Artists/Bands [S]

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

SCAMP

(ca. 1976-1977)

  • Personnel:  Clive Gregory (keyboards/vocals) ; Ron ‘Rocky’ Lane (bass/vocals) ; Robert ‘Bob’ Lane (guitar/vocals) ; Brian ‘Lanky’ Moore (drums/vocals)

After Kelsey disbanded Rocky Lane joined forces with his younger brother Bob, and together with ex-Kelsey drummer Lanky Moore and keyboardist Clive Gregory, formed Scamp. The band forged a considerable reputation in Armidale over two years before calling it quits. Playing an excusively covers repertoire, the band was influenced by such acts as Little River Band, Wild Cherry (“Play that Funky Music“), The Eagles (“One of These Nights“) and US country rockers Silver (“Wham Bam Shang-a-Lang“).

Following the disbanding of Scamp, Bob Lane went on to join Chainsaw, Rocky Lane formed Alias, and Lanky Moore joined forces with Kim Constable in Constable Green and Moore (with Duval High School guitarist Chris Green).

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

SCROOT

(1969-ca. 1971)

  • Personnel incl. Geoff Brown (bass) ; [*] “Groovy” (vocals) ; Noel McCrae (guitar)

Scroot formed in mid to late-1969, and by Christmas were playing gigs around the local area.

Source: Tony Jaggers (correspondence, Nov. 2010).

SHANE

(1971-1972)

  • Personnel: Brad Dunham (vocals) ; Robert ‘Bob’ Lane (guitar/vocals) ; Brian ‘Lanky’ Moore (drums/vocals) ; Neil ‘Nobby’ Osborne (lead guitar/vocals) ; Wayne Yoemans (bass)

Shane was the merging of Purple Haze and Manic Depression, two early 1970s bands to form out of De La Salle College (now O’Connor Catholic High). The names of both bands indicate how popular Jim Hendrix was with emerging rock bands from that era. From Manic Depression came Nobby Osborne (the younger brother of Garry Osborne), Rob Lane and Wayne Yoemans, while the Purple Haze contingent comprised Brian Moore and Brad Dunham.

The band played a mostly covers repertoire, comprising a mix of classic 60s and contemporary 1970s songs, including the Zoot’s version of “Eleanor Rigby.” Some of the acts they drew on were Australian bands Autumn, Sherbet, The Master’s Apprentices and Spectrum, along with Santana, the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, J. J. Cale, Doobie Brothers, Bill Withers, The Doors, Crazy Elephant and Jimi Hendrix. Shane also collectivelly wrote a couple of songs, mainly for the Battle of Sounds competition (as original compositions were worth more points). Two of these were “Second Morning of the Earth” (called ‘second’ because there was a surf film called Morning of the Earth) and “Sunshine.”

The band entered the 1971 and 1972 national Hoadley Battle of the Sounds competitions, finding success the second time round when it was declared the runner-up. Brian Moore recalls that while Bogislav and Trek both entered the 1972 Tamworth heats because they knew they couldn’t beat Armidale band Mantra, Shane decided to give it a go because ‘we were cheeky enough to think we could beat the bastards.’ The strategy ended up paying off because Mantra was forced to pull out of the Northern NSW regional semi-finals in Newcastle and Shane was subsequently invited to take its place. Shane went on to come third overall, with the eventual winner of the NSW Regional Finals being Bogislav.

Hoadley Battle of the Bands, Armidale 1972

When Shane disbanded in late 1972 Neil Osborne teamed up with former Purple Haze guitarist/singer Bob Jones to form the short-lived outfit Fireband before heading to Northern NSW Coast. He later returned to play with his brother Garry in Mantra. When Fireband finished up Brian Moore co-founded Kelsey, with Bob Jones, James Arthur and Bob Lane’s younger brother Rocky.

Shane :  “Falling”  (Autumn) Recorded live at the Armidale heats of the 1971 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds.

Shane :  “Launching Place II”  Recorded live at the Armidale heats of the 1971 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds.

Shane :  “Slipping into Darkness”  Recorded live at the Armidale heats of the 1971 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds.

Shane :  “Sunshine”  Recorded live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds Northern NSW zone final (Newcastle).

Shane :  “Free the Children”  Recorded live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds Northern NSW zone final (Newcastle).

Shane :  “Second Morning of the Earth”  Recorded live at the 1972 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds Northern NSW zone final (Newcastle).

Shane (with guest keyboardist Chris Brazil)
Sources: Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010) • Neil Osborne (correspondence Jan. 2011) . Images: Top and Middle photos courtesy of Brian Moore • Bottom photo courtesy of Neil Osborne.

SHEARSTON, GARY

See: Northern Tablelands 1: Live Entertainment History [1880-1970 and 1990 -] “Regional Overview” section

SHEARWATER

(1973- )

  • Personnel: Neil “Goose” Curry (drums) ; Trevor “Live” Day (bass/vocals) ; Paul “Reg” Whiten (vocals/guitar)
  • Also associated with the band: Neil “Nobby” Osborne (guitar)

Although based out of Kingscliff, situated near the New South Wales/ Queensland border, the Shearwater line-up comprised all ex-Armidale musicians.  Initially a trio comprising Day, Curry and Whiten, who had all played together in the band Sundown (1973), Shearwater  quickly established its reputation playing on the Tweed and Gold coasts and in nearby NSW towns such as Lismore and Byron Bay. One of its key gigs was a regular spot at the Chances R Bar in Surfers’ Paradise.

In early to mid-1974 the band contacted former Sundown band mate Neil Osborne and asked him to join them. Osborne, who had temporarily deferred his studies due to music commitments, accepted the offer.  His stay was relatively brief, however, as he was soon afterwards sought by the Robbie Gray Band (on the suggestion of its drummer Garry Osborne). It is unclear at this stage how long Shearwater remained together.

Source: Neil Osborne (correspondence, Jan. 20100).

SHOOTING SCHOOL

(ca. 1984-1985)

  • Personnel incl. Chris Green (guitar/vocals) ; Richard Rummery (keyboards/vocals) ; Ross Stagg (lead vocals/guitar) ; Jeff Stone (bass) ; Kim Williams (drums)

Although based out of Sydney, and therefore not an Armidale band, Shooting School nevertheless had a number of strong connections with the city. Both Chris Green and  Richard Rummery were former Armidalians, and had begun their musical careers there. Lynn Stagg, the wife of band leader, Ross Stagg (formerly of the late 1970s UK metal band Strapps) and a close friend of poet Jo-ann Simmons, had also lived in Armidale for a number of years. Both Lynn and Ross later collaborated with Simmons and Clay Djubal with the Some Trippin’ Diggers collective.

Shooting School formed sometime around 1984. Ross Stagg was at the time signed to music publisher Castle Music. He enlisted the aid of Rummery, Green and co to form the band, which was subsequently signed to Polygram/Truetone on the famous Vertigo label. Essentially a mainstream pop/rock band with some prog rock influences, Shooting School’s first and only single “You Won’t Listen” b/w “Breathe” was produced by American producer Alan Mansfield  in INXS’s Rhinoceros Studios (Mansfield had previously worked with Robert Palmer, Dragon and Boz Scaggs). The film clip that accompanied the single was directed by Kimbel Rendall (who’d previously worked with Men at Work). The band then toured extensively, including a three month national tour as support to Dragon. Other key songs written by Ross Stagg during this period include  “Flame,” “Capital,” “No Reason” and “Dream of a Nation.”

Although Shooting School’s rise to the top of the Australian industry appeared certain, with the single beginning to get high rotation airplay, disaster struck when the major commercial radio networks placed a ban on all records released through Polygram. With all the impetus gone the band’s musical and personal differences came to the fore and it soon afterwards imploded. Each of the members subsequently went off to explore different musical directions.

Ross Stagg †

Ross Stagg: In the early 1990s Ross Stagg began what has been a two-decade long association with TAFE NSW. He has been a teacher, curriculum writer, mentor and and Senior Education Officer at the Nirimba Contemporary Music Centre, the Hunter Institute, and TAFE Entertainment (Sydney). In addition to these positions he has served as a Rock Panel member for the NSW Ministry for the Arts advising the NSW Government on policy for contemporary music within the broader arts context, and was instrumental in the formation of MusicNSW.

Ross Stagg’s career in the music industry has included positions as an Artist and Repertoire executive and House Producer for Sony (CBS) in the UK. He has released four albums (with Strapps) for EMI, toured internationally and is a published songwriter with Rondor Music Publishing (UK). His involvement with theatre has seen him write two musicals and oversee a number of productions as director, including plays for Short and Sweet: Central Coast in 2007 and 2009.

  • To hear Ross Stagg with Strapps visit the band’s MySpace page.
SourcesAustralian Songwriters Conference 2010 (online) • Clay Djubal (2009) • Richard Rummery (correspondence, 2009) • Short + Sweet Theatre (online).

SHOOT THE DJ

(1982-1986)

L-R: Ian Mitchell, Clay Djubal, Ziggy Mirza, Jon Anderson
  • Personnel:  1982-1984 (I): Jon Anderson (guitar/vocals/sound) ; Clay Djubal (bass/vocals/songwriter) ; Siegfried ‘Ziggy’ Mirza (lead guitar/vocals) ; Ian Mitchell (drums/sound) ; Associate members – Dirty Dan (drums – one gig) ; Doiran James (early line-up only). 1985-1986 (II)Clay Djubal (bass/keyboards vocals/songwriter) ; Nick Miles (guitar/harmonica/vocals/songwriter) ; Ian Mitchell (drums/sound/songwriter). On tour – Ziggy Mirza (bass/vocals). Former members Doiran James (guitar); Dick Rummery (drums)

Emerging out of the Armidale (NSW) ‘hippy punk’ movement of the late 1970s, Shoot the DJ was a theatrical rock band based in the New England region of New South Wales (ca. 1982-84) and later in Sydney (ca. 1985-1986). The band’s musical influences ranged across a diverse number of popular genres, including classic rock, hard rock, punk, art rock, and bubblegum pop.  While Shoot the DJ did not release any recordings at the time, its music was played on ABC radio’s Triple J network. The band regularly toured the North-West and North Coast regions, including centres such as Tamworth, Uralla, Inverell, Narrabri, Dorrigo, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Grafton and Macksville.

Shoot the DJ formed after the demise of Crash Landing.  The initial un-named line-up comprised Jon Anderson (formerly with Elsses), Clay Djubal, Doiran James (both from Crash Landing) and Dick Rummmery (ex-Vice Squad). James and Rummery later left to pursue other projects and were replaced by Ziggy Mirza and Year 12 drummer, Ian Mitchell. After settling on the name Shoot the DJ (a non-too subtle dig at the disco scene), the band quickly  began playing support gigs for such acts as Matt Taylor, Kevin Borich, Mi-Sex, The Beatnix and the Lonely Hearts. They were also associated with such local bands as Dinosaurs from China, The Zip and Mixt Company (featuring Jon Anderson’s sister, Jen Anderson). Although the band’s Mark I line-up remained stable throughout 1983-84, it was forced to bring in Dirty Dan to replace Ian Mitchell for one gig (Uralla). Mitchell was at the time attempting to complete his final exams.

Shoot the DJ Poster

Shoot the DJ’s distinctive stage shows (featuring stage designs by Clay Djubal and Jo-ann Simmons) set them apart from all other regional NSW bands. One series of shows, for example, saw them design the stage as a flat – complete with furniture (a bed, stocked fridge, coffee table, sofa, paintings, plants etc). Halfway through the first set one of the band’s friends popped out of the cupboard and made himself at home on the stage. As the evening progressed more and more invitees joined him on stage until a full on party eventuated (the bed became a particular favourite with both friends and band). For its 1983 election day gig (won by Bob Hawke’s Labor Party) the band set up a TV on stage so that people could watch the results. The admission price was dropped by a dollar that night if patrons said that Hawke was a good bloke (apparently some people still preferred to pay the extra buck!). Another set required the entire stage (including amplifiers, PA speakers, drum riser and side screens) wrapped in alfoil, creating an electric light show with minimal lighting. The band’s live appearances would also involve poetry readings, theatrical scenes played out by actors, live television broadcasts and a multitude of theme-related props, ranging from skeletons and blow-up sex dolls to original artwork and paintings by Clay Djubal.

Shoot the DJ frontline

The band’s driving rhythm section, largely reliant on sonic compression, was punctuated by Anderson’s quick-fire punk-driven rhythm guitar and overlaid with Mirza’s sizzling lead guitar work. Three distinctly different voice timbres provided a rich mixture of lead and harmony vocals.

Ian Mitchell

The themes explored in their largely original repertoire focused little on traditional rock/pop relationship subjects than they did on life in Australia at that time, and particularly regional Australia (“Wilcannia,” “On the Nullarbor” and “Australian Holiday“). Among the subjects explores were: recreational drugs/heroin-related deaths of friends (“Cop Out,” “Radio 2LSD,” and “Frizzy Lizzy’s Fun Factory”) ; satirising cigarette advertisements (“When Only the Best Will Do“) ; the frustration of having little money and no obvious future (“Street People” and Paralytic with Intelligence“) ; life as a musician in a country town (“Keeping Beat” and “Put the Boy Down“) ; and the questioning of religious faith (“How Does it Feel, Mary?“). A number of songs were co-written with poet Jo-ann Simmons who had been with the band from its inception, first as sound/lighting operator, and later as lighting operator. She and Clay Djubal were married between 1984 and 1989.

Shoot the DJ (II) – 1985 NSW North Coast tour

Shoot the DJ temporarily disbanded in 1984. While Anderson remained in Armidale, the other three members relocated to Sydney. Ian Mitchell joined his brother Peter Mitchell in Captains of Industry, while Djubal and Mirza became involved with a loose collective of musicians and creative artists known as Some Trippin’ Diggers. Within a year, however, Shoot the DJ was reformed as a stream-lined three piece band (Djubal, Mitchell and former Grafton guitarist, Nick Miles). Ziggy Mirza, who left to join the band, Native Tongue, later returned to the band as bass guitarist, allowing Clay Djubal to move to lead vocals and keyboards. Although the band recorded an album’s worth of material during this period and undertook a northern NSW regional tour, each of the remaining members eventually began to move in different career directions leading to the band’s eventual demise.

Shoot the DJ (Mk I) : “Put the Boy Down” (live, 1983 – from Crunch Time: Live at Impies)

Shoot the DJ (Mk I) : “Cop Out” (live, 1983 – from Crunch Time: Live at Impies)

Shoot the DJ (Mk II) : “Time Flies” (1985 – from Mind-Driving)

Shoot the DJ (Mk II) : “Write and Stare” (1985 – from Mind-Driving)

Shoot the DJ (II)

Source: Abstract sourced from AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource. Images: Top photo courtesy of David Rose • Bottom photo courtesy of Heather Grigg • All other photos courtesy of Clay Djubal

JO-ANN SIMMONS

(1961 – ) [aka Jo-ann Djubal]

 

Poet/lyricist/sound and lighting/set design

As a writer Jo-Ann Simmons’ work has appeared in a number of publications. Her creative output over the years has ranged from poetry and song lyrics to short stories and reviews.  Although born in Sydney Simmons’ was largely raised in Darwin, Northern Territory. From 1981 to 1984 she lived in Armidale, N.S.W., graduating with a teaching diploma from the Armidale College of Advanced Education.  In 1983 she and American poet Dennis A. Landy co-published a collection of verse titled  Kind Threats.

Kind Threats

In 1983 Simmons also began her an association  with the rock band Shoot the DJ, initially as lighting/sound operator (later focusing on lighting). Simmons collaborated with Clay Djubal on many of the band’s original songs and stage designs. Although she once claimed that her worst poetry often made the best lyrics, the variant metres, themes and writing styles reflected in her poetry/lyrics during that period allowed Shoot the DJ greater opportunity to experiment with new musical directions and thereby evolve from its initial hippy/punk leanings towards a more intricate rock/pop sound. Her collaboration with Shoot the DJ continued when the band relocated to Sydney in 1984. She also contributed lyrics to a number of songs recorded by the creative collective Some Trippin’ Diggers. Her lyrics can be heard on the retrospective releases Mind-Driving (Shoot the DJ, 2008) and (the soon to be released) Paralytic with Intelligence. One of her songs (“… And I Laugh“) also appears on the Some Trippin’ Diggers CD The Larrikin Demofestos (2008).

Simmons and Djubal returned to Armidale in early 1987, having spent much of the previous year on the Gold Coast, and established the artistic/literary cafe, Clayz Kitchen (1987-1988). In 1994 Simmons returned to live in Darwin, and has since spent many years on the North Queensland coast. She also writes reviews and articles under the name Joann Djubal for magazines such as Multihulls.

Source: Abstract derived from AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource. Images: Photo by Heather Grigg

THE SNOGGS:

(1986-1988 ; 1993-1994)

  • Personnel:  Dorian James (guitar/vocals) ;Fraser Lumsden (bass/vocals, 1993-94) ; Mark Newton (drums/vocals); Bart Douglass (bass) ; Brad [*] (drums)

The first Snoggs line-up. although based out of Katoomba, comprised two former Armidalians, Doiran James and Barton Douglass who had moved to the area in 1986. The band enjoyed some success playing the Blue Mountains pub circuit for two years before disbanding in 1988. James later resurrected the band with new bass player Fraser Lumsden and lead vocalist/drummer Mark Newton in 1993. Although this version of the band quickly established itself as one of the Blue Mountain’s leading bands, internal difficulties led to it breaking up in 1994.

The Snoggs’ sound can be heard on a mini-LP recorded shortly before the second line-up broke up. Although mostly covers the CD includes two of Doiran James’ originals – ‘Gotta Dance” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” (see below).

The Snoggs: “Gotta Dance”  – from The Snoggs (ca. 1994) 

The Snoggs: “I Could Have Danced All Night”  – from The Snoggs (ca. 1994)

Source: Doiran James (interview/correspondence, 2009).

JOHN SOLOMONS

  • Bands:  The Inmates

Originally from Perth John Solomons was associated with several bands before moving to Armidale in the mid-late 1970s. Among these bands were Rockbottom and Armageddon. He also played with Dave Warner some time prior to the formation of Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs. Shortly after arriving in Armidale Solomons joined David Morris, Simon Morgan and Peter Newell in forming The Inmates (Preston Stahlut later replaced David Morris). His whereabouts after the band broke up have not yet been ascertained.

Source: David Povey. “Inmates: The Kids are Alright.” Neucleus 27 October (1978), 14-15. Image: Photo by David Povey (opp cit).

SOME TRIPPIN DIGGERS

(1985-)

trippin-diggers-rocks-in-water5An early Trippin’ Diggers line-up: L-R: Matt Hirst, Clay Djubal, Ziggy Mirza
  • Howard Dawson (vocals) ; Marcel Dorney (composer/guitar/music and theatre director, 1998); Clay Djubal (composer/bass/vocals/keyboards/ drums/guitars, 1985-2008) ; Heather Grigg (photography, 1985-86) ; Jarred Harriss (vocals, 1996); Matt Hirst (drums/vocals/composer, 1985) ; Doiran James (guitars/vocals/composer, 1985-86, 1997-98); Travis Kirk (vocals, 1996) Tom McGhee (drums, 1997-1998) ; Siegfried ‘Ziggy’ Mirza (composer/lead guitar/vocals, 1985-86) ;Ian Mitchell (drums/sound, 1985-86) ; David Morris (guitar/vocals/composer, 1985) ; Mark Newton (drums, 1997) ; Cassandra Prucha (piano/vocals, 1998) ; James Renwick (clarinet) ; Jo-ann Simmons (words, 1985-86) ; Des Smith (keyboards,1985-86) ; Lynne Stagg (vocals/words, 1985-86) ; Ross Stagg (guitar/vocals/producer/composer, 1985-86).

A creative collective comprising musicians, writers, performers, designers and photographers, Some Trippin’ Diggers was formed by Clay Djubal and Jo-ann Simmonsin Sydney in the mid-1980s as a collaborative project following the disbanding of Shoot the DJ. The idea for the name came from a possible name for a band comprising Djubal, Matt Hirst, Ziggy Mirza and Des Smith in early 1984. While that line-up rehearsed for some six months it never played any gigs, but did record a cassette EP at Emerald City Studios (Brookvale).

TR707 (and Ian Mitchell) †

Clay Djubal had in the meantime re-established S.T.D. Music, Hire and Promotion out of Mona Vale. The Some Trippin’ Diggers collective continued to evolve without an initial purpose other than to write and record. Among the early contributors were Siegfried Mirza and Ian Mitchell (formerly with Shoot the DJ), along with Sydney-based musicians/writers Matt Hirst, Des Smith, David Morris and Ross Stagg. Additional contributions were made by Howie Dawson, James Renwick, Lyn Stagg and Heather Grigg.  The collective recorded a CD of songs recorded during this period (Paralytic with Intelligence) is to be released in late 2010 on HGWT.

Nick Miles

James Renwick †

Clay and Jo - blue

Clay and Jo

Matt and Des

Des Smith and Matt Hirst

After the various members drifted away during the late 1980s Djubal resurrected the project in the early 1990s while undertaking a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Queensland. One of the group’s first productions was The Last Word, a music theatre collaboration between Djubal, local playwright Cameron Davies, writer/ director/guitarist Marcel Dorney and a group of student actors. The musical was later produced at the Cement Box Theatre in 1998 by Pandemonium Theatre and Aquarius/Gemini Productions (as the collective was briefly known). During this period Djubal was also associated with both the English Students Society (UQ) and AARK TV, a University of Queensland project supporting local filmmakers and creative artists. ARKK produced a series of multi-media events and eventually broadcast a series of programs called Spark for Briz 31 (a community television station) in 1996. Established with support from Optus, the ARKK project was conceived and managed by undergraduate student (and executive producer) Amy Lee.

LW - band on stage

‘The Last Word Band’ (Marcel Dorney, Tom McGhee, Clay Djubal)

During the remainder of the 1990s Clay Djubal completed an MA and began a doctoral thesis in drama (completed in 2005). He continued to write and record music in collaboration with other musicians, notably Marcel Dorney, Cassandra Prucha, and Katoomba (NSW)-based songwriter/musician Doiran James. A double CD collection of songs from this period (The Larrikin Demofestos) was released by HGWT in 2008.

Some Tripping Diggers:  “Come Down” (ca. 1994 – from The Larrikin Demofestos

Some Tripping Diggers :  “Time Will Tell” (ca. 1994 – from The Larrikin Demofestos

Some Tripping Diggers :(I Don’t Want To) Think About It” (ca. 1995 – from The Larrikin Demofestos

clay-and-marcelClay Djubal and Marcel Dorney (1998)
Source: Abstract derived from AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource. Images: Top photo courtesy of Heather Grigg ; Bottom photo courtesy of Quest Newspapers ; ‘Last Word Band‘ photo by Geoff Squires ; all other photos courtesy of Clay Djubal.

PRESTON STAHLUT

(1958 – )


Preston Stahlut (ca. late 1970s)
  • Bands:  Doll Q ; Guerilla ; The Inmates
  • Also associated with Vice Squad

Guitar/bass/vocals/songwriter.

Raised in Potts Point and Edgecliff in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Preston Stahlut moved to Armidale in late 1976 or early 1977 to join some friends in a band [unknown]. His mother and two sisters  joined him in late 1977. Stahlut’s extraordinary prowess as a guitarist was immediately acknowledged within the local music scene and he was a regular invitee at jams. During this early period he was a central figure in the ‘Guerilla‘  jam collective, and a number of sessions were held on the veranda of his mother’s house (situated near the New England Highway near the New England Girls’ School). In early 1979 the newly formed Vice Squad recorded several songs at one of these jam sessions, with Stahlut on bass and backing vocals.

With The Inmates *

In 1979 Stahlut joined The Inmates, replacing previous guitarist, David Morris. The band also comprised Simon Morgan (vocals), Peter Newell (bass) and John Solomons (drums). Although lasting no more than a year together the band established itself as one of the most dynamic live acts to have ever played in the town.  While essentially a punk band, Stahlut’s scintillating guitar work set The Inmates apart from the punk style (i.e. no lead solos). In this respect his influence on emerging guitarists in the town was significant. After The Inmates disbanded Stahlut put together Doll Q with local identity and drummer, Dirty Dan. He also continued jamming with many local musicians. He is remembered for a memorable duet with Jen Anderson at Lingus’ (a short lived venue near the old cinema in Beardy Street) and he also jammed with Tommy Emmanuel on several occasions.

Sometime around 1981 he moved to Sydney and set about establishing himself in a number of bands and as a session musician. His whereabouts during the remainder of the 1980s and early 1990s has not been ascertained.  He is, however, known to have moved to Grafton (NSW) sometime in the 1990s. One of the bands he was associated with was The Detectives. He is also believed to have taught music at the Grafton TAFE during the late 1990s/early 2000s. His song ‘The Truth About Questions‘ appears on the album Cocktail, which was produced and released in 20003 by NCI Music (the North Coast Institute of TAFE, Grafton).

  • To hear Preston’s  “The Truth About Questions” go to  www.ncimusic.com.
  • See also Vice Squad (Indecent Acts)
Sources: David Povey. ‘Inmates: The Kids are Alright.’ Neucleus 27 Oct. (1978), 14-15 • Fran Stahlut (correspondence). Images: Top photo courtesy of Fran Stahlut; Bottom photo by David Povey.

PETER STANLEY:

Stanley, Pete

  • Bands: Aquarius ; Beardy Brothers Ray and Pete

Guitar/vocals/songwriter/producer/sound engineer

Pete Stanley (aka the ‘human jukebox’) is one of the Northern Tableland’s more highly regarded and popular performers, having built a reputation in the region over more than three decades. After completing school in Armidale in the early 1970s Stanley moved to Sydney. In addition to establishing himself as a performer and developing his songwriting abilities he also formed a close friendship and collaborative association with guitarist Mario Millo (Sebastian Hardie).  By  late 1978/early 1979 Stanley had decided to return to Armidale and the move proved fortuitous. Not long after arriving back in the city he was offered a position replacing guitarist/singer Geoff Wilson in the popular rock ‘n’ roll band Aquarius. A big fan of The Beatles Stanley later suggested to the band that they expand the repertoire to include some Lennon and McCartney numbers along with some more contemporary material from the 1970s.  This was significant in helping the band broaden its appeal beyond its ’50s-style reputation.

With Aquarius (ca. 1980)

At the same as that he was playing with Aquarius, Stanley began recording and producing local acts through his own business Muscle Music. Among those who used his services were the newly formed Vice Squad. He also produced a number of songs performed by Rod Clay and Doiran James. Around 1982 he again worked Clay and James during their Crash Landing period. The three also wrote the song “Mayday” during one of these recording sessions. A number of the songs produced recorded by Stanley will be included on the Crash Landing retrospective Between a Flame and a Hot Place (to be released in late 2010).

Stanley’s interest in songwriting continued to develop during this period. One of his earliest songs to be recorded, “Mermaid on the Sand” had been a B-side to one of Sebastian Hardies’ singles (“Day After Day,” 1974). Sometime around the late 1970s/early 1980s he attracted the interest of Col Joye and was signed to a publishing deal with his company. This led to one of his first songs, “Dreaming of You Again” being recorded by county artist Buddy Williams for his 1981 album An Old Hillbilly from Wayback.

Following the disbanding of Aquarius in 1981 Stanley and fellow band mate Ray Wilson put together a duo act called Ray and Pete and secured an immediate on-going engagement at the Armidale Ex-Services Memorial Club’s . The duo’s popularity saw them remained together for a number of years. In 1989 Stanley founded The Beardy Brothers.  The name recalls the two ‘bearded’ stockmen known as ‘the Beardies’ who were well-known in the Armidale/Glenn Innes district during the early 1800s (see the ‘Glen Innes’ entry in the Northern Tablelands: Centres and Institutions page for further details). The group’s album Been a Long Time (1999) comprises original material  (including Stanley’s instrumental “The Russian“), some country rock, ballads and rock standards. 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 Beardy Brothers has performed consistently in Armidale and nearby towns for close to two decades.

Stanley has long been involved in community projects, and in recent years has been presenting his unique performances to residents in some of Armidale’s aged care centres. His remarkable reputation as the human juke box sees him able to perform any Top 20 hits from the 1940s -1970s on request. In 2003 he released the solo album, Let’s Be Lovers, which was remixed and mastered by Mario Millo.

Source:   Dan Byrnes’ Regional Roundup (online) • Clay Djubal (2009) • ‘Aquarius band bio’ courtesy of Ray Wilson (thanks to Brian and Tricia Moore).  Image: Photo from Let’s Be Lovers, 2003 – courtesy of Peter Stanley.

SUNDOWN

(1972-1973)

  • Personnel:  Neil “Goose” Curry (drums) ; Trevor “Live” Day (bass/vocals) ; Neil “Nobby” Osborne (guitar) ; Paul “Reg” Whiten (vocals/guitar)

Sundown formed in late 1972 and played its first gigs during a three months stay at Yamba on the New South Wales North-coast over the  summer/university holidays. Bass player Trevor Day’s in-laws apparently owned half the town being in real estate.  According to Neil Osborne, all the members, except Day, stayed at the Blue Dolphin Caravan Park in a four-man tent. Day and Paul Whiten were both students at the University of new England, while Neil Osborne was about to start his studies at the Armidale Teacher’s College. Neil Curry, a school mate of Osborne’s at De La Salle College worked in Armidale.

Neil Osborne recalls that the band Sundown played at the top pub at Yamba, as well travelling up the Gwydir Highway to play several Glen Innes hotels (the Royal and the Boomerang). “As the band was based at Yamba,” he writes, “after the gig at Glen [Innes] we would find a camp for the nigfht. Usually we would set up camp at the local primary school before going back to Yamba. One night the security guard came along flashing his torch at us as we lay in our sleeping bags in the sheltered section near the [school] office. Scared the living daylights out of us… He told us that when he came back in the morning we’d better be there – so we left early the next morning.”

L-R: Paul Whiten, Trevor Day, Neil Curry (Neil Osborne out of view)

After returning to Armidale in time for Curry, Day and Osborne to begin their studies Sundown played a few university gigs before disbanding. Day and Osborne subsequently went on to co-found the short-lived Fireband. before day, Whiten and Curry moved to Kingscliff on the far Northern New South Wales Coast where they formed the trio Shearwater. Neil Osborne later joined them for a short period of time in 1974.

[NB: see Northern Tablelands 1: Live Entertainment History, “Glen Innes” section; and Northern Tablelands 4: Social Factors – for further insights by Neil Osborne into Glen Innes during this period]
Source: Neil Osborne (correspondence, Jan. 2011). Image: Courtesy of Neil Osborne†

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Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive

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