Directions and Influences - chapter 8
Busted, Broke but not Beaten!

I came back to Australia 1970 by ship only to be busted for a small quantity of hashish found in the lining of my jacket, 0.39 grams to be exact, barely even enough for a decent smoke! To make matters worse they dropped the possession charge, (because the quantity was so small!!) but sustained the importation charge to teach me a lesson. Importation is a much more serious offence and I have had to bear that on my record to this day. Every time I go to the US I have to go through a time consuming and costly waiver system to get a visa. It really is a pain, you see, my mother warned me drugs would get me in trouble. She was right.

So I had to resurrect myself from that situation. My father wanted to disown me and nearly let me go to prison rather than pay my fine, which was quite considerable for a misdemeanour. Anyway we patched it up and I started working in his contract cleaning business.

I joined Sydney band 'Melissa' and recorded the album 'Midnight Trampoline' I was now writing my own songs and we recorded a couple of them on that album. Van Morrison's 'Astral Weeks' was a massive influence on my writing. It felt like the essence of it was in my blood. Richard Davis' bass playing on that album was a great influence on my own bass playing and still is. In fact I recently contacted him, he is Professor of bass (European Classical and Jazz), Jazz history, and combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I received a beautiful response back from him. It was great to be able to thank him for the incredible inspiration he has given me over the years. It is well worth checking out his playing on 'Astral Weeks' or check out website:

Next: Chapter 9 - Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder and The Staple Singers