Around 1978 I met Mark Gillespie

Around 1978 I met Mark Gillespie, singer songwriter, the man in black!

Mark came across as a tortured soul and with an air of mystery around him; he was fast gaining a solid reputation for himself as a songwriter/poet and developing a good fan base in the live pub circuit.

He came to my flat one day and asked me if I would play bass for him. He was also trying to recruit Hannaford. I was confused that another artist would want me to play the bass for them as I had a picture of myself as a singer/songwriter who happened to play the bass and not as 'BASS PLAYER'. I said to him 'Why don't you get a real bass player'. He said 'I want your bass playing in my band'. I said 'OK' and little did I realise that I had made a fairly serious career decision.

I became a 'hired gun' for the first time.

I did Mark's first album 'Only Human' up at The Music Farm in Coorabell, near Mullumbimby, in 1980. That album gave me much kudos as a musician. Mark's songs were always great for creating good grooves and dynamic bass lines in. I always had a lot of fun recording with him. I was able to have quite a bit creative input in his music; I played bass, sung backing vocals and helped with the arrangements.

When that album came out my phone didn't stop ringing everybody seemed to want me on their albums. It was an exciting time as it was rewarding but it did distract me a bit from my fundamental purpose as a singer/songwriter. I did however learn a great deal from all those artists I worked with.

Zev Eizik who, with Michael Coppel, promoted a lot of overseas artists in Australia managed Mark. With both Billy T and Mark we got to do the support for many of those acts i.e. Jackson Browne, Maria Muldaur, Tom Waits, Rodriguez, Joe Cocker, to name a few. This elevated us to the Concert stage which helped me hone my craft even more.

NEXT: chapter 7 - 1983 I was in The Black Sorrows