Life and Nature

Drugs. Sex. Rock and Roll Part 3 – Rock and Roll

Jane, Jos, Mum, Elly, Robert, William

There was not a lot of music in our home during our childhood.

Dad listened to the birds in the garden, he liked peace and quiet. We did not have televisions, record players or mobile phones. In fact, mobile phones were not invented. Imagine that, no mobile phones, and we survived without them. We did not have a phone in the house at all for that matter, if there was an emergency phone call to be made, we raced over to Pauline Barnes’ house and used theirs.

Mum owned a radio and listened when we were at school. Usually episodes of Blue Hills, or else, classical and opera. 

Dad played piano-accordion as well as piano, but he no longer owned instruments, he couldn’t bring them over from Holland, and therefore, we only heard him play when an instrument was at hand. 

Whilst I heard some of the latest hits on mum’s radio, my first real exposure to rock and pop was on the school bus. We grooved to Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, Elton John, John Denver, Cat Stevens and all the great music of the 60’s and 70’s, played over and over again over the speaker of the bus. 

I loved Ross Wilson, (of course also in Daddy Cool) and (Mondo Rock). https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiu0M7HgeHhAhUWbn0KHSJLDIYQtwIwAnoECAoQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DXR5IBQeoTPY&usg=AOvVaw3YHw9bOuJryja1PuDiNU2Q

And we cannot forget Ross Wilson’s wife Pat Wilson, singing She’s a Bop Girl! And note Ross Wilson and also Nicole Kidman in the clip.

The Easybeats was a particular favourite of mine, in those early years, the band members, Harry Vanda, Stevie Wright, George Young, (George, ironically was Angus Young from ACDC’s brother), Gordon Fleet and Tony Cahill. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iW2_Ec3uEU&list=RDKdrsM2lPy7E&index=2

Occasionally bands would come to the Bowral Memorial Hall. This is where I first saw ACDC, also Johnny Farnham, Renee Geyer and various other up and coming talent.

I really hated ACDC. I thought, “those screaming idiots in school uniform will get nowhere, sounding and looking like that”. However most other bands, I really enjoyed. 

I never did get an appreciation of ACDC. Sometimes John Price and Pauline Barnes gave me a lift home from work, at the time John was also working at the Berrima County Council. He drove a big muscle Ford, with fluffy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror, sheepskin cover on his steering wheel and ACDC always blaring very loud as he sped along. 

My appreciation of the hits of the day came later, after I was married, when Ray and I had a TV of our own, in our beautiful new home. 

I religiously watched Countdown. Dancing with my babies to Brian Cadd, (The Twilights and Axiom) Russell Morris, Masters Apprentices, Max Merritt, Doug Parkinson, Spectrum, Chain, Marcia Hines, Glen Shorrock, (he was in the Twilights, also Axiom and later joined Little River Band), Bob Dylan, Abba, Billy Thorpe, John Paul Young, Johnny Farnham, (later joined Little River Band for a little while) The Eagles, Mondo Rock. All the bands, and more, that we later saw at the concerts, “A Long Way to the Top”. 

From Countdown I was able to put the faces to the hits from the school bus and discovered a whole lot more. Singers and bands from Australia and over the oceans. Losing Countdown was a real loss to the music industry.

I must be the only person on the planet who didn’t like the Beatles and Elton John, apart from a few of their songs. 

Led Zeppelin and Janice Joplin I didn’t really understand, nor the drug induced culture of many musicians.

During the Woodstock years, I was taken along to an outdoor concert, at a place called Fair-Light near Berrima. This was our local equivalent to Woodstock. At Fair-Light was my first experience seeing people high on drugs, but also witnessed great live music.  It was electric and exciting.  I also saw a naked man for the first time in my life, an erect penis shocked me. There were hippies everywhere, drunk and stoned people, sprawled on blankets.

Then there were the local parties, at the homes of people from all demographics, in either modest and/or elegant homes, or in some of the local mansions. Also, in young people’s flats, of singles and married couples. 

All parties, had alcohol, sometimes drugs, and always loud music. I’d drank and smoked, like most of the young people of my day, I would try and fit in. I was socialising and getting to know new people, thanks to my latest date.

The only Jimmy Barnes songs I could relate to were Working Class Man and Khe Sanh. Yet, I really loved The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Jefferson Airplane, but I had no idea that any of them were involved in heavy drug use. 

However, the pop culture perpetrated via film, media, and the promotion of culture figures displayed the heavy drug lifestyle and imagery. Marijuana sometimes escalating into harder drugs, but I was sheltered from all of that. I only saw the way the young people around me behaved, not realising that most of them, more than likely, were emulating their pop idols. I realise now that most of the bands I did like were on some sort of hard drugs, and of course we have seen many rock stars overdose or die of drug related problems.

We also had lost so many beautiful young people from school and work, not always but sometimes due to drugs. Alcohol related car accidents or drug overdoses. 

I have written a poem about Glen Bate, whom I loved and respected. I wished I had the power to protect and save him from his horrible fate. Of course, I do not know how he died, only heard of his passing years ago and the probable cause. I wrote a poem about him, see the poetry tab on my website. https://lifeandnature.com.au/my-memoir-on-life-and-nature/poetry/

It was only later in life that I really appreciated the likes of Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin, thinking gosh these musicians were really ahead of their time. Or perhaps, I was simply behind the times. I even bought Jimmy Barnes CD’s and was able to attend many concerts. (Excluding ACDC and Elton John of course).

Footnote:

Pauline Barnes (my friend and next-door neighbour from the old days) and John Price (work colleague at Berrima County Council) married and incidentally they are parents of Australian Dakar Champion Toby Price). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECcGSo28dmk

Image result for royalty free led zeppelin photograph
Led Zeppelin
%d bloggers like this: