JON: It was
A new subsidiary label had been started at
Festival called Rex Records. Dig Richards & the R’Jays were to be this
label’s headlining stars. To launch this marvellous new venture, a prestigious
function was held in a new building in
The demo started off with the playing of some pre-recorded stereo sounds such as trains going from one speaker to another, jet aircraft doing the same thing and other wondrous noises to amaze and astound. Everything was going fine until the “Hal & Roy Show” decided to do a “live” recording on tape of two maracas (the little things with balls in them that you shake) being thrown across the stage and then, “wonder of wonders”, when you play it back, the sound goes from one side to the other! The shit hit the fan when the maracas inadvertently met in the middle of the stage and showered both audience and performers with tiny balls. Played back on tape, it sounded quite strange, to say the least! As I watched this farce from a few rows back, I thought to myself, “What an appropriate opening for “WRECKS RECORDS!”
Among the other stars on Rex was a rather
goody-goody young fellow by the name of Rob E.G., who we immediately christened
“Rob Egg”. It was his turn to put down his first single on
Despite the wrangling between Maurie, Messrs.
Taylor, Saunders and Iredale and the band, who had the least say of all, Rob
put down quite a good performance both vocally (which wasn’t his forte) and
with his rather distinctive sounding lap steel guitar. It was the full,
singing, sustained sound of his guitar playing that was to be the basis of his
later hits such as 55 Days At
Your Cheating Heart turned out okay – vocals passable, guitar solo good and backing quite reasonable. It was released on one of Rex Records new compilation EP’s along with tracks by Margaret Hooper and Candy & Mandy. We didn’t do the backing for these and the Joy Boys did the Candy & Mandy one called Clicketty Clack. Candy & Mandy were two sexy girls who were always very popular on Lee Gordon Stadium shows.
On Rob Egg’s session,
“Of course I am,”
“Not in here, thank you. We have a little trouble recording bass drums, you know.”
Considering the very basic electronic equipment that Robert had to work with, he came up with some very innovative ideas. John Bogie recalls, “Robert invented a system of washers and lead weights which he attached to the Ampex tape machine so that it would slow the speed down or speed it up and consequently raise or lower the pitch of the notes being recorded. It could also put the song in an easier key for the ‘star’ to sing. I think Robert came the closest to getting Col Joye to sing in tune!” Variable pitch later became standard equipment on tape machines but if it wasn’t for Robert you would hear a lot more out-of-tune notes on those early records than you do already!
Robert decided to practise his tape splicing technique on Dig’s South Of The Border after it was decided that we needed a second bridge (middle eight). Unfortunately, Robert, knowing little about music, spliced in a chorus instead of a bridge. Consequently, Dig sang a second bridge (“and she sighed as she sucked my banana”) over the spliced in chorus (“Ay-yi-yi-yi”), which had different chords! We didn’t get to hear the horrible result until the record was cut. Too late! “Testicle” records had “ballsed it up” again!
At that time in Australia we were all just learning recording techniques; not only musicians and singers but also producers, engineers and the record sales department. Hampered by inadequate, outdated equipment, we plodded on, always a step behind the Americans, desperately trying to catch up.
Knowing what was coming from the States was a definite advantage. Well-known Sydney disc jockey, Bob Rogers, was thought to be some sort of clairvoyant because he used to predict what was going to be on next week’s Top Forty. He was able to do this because he had an airline steward bringing in weekly copies of Cashbox and Billboard, America’s weekly pop music “bibles”. And as we blindly followed everything that the Septic Tanks did, we mirrored their hit parade almost exactly. Bob was a sort of “Cashbox clairvoyant”.
Disc jockeys in those days were on an amazing power trip trading on the popularity of rock’n’roll. If they didn’t play your record, you didn’t have a chance of getting a hit. They would even sometimes try to influence an artist on how he should make his record. The “Cashbox clairvoyant” actually had the gall to tell Dig once, “If you don’t put strings on your next record, I won’t play it!” Hence Dig’s later recording of Little Lover, absolutely swimming in strings and dripping with sweetness. By 1960, violins were on just about every pop song that came from the States. The die-hard rock’n’roll boys wouldn’t think of using them but then Bob didn’t play their records anyway – unless they became such big hits that he had to!
It was amazing how many people had an influence on what we could or could not record. We had virtually no say at all. The man with the final say, of course, is the A&R man. The ‘A’ is for Artist and the ‘R’ is for Repertoire and our A&R man, Ken Taylor, turned that ‘R’ into an art form! Flushed with the success of Col Joye’s (Rock’n’Rollin’) Clementine, which went to no.1, Ken Taylor decided to try the same trick again – for it was indeed a trick! Quite an acceptable trick legally, mind you and possibly even morally as well. What you do is take one old traditional or folk song that is so old that the copyright has run out, rearrange it, stir vigorously, write your name as composer/arranger on the record, register it with APRA then sit back on your arse and collect the royalties!
Having collected many royalties from Clementine, Ken decided that he would grab the old Scottish folk song Annie Laurie and get Dig to record it under the extremely hep title of (Real Gone) Annie Laurie. Although Dig and the band protested vehemently, he would not take no for an answer and it virtually came down to “Record Annie Laurie or don’t record at all!” Ken also wrote the words and arranged it. The arrangement was really laughable but we played it that way hoping that, after he heard it, he would realise how bad it was and at least let us change some things. Not so! “Terrific boys, just the way I want it!”
“OK we give up!” We played it his way and it flopped with a capital ‘F’! Bob Rogers hated it! It was probably THE worst record Dig & the R’Jays ever made. Most embarrassing! Annie Laurie was certainly “real gone”! And so was most of the respect we had left for Festival Records.
ENTER THE DAISY SECTION: With A Bang!
Ken Taylor, in his boundless wisdom, decided that we needed a saxophone player to handle a lot of the backings we had to do for other artists on Rex Records and to give us a change from those “wretched guitars!”
Enter stage right! From New Zealand - MR.DAVE CROSS!
Now, New Zealand has been responsible for some pretty good musos. Unfortunately, Dave wasn’t one of them, at least as far as rock’n’roll was concerned. He could read okay (most sax players could) and he played all the schmaltzy crap that ACME Productions wanted to foist on their unsuspecting artists. Dave, along with Jay Boogie our pianist, wallowed in the depths of ancient jazz riffs and phrases to the extent that Peter, Leon and I christened them the “Daisy Section”, after that corny old song about the Bicycle Built For Two. The three of us were pushing for rock’n’roll of course so we were the “Rocking Section”.
One very memorable day at Festival Records, Dave Cross was fooling around in between takes on some boring record, doing his impression of Freddie Gardiner – Freddie Gardiner had that sickly sweet, vibrato infested sax sound, sort of like Dave’s really, without the rasp! Ken Taylor, Hal Saunders and Robert were watching and listening to Dave from behind the glass window, thinking that he was most amusing – for a musician, anyway!
Meanwhile, I noticed Leon fiddling around with something in his bag. He motioned to me and whispered, “Here, watch this!” He pulled out the biggest firecracker I had ever seen. One of those 7 inch long bungers that looked and sounded like a stick of dynamite. Lighting it, he crept along the floor so that the powers-that-be couldn’t see him and dropped it down the bell of Dave’s sax – BA-ROOOOOOM!! The studio reverberated like it had never done before. The place filled with smoke and red paper from the firecracker. The smirk disappeared from Ken Taylor’s face and Dave did an incredible dance around the studio, trying to get smouldering sax away from himself, which was very difficult as it was still attached to his neck strap.
As the smoke cleared, there was a sort of pregnant pause while everyone looked to see if Ken Taylor was laughing. But it was okay. Even Ken Taylor had to laugh after a while. Then everybody else did, even Dave. After the laughter had subsided, Dave checked to see that his sax wasn’t damaged. It’s a wonder it wasn’t. Robert checked that all the expensive Neuman mikes weren’t damaged either. Then ACME Productions gave us the afternoon off. It’s a wonder they didn’t give us permanent time off after that one! Leon was one for playing tricks. One time after he played a trick on me by tuning down the bottom E-string on my guitar, it prompted me to mention to Peter, “That Drummer has no respect for other people’s property!”
THE ROCKING SECTION RULES
LEON: For the first six months of 1960, the R’Jays were at Festival’s little studio almost every day putting down backing tracks for who ever walked in the place. One of our favourites was Noeleen Batley, whose first song was Starry Eyed, which we recorded with her on February 11, 1960. This was later followed by Barefoot Boy (July 13, 1960) written by her girlfriend, Helen Grover, who was later sued by the publishers of Buddy Holly’s Everyday because they said it sounded too similar!? Barefoot Boy was the only recording on the Rex label to go to No.1 on the Top Forty and the first national hit by a local female singer in the rock era. When Festival realised it was starting to get airplay, they immediately got Ray Swinfield to race into the studio and overdub a million flutes so it wouldn’t sound too cheap. Wot no strings!? The result was terrible but luckily for Noeleen the flutes were too late and it became a hit despite the efforts of “Wrecks” Records.
Dig, with Ken Taylor’s blessing, came up with the idea of recording cover versions of really old songs for an EP. Our sax player and piano player, Dave Cross and Jay Boogie, revelled in all these nostalgic songs; Ain’t She Sweet, Sweet Sue, What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?, My Blue Heaven and Love Is Just Around The Corner. And so the “Daisy Section” was born! Even Dig was temporarily branded “Revival Richards” by Peter Baker, who, with Jon and I, seemed to be fighting a losing battle to maintain the honour of rock’n’roll. After all, we were supposed to be the “Rocking Section”. The friction in the band wasn’t helped by most of the material we were required to record in the first half of 1960. There was hardly a decent rock’n’roll song amongst any of it.
During most of these sessions, I was continually being offered phone books and pieces of office equipment to play on, as recording the drums was always a problem. Curse John Bogie and his bloody typewriter! The tea lady even brought me in an old teacup to play on disc jockey, Rhett Walker’s single - I Don’t Know What It Is backed with I’ll Never Be Myself Again. Brushes were never a problem to record so I brushed my way through most songs (a la Gene Vincent), including the Jimmy Little album You’ll Never Walk Alone, which was full of sickly sweet songs like Danny Boy, Going My Way and Bells Of St. Mary’s. The “Daisy Section” and Hal Saunders had a wonderful time with these ‘musical gems’.
Jimmy Little was a gentle, softly spoken Aboriginal singer with an equally pleasant singing voice and was much loved in the country music scene. We took Jimmy with us on one of our rock’n’roll shows at the Tamworth Town Hall in March 1960. The other support singers were Australia’s “Elvis”, Barry Stanton, pianist and singer Bruce “Brown Fingers” Wormald and Warren Williams. We flew up on an old DC3 (they were even old then!) and stayed at the Tudor Hotel, which was surrounded by fans the whole two days we were there. The first day, about a thousand kids blocked off the street outside the hotel and caused quite a traffic jam. It was probably the first traffic jam in Tamworth since Farmer Brown got his tractor bogged in the main street! We all took turns at waving from the hotel balcony like the Queen Mother, much to the delight of “Brown Fingers” Bruce.
Back at the hotel after the show, the place was alive with confused girls chasing Dig, Barry Stanton and others who were running up and down the corridors with bed sheets over their heads. Dig’s father, “The Blunderer”, was not amused. After all, he was trying to explain to a somewhat frazzled hotel manager that under the sheets, we were all really nice boys.
Meanwhile back at Rex Records, material was being gathered for Dig’s new album Bad Boy and yet another single which failed to set the charts on fire, Comin’ Down With love. During these sessions, the tension between the “Daisy Section” and the “Rocking Section” finally came to a head. An executive decision was made to sack the “Daisy Section”. This hapless task was given to the Blunderer, while Peter, Jon and I then set out to scour the jazz cellars for a good saxophone player. We didn’t bother about a replacement for Boogie because nobody could ever hear him anyway!
ENTER A MOOSE
Our search for a sax player ended at the El Rocco jazz club in Kings Cross. We trod gingerly down the stairs into a dimly lit, smoke filled cellar, sprinkled with people in sunglasses and duffle coats, who were all drinking coffee, shaking their heads and clicking their fingers. We sat down at the table, trying not to look too conspicuous and half expecting Peter Gunn to come through the door at any moment. If any of the patrons suspected we were rock’n’rollers, our lives could be in jeopardy, especially if they found we were there to steal a jazz saxophonist for the dreaded rock’n’roll.
The Dave MaCrae Quartet grooved into their next set and the sax player, BRIAN SMITH, blew us all away! Amidst mutterings of “Cool man!” and “Far out and groovy!”, Peter looked at me and I looked at John. We nodded our heads in unison, not necessarily in time with the music, but to designate that this was just the guy we were looking for. We really made no distinction between rock’n’roll players and jazz players. To us, there were only good players and bad players. Although our lives weren’t really in jeopardy, playing rock’n’roll was frowned upon by most die-hard jazz musicians, especially if you were making more money than they were!
The El Rocco produced some mighty jazz musicians. One of our favourite bands was the Judy Bailey Quartet with Judy on piano, Johnny Sangster on vibes, Dr. Lyn Christie on acoustic bass with bow solos and Stewie Spears on drums. Stewie was later stolen by Max Merritt and the Meteors for the rock’n’roll.
Nearly all the good sax players came up through the jazz scene and Brian Smith was no exception. He was one of the best tenor players we had ever heard. Peter made Brian an offer he couldn’t refuse. Brian had come over from New Zealand with a jazz group who were finding it hard to get a lot of work in Australia. The one condition of him joining the R’Jays was that if his NZ jazz band ever scored a good permanent gig, he would have to leave. The deal was done! Poor Brian didn’t know what he was in for. He was immediately christened “Moose” by Dig, probably because he got such a big fat sound out of his saxophone.
Everyone seemed to have some sort of nickname at that time. Jonnie Hayton was referred to as the “Red Headed Terror” or “Clever Jon”, because every now and then Jon would come up with a clever idea when you least expected it. I was called “The Drummer” because Peter Baker said I was the first real drummer they had ever played with. I was also called “Bubby” for a while because I was the youngest member of the band.
“Moose” had his first taste of the rock’n’roll at the Sydney Trocadero on June 4, 1960, a Saturday afternoon show, compered by Keith Walshe with guest artists The De Kroo Brothers, Warren Williams, Grade Wicker and Ian Crawford. Another show followed that night at the Mackabean Hall and the next day we were off to Melbourne. We flew down with extra support singer Lucky Starr and Dig Richards & the R’Jays starred in a huge show at Festival Hall with all the Melbourne bands. Moose could not believe all this sudden adulation from band vultures who wanted to rip his clothes off and get his autograph. Nothing like this ever happened to him when he was playing the jazz!
One of the next shows to come up for Moose was a mini-tour to Geelong in Victoria – three days in all. Jon, having recently acquired his FJ Holden Ute, insisted on taking it to Geelong, even though he was still on a learner’s permit. The licensed drivers took it in turns to travel in the totally inexperienced FJ because a driver on a permit must have a licensed driver with him. I’ll leave it to Clever Jon to relate the Geelong trip; after all, it was his car!
JON: I just had to take the FJ on this trip. I mean, I’d only just bought it and driving was such a new, exciting experience. Besides, it would give me some more practice before my final test.
On arrival in Geelong, we set up at the Gresham Hall, and then went to our accommodation which was, much to my disgust staying at someone’s house instead of a hotel. Mind you, the people we were staying with were very nice, but I prefer my own hotel room where I can do what I like. The show that night at the Gresham Hall was excellent and we had a curious local band supporting us called The Geelong Bachelors.
The next day, after I’d had my first ‘burn’ against some local hoods in a Ford Customline and lost, we went to a VFL match at the local oval. This was quite a new experience, as we’d never seen so many people go so crazy over football before. After the game, we came out to get the FJ only to find a copper booking me for parking incorrectly. He asked to see my licence. Now this could be a problem! I produced my permit. He said, “What the hell’s this?”
“A learner’s permit,” I replied. “Well, we don’t have anything like this in Victoria,” he said perusing the document, “It says here you must have a licensed driver with you. Where’s yours?”
“Er, this bloke here,” I said pointing to a bewildered looking Moose. Brian produced his licence which of course was a New Zealand one, built like a telephone book! The poor cop, visualising mounds of paperwork over a simple parking fine, said “Okay, I’ll let you off this time but watch yourself down here will ya?!” With a “Yes, thank you very much orifice,” I drove off, vowing to myself to be very careful down here indeed.
The show that night was at the Geelong Picture Show. The most interesting incident of the night was when some nerd in the audience threw a penny at Dig, which hit him right on the forehead. This was one of the few times I ever saw Dig lose his cool. “If the bloke who threw that penny would like to come up here, I’ll smash his bloody head in!” roared Dig. Deathly silence fell over the crowd and, needless to say, no more missiles were hurled at the stage. I don’t blame Dig either – cheeky country bumpkins!
We had one more show back at the Gresham the next night and then it was back to Sydney and straight to Channel 7 for Teen Time. Unfortunately, as we found out that day, Monday, June 27, 1960, this was Moose’s last show. His beloved New Zealand jazz band, led by pianist Dave MaCrae, had scored a permanent job at a joint in Southport, Queensland. It was a great shame to lose him as he was a fine sax player and a very nice guy but his first love was jazz. So, back to the search for another sax player. This seemed to be an unlucky day all round for the music industry owing to the near fatal crash of Johnny O’Keefe’s prized 1958 Plymouth Belvedere. We came close to losing the real genius of Australian rock’n’roll on that day and also a very interesting part of our careers that was yet to come. While JO’K was in hospital, the Dee Jays’ sax player, Bob Bertles, filled in with the band for about a month until we could find someone permanent. The search for a sax player continued.
GO WEST YOUNG MAN: You Can’t Reason With A Lunatic!
LEON: SUNDAY JULY 31, 1960. As the latest Ansett ANA DC6b touched down at Perth Airport, the sun had finally faded away to the west. It was about 6pm (or was it really 9pm?). We seemed to have been chasing the sun all day. This was the first trip west for Dig & the R’Jays. No rock’n’roll band had ever been there before. We had just acquired a new sax player from the Squares, RON PATTON, who seemed like quite an amiable little guy, maybe even normal – for a sax player! While we were sitting in the rear lounge of the plane having a drink, he told me that he was looking forward to the prospect of joining the band and was very excited to be playing with us on this, our very first Western Australian tour. I hadn’t noticed the slightly crazed look in his eyes until the plane started taxiing toward the terminal.
“There’s something wrong,” he cried. “There’s a fire at the terminal. I can see people running everywhere.” Well, we might have felt like pioneers travelling further west than any rock’n’rollers had ever dared but we didn’t expect to find the local Indians burning the fort! As the aircraft came to a stop, a worried hostess told us to remain in our seats until everybody else had disembarked. “I think it’s the Prime Minister!” she said.
The hostess reappeared looking rather agitated and beckoned to us. “It’s all right, you can get off now.” About bloody time!” Jon mumbled. “Bloody Bob Menzies, what’s he doing here? It’s probably his fault that we’re three hours late!” The hostess shook her head. “No they’re all waiting for you people!”
We timidly poked our heads through the door and all hell broke loose. Instead of yelling out “Pig Iron Bob,” there were about a thousand people cheering and screaming, “We want Dig!” Lights started flashing and people with microphones and cameras started running toward us as we stumbled down the stairs in disbelief. A cordon of police appeared as people were pulling and pushing us at random. During the confusion someone was setting rolls of toilet paper alight and throwing them. One policeman grabbed me and threw me in the back of a waiting car while some crazed, pubescent female was tugging at my tie. To avoid strangulation, I opened the door and another policeman threw me OUT of the car. There seemed to be a moment of indecision as to whether I was a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’. This was soon resolved and I was thrown back INTO the car with the rest of the band!
I found myself sitting next to Ron whose eyes had gone even crazier. His face had gone quite pale and his mouth was in the open position as though he was about to speak. Ron said nothing as we weaved our way through the horde and onto the highway, followed by a procession of band vultures with cars and bikes, waving and screaming all the way to the Morley Park Hotel. “They’re all mad!” said Peter as a couple on a motor scooter nearly crashed into us for the third time.
The welcoming party at the Morley Park Hotel seemed to go on forever that night. This was to be our home base while we were in WA. We were introduced to some of the press, the local disc jockeys and our soundman, Bob Purvis (would you believe, “Purvisonic Sound”?). We asked them how come there were so many people at the airport. “Oh, we’ve been plugging your arrival for weeks. Besides all your records, they’ve also seen you on TV, which is a brand new thing here in Perth.
Our gear finally arrived at the hotel and we were encouraged to set up for an impromptu jam. The party would have gone on all night if we had let it. While a good time was being had by all and sundry, the locals didn’t seem to realise that we were still three hours ahead on Eastern Standard Time. With the exception of Ron, who by now was really hyped up, we were all well and truly buggered by the end of the night. And so ended July 31, 1960, - a traumatic introduction to the band for Ron Patton and a truly bizarre way for me to spend my 18th birthday!
Our suspicions about Ron’s sanity were further aroused the next night after a belated birthday party was held in my honour. Ron was quite good earlier that day at rehearsals. In fact, he seemed to find some appropriate things to play, even in the songs we didn’t want him to play in. However, that night Ron got very pissed and was found tramping up and down the hall in the nude, much to the manageress, Mrs. Coleman’s consternation. She then spent the next two weeks chasing females out of our rooms.
It was the next morning at the breakfast table that Ron was demonstrating his prowess at Judo. To our astonishment, Ron explained that his hands were registered with the CIB as lethal weapons. Ron seemed to crave attention even though he didn’t need to. After crunching an unco-operative Jon with a few well-aimed karate chops, Ron turned his attention to me. I immediately assumed a defensive position, grabbed him in a headlock and threw him against the brick wall. Although Jon enjoyed the spectacle, this was an action for which he never forgave me as he reckoned that this was the catalyst for Ron’s scrambled brain. I’m not sure why but there was something about Ron that I liked. Mind you, it has always been a bad habit of mine to find something to like about a person, even when their own mothers can’t find anything!
Our concern about Ron having a kangaroo loose in his top paddock was properly addressed by Digby who decided that the best way to deal with this problem was to humour Ron at all times. This was typical of Dig, who always liked to please everybody. This proposal was agreed to by all except Jon who couldn’t resist the temptation of teasing Ron at every opportunity until Ron’s face would turn bright purple, hence Peter Baker’s nickname for Ron, “Purple Face”. I must point out here that being a little mad was not really a disadvantage in the rock’n’roll business. Indeed, some would claim that it was a definite advantage or even a requirement. Whether rock’n’roll contributed to the madness is debatable but it is a fact that rock’n’roll certainly brought the “maddies” out of the woodwork, so to speak. Being called ‘crazy’ was almost a term of endearment but as Jon would always say during periods of frustration with Ron, “You can’t reason with a lunatic!”
One of the most wonderful things about the WA tour was playing to people, most of whom had never seen a live band before let alone a rock’n’roll band from Sydney. Coming from Sydney gave us a rather curious status. It was almost like we were gangsters from Chicago. This didn’t diminish the reaction from the audiences who were bordering on hysteria during most of the shows. Here is a brief diary account of the tour starring DIG RICHARDS & THE R’JAYS (with Purvisonic Sound)
TUESDAY AUGUST 2, 1960. BUNBURY TOWN HALL (115 miles from Perth): The enthusiasm of the kids was fantastic. They really made us feel special. We were using local bands for support and the fact that most of them couldn’t play didn’t seem to bother the audience at all. It certainly made us look a lot better than we probably deserved.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 3, 1960. COLLIE MINERS INSTITUTE HALL: Some of the kids stormed the stage and Ron reckoned they were responsible for breaking the G# on his saxophone!
THURSDAY AUGUST 4, 1960. ALBANY TOWN HALL: Played to a great crowd! The two-storey hall was packed. After show, we were chased by cars full of male band vultures as we tried to take a carload of girls back to the Esplanade Hotel. You can’t win ‘en all!
FRIDAY AUGUST 5, 1960. NARROGIN TOWN HALL: Somebody forgot to advertise the show! Nobody turned up except for about a dozen curious passers-by. We gave them a free show anyway, minus Ron, who threw a tantrum and claimed his saxophone had now broken down completely (G# and all!). Drove back to the Morley Park Hotel. Mrs. Coleman chased girls out of our rooms.
SATURDAY AUGUST 6, 1960. TVW CHANNEL 7 STUDIO: With Ron’s repaired saxophone we played on local rock show Teen Beat compered by Keith Hitchcock with guest star, local boy Rolf Harris on wobble board, singing his latest record Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport. Back to the Morley Park Hotel with Mrs. Coleman chasing more females out of our rooms.
SUNDAY AUGUST 7, 1960. Drive to KALGOORLIE: The road runs parallel to the railway track and is so straight and long, we put a housebrick on the accelerator to give the foot a rest – 1960 ‘cruise control’. Radio interview with local disc jockey, George Chapman, who looks like Biggles, the famous flying ace.
MONDAY AUGUST 8,1960. KALGOORLIE TOWN HALL: Here is an extract of our review in the local rag: -
DIG SHOVELS ON THE FORTISSIMO – DECIBELS BOUNCE OFF TOWN HALL WALLS.
More than 900 teenagers and 50 adults treated themselves to a night of screaming entertainment at the Kalgoorlie Town Hall last night. Star of the show was 21-year-old Dig Richards, real name Digby, whose raucous rock’n’roll voice was backed by the voluminous R’Jays. They gave the younger set just what they wanted – rock in the loudest fashion, interspersed with an occasional item that was audible.
Electric guitar megaphones were turned on for maximum thrust for a variety of rock tunes.
Dig Richards has a surprisingly pleasant voice, a fact he demonstrated when allowed to render Blue Moon, Ain’t She Sweet and Annie Laurie with a minimum of background screaming.
Electric guitar megaphones?? (We’re really out in the sticks now!) Stayed at the Palace Hotel where there are still bullet holes in the roof from the old gold rush days. Had a drink with some nurses on the verandah. Very pleasant!
TUESDAY AUGUST 9, 1960. KALGOORLIE: Local DJ, George Chapman (Biggles), takes us all for a ride in his Chipmunk aeroplane while he dive-bombs the local two-up school that is hidden behind a lot of 44 gallon drums out in the desert. The gamblers weren’t too impressed when we blew all their money away. I’m glad they didn’t have a gun or we would have been shot down in flames. Played at Boulder Town Hall that night and the kids surrounded the hall after the show. We finally made a run for the car. Some enthusiastic female nearly pulled Peter’s balls off during the crowd chase.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 10, 1960. BACK TO PERTH: The housebrick on the accelerator eventually blew the car up on the way back to Perth. We had to be towed all the way back from Coolgardie, a lovely old mining, ghost town. “There’s still plenty of gold here,” we were assured by an old prospector who was watching us tie on the towrope. Played that night at the Morley Park Hotel. Peter reckons his balls are turning blue. A girl named Susan finally broke through Mrs. Coleman’s tight security and snuck into my room after I had gone to bed. This was all very nice but then I was faced with the problem of what to do with her in the morning! After a respectable time, I crept into Ron’s room and asked him to swap beds. He was delighted with the arrangement. It was the least I could do to placate Ron after banging his head on the wall a few days earlier.
THURSDAY AUGUST 11, 1960. MORLEY PARK HOTEL: Ron looks very pleased with himself at breakfast even though Mrs. Coleman is eyeing him off very suspiciously. That night we played to about a thousand kids at the EMBASSY HALL in Perth. Our support band was the Golden Hour Dance Band who played a pretty good version of The Golden Wedding. Back at the Morley Park, Mrs. Coleman read us the riot act after another unsuccessful attempt to have a party in one of our rooms. Peter’s balls are back to normal and the party venue is changed to a girl’s place. Ron is my best buddy and Jon can’t figure out why?!
FRIDAY AUGUST 12, 1960. FREMANTLE TOWN HALL (Very industrial and drab): During a show for about 400 kids, our support band Alan Jay & The Silver Platters were pelted with eggs and refused to play any further. We bravely went on to face the multitude and some band vulture hit Peter Baker in the chest with an egg. The crowd jumped on the egg-thrower and beat him up! Peter was furious. For some reason I couldn’t stop laughing. Jon’s blue suit was also dripping with splatterings of an egg that was meant for Dig. Ron thought that was especially funny. We soldiered on with Ron carefully protecting the G# on his saxophone from any future assault. By the time we’d finished – they loved us!
SATURDAY AUGUST 13, 1960. PERTH: Afternoon show at Perth Embassy Hall, then back to the Morley Park Hotel for a farewell show. The reception was fantastic – even the ‘oldies’ went crazy! Huge farewell party followed. Nice people these sandgropers. We’ll be sorry to leave.
SUNDAY AUGUST 14, 1960. Ron has perfected his “demented routine” in restaurants. The finale is when he throws a fit in front of the waitress and we all help to carry him out. After a final tour around Perth, we caught the midnight plane back to Sydney.
MONDAY AUGUST 15, 1960. Arrive SYDNEY (Only two girls waiting at airport!): Home to change, then straight to Channel 7 for Teen Time with guest artists Wayne Cornell and The De Kroo Brothers. No rest for the wicked!