The Age Of Dissent

What next? Well politics it seemed. During the late nineties, Pat had become more concerned about what he percieved to be the manipulation of The Country Music Association of Australia by a few major record Company and Agency interests. In an Association where over the 80% of the membership were not associated with these industry sectors, Pat was determined to make the peak body more representative of it's core membership.

He was elected to the Board of The Country Music Association of Australia in November 1999, in somewhat fiesty political circumstances, and became a fierce advocate for the Independents within that national organisation throughout the early years of the next decade.

His early use of the internet as a medium to garner and focus political action was probably the most innovative thing ever to happen to CMAA politics in those years.

Major developments for the Independents over the next few years were the establishment of The CMAA Independent Sub Committee to advise the Board on matters important to independents; the establishment of a guaranteed place on The Industry Achiever Awards for Independent Performers; the establishment of the Independents Hoedown Concert at The Hats Off Festival in Tamworth in June (which outsold the Fanfest Concert staged by the majors!) and the removal of membership numbers from voting slips to assure the integrity of Board elections.

The implementation of a one tiered voting system for the Industry Achiever Awards; the establishment of the CMAA Independent Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award, and the Independent Record Company of the Year Award, were also major gains in prestige and recognition for the independent sector.

At The 2001 AGM a motion amending the CMAA's constitution was successfully moved by Pat which formally required Board members to declare their interest in; and to refrain from voting on; matters which affected their own pecuniary interests. Over the next four years the balance on the CMAA board policy came to reflect a broader representation of the Country Music Industry and it's membership.

Drummond's political effectiveness at board level, and that of several likeminded co-directors, was perhaps most dramatically underlined by the resignations from the board of many of the formerly dominant industry players and the subsequent formation their own industry body to exclusively represent their interests; a move which effectively ended their previous domination of the CMAA Board.

And the music? Well..... politics it seemed was now the order of the day and his next logical incarnation.

In 2001, restless yet again, Pat confronted his following with an astonishing bipolar theatrical metamorphosis... The Chess Set, which created not one, but two new characters. Dressed half in white ... half in black.... with half a beard, Pat began an in-depth musical examination of the political divisions that had emerged throughout Australia in the first half of the current decade.

In a series of highly political songs which seemed almost calculated to completely alienate his conservative country music following, The Left Wing Black Knight and The Right Wing White Knight took up the cudgels over issues such as Australia's involvement in The Iraq War, the controversial Refugee detention centres, The History Wars, Reconciliation and more..

For those who had been drawn to his comedic appartion in the Naked Poets it was a very challenging contrast. A double boxed interactive CD which featured 26 new songs and enough script, background briefing and political speeches to fill a book, was released in 2004-2005 and Pat's live 4 - 1/2 hour one man theatre show from the project featured at The Blue Mountains Folk Festival and The National Folk Festivals in 2006.

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