1 Wedding, Lots of gigs...
and an Automotive funeral
This year has certainly been pretty frenetic. After Tamworth, I headed north to Glen Innes and Brisbane. Glen Innes was a sellout again this year and featured the welcome addition of Andrew Clermont on fiddle. At Terranora Lakes Country Club in Tweed Heads my brave, if battered truck, finally decided to do something very dramatic. After 375,000 Kms. of untroubled motoring the fan assembly parted company with the front of the engine and went straight through the radiator. Pretty spectacular stuff, given that, in my van, I sit right on top of the engine. Thankfully, I had already reached the Club and was booked to play for three nights there so, although grounded, I was still economically viable. It was pretty sad though, seeing my erstwhile travelling companion being towed away (P.A. and all) down the road towards the coast. A big thanks to Coast Ford in Tweed Heads and to Sinclair Ford in Katoomba who got together to hunt down some scarce parts I needed to become mobile again. Thanks also to John Jagus who gave me a place to stay.
Meanwhile my second son, Peter, was heading south again; this time to Melbourne with The Dead Ringer Band after they picked up the 'Band of the Year' Golden Guitar in Tamworth. His growing com- mitments with the Bushwackers, however, including the new album, 'Heritage' which was released in Tamworth this year; and upcoming albums both with myself and the 'Bushies' will unfortunately limit the amount of work he will be able to keep up with 'the Ringers'. Speaking of the The Chambers family, The Dead Ringer Band have recorded one of my songs, 'The Honky Tonk From Hell' on their new album.
March brought the second of the tours for the quarter, this time to South Australia and Victoria for The Port Fairy Folk Festival. The trip was special, in that my dad went with me, his first camping trip with me since I was a kid. Our first stop was Canberra for a very acoustic concert at Tilly Devine's. Thanks to the Canberra mob who came and supported me so well, and to the Canberra Times for their generous review.
Next day took us to Canberra University for a Lunch- time show and then to the National Archives to be interviewed by historian and collector Rob Willis about the peculiar nature of my songwriting. The Oral History Section of the National Library is quite an institution. The interview tapes are recorded in very well equipped studios and stored in chilled and dehumidified vaults for posterity. That night, Dad and I camped at Mt Gladstone near Cooma, sharing a campfire with an aboriginal couple who had been living on the road for about twelve months. The next day took us over the Alpine Way to one of my favourite campsites, on the Geehi River at the back of Khancobin. The river here runs straight off the snow and is crystal clear. We stayed at a site where, I knew from a previous trip, there was a kangaroo mob which shelters in the day in a large mimosa clump. The weather fine, the stars brilliant and the wildlife friendly; It's a tough job but someones got to do it!
Cathy Cain arranged a great show for me in Mt. Gam- bier and gave me an opportunity to perform 'In The Grain'; for the first time for the timber workers from Millicent. These are the best times in my career. All the awards and media appearances are never as wonderful as that first time I am able to take back a song to the people for whom it was written.
In Port Fairy I linked up with Peter and The Bush- wackers again. Dad had never seen the 'Bushies' in action before and he was knocked out by the energy and precision of the band. So were the thousands of others who turned up. After a somewhat stumbling start at The Birkenhead Point Tavern last year, the Band was at last back with a capital 'B'. The Port Fairy Festival sold out it's maximum 10,000 tickets six weeks before the event and, it was doubtlessly the most successful yet. Well run, well organised, music festivals continue to be the fastest growing sector of our tourist industry. After the 'Bushies' show I went back to our room and collapsed. Not Dad! He backed up for Wongawilli's Dance where the band played up a storm. Not bad for a 74 year old!
Film problems have continue to plague the re-release of 'The Local Rag', but I am assured that it will be ready for in July. Our new album is now under way and I have just spent a week with Peter arranging tracks.
On the Sydney Front we are, thanks to your tremendous support, continuing to reclaim our place in the pub scene. The West Ryde Hotel was a tremendous success and many people have told us it is now their favourite venue. This was another example of a venue whose entertainment lineup was a safe 'hits and memories' format and who were very wary of using original Australian material. Your support has changed their minds completely. We have now been invited to return to The West Ryde in May/June for three dates.
The Middle West has now opened up again to us for the first time since the Collector Tavern became a 'rock n roll only' venue four years ago. The recently refurbished Greystanes Inn at Merrylands has invited us to start a run on Thursday Nights from May 18th to June Ist. If you live in the area, please support this gig so we can offer further shows in your neighbourhood.
Finally a gig in The South of Sydney. After being told by agents repeatedly that the south was a 'wasteland' (One even suggested that it should be chain sawed off and pushed out to sea!!!) we have been now approached by Cronulla Leagues to play two dates this month at the 150 seater Rendezvous Room. Wednesday the 19th and the 26th of April. This room could well be the room we have been searching for. There are a large number of folks on our mail list who currently complain that we do not play in the south and we have campaigned long and hard to put this one place. With your support we may be able to return in October.
A Big Thanks to all those folks in Glossodia, Beacons- field, Tamworth, Armidale and Inverell who have organised Community Concerts with their Preschools, Schools and Church Groups since last Newsletter. Thanks also to the people who have returned their mail slips. As I explained last quarter, the Mail list is growing with every tour and your returns have been of great assistance. If you have not returned your slips yet, don't panic. There is Another one on this newsletter. The new system will start in the July Newsletter. People who choose to remain Active Members will receive all newsletters. Those who opt to become Inactive Members will only receive them when we are travelling through their areas or when there is new product information; such as new albums or Special Events which are upcoming. To remain an active member you need to have signed the mailing list book within the last twelve months or to have returned the slip at the bottom of the Newsletter to 164 Megalong Street, Leura. 2781.
THE BIG NEWS!!!! this quarter concerns our third "Mates on Tour" Event. In 1989 we took 180 people on a train to the snow. It was the genesis of the 'End of the Line' song and a fabulous weekend of song, skiing and merriment. A non-stop party on a non-stop train that passed through Sydney, Goulburn, Canberra and the sprawling metropolis of Bredbo. In 1991, it was coaches through the Hunter Valley, The Inaugural Berroca Jamming Championships and Astroboy's death defying dive from the balcony of The Molly Morgan Motor Inn. This time it's 14 days in... Tasmania!!!
In the wake of your response to Steve Dobbie's amazing Northern Territory Excursion last year, we are now organising, with Steve, a tour of Tasmania's Historical sites ( and it's anthropologically significant Watering Holes). This tour is on somewhat a grander scale than our previous adventures, but I suppose we all need a little pampering sometimes and it does get us on a ship... 'The Princess of Tasmania' for 2 nights. (That makes everything except planes, and submarines...but we're working on it.) This trip includes all accommodation in very good Motels and Hotels and most meals. Ship and Coach fares and winery entries are also included in the one price. We will be playing in a stack of Tasmanian and Victorian venues, including the unbelievable Ettamogah PUB (Mate!) along the way; so it's a great opportunity to brush up your 'Rest Hotel', 'Local Rag' and 'Laughter' lyrics. The Tour will begin on the 4th of January, 1996 and finish on the 17th of January, 1996 inclusive. The cost will be $1549.00 per person which I believe is outstanding value for this package. Carol, Meg, Josie, 'roadie extraordinaire' Malcolm Shepherd and my Dad will all be aboard, so escape the Sydney Summer heat and spend the January holidays with us in Tasmania. More about this, next newsletter but initial enquiries about itinerary and details can be directed to Steve Dobbie on 02 872 3663 or 015 706381
On The Home Front, The BIG DAY OUT is definitely The Wedding of our eldest son Matthew, 22, to take place next week. His Bride-to-Be Naomi Childs is a wonderful and welcome addition to our family. The wedding is made even more special for me since it takes place on my birthday, April 2nd. In the musicians equivalent of a Bucks Night and under our now infamous pseudonym of All Fired Up we took over The Windsor Leagues Club last Friday and, with Peter on drums; Matthew on Lead, The mighty 'Ronaldo' Drummond on Vocals and myself on Acoustic, we had our own Rock 'n' Roll celebration.
By contrast our youngest one, Josie, 8 months, is now attempting to walk and seems to get more like her dad (i.e irresistable, good looking and humble ) each day. Carol, my wife, has finally finished a quilt, which is somewhat of an event in itself; A 'Sunshine and Shadows' extravaganza she was making for Matthew and Naomi.
Meghan, our 13 year old, is still 'The Boss of the World' which is probably just as well since, at the time of writing, we haven't the faintest idea who is 'The boss of NSW!' Thanks to all of you for the wonderful support this quarter. I hope we have some solid news about the release date of the new Album next newsletter.