So I guess this is what The Reels looked like when I first saw them appear on Countdown back in the day. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a conventional guitar in sight which was unusual for an Australian band in 1979. Looking a little androgynous, combined with coming from Dubbo, rural NSW … impressive in itself.
Now was it “Love Will Find A Way” or “Prefab Heart“… ?
I saw them live at a gig in WA sometime later (1983) and happened to be one of the unsuspecting members of the audience Dave Mason wandered up to through the crowd, he thrust the microphone in my face to say something vitally important for the gathering at Curtin University to hear … well that was never going to happen. I mumbled something about “peace” I think. Hmm.
Years later (1986) whilst living in Sydney I had formed a musical trio with Sue Grigg and Kenny Davis Jnr jangling away playing Dylan, Cohen and a country song or two, so how this naive little trio known as Three Strange Loves ended up supporting The Reels at The Sydney Cove Tavern is a complete and utter mystery. They were kind to us bumbling youngsters though. London (1989) and I’m working with David McComb and Kenny Davis Jnr on an EP for The Blackeyed Susans called “Depends On What You Mean By Love” and there are reference points to The Reels “Beautiful”, their reworking of classic ballads is one of Dave McComb’s favourites.
A decade on and I record Quasimodo’s Dream not once but twice, firstly with the 3RRR band for RRRewind at the Chapel (1999) and again for The Blackeyed Susans “Dedicated to the ones we Love” (2001) … such a mysterious song.
Throw to 2008 and I’m solo support to The Reels at Don’t Tell Tom (a bar on Sydney Rd, Brunswick).
My partner was horrified to overhear a woman gasp at the bar when she saw me wander onto the stage “Jeez, he hasn’t aged well … he looks like Mr Potato Head” (nice, thanks for that). The ABC’s Dave O’Neil happens to be seated at the front table with some other folk eager to see and hear The Reels. Luckily I didn’t have to play for too long as there was an air of anticipation and polite impatience from the full house gathering there. I got through my set as swiftly as I could, packed up my stuff and made my way to the bar to settle the nerves.
The folk who came knew all the songs and were very appreciative as Dave’s wonderful voice floated above us all. Then mid song, towards the end of their set (perhaps This Guys in Love) Dave Mason again wanders through the crowd mic in hand, singing away and catches sight of me standing at the edge of the dance floor, he’s mouthing something … what’s he doing I’m thinking, feeling slightly awkward and embarrassed. He’s mouthing “I’ve got your pay” … wanders straight up and sticks a few crisp notes in my top pocket. Uh-huh. Well that was unusual, slightly unconventional.
So if you’ve gotten this far you may be interested to know that I share the stage with Dave Mason (The Reels) Sean Kelly (The Models) and Brendan Gallagher (Karma County) this Friday SEPT 11 at The Memo Music Hall in St Kilda.
Might see you there and hopefully Dave won’t have to pay me.
Doors Open: 8pm, Showtime 8.15-11pm (short intermission between performers)
Reserved Seats: $35.00 +bf
General Admin: $28.00 +bf
At the Door: $30.00 (if still available)
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