Chapter One - I Was A Roadie - Page 7

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For a while we blew things up, until it got ugly and someone got killed.

I experimented with gunpowder. If you mixed in some magnesium powder it got brighter. But then I discovered a fireworks company would sell flash powder over the counter, so I was typically carrying a kilo of grey powder in my attaché case.

We had flash pots and strips of roof gutter filled with a trail of powder. If we didn’t have igniters, a camera flash bulb would do it. We had twelve-volt power supplies and a firing board, and too much fun. Sometimes the band got more than they bargained for. We didn’t care.

The music industry grew at a staggering rate through to the first half of the 1980s. Bands could and did sell hundreds of thousands of vinyl albums and singles, promoters and managers could and did skim plenty of money off the gullible. If you’re drunk and stoned, it’s hard to count banknotes.

The audiences were bedazzled by the emerging colour TV, and Countdown came along. But cinema sound was basic and movies couldn't compete with the loud ballsy sound we produced. We had big bottom end and sizzling highs, and our lighting rigs were bright. We were technicolor in a monochrome world.

There seemed to be no stopping the music business.

By the end of the decade, halls were giving way to beer barns and pubs that crammed in 1,500 punters. When The Angels and Cold Chisel toured, the door gross could be over $10,000 in cash.

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