THE BASSLINE

I entered my teenage years in the era of bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Searchers, and Manfred Mann etc. This was an era when young boys wanted to emulate their heroes and the music was changing. From the age of 14, I started going to concerts and seeing as many bands as possible. This was common for my group of friends.

There was a group of guys in Lithgow, around my age, starting to form bands. One of these guys agreed to teach me to play bass – to this day I have no real idea why I chose this particular instrument. I guess it appeared easier than guitar and, for some reason, I found that I could listen to records and pick out the bass riffs easily. I also found that once I heard said bass riff I could remember it and play it.

I joined my first band (a Sydney based outfit called Four More) in 1965. We entered the first Battle of the Sounds competition…and made no impact on the world of music. Playing in Sydney while living in Lithgow, and not old enough for a driver’s licence, killed me off.  My second band (Gilt Edge) formed in 1966. We stayed together for only a couple of years but have remained friends to this day.

A friend (drummer Bob Lounder) was offered work at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath to fill in for Tony Doyle’s band (Tony is the brother of John Doyle… Roy of Roy and HG fame) when they had other gigs. Bob put together a scratch band with me and Darcy Rosser.

By 1968, I was playing in several bands playing different types of music (R&R, Jazz, and Blues). Bob asked if I was interested in trying to do something in Sydney and we moved to Sydney to have a go. Bob had a mate (Russell Bayne - Russell is a freelance session muso based in Brisbane. He has played with people like Shirley Bassey, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and The Monkees). Russell had just left his band (The Velvet Underground - based in Newcastle) and was looking to form a new band. He needed a drummer and bass player. Bob and I joined Russell, Hugh (George) Kent and Jimmy Squadrito to form The Truth.

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We played in Sydney on the dance circuit and headlined some shows. We played alongside bands such as Doug Parkinson in Focus (Winners of the 1969 battle of the sounds) and Flying Circus (winners of the 1970 Battle of the Sounds), Jeff St John, Johnny Farnham and Axiom. We also toured with Clapham Junction and played the “Orange Riot” with The Easybeats. 

Things went well until we changed management and lost control of the band’s direction. I left, but the band went on to change its name to Pyramid and had a top 40 hit with “Can’t wait for September”.

My profession took me around the country from that time and, wherever I was living, I joined a band and played the licenced club circuit. I did this until around 1986. By this stage I was in senior management for a company and simply didn’t have time to play. In 1991 I went into business for myself.

In 2012, Bob Lounder (from The Truth) was terminally ill and David Ray (from my Gilt Edge band and a life-long friend) contacted me to see if I was interested in easing Bob out of the world. I was, and we visited Bob until he shed his mortal coil.  David said that he wanted to play with his original band again. I didn’t understand this, as Dave played in many fine bands, but got on board. His impetus didn’t get the original band together but led to the Lithgow Musicians Reunions gaining impetus. 

Dave was living on the Central Coast and I was living in Newcastle when Bob died and we began getting together every fortnight or so for a jam session. This lasted until 2015 when Dave moved to Portland. We finally got Gilt Edge together for a jam in 2016. In 2017, Theresa and I moved to Tasmania. On New Year’s Eve 2018, we went to a local golf club and I met up with some very irregular musicians. They invited me to start jamming with them. Last time we jammed, we had a combined age of around 338.

The Gilt Edge 1966 (from left) Bruce Gavin, David Ray, Billy Coleman, Ross Speirs, Barry Dean.

The Gilt Edge 1966 (from left) Bruce Gavin, David Ray, Billy Coleman, Ross Speirs, Barry Dean.

The Truth 1969 (from left) Jimmy Squadrito, Russell Bayne, Bob Lounder, Barry Dean, George Kent.

The Truth 1969 (from left) Jimmy Squadrito, Russell Bayne, Bob Lounder, Barry Dean, George Kent.

Hydro Majestic 1968 (from left) Barry Dean, Bob Lounder, Darcy Rosser.

Hydro Majestic 1968 (from left) Barry Dean, Bob Lounder, Darcy Rosser.

Peita Vincent