Posts Tagged ‘Ted Mulry Gang’

8521d6_ac1187ffe978438e9609187579ff7d28The sun has almost set on 2016, and one of the highlights of the year has been the reformation of the Ted Mulry Gang (TMG). The fact that TMG are playing out live, 40 years after their halcyon days is quite incredible – and something we should all be thankful for. Not just playing out though – for if you’ve seen them live on any of their handful of dates in the latter part of this year on their ‘This Ones For Ted’ tour – you will be all too aware that live, they are more than delivering the goods – and are killing it as a live unit. If you told me a few years back that TMG would be out and about playing live in 2016 sans Ted, I would have told you, “Not a snowball’s chance in hell, never in a million years”. Yet with Ted’s younger brother Steve Mulry out front – it all makes perfect sense.

I think the last time I saw TMG was at Promises at Sylvania, or somewhere in Sydney’s south in 1995 or 96 supporting Suzi Quatro. I remember thinking that Quatro was boring and TMG blew her away. Twenty years later, TMG are kicking major ass, and are one of the hottest live tickets doing the rounds right now.  Vocalist Steve Mulry  is certainly doing justice to the TMG material, and is singing his absolute heart out. I’m sure Ted is looking down on his brother and old band mates with a smiling nod of approval. Yep – they are more than doing justice to the TMG legacy – and with Steve out front – are adding to it. In fact, after seeing the band a couple of times on this current tour, I can say hand-on-heart that Steve is making the material well and truly his own. With Steve coming from a heavy rock background, TMG in 2016 are tougher sounding, more muscled up, and a tighter rocking unit. Part of that is due also to having rock solid Mark Evans of AC/DC on bass.

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TMG – carving it up at Dee Why RSL 9/12/16 – photo (c) D. Gray

It is short sighted to pigeonhole or stereotype TMG as a ‘Countdown band’ or a band known for only ‘that song’. For some people, I’m sure the revival or nostalgia tag is a reason that gets them along to see the band, yet take my word for it – TMG have a depth and quality to their songs that have seen their material endure incredibly well over time. It’s the aforementioned reason though, (a misguided opinion shared by the mainstream who see the band as a one hit 70s teen band), that has precluded TMG from being inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. It’s an injustice, and no doubt political, as to why TMG have not been inducted into the Hall Of Fame. It would be a just acknowledgement, yet at the end of the day who really cares. Who gives credence to this two-bit, self-serving organisation anyway? As someone who likes to think I know a little bit about rock ‘n’ roll, take my word for it instead when I tell you that TMG have several albums worth of memorable, original, catchy rock that has stood the test of time – and still sound killer. Great melodies, great choruses, great songs. Some of their best material in fact is off their last couple of albums, ‘Disturbing The Peace’ and ‘Locked In’.

Many of Australian biggest bands of the 70’s had a second bite of the cherry in the 90s (including John Paul Young via ‘Strictly Ballroom’ and Skyhooks in 1983 and 1990/91). Those that didn’t have this second run were given their dues as part of the Countdown concerts in the mid 2000s, with bands like Supernaut, Cheetah, Hush and of course Sherbet (arguably the biggest Australian band of the 70’s), reforming with both Clive Shakespeare and Harvey James on guitars. Ted’s passing in 2001 precluded TMG from taking part in the Countdown Concert series.  In the early part of the 90s though, TMG did do a bunch of shows and TV appearances a part of a short lived 70’s revival – including Hey Hey Its Saturday and 70’s themed nights. Yet to me, this early 1990’s revival of the Seventies music and culture, was more about having a swipe at the music and fashion of that period – and was taking the piss out of it. It was ‘daggy’, it was uncool – so that made it cool right?  Which really missed the point.  I dig Australian rock ‘n’ roll – it’s the best in the world. From AC/DC to Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, The Angels, Screaming Jets, Screaming Tribesmen, Radio Birdman, Easybeats, Saints and all points in between – In my opinion, TMG are one of the best band’s this country has ever produced and in a just world, should have/could have been as big as AC/DC.

Mr Rockbrat and I have a connection with TMG rock n roll that still resonates to this day. I have fond memories of sitting in my brother’s bedroom playing the TMG Greatest Hits LP over and over again. Man, they sounded better than Slade, better than Quo. Listen to those killer riffs. A lot like AC/DC……AND they were a Sydney band, unlike Skyhooks or Taste (in those days friends, there was still a Sydney Melbourne rivalry). They lived in the suburb next to where I grew up. As kids, my brother and I used to see the TMG band truck everywhere (with Ronnie Roadie no doubt at the wheel). They were a hard rocking, hardworking band playing memorable, original hard edged rock n roll. What was not to like?

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Rare West German & US TMG LP’s

Yet let’s get back to the present. Highlights from the current TMG show are many. ‘My Little Girl’ ‘Crazy’ ‘Wanted Man’, ‘Heart Of Stone’, ‘Lazy Eyes’, and ‘I’m Free’ to name a few of the highlights. Les Hall, as well as being one of this country’s most underrated guitar players, also wrote many TMG staples that have gone on to become Oz rock standards – people forget that fact. To see Les spitting out blistering solos in 2016 at stage left is a sight (and sound) to savour.  To hear Gary Dixon run through spot-on acoustic versions of ‘Julia’ and ‘Falling In Love Again’ is another highlight of the show, reminding you just how great these songs are, what an outstanding songwriter Ted was, and what an appealing voice Gary possesses. As guitar players who have had a major impact on Australian rock ‘n’ roll – both Gary Dixon and Les Hall are deserving of way more respect. They are rock ‘n’ roll personified. Drummer Herm Kovac, the backbone of TMG, keeps the beat and hits hard as he always does – Mr Reliable behind the kit. It’s always a joy to see Herm belting out the songs and keeping time. Unrelenting, no frills. The band deliver a ball busting rendition of AC/DC’s ‘It’s a Long Way To The Top’ that sends shivers down your spine. This is as close as you are gonna get to the vintage AC/DC sound- and as I’ve said before, these guys are Australian hard rock royalty – and deserve all the successes and accolades owed to them – more in fact.

TMG have a lineage that is entwined with AC/DC and what became known as the “Albert sound”.  They are the only ‘Alberts Band’ out there today playing with any real conviction.  Consider also that in 2016, other seventies band  like Sherbet, Hush, the original Angels, original Tatts etc will never ever be back – with so many of their key members now having sadly passed on. The starkness that TMG are the ONLY band of this ilk still out there doing it – and doing it bloody well, cannot be understated. When I saw TMG last weekend, Angry Anderson got up and belted out ‘Bad Boy For Love’ as an encore. Does it get any cooler than that in 2016? I think not. Rock fans in Europe would kill to see this kind of event. (Way more needs to be done in Australia to honour the legacy of Australia’s great hard rock bands from the 70s, bands that are revered overseas. There exists an ambivalence amongst the music industry, Government’s and the population at large towards bands from this era of Oz rock. Melbourne has AC/DC Lane? And Sydney ? The HOME of AC/DC and the Young’s. Why is Chequers a Chinese owned massage parlour? Why can’t Chequers revert to a rock venue akin to Melbourne ‘Cherry Bar?  Where is the statue to Thorpie? To Tattoo’s legacy? The attitude, the apathy at large is pretty apparent. Yet I’ve digressed. These are issues for another time).

TMG in 2016 are one lean, hard rocking band firing on all cylinders – playing material from the 1970s that sounds relevant and vital, and one can only hope that this recharged line up of TMG enter the studio to release some new material. TMG in 2016 is not revivalism. This is not nostalgia. This is a kick ass rock ‘n’ roll band – the last of their kind. Get out there and see them whilst you can.  If you only see one show in 2017 –make it TMG. Satisfaction guaranteed.  Go to the band’s web site for details of upcoming shows in 2017.

Check out Episode 62 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Steve Mulry, Rick Lum from Hush and TMG fans conducted at the Ted Mulry Memorial Day 3/9/16 here

Check out Episode 42 of the Australian Rock Show – An interview with Ronald Clayton  – TMG’s long time roadie (you can meet Ronnie at any of the current TMG shows at the merch table). Listen here

Rockbrat Wonders – Why TMG Are not in the ARIA Hall Of Fame

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ARS58_largeOn episode 58 of The Australian Rock Show we crank hot n heavy new tunage from Airbourne and get blown sky high with some classic AC/DC. Scott Ginn (ex-Boss) has re-mastered and re-issued his ‘One Man Army’ album from 1986 – which also cops an airing, as does his late 80’s outfit Rags n Riches. We crank the new 45 from The Iceman – Deniz Tek and also check out the newie from Johnny Kannis – which has guest vox from Jimmy Barnes. We pay tribute to Steve Crofts, look over upcoming gig dates, share the rock news and much much more. Play loud ! LISTEN or download HERE!

Music by: Airbourne, AC/DC, Scott Ginn, Rags n Riches, T.M.G, Owen Campbell, Deniz Tek, Johnny Kannis, The Bombers

Almost 12 years since the passing of the late, great Ted Mulry, the campaign to have TMG included in the ARIA Hall Of Fame continues. Here’s a clip conrtaining various footage of Ted to remind you of how great Ted was (and still is). If you would to read more about how you can help to get TMG in the Hall of Fame – read here

Fans of genuine Aussie rock (Angels, Tatts, AC/DC)  take note. BITZER are for you. Forget about Airbourne for one second and the carbon copied style of oz rock they play. They are good at what they do, they nod approvingly to the past, but they lack the legitimacy, the authenticity, that a band like BITZER have to offer. This is Oz rock the way it should be played. It’s fun, it’s loud, proud, and kicks ass.  Bitzer is a new group featuring many familiar faces.  Experienced troupers from the halcyon days of OZ rock, we should be thankful that they are still treading the boards in 2013. Their collective experience includes stints in  Rose Tattoo, Dragon, Ted Mulry Gang, Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe, The Pete Wells Band, Black Label and the Damn Fine Band to name a few. Bitzer are Steve Edmonds, Lucy Desoto, Steve Mulry, Steve King, Mick O’Shea and Mick Arnold – and they have just released their debut, self titled six track EP that pays tribute to some of this country’s finest hard rock bands and the glory days of Oz pub rock.  The EP opens with a supremely bitchin’, full tilt cover of AC/DC’s classic ‘Riff Raff’, with Steve Edmonds not only shredding on guitar, but belting out a vocal that would bring a smile to Bon’s face.  Edmonds is a great player, and deserves greater recognition. Go check out the Steve Edmonds Band if you get a chance. Next up, Lucy De Soto gives ‘Bad Boy For Love’ the sultry, low down jazz treatment.  I’ve seen Lucy enough times over the years to know that as a jazz/blues singer, she can compete with the best of ‘em, and on ‘Bad Boy’ her vocal is lush and deeply rich, highlighting the stripped back arrangement that gives a fresh, diverse appeal to Ian Rilen’s classic. Speaking of Rilen, Lucy again takes lead vocal on a menacing cover of his tune, ‘401’, originally from the Hell To Pay album ‘Steal It’. I like this a lot.  I also like Black Label a lot – with Steve Mulry out front. Black Label are the best band in Australia – fact (search through this blog for reviews of their recent albums) and in Mulry, they have a front man with a distinctive, strong and appealing voice that reeks of authenticity. Mulry tackles a cover of the Angels ‘Marseilles’ that is as every bit as raw and rockin’ as the original. If you want evidence of his vocal versatility and ability, listen to his super strong delivery on ‘No Times For Games’. The Midnight Oil classic never sounded this good! Listening to this killer tune reminds me that Pete should return to rock ‘n’ roll. MP stands for microphone please! Steve Edmonds again takes lead vocal on a tasty cover of Kevin Borich’s ‘Gonna See My Baby Tonight’ that is catchy with a capital C.  If you wanna taste of the glory days of Oz rock in 2013 –  Bitzer deliver the goods in no uncertain terms. 10 out of 10. At only 9 bucks, you have no excuse for not buying a copy of Oz Rock Six Pack. Buy it here.

Get Flared Concert Ad 7 4 90In 1990 (in Sydney at least), there was a revival of sorts, of some of Australia’s seventies bands, including JPY, TMG, William Shakespeare etc. Looking back, I think this in part was due to a couple of things.  One was the prevalence of cover bands like Bjorn Again and the start of the whole Abba revival, and second, was due in part to Sydney DJ Maynard F# Crabbes, a radio presenter on JJJ. Maynard’s shtick was being into things that were decidedly uncool, or ‘daggy’, to coin the apt phrase. Dressed like an archetypal nerd, he even called himself the ‘King Of Dag’. Anything daggy was cool right? So of course, some Aussie rock bands of the 70’s fell neatly under his dag radar, more so due to their fashion sense than anything else no doubt.  So Maynard built up quite a profile for himself, and used to DJ and host dance parties etc. One such event he MC’d was a night at Sydney’s Coogee Bay Hotel (one of my least favourite venues) called ‘Get Flared”. (Didn’t Hush have a jingle tune of this name, for Colonial Jeans in the early 70’s? Hang on, where my Skylab helmet? Some of my ants have escaped.) Being a devotee of Aussie rock and Ted fans, Mr. Rockbrat and I went along show some respect, the sole reason to see TMG. Armed with my trusty tape recorder, I bootlegged TMG’s 30 minute set, which included a great version of ‘Naturally’ and a surprising version of Fogerty’s ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’. Was Gary Dixon there ? Did he play in any of these reunion shows ?  Most of the other acts were fairly lacklustre, although JPY was pretty good from memory. JPY’s big revival would come two years later due to “Love Is in the Air”, being the theme song for the film Strictly Ballroom, and the massive amount of exposure generated as a result. He got a second throw of the dice. It was only a few short years before this that he was singing theme songs to Australia’s Wonderland theme park. (Have you still got that Rockbrat?) I recall seeing him  one forgetful occasion in 1988 at North Sydney’s late night meat market pick up den, Sheila’s, with several single, leathery old bags on the prowl for drunken romance. Anyway, I digress. The other acts ? I can’t really recall. I think that Bjorn Again headlined the event. I’m pretty sure that poor old William Shakespeare, may he rest in peace, was happy just to be up there singing his two god awful hits, and thankfully he didn’t disgrace himself by dressing up like a purple sequined lizard-like Liberace as  he did in the early 70s. I also recall seeing an old TMG fan in the crowd wearing a satin TMG concert jacket, chatting with Herm Kovac. The other clear memory I have of the Get Flared night was seeing a very awkward looking Bumble Bee donning a full length, blond wig. FMD – sexual orientation issues anyone? With those cherubic cheeks, and looking very much like a pint sized Agnetha in drag, I’d prefer to recollect the only highlight of the night, TMG’s rockin’ 30 minutes set. Attached is an audio clip of the TMG, performing ‘Naturally’, live at Selinas, on the 7th of April, 1990. Never been heard anywhere. From the Rockbrat archives. Enjoy!  Listen here  

 

 

TMG – gone but never forgotten, and always remembered fondly around here ! Ted Mulry wrote some amazing rock tunes over the years, and if you are on a discovery of Australian Music, be sure to research him. Here is an advert for a TMG charm bracelet, which from memory was included in the album ‘Struttin’Image

The TMG Book. 1976 was certainly a golden year for the Ted Mulry Gang (TMG) with records in the Top 10, national tours and albums moving out the door faster than a Jeff Thomson bouncer. Their record label Albert Records went so far as to capitalise on their success with publication of this, the TMG Book. I found it the other day whilst rummaging around the bookshelf and though I’d share it, as many Ted fans may not know of its existence. It’s 50 pages and contain music notation for about 10 or so of the band’s songs – and it’s also stacked with many great article and interviews and profiles on each band member, and many photos (both colour and b/w). I was a big TMG fan, and was fortunate to have met Ted on a couple of occasions. I have his autograph maybe 3 times too, a signed 8 x 10, and a signed copy of the ‘Struttin’ album. I also have some pretty cool foreign TMG pressings as well, including a white vinyl Dutch LP. Anyway, here is the book. Enjoy.