gig. Mitchell’s previous experience in recording soon saw him take on responsibility, with Jon Anderson, for both the band’s live and recorded sound. Mitchell only missed one gig with band during its time together – when his mother insisted he study and get some sleep for an imminent final exam. His place was taken by Darrell Mitchell (no relation), better known as Dirty Dan. [see Shoot the DJ entry for further details]

When Shoot the DJ moved to Sydney in late 1983 Mitchell joined his brother in Captains of Industry. The band established a small but enthusiastic following in Sydney and recorded many hours of music, both at the band’s own studio and at Alexander Mackay College. Seven songs were also produced by Martin Cass at JMC Studios. [see Captains of Industry entry for further details]

1985: Recording with the Tascam 244 Portastudio †

After Captains of Industry disbanded Mitchell began collaborating with Clay Djubal and Jo-ann Simmons on the Some Trippin’ Diggers project (along with Ziggy Mirza, Ross Stagg and others). In 1985 he and Djubal reformed Shoot the DJ as a trio (with guitarist Nick Miles) and later undertook a tour of Northern NSW with Jon Anderson’s band Helga and the  Blitzkrieg.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s he worked as a public servant, and for a time as a taxi driver. He also travelled overseas on several occasion. His  musical efforts during this period were largely associated with his brother, being involved in the recording of the albums Wolf in a Riding Hood (1985); Broken Man (1986) a thematically linked 10 song cycle; Ghost Around the Town (1986), Music for Sundays in Winter (1987), and Arid Man (1988). In 1988 the Mitchell brothers formed a party band/ collective called The Song.  A number of songs recorded in rehearsal from that period were later put together as Spontaneous By Design – under the name Blood Brothers (1992). In late 1992 the Mitchells teamed up with their sister, Judy, Tim Hewitt,  Ian Woolsey and Colin Sharp to form Legends of Obscurity. This later morphed into The Rudiments (without Judy Mitchell). The band recorded five songs at Damian Gerard’s Studios (Ultimo).  Released on cassette, several hundred of these were eventually distributed.

Speedweasel: 'Blue Man' (1999)

In 1995 the Mitchells put together a three CD compilation of Peter’s songs under titled The Great Unknown. The collection, accompanied by a book of lyrics, poems and drawings, is described by Peter Mitchell as an autobiography in song. By the late 1990s Ian Mitchell had returned to Armidale to undertake a degree in Information Technology at the University of New England. The brothers formed the largely recording outfit The Great Unknown Band, a three piece unit (with Brian Miller on bass). Among its releases are Kisses from Shadows / Jewells from Tears (1999), Bald Rapunzel (2000), Fabric of Blood and Flowers (2003) and Pictures of a Life of Ink and Ash (n. yr.). In 1999 Mitchell also co-founded Zeitgeist with Brian Miller and James Cronin. The trio, which later changed its name to Speedweasel, went on to win the Armidale final of that year’s Battle of the Bands competition and soon afterwards won the first round of the Coffs Harbour heats. They subsequently went to Newcastle to compete in the next round of the national competition. 1999 also saw Speedweasel record and self-release its debut album, Blue Man (recorded and produced by Al Heaney at his Armidale studio).

After completing his degree Ian joined the Phoenix Foundry, Uralla (NSW), later taking over as General Manager when the original owners retired. He continues to perform in the New England region, playing drums in a number of local bands including Hey Charger (ca. 2002-05), a covers band fronted by Andy Marks, formerly of Crow; The Deep End (2004) with Al Heaney, Mark Cooper and Tony Elder; and Richard Rummery’s outfit ftprints11. He has also performed with Al Heany’s Rhythm and Blues Experience, a local ‘super group’ comprising the cream of Armidale musicians; and since ca. 2008 has been associated with the ‘sometimes’ band Delilah, led by former Shoot the DJ band mate Jon Anderson.

With Delilah at Jon Anderson’s 50th birthday party (Aug. 2010)
Source: Clay Djubal (2009) • Ian Mitchell (interview, Aug. 2010) • Peter Mitchell, The Great Unknown (1995). Images: Top photo by Heather Grigg • Black and white photos by Howard Dawson • Blue Man cover courtesy of Speedweasel • Bottom photo by Clay Djubal.

 

PETER MITCHELL

(1959 – )

  • Bands: Blood Brothers (aka The Song) ; Captains of Industry ; Golden Myst ; The Great Unknown Band ; Grubs ; Hewchell ; Omshafarat ; The Rudiments ; Zenith

Vocals /guitar/bass guitar/songwriter/producer.

Based in Armidale (NSW) during the 1970s and in Sydney from 1983 through until the late 1990s, Peter Mitchell has been the principal songwriter/lead singer/guitarist with several rock bands, notably Captains of Industry, and has for many years also collaborated with his younger brother Ian. His musical influences are many, with singer songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell having an early impact.

Raised in Blacktown, Sydney, Mitchell’s parents moved to Armidale when he was nine years old and he attended Ben Venue Primary School. It was during his early years at Duval High School, however, that the passion for words and music took firm hold of his imagination.  Mitchell’s most important collaboration during this period was with Trevor Dunham (later lead singer with Edge), beginning in 1973. When Dunham moved to Canberra (ACT) in 1976 Mitchell made frequent trips to the national capital through until 1984 so that they might continue to work on each other’s musical ideas. More than forty hours of recordings still exist from those days (Mitchell, p. 9). Much of the material also involves Dunham’s wife, Kathleen.

Another of Mitchell’s early collaborations was with Tim Hewitt (and in later years with Hewitt’s wife Cathy). The pair combined part of their surnames to form Hewchell. Initially just an excuse for mucking around, Hewchell eventually played live gigs in addition to making occasional recordings and even some videos.  Describing Hewchell as a ‘chaotic blast with splashed of the Blues Brothers and The Rolling Stones, mixed with elements… unique,’ they later engaged Trevor Dunham and organist Paul Cole to undertake a tour of northern New South Wales as the Methodist Youth Group Band (playing a repertoire of rock songs with spiritual themes). One Armidale gig, the 1976 high school “Battle of the Bands” competition, saw them joined by drummer Cliff Grigg (later with v Spy v Spy).

While the three school friends also played with various other school mates (in bands with names like OmsgafaratZenith and Grubs between 1973 and late 1976,  Mitchell was absent from Armidale for much of 1975. During that year he travelled to England, where he collaborated with Nick Hawes while living in Dorchester-on-Thames.  Mitchell says of that time, ‘we called ourselves Golden Myst and re-invented or re-worked every teenage cliche known to humanity. Some of the musical ideas are surprisingly interesting possibly because of their inherent naivety’ (p. 11).

Mitchell and his muse

After returning home Mitchell completed high school. Between 1978 and 1982 he drifted through various jobs, including that of a rouseabout/assistant researcher at Tibooburra with his father-in-law-to-be. He spent most of 1982 in Broken Hill NSW), where his future wife Penelope was spending her registration year after graduating from university. That same year he recorded the solo albums Almost Human and Far Cry on a Tascam 144 4-track Portastudio. From late 1983 up until late 1985 he led the Sydney-based Captains of Industry, the band which perhaps best articulated his musical vision. Mitchell received some early interest from Chappell Music, but the charts were steadily being dominated by ‘video’ rock bands making it almost impossible for word-centred bands like Captains of Industry to break through. The band nevertheless established a small but enthusiastic following in Sydney. They also recorded many hours of music, both at the band’s own studio and at Alexander Mackay College. Seven songs were also produced by Martin Cass at JMC Studios.

After disbanding Captains of Industry, Mitchell focused his creative energies largely through writing and recording, and mostly in collaboration with Ian Mitchell. Between 1985 and 1989, while working as a storeman and driver at the Chatswood House and Garden Centre, he also completed a BA (Hons) degree at University of Sydney. At the same time he also produced the albums Wolf in a Riding Hood (1985); Broken Man (1986) a thematically linked 10 song cycle; Ghost Around the Town (1986), Music for Sundays in Winter (1987), and Arid Man (1988). In 1988, after having moved to the Hazelbrook in the Blue Mountains Mitchell formed a party band/collective called The Song.  A number of songs recorded in rehearsal from that period were later put together as Spontaneous By Design (under the name Blood Brothers).

Over the next two years Mitchell also produced a slim volume of poetry titled Songpoems and re-worked a selection of his early songs, giving them an acoustic and keyboard-dominated sound. These comprise Half Remembered Sorrow (1992). In late 1992, then living in Baulkam Hills (Sydney), he, Ian and sister Judy, teamed up with Tim Hewitt,  Ian Woolsey, Colin Sharp to form Legends of Obscurity. This later morphed into The Rudiments (without Judy Mitchell). The band recorded five songs at Damian Gerard’s Studios (Ultimo).  Released on cassette, several hundred of these were eventually distributed.

In 1995 the brothers produced a three CD recording of original songs to accompany Peter’s book The Great Unknown. They later formed The Great Unknown Band, a three piece unit (with Brian Miller on bass). The band played at least on gig in Armidale (the Musicians Club) in 1999. An album Kisses from Shadows / Jewells from Tears (1999). The band has since recorded the albums Bald Rapunzel (2000), Fabric of Blood and Flowers, (2003) and Pictures of a Life of Ink and Ash (n. yr.). Mitchell also produced a largely solo album, Invisible Wire, in 2001.

As an author Mitchell has also self-published the travel memoirs All About Shadows: Travelling in Italy, France and England (1997), Ulysses and Penelope: Travelling in Ireland (2006), and Forgotten Don Quixote: Travelling in Spain and Portugal (2007).

The Great Unknown Band

In addition to his life as songwriter/musician and performer Mitchell was employed by the Department of Immigration between 1990 and 2003 as an investigator, as Manager of the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, and in 1999 as Manager of the Kosovar and East Timorese “Operation Safe Haven” at East Hills.

His academic career has seen him awarded a Dip Ed. (University of New England) and an MA in Creative Writing (University of Western Sydney). He has been commissioned to write histories for the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia and the Freeman Sports Club and has reviewed poetry and presented conference papers for TEXT: The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs (2005-06). In 2006 he began his candidacy as a Ph D student in creative writing at the Central Queensland University, graduating in 2009. As part of his dissertation, Mitchell wrote  The Compassionate Bastard: Memoir of an Immigration Officer, an expose of his time at Villawood. His literary agent is currently seeking expressions of interest to have the book published.

  • PeterandPenny.com includes a selection of songs from across his career and PDF versions of The Great Unknown and The Song I Write For You. There are also several videos of Mitchell and longtime musical collaborators Trevor Dunham and Tim Hewitt, along with an interview with Mitchell focusing on The Compassionate Bastard.
  • Additional songs from The Great Unknown Band can be accessed at mp3.com .
  • Discography [PDF]

Peter Mitchell and Trevor Dunham (2009)
Sources:  Art of the Real Conference program (q.v.) University of Newcastle, 2008, p. 39 ; Peter Mitchell, The Great Unknown (1995), v. pags. Images: All photos courtesy of Peter Mitchell (peterandpenny.com)

 

BRIAN ‘LANKY’ MOORE

  • Bands:  The Chooks ; Constable Green and Moore ; Kelsey ; Purple Haze ; Scamp ; Shane

Drums / vocals

Brian Moore learned percussion in his early teens as a member of the Police Citizens Boys Club Drum Corp, which had formed after the club had received a government grant. He subsequently joined the De La Salle Catholic College cadet band as a drummer playing along-side another of the region’s drummers, Bob Hobbs (later with Finks and then Trek). In 1970 an insurance policy his mother had set up for him matured, and when asked how he wanted to spend the $500 the sixteen year old Moore indicated a  set of drums. With arguably one of the best drum kits in town he was quickly snapped up by Purple Haze, one of two bands formed primarily out of De La Salle students. The following year  members from both Purple Haze and Manic Depression joined forces to form Shane. That band went on to find a good of success in Armidale and the nearby centres, while also competing in two Hoadley Battle of the Sounds competitions. In the second year Shane made it all the way to the NSW regional finals at Newcastle, coming third.

Following the disbanding of Shane in late 1972 Moore teamed up with Rocky Lane (older brother of Shane guitarist Bob Lane), former Purple Haze guitarist/singer Bob Jones and James Arthur to form Kelsey, one of Armidale’s most popular bands of the 1970s. The quartet remained together for some four years and played nearly every major venue in town over that period, including numerous UNE balls, and travelled to other centres in the Northern Tablelands and New England region. When Kelsey called it quits in 1976, Moore and the Lane brothers formed Scamp with keyboardist Clive Gregory.

Left: Shane (Armidale Golf Club ca. 1972). Right: Kelsey (Armidale Bowling Club, ca. 1975)

In 1977, following the break-up of Scamp, Moore teamed up with former Moree musician Kim Constable, who had come to Armidale some two years previously to join the Robbie Gray Big Band. Moore and Constable conceived the idea of forming a power trio which would play hard rock classics from the 1960s and 1970s. After noticing the capabilities of Duval High School guitarist/singer Chris Green they invited him to make up Constable Green and Moore. Apart from the advanced PA system they operated (which included a front of house mix) the trio stood out from other local bands through its use of three lead singers and three-part part harmonies.

Constable Green and Moore remained together until 1980, at which time Constable and Moore decided to move to Sydney where they teamed up with Bob Jones to form The Chooks. Chris Green later teamed up with another Armidale musician, Richard Rummery to play in the short-lived Sydney-based band Shooting School. The ending of Constable Green and Moore, which towards the end became a four-piece (known as Constable, Green, Moore and Brazel) was a mutual affair with no animosity. The band (in both 3 and 4-piece manifestations) has reunited on a number of occasions since the early 1980s, playing a combination of gigs and parties.

Constable Green and Moore (1995 reunion)

The Chooks were a very popular band in the inner suburbs of Sydney during it’s brief time together (by late 1981 the trio became a four-piece). By early 1982, however, Moore became tired of Sydney and the pub circuit grind and returned to Armidale. His place in The Chooks was brefly taken by Mick O’Shea before the band eventually broke up.  Back in Armidale Moore was offered a position at Newell’s Music Centre by its new owner, Armidale musician Graham Moffatt. Moore only worked at Newell’s under Moffatt for a little under a year before the business closed down. He was subsequently invited to open up an Armidale branch of Cheapa Music  for Tamworth-based businessman Peter Harkins. Moore later returned to Newell’s for its new owner Wilbur Porter, remaining there for about two years before going into business with his first wife, Robyn. The couple opened up The Loft, a specialist jeans shop situated a few doors away from Newells in the Armidale Mall. They later sold the business to Clive Gregory and his wife Madeline (sister of two other prominent Armidale musicians, Phil and Doiran James). Sometime later the Moore’s separated and eventually divorced. Robyn later married Lanky’s friend and former band mate Rocky Lane.

Although Lanky Moore’s sat in with a number of Armidale bands over the next few couple of decades, notably Point Blank in the late-1980s, but he did not return to playing with any groups on a permanent basis, turning his attention instead towards a more business-orientated career. In later years he became manager of the New England Credit Union and a Justice of the Peace.

Source: Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010). Images: All photos courtesy of Brian Moore. †

 

SIMON MORGAN

(ca. 1960 – )

  • Bands: Blue Max ; Edge ; The Inmates ; R.A.F.

Vocals /guitar /songwriter

Simon Morgan’s family moved to Australia in 1976 from Birmingham, England. He is believed to have played in several school bands, including one called Finchley’s Mob. While the veracity of his claim that he personally knew the members of Black Sabbath (who also hail from Birmingham) may never be proven, he certainly played a significant role in influencing the musical tastes of his peers at Armidale High School. Black Sabbath certainly increased in popularity, with ‘Paranoid’ becoming a favourite cover song.

1976

Not long after arriving in Armidale he co-founded the short-lived Blue Max with Dick Rummery (bass/vocals), Malcolm Toft (sax/vocals) and Rod Clay (drums/vocals). The following year he and Rummery joined another high school band, Edge, after several members finished school and moved on. After Edge disbanded Morgan joined David Morris, Peter Newell and John Solomons in forming seminal Armidale punk band The Inmates.

When Preston Stahlut replaced David Morris, Moragn began collaborating with the band’s new guitarist on original material. The Inmates quickly established a formidable reputation in Armidale, and according to an interview for Neucleus magazine, the band had also attracted some interest from Trafalgar Records in Sydney. Although indicating that they intended to move to Sydney this never eventuated.  Morgan did, however, move there sometime around 1980.

Not long after moving to Sydney Morgan briefly teamed up with Craig Bloxom and Michael Wiley in the pre-v Spy v Spy band R.A.F. He is remembered playing at least one gig with that band at the Heritage Hotel at Rushcutter’s Bay (source Clay Djubal). His increasing drug use and unpredictable behaviour saw him fall out with friends and associates, however, and he eventually disappeared from the Sydney music scene. His whereabouts after 1981 are yet to be ascertained.

Source: Clay Djubal (2009). Image: Photo courtesy of Clay Djubal.

 

DAVID MORRIS

(1961)

Performing at Clayz Kitchen, Armidale (ca. 1987)
  • Bands:  The Astros ; Guerilla ;  Head Injuries ; Health Club ; Helga and the Blitzkrieg ; The Inmates ; Some Trippin Diggers ; Vice Squad

Guitar/piano/bass/drums/vocals/songwriter

David Morris and Doiran James - Health Club

David Morris’ family moved to Armidale in 1966 after his father, Professor Granger Morris, had accepted a position as the Chair of Pure Mathematics at The University of New England.  The youngest of three brothers, Morris attended Armidale Demonstration School and Armidale High.  As a child he showed much talent for music, becoming equally proficient on guitar and piano (he also plays a number of other instruments including bass guitar and drums).

Morris became involved in the Armidale music scene while still at high school, and in late 1977, aged 16, he co-founded Armidale’s seminal punk band, The Inmates with bassist Peter Newell. However, after playing the band’s first gig he travelled briefly to New Zealand  and on his return found that he’d been replaced by Preston Stahlut. Morris’ next two Armidale-based bands were Health Club (1978) and Vice Squad (1978-79).

Rehearsing with The Astros †

When Morris and bass player/singer Rod Clay decided to move to Sydney in late 1979 the pair formed a new power trio, The Astros, with Sydney-based drummer/vocalist Matt Hirst (its name was inspired by Astro Boy). They were later joined by former Armidale band mate Dick Rummery, but the band was short-lived, however.  Among Morris’s more popular songs from this period were: “Cherrie’s Got a Habit,” “Needlepoint Park,” and “Knife Attack” (about an incident which happed to him in Kensington, Sydney) and “The Astronauts.”

Morris continued to involve himself in musical projects throughout the 1980s and 1990s, establishing himself in both Sydney and Melbourne. He also moved back to Armidale on several occasions. In the mid-1980s he became one of the original musicians to work in the Some Trippin’ Diggers collaborative. His expertise as a pianist also saw him perform at Clayz Kitchen between 1987 and 1988. Morris also provided the live soundtrack to silent films put on by the University of New England’s film club Duck Soup (he rarely had a chance to even see the films before hand and was mostly required to play as he watched each film for the first time).  In 1987 he also joined Jon Anderson’s newly reformed Helga and the Blitzkrieg.  With the band’s musical talents greatly increased, and with the right mix of covers and original material (including original songs by Morris), the band quickly returned to being one of the region’s leading rock acts.

David Morris’s career has seen him perform during the mid-1990s in Head Injuries, a Melbourne-based Midnight Oil tribute band (playing Jim Mogonie’s role). Since 2000 he has lived primarily in Melbourne, where he continues to pursue his love of music, performing on both piano and guitar at a variety of shows – from private functions to $100 a head charity functions. He regularly offers his services to organisations involved in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.  He has also recorded many of his original compositions. As a member of the Melbourne Philharmonic Choir he accompanied the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra during the 2008 performance of Handel’s Messiah.   Morris has also contributed guitar for Richard Rummery’s band ftprints11 –  “Soul Groovin'” (Thump, 2005) and “Numb” (Unsound, 2005).

With Helga and the Blitzkrieg (1987)
Sources: Clay Djubal (2009) • David Morris (interview, 2009) Images: Top photo courtesy of Heather Grigg ; all other photos courtesy of Clay Djubal except †.

 

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Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive

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