Sunday, December 11, 2005

Venue Looks Good
(Frank didn't book it)

Got 5 Songs from Rob
"Friends" it is - like Gerry knew what was coming.

"I love my friends, right to the end"

I Need to get some sort of small p.a. to play it

- Got to get to LAX by 8 AM - Monday peak on 405 FWY

Gerry Humphrys is how he spells his name -the press always get it wrong

(Brian Humphrys-Hunt was the local pub singer)

He knows he's laid next to the prison He would laugh. We played "Saint James Infirmary" and later "Didn't He Ramble" when a friend died.



This post turned up - from Keith Glass - always a good man:

Brighton Rock
"The girls go crazy about the way I walk".

Gerry Humphreys and 'the Bayside thing'. (written by an old friend of Go Away Please, the founder of the Misssing Link Record Shop and Record Label - Keith Glasss)

When emails started flying in, saying Gerry Humphreys had died at only 62, my mind immediately went back not so much to The Loved Ones but to his previous outfit The Red Onions and their sway over the southern suburbs of Melbourne in the early 1960’s.It has never been properly publicly documented just how much influence and effect this band had on the whole area, musically speaking (although Melbourne pianist Tim Stevens did his Melbourne University Ph.D. in 1997, on 'The Origins Development of Significance of the Red Onions Jazz Band 1960-1996 ).Drawn largely from the Sandringham/Brighton area the members explored the moldy world of New Orleans inspired traditional jazz and infused it with their own vitality and zany sense of humour.Scoring Gerry as a clarinet wielding sometime bluesy shouter was a bonus.Brett Iggulden (trumpet) Bill Howard (trombone) and Allan Browne (drums) were the musical mainstays but Brett’s sister ‘Sweet Sal’ (who later married Browne and became a clothes designer) was a groovy addition on washboard, while from my high school came piano player John Pike and beatnik Kym ‘Emu’ Lynch the tuba-man (or was it Sousaphone?).Every weekend in pre Beatles days The Onions would pack houses in church and community halls at such venues as Collegiates, Beale Street, Opus and for a while, their own venue The Onion Patch in Oakleigh.Some of these were total 'dens of iniquity' with low lighting and a lot of heavy petting going on in the mostly underage crowd.There was also trouble in the streets outside, with Jazzers having to run the gauntlet with antagonistic Rockers from nearby town hall dances who wanted to cause 'the longhaired poofters' bodily harm.No record collection was complete without the first The Red Onions (4 track EP) on the EAST record label, or Frank Johnson’s band's version of Sweet Patootie on SWAGGIE, and Barry Humphries' Wild Life In Suburbia on SCORE.Gerry was no relation to Barry - as has sometimes been suggested. Also he did not later work on various English movies as a sound technician – that was someone else with the same name.Also, contrary to some accounts, The Red Onions never became The Loved Ones.Rather, three members, Gerry, Kym and later pianist Ian ‘Rocker’ Clyne saw the writing on the wall and decided to form an r&b group.This wasn’t such a stretch as you might imagine.Gerry was already singing in a sort of Satchmo/Cab Calloway style on such favourites as Ice Cream (You Scream) and The Girls Go Crazy, Clyne was demolishing pianos (and stages) with his pumping hands and feet while Lynch had grabbed a bass guitar and (as I found out in a pre-Loved Ones jam with him) had worked out how to play tuba runs on it.So the split came but The Onions persevered – two decades on, some of them were playing Bop – that is roughly about the same length of development of the original 'history of jazz', only 40 years on.The Loved Ones enlisted Rob Lovett on guitar and Gavin Anderson on drums and set forth to make their mark on the burgeoning Melbourne teen dance scene by now totally over-run with guitar bands containing many who had forsaken their 'Jazzer' heritage - Ross Wilson and Richard Franklin from The Pink Finks for instance. Later, Franklin (now a film director) first hit the sculls and traps in teenage dixieologists Merino And His Men, while Wilson was first influenced musically by his trumpet playing father.I was there at the first big Loved Ones gig. My band The Rising Sons were also playing that night at The Beaumaris Civic Centre or ‘Stonehenge’ as it was called.The Loved Ones came on wearing shirts like I’d never seen before. Closer examination revealed they were hand-drawn designs on basic white shirts giving the group a unique appearance to match their quirky sound.I was impressed by the look, but recall being not too impressed by the group. That might have been teenage cool – I don’t know. I do remember a scant few weeks later hearing 'The Loved One' shouting out of the radio and the shock of hearing something so unusual and original and just plain great – it was impressive especially given the renowned primitive recording facilities of W&G Records.Even more impressive - it became a pretty big hit. Everlovin’ Man consolidated their stature and suddenly they were out of our league.Both songs were towering achievements I think coming from the twin power of Gerry’s voice and Clyne’s musical prowess.A third good song Sad Dark Eyes was a more studied, Yardbird-ish effort that proved they were fast learners. Not fast enough though to make the album Magic Box more than a pretty slipshod effort not helped by changes in line-up, the group’s hectic touring schedule and the quickie recording mentality of the era.Years later while running my record shop I became aware that Magic Box was still 'in catalogue', which is just as well because We were selling it by the boxload and when stocks were running low I used to phone up W&G Records director Bruce Gillespie for some stock and he’d press up 50 copies just for us!I probably never spent more than a few minutes ever talking to Gerry. I knew others around him much better. For example Mike Edwards and Ross Hannaford who made up the core of Gerry And The Joy Boys the loose wacky outfit that served Humphreys through the post Loved Ones days. Gerry’s wife Claire was also a frequent visitor to our house in Sydney when I was living there while in HAIR 1969/70 – we’d have a post-show gathering more than a few times a week. I don’t remember ever discussing why she was in Sydney, he in Melbourne. Wish I had asked.I didn’t see the 80’s re-union tour, and only heard via mutual friends such as Allan Mitelman that Gerry recently wasn’t doing too well.Oddly enough, the image of him that still comes first to my mind is as a focal point of The Onions, striding the stage with authority and yelling through the small house PA _“The girls go crazy about the way I walk.”


At my second practice with the Onions Gerry and I talked Dylan Thomas - August Bank Holiday


this is Polperro where Gerry recently wrote "I Love My Friends" with Rob

When I was about 13, I first encountered Gerry
It was around the Melbourne Folk Scene
Tom Lazar’s Reata and Little Reata restaurants
The Emerald Hill Theatre, where the big name stars were
Glenn Tomasetti
Trevor Lucas
Brian Mooney
Margret Roadknight
Martyn Wyndham-Read

Other Places

Frank Traynor's.
Jazz Center 44 and the Arab down at Lorne

Gerry sang, played clarinet, read a bit of poetry.
Adrian Rawlins’ was about too
I played piano with trumpet player John Hawes (at the Purple Eye) – who taught me my first 12 bar blues, so that gave me a little bit of credibility – although still at Scotch College, and a few nights with John Bye’s Bay City Jazz band gave me enough “Bayside” credibility to take John Pike’s place in the Red Onions This was where I really got to know Gerry. I remember he seemed really old – he was 18 and allowed to drink.


INXS Andrew Farriss paid tribute to the music veteran on Tuesday, saying: " On behalf of INXS, I would like to express our deep sorrow at the loss of Gerry Humphries, a true musical pioneer, one of the great original Australian rock singers. His influence lives on."

INXS drummer Jon Farriss added, "Gerry was a pioneer in Australian music, totally ahead of his time. Gerry was an incredible talent and will be deeply missed. Thank you for your vision."


Blogger Brownie said...

Horslips, and other music
has linked to this blog.

9:20 PM  
Blogger MGB said...

I miss him still.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Peewee said...

I was born just 2 years after Gerry, and watched him and the 'Red Onions' regularly at St Georges, Glenferrie Rd Malvern. Later it was their own venue, 'Trog' in Malvern Road. They were just extroadinary. A lot of great music styles have come (and gone) since - including the entire electronic music genre. So it seems unbelievable traditional jazz could leave such indelible memory - but it has. Like the Beatles, the Onions were just the perfect group of complementary, charismatic individuals. They were at the very forefront of major societal change, and dominating the musical tastes of middle-class suburbs of South Eastern Melbourne. Before long, that traditional sound was 'electrified' as Gerry left the Onions to start the 'Loved Ones'. It could hardly be described as a smooth transition, any more than it was for Bob Dylan.
In any event, neither before or after have I experienced the sheer joy and excitement of the Onions of my teenage years. It is very difficult to describe the effect. Exciting as it was, it was more than just the music, which they borrowed from the Deep South. Rather, it was the manner in which they expressed it. This was the emerging baby boomers making the statement, we are going to be very different to our parents - those who were forced into rigid conformity by a half a century of war. In their own way, they were promoting revolution. The excitement of it all was palpable. There will never be another Gerry and the Onions - they were unique individuals at a unique time. They are more than just a band. Like the Beatles, they are a vivid, profound, indelible, memory.

5:24 AM  
Blogger claire said...

Ian, thanks for this tribute, great to see you back with the people 'of our youth' in Melbourne...Claire

2:16 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

I have fond memories of Gerry comparing at Q Club. Noel and I would sit backstage with Gerry and Jack the Hat, watching the McSpeddon brothers put together the light show. He would then happily head to the band rooms for some 'light refreshment'. The world is a better place for his being a part of it.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Claire humphrys-Hunt said...

Im Claire Humphrys, Gerrys wife. We married in 1963, long before the Fame.I would like to say the spelling of his name is HUMPHRYS
R.I.P. Jobbies love ever Claire

8:57 PM  

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