Johnny Chester is an icon of our
industry. From his early recordings to his latest cd
'What you hear is what you get', he has
kept a special place in our hearts. Johnny talks about his first gig
when he was a shy young teenager, and how through sheer hard work and
determination he reached amazing heights in the country music scene, which
also in those days meant charting songs on top 40 radio! An affable,
warm, and very talkative person, we are proud to boast the great
Johnny Chester as our first interviewee after a long hiatus'
Watch his new clip 'Vegemite Kisses' on Youtube.
|It's fantastic to know that some of our earliest singers are
still around - in fact still performing.
Colin Cook - because of his dashing looks and the fact that he
always looked suave in a suit, spent his early days flying back and forward
from Sydney to Melbourne singing on all the TV shows including
IMT and the GoShow!.
What we don't know is about all his successes overseas, and he appeared in
many television dramas and theatrical productions. Having had some ill
health in the last couple of years, we are lucky to have Colin with us to
tell his story.
||The quietly spoken wife of Billy
Thorpe makes a rare appearance in the media as she talks about
her time with the larger than life legend. Here she explains about
the years spent in America, the albums, TV sound tracks, the toy business
with Tony Barber, and most of all the
hard yards Billy put in to reach the pinnacles he achieved. She also
touches on the 'Long way to the top'
extravaganzas and their trip to Morocco where Billy began his last cd
'Tangier'. With a bit
of help she has put together a book complete with wonderful photos and
interviews with amazing people that were touched by Bill. Look out for
'Keep Rockin' - Billy Thorpe', it's
worth the read.
|I'll admit I didn't know much about
Buddy England, so when I heard he was part
of the Go! Show Revival in 2010, I was
surprised he was even living in Australia, much less just out of Melbourne!
His was a name I remembered from when my parents used to let us watch a bit
of IMT, and when I heard his singles it
all clicked. A great interview by our Wendy about a guy who's
involvement in the industry extended way beyond our shores and smack bang in
the middle of the VERY intriguing upper echelon of the UK scene in the 60's.
A must see - it would make you cry if Buddy didn't put a comedic slant on it
||Back when our industry was rife with top 40 Aussie recording
bands, it included many styles of music. Therefore we couldn't leave
The Bushwackers and the eccentric
singer Dobe Newton, who plays the
lagerphone and a whole other assortment of weird and wonderful instruments.
Dobe still plays with the band, but recently released his first solo cd 'A
convict can't be trusted' including his version of the song 'I
am Australian' which he co-wrote with
Bruce Woodley. He tells some very funny stories about the
band on the road. Musicians call them 'the gigs of our lives' and
every band has them. But on Wrokdown,
you get to hear about them!
|Okay, I'll admit I did a pretty crappy interview with
Peter Robinson for the first
Wrokdown show because I really didn't know
much about him and his achievements. I just knew he was the bass
player in 'The Strangers' and not much
more. But speak to any musician around in the early days of
Armstrong recordings and they will tell you
about all his amazing arrangements of songs that became enormous hits for
our legends at the time. His harmonising abilities are beyond compare,
which is why he replaced Athol Guy in 'The
Seekers'. He began his career in
Thunderbirds', and - over 50 years later - currently
'80's on the edge'. My apologies to Peter and anyone
else who took offence. My bad. And I wish this show could go for
an hour sometimes..................
Bright is an icon. From the early TV shows to his radio shows,
theatre and voice overs, he has never been out of work. Since the
demise of Laurie Allen, Bob has made
their hits his own, and his stage presence and powerful voice would put most
singers to shame. We are proud to have him on Wrokdown and hope that
this great man succeeds for many more years to come. I can't say much
more. Watch the show.
|Johnny Hawker and his
gorgeous wife Annie opened their house
to Wrokdown and allowed us this totally engrossing interview. Though
now retired, these two beautiful people are still 'the best of friends'
after having lived and worked together through the amazing times. We
all remember them singing their hit 'Cinderella
Rockafella', but behind the scenes they worked with the cream of
artists at the famous Armstrong Studio
in Melbourne, arranging hit after hit whilst bring up a family. John
graciously commends 'The Strangers' for
teaching him about pop music, but his background in England gave him the
grounding for being the enormous influence he became in all aspects of our
early industry. (John sadly passed away 14/3/16)
||Early in 2011 we held a Wrokdown fundraiser, featuring four
of our most enduring legends - Bobby Bright, Ronnie
Charles, Jack McGrath and Barry Smith. Backed by the
Wrokdown Circus, a 7 piece band of
professional musicians and md'd by Gavin Carroll,
these wonderful singers entertained the crowd with their early hits.
This show was so successful that we did it all over again and filmed it for
your pleasure. The profits went back into Wrokdown to finance more
episodes and I am eternally grateful that I have been able to meet and work
with these Aussie legends.
|Just to prove you don't have to be a rock'n'roll player to
be a featured artist on Wrokdown, we were very fortunate to interview
Allan Zavod, or
should I say Dr. Allan Zavod. Some of you may know of
him as a distinguished pianist and composer, but what you may not know
is he has performed in bands with
Jean Luc Ponty and
Allan was born into a musical family in Melbourne and very quickly moved
into the jazz circle whilst still retaining his classical roots. A
meeting with Duke Ellington at one of
his gigs gave him an introduction to the Berklee
School of Music in America, and he worked in the USA for 20
years. A compelling interview with a many sided man!
Passed away 29/11/16
Watch on youtube
||In the early 70's, I was into rock bands like Zep, Purple,
Sabbath. But one day by chance, I happened upon a performance by
Smacka Fitzgibbon and I was hooked - even
bought a cassette on the spot! (Didn't tell any of my friends
though...) Smacka's life ended in 1979, so we contacted his daughter
a noted jazz singer, to talk about his life. Smacka
crossed all age groups with his amazing style and stage presence, all taught
to him from the cradle by his mother Minnie. His restaurant
'Smackas Place' was the place to
go in the 70's. Nichaud kindly lent us rare footage and photos, which
makes this episode that much more special for you.
|Most of you would probably seen
Mick Hamilton playing guitar with someone
in his illustrious career. After leaving his first band 'The
Moods' he was snapped up by 'The
Vibrants' who had 3 charting singles. He toured around
Europe in a band with Mick Flynn,
supporting among others 'The Osmonds',
and when he returned to Sydney backed many large touring artists.
Returning to Melbourne after 17 years, Mick set himself up again as a
guitarist for hire, but most importantly he got together with old friend
Keith Glass to record a cd using the poetry
of John Laws. Appropriately named
'The John Laws Experience' the cd features vocals by Keith, Mick,
and the gorgeous
Watch 'forget about it if you can' on Youtube
|harvey james benefit
Harvey James 20/9/52 - 15/1/11
|On the 18th November 2010, we hosted the
Harvey James Benefit - 'Gimme that Guitar'.
Harvey knew he didn't have long to go, and contacted our PR girl
Anita Sulcs for some help. He wanted
to play his last gig and go out with a bang. He wanted to feel the
love one last time. He also wanted his 'exit fees' (funeral costs) and
a portion of money donated to the Peter MacCallum
Cancer Clinic because of the exceptional care he received.
Believe me Harv got everything in spades. Fans and musicians came from
all over the world. Harvey gave everything he had and despite his
frail condition hardly ever left the stage. This episode is just a
small slice of the night, and a complete rendition including interviews and
extra photos from the Sydney Tribute
will be available soon on a DVD.
After the show Harvey said he would die a happy man. We did our job.