The repartee stays imprinted. 'My sister and I are orphans' said the guitarist with a tone of melancholy as the much younger vocalist strutted around in an awesome leather jumpsuit, holding a riding crop. 'We were raised by gypsies in Romania. I have only now come to terms with the vile and disgusting things I did to her as a teenager….'
Some bands are most memorable for the chatter, others for the show. Skyhooks burst on the scene with outlandish costume characters and an exploding penis. Some evil genius built the thing reusable and it withstood at least a few eruptions of fireworks out the end. I wouldn't know where to begin.
AC/DC started wearing glam rock gear! Because every band needed to put on a show, unless they were playing prog-rock or boogie and blues. Sherbet had slick satin and bouffe hair and rose above the visuals with musically brilliant shows. It must have been frustrating playing for thousands of screaming teenage girls – unless you've been there it is hard to describe the emotional, desperate wantings of those fans.
Now we have the new awareness of 'Me Too' I often wonder how many rock-stars of the 70's and 80's are dreading the knock on the door after one or two now 50 or 60 year old women recollect their under-age debauchery and join up to talk about it? Because it happened, and it happened way heaps.
The sexuality of rock music can't be denied – call it 'cock-rock' if you will but it was the most carnal of careers, a potential orgy of orientations and a good way to get a dose of the clap. Or crabs. Back then the 'Blue Light Clinic' was the 'go-to' place for treatment of all the various venereal diseases.
Many tech crew pursued the offerings available, and sometimes the girls just delivered themselves to us. Often it was just to talk and enthuse about the band – that was where my head was at, because to make something happen with a girl just after a show was very hard indeed due to the inconvenient need to pack up and load out. The guys that did try that would inevitably see their targets get bored or get a better offer.
Occasionally there was some mid-gig action but to be honest, I was more thinking about dinner (pre-show), a nap (during the support act) and the gig itself which needed full focus especially back then because we happily drank our rider. It was one of the few vocations where we were almost required to drink! The bigger the band, the better the booze.
I was fixated on sleep and good food. When touring I'd always do a lap of the district or town in the truck before loading in. I'd spot the likely best place for me, and for the crew if they had the money, to get a proper meal. Takeaway was for emergencies – I learned the hard way about energy, longevity and self management. It doesn't take long to really know yourself when you are pushed every waking minute to stick to a crazy show or tour schedule.
When I first discovered rock music at the Arts Factory in 1972, I was hooked. Straight away the fantasmagorical swirling hippy liquid lightshow mesmerised my little 15 year old eyes and the music hit me hard. Before that I'd only experienced mum's record player, purchased in her golden years as a commissioned artist, and my old valve radio. Live music was loud and dynamic!
Another thing that stays with me after almost five decades of watching and loving live music is the difficulties performers endure. I don't play an instrument or sing, my role is either add mood with lighting, or make it all sound right for room with audio. So I see but don't experience the highs and lows on stage. A sole guitarist singer is at its most vulnerable, and too often they are plonked in front of an indifferent crowd, or no crowd at all.
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