A "generation" in music can be five or ten years. People also tend to stay in their lanes, very tightly.
There were a few recent list in regard to women in Australian music and they mostly had a shamefully narrow window or point of view. Indie rock and the artists indie rock people recognize and crave the attention of - which are always the most mainstream and hugely successful ones. It made me think of my own lanes and tracks and how tightly I'd travelled in them.
In the Moodists we were young people in our twenties who lived and breathed rock music in the village of St Kilda, then we later extended that village to Darlinghurst and then followed tracks laid by others to the UK. Everything in the early days was word of mouth and on the street. No real media let alone social media.
We thought we were in a different dimension from the surrounding mainstream Oz Rock culture. And we were. Being young, we were severe, sharp and cruel in our views of the scene. We all watched the Sunday night tv show Countdown and we all howled in disgust at it. that world was so far away.
Years later I would meet many people from the generation just before me and really treasured any interaction. After a while you realize being musicians, you have more in common with people than any tranistory ideas of cool or fashion.
When I was a teen in Mt Gambier I loved the band Spectrum. Led by New Zealander Mike Rudd. Their biggest ever hit was I'll be Gone. They had a double/reverse band called the Incredible Murtceps and then morphed into ARIEL. I loved it all.
Mike was a songwriter in a scene of great players. There weren't many songwriters who were as distinctive as him. Their classic album A Strange Fantastic Dream had a brilliant illustrated cover with a gatefold sleeve. The inside of that gatefold had the band in overalls at the Ford factory in Melbourne. This was a nod to a song called "Garden of the Frenzied Cortinas" which was itself a pun on an arthouse movie called "Garden Of the Finzi Continis.
Ariel carried within their story all the conflicts of Australian music. Handsome guitarist Harvey James left them to join teh pop band Sherbet, a complete betrayal! Just before that had happened they had travelled to the UK to record at Abbey Road and when they arrived they were told that EMI were not interested in them recording the conceptual sci fi set of songsMike had written called The Jellabad Mutants so the band just used their time to re-record all their best songs from their live show, songs from the albums they hd put out over the previous five years in Australia.
The resulting album Rock'n'Roll Scars is a classic recording of any period.
Around 1993 when we were flying quite well in the Melbourne scene, Clare and I saw that Mike Rudd and Bill Putt (who had stayed with Mike all the way through the many permutations of the bands they shared) were doing a show at a theatre in Fitzroy. This was the first sighting of them in many years. We went along and watched them play two long sets of music on nylon guitars, a duo. It turned out they had withdrawn from music in the late 80s and had studied classical finger picking guitars and just wanted to play again. thjey had jousted with punk and New Wave with Mike Rudd and The Heaters and went to a full video screen type performance (in pubs) with W.H.Y and then they took a breather. I found this kind of withdrawing and renewing very inspiring. Clare Moore and I watched them in awe that night, going through all this material from before our own involvement in music as players. The audience seemed to be a real gathering of old time freaks too, people dancing alone in the wings of the Universal theatre, a wonderful night.
We asked Mike and Bill to open for Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes at a few gigs and have kept in touch since. Bill Putt (who normally played bass) lived as a house sitter at that time we met and he basically liked music and karate. Later he settled in a more domestic situation with someone in Marysville outside Melbourne and saved their house from the 2009 bushfires (but losing his lifes collection of recordings ). He was philosophical about it. Then he died one day not long after, chopping wood, a heart attack. We went up to the farm for the wake which was an incredible experience , so many players from the 70s getting up to sing songs and roadcrew people putting together a stage and PA out in the field. Mike continues to play around and maintains a website.
He is a brilliant electric guitar player as well as a songwriter with a fantastic catalogue of material.
In 2016 The Lost Ragas recorded Mikes song I'll be Gone and got Mike to play harmonica .
Mike had first come to Australia with an R&B band from Christchurch NZ called The Chants.
Soon after arriving in Australia he was in a band with Ross Wilson and Ross Hannaford called THE PARTY MACHINE (1967).
Ross Wilson is another character who was already involved in music while I was still in short pants (though he was not really that far away from his own short panted period) who still plays music constantly after a lifetime of involvement in Australian music. A ball of energy, his is a great voice for creativity in this country.
Eagle Rock was a song he wrote while living in the UK in the late 69s and brough to Daddy Cool on his return. I heard him say in an interview he met up with Mike who had I'll Be Gone in his pocket at the time and how exciting it was to be young and suddenly writing songs that then became national hits . Daddy Cool dropped right in Australian denim blues boogie rock of the early 70s with great songs like Hi Honey Ho. A total unit of a band with the two Ross's on guitars and Wayne Duncan and Gary Young on bass and drums.
In 2016 Ross recorded a song that had been a hit for Johnny Okeefe and later a hit again for Iggy Pop called Real Wild Child.
The song was written by Johnny Okeefe's band members Johnny Greenan and Dave Owens.
Margret Roadknight had a pop hit in 1976 with Girls In Our Town and I cannot believe such a bleak and stark song of truth got airplay on am pop radio. An amazing song and a high point in Australian music culture.
Written by Newcastle (Australia) folk singer Bob Hudson , every line drops like a jewel of hard truth.
"Girls in our town, they just haven't a care
Painting their toenails and washing their hair
Maybe tonight it'll happen
Girls in our town they leave school at fifteen
Work at the counter or behind the machine
And spend all their money on making a scene
They plan on going to England
Girls in our town go to parties in pairs
Sit 'round the barbecue, give themselves aires
Then they go to the bathroom with their girlfriend who cares
Girls in our town are so lonely
Girls in our town are too good for the pill
But if you keep asking they probably will
Sometimes they like you or else for the thrill
And explain it away in the morning
Girls in our town get no help from their men
No one can let them be sixteen again
Things might get better but it's hard to say when
If they only had someone to talk to
Girls in our town can be saucy and bold
At seventeen, no one is better to hold
Then they start havin' kids, start gettin' old
Girls in our town...
Girls in our town"
In 2010 Clare Moore worked on the Arts Centre project about Australian female musicians called "Rock Chicks". (The title came from the Arts Centre people - all artists involved were embarassed by it really. ) This exhibition opening culminated in a performance by a formidable band she had gotten together to back singers, Margret Roadknight, Jeanie Lewis, Carroll LLoyd, Adalita , Jodi Phillis and Diana Ahnaid.