Artists/Bands [T-Z]

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

 

THUNDERHEADS

aka It’s Not Us

(ca. 1982-1987)

  • Personnel incl. James Dacca (bass) ; Phil Ferntree (percussion) ; Toni Harris (vocals) ; Phil James (guitar/keyboards) ; Emily [*] (vocals) ; Rod [*] percussion ; Farron [*] ; Associate musician: Jon Anderson

Heavily influenced by Jamaican reggae artists like Bob Marley and Stuart Toss, the Thunderheads was largely based around the trio of Phil Ferntree, Phil James (aka Fil Fi Fil) and James Dacca. The band originally started out around 1982 as It’s Not Us. This line-up is believed to have included a musician named Farron and Jon Anderson. The name of the band was later changed to Thunderheads – no doubt in homage to the reggae musician’s favourite herb.

After establishing itself in the Armidale district the Thunderheads eventually became a popular act on what could be called the Northern NSW hippie circuit, playing gigs either at venues frequented by the counter culture or at events organised on rural properties by various communes or socio-political/ community organisations. Among the band’s gigs were those played in Armidale, Bellingen, Lismore, Ebor Hall, Dorrigo and Tamworth. Thunderheads Armidale gigs included the New England ‘Newie’ Hotel, the UNE Bistro and both Sunray Sunday festivals (1986 and 1987). In addition to its live performances Thunderheads recorded and released two albums.

Source: Phil James (interview Aug. 2010)

 

3D:

(ca. 1983)

  • Personnel: Peter [*] (guitar/vocals) ; Anna [*] (vocals) ; Gerard [*] (guitar/vocals)

An acoustic trio which played at a number of venues in Armidale around the early-mid 1980s. The members may have been students at either University of New England or the Armidale College of Advanced Education.

3D3D at the New England Hotel, Armidale 1983. L-R: Peter, Anna, Gerard. †
Source: Clay Djubal (2009). Image: Photo accessed from picasaweb.google.com

 

THE TITANICS:

( ca. late 1960s – )

  • Personnel: George Boyer (organ) ; Dennis Hunt (drums) ; Robert Matley (lead guitar) ; Ron Matley (vocals) ; Leon Smart (bass guitar)

Possibly Glen Innes’ first rock band, and certainly one of its most popular during the early pub rock era, The Titanics formed in the late 1960s and quickly established itself in the nearby districts. The band is believed to have travelled further a field during its time together, including gigs as far away as Armidale and Inverell.

Source: Bill Hughes “The Music of Glen Innes,’ Land of the Beardies History House Museum Vol 28 (2001-02), p. 9 (thanks to Eve Chappell).

 

LARRY TOWNSEND

aka “Snowy”

  • Bands incl. Finx ; Mantra

Guitar/flute

“Snowy” Townsend, along with Johnny Marshall, Bob Hobbs and Brian Mosley, co-founded Finx in Armidale in the mid-1960s.  That the band was one of the most popular in the  region is demonstrated by the fact that it competed in three Hoadley Battle of the Sounds competitions (1967-69), winning at least one of the Armidale heats (1968) and possibly another. Following the band’s break-up in 1969 Townsend went on to join another of the city’s premier bands of the early pub rock era, Mantra).

Townsend eventually left Mantra, being replaced by Neil “Nobby” Osbourne. While no other details of Townsend’s musical associations in the Northern Tablelands have yet been established, Tony Jaggers recalls running into him in Sydney in later years. Townsend had apparently scored a job with Palings – at the time one of the two most prestigious music stores in Sydney (the other being Landis Music).

Source: Tony Jaggers (correspondence, Nov. 2010). Image: Courtesy of Neil Osborne
With Mantra (closest to camera)

 

TREK

(ca. 1972- )

  • Personnel:  Bob Hobbs (drums) ; Russell Hughes ; Doug Jamieson (vocals) ;  Stevie Kliendienst (lead guitar/vocals) ; Pat O’Brien (drums) ; Trevor Wilcox

One of Uralla’s leading bands from the pub rock era, Trek  included a ring-in from Walcha (Doug Jamison). A number of members were associated with the Armidale Coffee House during the early 1970s, with Stevie Kliendienst being remembered by several Armidalians in later years. In this respect the band and its friends developed a rivalry with other Armidale musicians  during its formative years. This rivalry is said to have led to occasional confrontations and altercations – although these never took place within the Coffee House. While little else is known at this stage about the various band members’ formative years,  it has been established that Bob Hobbs, a former De La Salle College student had previously played in Finxs.

As with most other Northern Tablelands bands from this era, Trek covered a mix of classic 1960s pop and rock songs along with popular contemporary numbers. Among the acts they were inspired by were Free (“All Right Now” and “Wishing Well“), Status Quo (“Paper Plane“), The Beatles (“Dear Prudence“), Black Sabbath (“Paranoid“), Neil Sedaka (“Carol“) and the classic blues song first recorded by Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainy – “C. C. Rider.”

The band had some success in 1972 when it came second in the Tamworth heats of the Hoadley Battle of the Sounds. As with Armidale band Bogislav, Trek had decided to compete in Tamworth rather than go up against hot favourite Mantra. The result was that Trek came second to Bogislav. However, when the winning band from another region was forced to cancel due to the current state-wide petrol strike, Trek was invited to take its place at the NSW regional finals in Newcastle.  The band ended up competing against two other Northern Tablelands bands – Bogislav (winner) and Shane (third).

While it has not yet been established how long Trek remained together, it is known that Pat O’Brien (later with Kordz and The Zip) eventually joined the band, replacing Bob Hobbs. Trevor Wilcox and Russell Hughes later played in another Uralla band Justin Time, while Stevie Kliendienst is also associated with Hot Frost. Lead singer Doug Jamieson joined the Robbie Gray Big Band when it formed in 1976.

Several of the original line-up played a 25th anniversary gig in Armidale in 1997, along with members of Shane.

Sources: Phil James (interview, Aug. 2010) • Brian Moore (interview, Aug 2010).

 

UKIAH

aka Morocco

(ca. 1976 – early 1980s)

Ukiah at the UNE Bistro. L-R: James Arthur, Paul Mailfert, Kim Constable, Garry Osborne, ‘Nobby’ Osborne, ‘Fritz’ Kriesler.
  • Personnel incl. James Arthur (keyboards/vocals) ; Kim Constable (bass/vocals) ;  Graham ‘Fritz’ Krielser (guitar) ; Ron ‘Rocky’ Lane (bass/vocals) ;  Paul ‘Tall Paul’ Mailfert (vocals) ; Garry Osborne (drums) ;  Neil ‘Nobby’ Osborne (guitar)

One of the more prominent bands to emerge out of Armidale in the mid -1970s, Ukiah (named after a Doobie Brothers song) was essentially  the Robbie Gray Big Band without Robbie Gray. By late 1976, when Gray left Armidale to return to Sydney, the line-up comprised Kim Constable, the Osborne brothers (Gazza and Nobby), Paul Mailfert and James Arthur. Although it had a lead singer/frontman in Mailfert, both Arthur and Constable also sang lead vocals, in addition to providing harmonies.  A new member, Graham ‘Fritz’ Kriesler was also invited to join – thus providing the band with two lead guitarists. At least three of the members were not originally from Armidale, with Constable from Moree, Mailfert from Uralla  (where he’d previously played with Trek) and Krielser from Glen Innes (one of his bands from that town was a heavy metal group called Rails).

Neil Osborne recalls that, as with the Robbie Gray Band,  everyone was so involved in other things, as well as fitting in up to three or four gigs  a week – that rehearsing was often impossible. If  they  rehearsed at all it was usually at the Seven Brothers, but the general practice was for each member to learn a new song at home. The band would then run through it at the sound check and if all went well it was played that night.

Ukiah had its first line-up change in early 1977 when Kim Constable left Armidale to follow his then girlfriend to Sydney (he returned later that year, however, and co-founded Constable, Green and Moore). Constable’s place was subsequently taken by Rocky Lane. A second cousin to Neil and Garry Osborne, Lane’s previous band, Kelsey had recently broken up.  Neil Osborne was also forced to leave the band later that year when he was given a posting by the Department of Education to start teaching at Ashcroft High School in Sydney.

The various musical influences on each member saw the band play a wide variety of covers, although inevitably performed in highly professional and accomplished fashion. The repertoire comprised a mix of Australian and New Zealand covers (Healing Force, Ariel, Dragon, Little River Band etc) along songs by classic UK and American performers such as Supertramp, Free, Carole King, the Allman Brothers, Peter Frampton and Steely Dan.

At the Seven Brothers (Armidale), Dec. 1975. L-R: James Arthur, ‘Nobby’ Osborne, Kim Constable, Garry Osborne, Paul Mailfert, ‘Fritz’ Kriesler.

Ukiah found particularly strong support from students at the University of New England, with the band being booked to play the UNE Bistro on numerous occasions through until at least 1980. It also played dances and balls at most of the colleges, with Neil Osborne recalling St Alberts, Duval and Robb. Other local venues played by the band were Impies (Imperial Hotel). the Wicklow, Tattersalls, and the New England Hotel. For a period of time the band also played a fortnightly gig at the Armidale Ex-Services Club for the Teachers’ College. The band’s gigs were not confined to Armidale, however.  Neil Osborne mentions a two or three weeks engagement at the Lobster Pot in Ballina on the Northern NSW coast which required them to play every night . It’s popularity with the locals eventually led to the town’s leading band turning up one night o check them out. Ukiah was also a popular choice for B&S (Bachelor and Spinster) balls – with two such gigs being held at North Star and QV (a property situated near Wollumumbi).  Osborne recalls, too, playing the Deepwater Races.

In 1980 Ukiah changed its name to Morocco, with the final performance (as Ukiah) possibly being the Wright College Cabaret on 24 April (as support to Aleph). Morocco played its first gig at the UNE Bistro during the University of New England’s Residential School (12 May). It unclear at this stage how long the band continued beyond that period.

Ukiah at the 7 Brothers, Armidale (1977). L-R: James Arthur, Ron Lane, Garry Osborne, Paul Mailfert, ‘Nobby’ Osborne, ‘Fritz’ Kriesler.

Ukiah :  “Black Magic Woman”  (Peter Green)  Recorded live at the Lobster Pot (Ballina, NSW) ca. 1977

Ukiah :  “Lady” (Rick Davies/Roger Hodgson) Recorded live.

Source: Clay Djubal (2010) • Neucleus (1977-1980) • Neil Osborne (correspondence, Nov. 2010). Images: Top courtesy of Neil Osborne • Bottom photo by Tiny Anderson (Anderson’s Photographic Centre, Armidale) courtesy of Neil Osborne.

 

THE UNION JACK

 

VICE SQUAD

(1978-1979)


Doiran James and Rod Clay rehearsing at Rosemary Lucas’ property ca. 1979
  • Personnel: Rod Clay (bass guitar/vocals) ; Doiran James (drums/vocals) ; David Morris (guitar/vocals)

Vice Squad formed in late 1978 following the departure of bassist Dick Rummery from Health Club. Lead vocalist Rod Clay moved to bass and the trio streamlined their music away from the art rock/hard rock genres of Health Club and towards a more punk orientated style. Still retaining the long-haired hippy image and sensibilities (James maintains that he always washed his hair), Vice Squad built their repertoire around a selection of 1960s and 1970s pop, punk and rock covers, mixed in with original compositions. Vice Squad disbanded in late 1979 when Clay and Morris moved to Sydney. An attempt to form a new band, The Astros, with Matt drummer Hirst (and later with Dick Rummery on keyboards and guitar) disintegrated within a year, resulting in Rod Clay taking the drastic step towards sobriety by joining the Australian Army.

Vice Squad cover songs, largely played in thrash punk mode, included: “Cold Turkey” (John Lennon), “I’m a Believer” (The Monkees), “Gimmie Shelter” (Rolling Stones), “Anarchy in the UK” (Sex Pistols) and “After the Rain” (The Angels). Key original songs were : “Tennis with Denise” (an anti-civilisation manifesto); “Cherrie’s Got a Habit” (and ‘she doesn’t want to have it’); “Put the Boy Down” (aka “Radical Boy” – a song dedicated to Vice Squad’s guitarist!); “Multiple Sclerosis” (dedicated to the bass player’s hypochondriac mother); “Street People” (“their all the same… like toothpicks”); “On the Nullarbor”  and “Paralytic with Intelligence” (an anti-university student tirade).

The climax

One of the band’s most infamous gigs was an outdoor gig at Rod Clay’s parents’ small property on Long Swamp Road (adjacent to the Armidale Rubbish Dump). Utilising a petrol generator to provide electricity, the night  featured additional performances by members of the Guerilla jam collective. Vice Squad ended the night by setting fire to farm’s caravan. Further highlights included nearly tipping the caravan over on a curious bi-stander; having the crowd scream F%$#-off to the fire brigade; and then having the police pay a visit to check for illicit substances (most of which had been consumed by then anyway). The ‘Dump’ gig was repeated a few years later when Rod Clay set fire to his motor bike at the end of a Crash Landing gig on the property. Proves that Hendrix and The Who were amateurs in this line of showmanship!

The aftermath

Source: Clay Djubal (2009). Images: Photos courtesy of Clay Djubal.

 

 

 

 

VOID

(ca. 1974)

  • Personnel incl.  Phillip Graham (vocals/guitar) ; Peter Jury (drums) ; Richard Stanley (guitar)

Void was a four piece high school band which formed at De La Salle College (now O’Connor High) sometime around 1973/74.  The band’s biggest gig, played at the Armidale Town Hall when the members were aged 15 or 16 years,  was organised by the local Catholic diocese. The event was put on for children from the Armidale Aboriginal community.

Peter Jury’s family were well-known in Armidale through Jury’s menswear. Lead guitarist Richard ‘Dog’ Stanley, younger brother of Peter J. Stanley (Aquarius/Beardy Brothers etc) was later a musical collaborator with Rod Clay (ca. 1978) and a member of the Guerilla collective.

Source: Richard Stanley (telephone interview, Apr. 2010)

     

DON WALKER

  • Bands: Bogislav ; Cold Chisel

Donald Hugh Walker was born in Ayr (Qld)  in 1951. He lived on a cane farm his father owned on Rita Island on the Burdekin River until the age of 4, at which time his family moved to Grafton in Northern NSW.  After completing school he moved to Armidale where he undertook studies in physics at the University of New England beginning in 1970. While at UNE Walker became involved in the local music scene, joining in 1972 one of Armidale’s premier bands of the 1970s – Bogislav. The band had already built a solid reputation around the New England region (including Tamworth) and in 1972 made it to the NSW state finals of Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds competition. [For further details see the Bogislav entry]  As with many other students Walker’s political ideology was also being shaped by his time at UNE, and he became an active member of the Socialist Action Movement between 1972 and 1973.

After completing his degree at the end of 1972 Walker took up a position with the Defence Department’s Weapons Research Establishment in South Australia where he worked on secret projects relating to the F111 jet-fighter. While in Adelaide in 1973 he co-founded Cold Chisel, which later went on to become one of Australia’s legendary rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s. The following year he returned to Armidale to complete his honours degree in quantum mechanics. The band also moved there with him [see Cold Chisel entry for further details regarding its association with Armidale]. In 1978 Walker’s connection with Armidale was re-established when Cold Chisel engaged former Bogislav drummer, Ron Carpenter, to fill in for Steve Prestwich for a couple of months. That same year he also returned home to visit his family and ended up jamming with brothers Nobby and Garry Osborne and Kim Constable at the Galloping Grape (see below right).

From the earliest days Walker was the creative songwriting force for Cold Chisel. He became known for his passionate and  raw lyrical observations on the Australian society and culture of the time. His song writing credits include the hit singles “Flame Trees” (lyrics), “Saturday Night,” “Choirgirl,” “Breakfast at Sweethearts,” “Cheap Wine” and the iconic Australian Vietnam war song “Khe Sanh” (voted the eight greatest Australian song of all time by the Australian Performing Rights Association). Other classic Don Walker/Cold Chisel songs include: “One Long Day,”  “Conversations,” “Shipping Steel,” “Wild Colonial Boy,” “Standing on the Outside,” “Ita,” “Taipan,” “Star Hotel,” and “Twentieth Century.” During his time with Cold Chisel Walker  also  produced work outside the band, beginning with the soundtrack to the 1982 feature film Freedom.

After Cold Chisel disbanded in 1983, Walker took a five year hiatus from the music industry. He returned with the collective Catfish, which he formed to present his new material.  The first Catfish album, Unlimited Address (1989) was followed by Ruby (1991). Two years later he collaborated with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owens to release the country-inspired Sad but True. (the trio have since released at least two other albums – Monday Morning Coming Down and All is Forgiven). In 1994 Walker released his first official solo album – We’re All Gunna Die. He did not, however, release another solo LP for twelve years – this being Cutting Back (2006), which he toured nationally with his Suave Fucks.

In addition to his music career Walker has published a collection of autobiographical pieces under the title Shots (2009). The stories largely focus on his association with rural Australia or life with Cold Chisel before they became famous.

Sources: Cold Chisel Official Website • Mr D Walker (unofficial Don Walker website) • Tim Crozier “Bogislav” (Newcastle Bands Database – online) • Rod Noble (correspondence, Apr. 2010). Images: Black and white photo courtesy of ABC Radio National’s First Person website † • Catfish cover photo by Tim Bauer (courtesy of WEA Records)

 

LAURIE WHEATON

  • Bands incl. Bogislav ; Generation

Bass/guitar

Laurie Wheaton attended The Armidale School during the mid to late-1960s. In 1967 he and  several fellow students, including Neil Aubrey, began jamming together and by the following year had formed the band Generation with the desire to enter that year’s Battle of the Sounds competition. The line-up included Tony Jaggers, who Aubrey had recently met after switching to Armidale High School, and Jaggers’ former In Sect band mate, John Patterson. The band went on to enter two Battle of the Sounds competitions, in the second year playing both the Armidale and Tamworth heats), but did not place.

Following the break-up of Generation in 1970 Wheaton became a founding member of Bogislav, one of the seminal Armidale bands of the early 1970s. Wheaton remained with the band for about a year before quitting. He was replaced by Dave Highett. No details have yet been established regarding Wheaton’s movements after 1971.

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

 

GRAHAM WILSON

(1976)

  • Bands incl:  The Four Kinsmen ; The John Grigg Quartet
ca. 2008

Graham Wilson joined his first ‘rock’ band at age of 16 and in 1977 began teaching guitar at the Wollongong College of Music (NSW). He took a sabbatical from teaching in early 1979, moving to to Armidale to work for his brother Ray (then also the lead singer in the Armidale-based band Aquarius). Although having temporarily put his music teaching career on hold, Wilson found inspiration in the Armidale music scene and began to establish himself as performer. His prowess as a guitarist and remarkable vocal abilities saw him in high demand, and he quickly scoring a regular weekly solo gig at a local motel. He was also invited to join the John Grigg Quartet, which comprised John Grigg (drums), Clive Gregory (keyboards/vocals) and Rhonda Burchmore (vocals). The band, which became a popular attraction with both the town and university audiences, is believed to have remained together for around 12-18 months.

Wilson returned to Wollongong to once again teach guitar at the Wollongong College of Music. Shortly after arriving in the ‘steel city’ he also joined a band then playing the club circuit in Sydney. Although set to re-establish himself in the Illawarra region his plans went out the window in 1982 when he received a phone call from the manager of The Four Kinsmen inviting him join the group. Wilson accepted the offer and subsequently spent the next twenty or so years with the group. Over the course of its career The Four Kinsmen toured internationally to such places as the USA, Italy, Japan and South Africa. They even played a four months season in a Las Vegas casino. When the Four Kinsmen said farewell in 2004, Wilson returned to Wollongong and continued his music career in the Illawarra region as a solo performer. The group reunited in 2008, however, with the same line-up that had played together for almost three decades – this being George Harvey, Robert Pearson, Scott Radburn and Graham Wilson.

The Four Kinsmen (ca. 2008):  Scott Radburn, George Harvey, Robert Pearson, Graham Wilson
  • To see further information on Graham Wilson see The Four Kinsmen.blogspot.com
  • A number of Four Kinsmen videos (under the collective title ‘Best Seat in the House“)  are also accessible via YouTube.  See for example: “Cocktails for Two
Source:  ‘Armidale’ information passed on by Brian and Tricia Moore (correspondence, 2010) • The Four Kinsmen blog page (sighted 8 Feb. 2010) ‘Graham Wilson‘ page, Peter-T.com Entertainment Services (online). Images: Top photo by Hank van Stuivenberg, courtesy of the Illawarra Mercury (19 April 2008) • Bottom photo courtesy of The Four Kinsmen blog page.

 

THE ZIP

(1983-ca. 1985)

zip-group-photo1
L-R: Lindsay Roland, Pat O’Brien, Sue Sims, Doiran James, Gerard Bourke
  • Personnel:  Gerard Bourke (guitar/vocals) ; Doiran James (guitar/vocals) ; Pat O’Brien (drums) ; Lindsay Roland (bass) ; Sue Sims (lead vocals)

After the demise of Crash Landing in early 1983, Doiran James co-founded The Zip with drummer, Pat O’Brien. James and O’Brien had previously worked together in Kordz. The band’s repertoire comprised pop rock covers and original songs by Doiran James. One of The Zip’s early gigs was on the bill of the ‘3 Bands for $3’ concert staged at Wright College, The University of New England in mid-1983 (with Shoot the DJ and Dinosaurs from China).

One of The Zip’s more unforgettable gigs occurred in 1985 on a Sunday afternoon in the beer garden of the Club Hotel. Not long into its second set the band was forced to take cover when an altercation between two patrons ended up turning into a wild west style brawl involving dozens of patrons (men and women). With no stage to protect them the band then had to muscle up with friends to push the brawlers away from their equipment. Meanwhile the police appeared to be thoroughly enjoying  the show as they waited outside for things to subside. The Club’s management not surprisingly decided to scrap live entertainment for a (long) time after.

Following the band’s break-up Doiran James moved to Katoomba in the New South Wales Blue Mountains, where  he established himself as one of the region’s leading musicians, being associated with The Snoggs and several other local groups. Pat O’Brien also soon moved away from the Northern Tablelands, settling in Brisbane. Gerard Bourke and Lindsay Roland remained in Armidale, with Roland carving out a successful career teaching music. Bourke later teamed up with his brother Dean to form Point Blank. Sue Sims’ later movements are unclear at this stage.

zip-on-stage

Source: Doiran James (correspondence, 2009). Images: Photos courtesy of Doiran James.

 

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Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive

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