Turn Up Your Radio!!
Shhhhhhh …. secret rehearsal
At a mystery location in Adelaide’s inner-west, that cannot be disclosed or else I’ll have to kill you, a top secret dress rehearsal was about to begin.
The band had been single-mindedly rehearsing for months and the historic venue was testing new state of the art equipment.
The first few rows of the beautiful old theatre slowly filled with industry people, friends and family.
Bob Lott, co-founder of Weslo Holdings, the theatre’s operators, one time manager of Zoot, founder of Venuetix, and personal friend of the band, took to the stage to proudly introduce them.
Okay then, I’ll tell you!!
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes – The legendary Masters Apprentices.
What a set list (see below) we had the honour of witnessing. It may be incomplete as I was busy bopping along to the hits, eventually abandoning compiling the setlist altogether and just dancing – socially distanced of course!
Buried and Dead
Wars or Hands of Time
Bye Bye Johnny by Chuck Berry
But One Day
She’s My Girl
Hot Gully Wind
Tired of Just Wandering
Little Queenie by Chuck Berry
Be Home Yesterday
5 10 Man
Theme for a Social Climber
Let You Go
It’s Because I Love You
Turn Up Your Radio
The Rolling Stones hit ‘Last Time’ was in there too. Mick handed down a tambourine and for 3 minutes, I felt like the sixth member of the band that “are to Australia what the Rolling Stones are to England, and The Doors are to America” Stan Rofe.
The original Masters Apprentices formed in Adelaide in 1965, fronted by Jim Keays on lead vocals, moving to Melbourne in 1967 before disbanding in 1972.
The band all but laid down their instruments for over 30 years, apart from a brief reform in 1987/88 and numerous special events.
In 2014, as The Masters Apprentices were due to be inducted into the SA Music Hall of Fame, Jim Keays sadly died just two weeks prior.
The decision was taken to go ahead with the induction and include Jim’s family. At the induction, the original members (formerly known as The Mustangs) reformed as The 1965 Masters Apprentices. Mick Bower, Gavin Webb, Brian Vaughton and Rick Morrison joined with new members Rob Pippan, Ian Politis, Nannette Van Ruiten, Matt MacNamee and Craig Holden to perform songs from various eras of the band.
This incarnation of the band played successfully together for the next five years, including many sold out Fringe Shows and hosting a Bushfire Fundraiser for the CFS Foundation at Hillstock Lot 100 in January 2020.
At the end of 2020, the decision was taken to return to their roots. Today the band continues in their original 5 piece format, featuring original members Mick (guitar and principal composer), Brian (drums), Gavin (bass), Rick Harrison (guitar), along with new bassist Bill Harrod and vocalist Craig up front.
The rehearsal took place at our beloved Thebarton Theatre, whose charm and character we recently thought was going to be lost to us through development. Common sense prevailed and the State Government decided to complete the North-South Corridor with a tunnel instead, saving Thebarton Theatre and many other historic buildings in the area.
In July 2018, some of Australia’s most influential musicians and the South Australian arts and music industry celebrated the 90th birthday of Thebarton Theatre and also its induction into the SA Music Hall of Fame.
Hosted by Rockwiz’s Julie Zemiro, Keith Conlan and Skyhooks’ Red Symons, the lineup included The 1965 Masters Apprentices, The Angels, James Reyne (Australian Crawl), Mark and Craig Holden, Glenn Shorrock (The Twilights & Little River Band), John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew, Glen Wheatly, Vince Contarino (Zep Boys), John Bywaters (The Twilights), The Moonshine Jug and String Band, Geoffrey Stapleton (Gangajang), Dave Blight (Cold Chisel) and Rockin’ Rob Riley (Rose Tattoo).
This free event helped thank the many artists, producers, tour bookers, industry, staff and patrons who have made Thebarton Theatre one of Australia’s most loved contemporary live music venues.
Robbie Robertson and Bob Lott were also inducted that night in recognition of their individual contributions to the music industry.
The rehearsal was just about flawless, apart from some technical issues to iron out, and all too soon, it was over and everyone went back to whatever it was we did on a normal business Tuesday.
And then, great news!!
Not only will The Masters Apprentices be playing at the Bridgeway Hotel in February but they will also perform at the Weekend of Rock at Adelaide Oval with The Angels, The Zep Boys, Jon Stevens, Daryl Braithwaite and Boom Crash Opera.
I was lucky enough to interview some of the members of The Masters Apprentices on The ZGirls show on TripleZ back in 2018. In fact it was my very first live interview on radio.
A funnier, more generous and talented bunch you’ll never find!
They prove my theory that rock ‘n’ roll is the fountain of youth.
We are blessed to see them playing their old hits, their new songs, sharing their great South Australian heritage and creating more memories.
See you down the front …. twice!!
Shall I bring a tambourine?!?
Do I have to kill you now?