Directions and Influences - chapter 10
Roots, Rock, Reggae

I hooked up with Ross Hannaford around '74. Ross was no longer playing with Daddy Cool and was looking around for something to do. I invited him up to Coolangatta Queensland, where we did a season, with drummer Alan Carroll, at 'The Cabbage Patch' a local surf hangout. It was after this we decided to go back to Melbourne and form 'Billy T'. Ross was really getting into Reggae in a big way and influenced me in that direction also. I was pretty big on funk at the time and the Reggae influence seemed to go along hand in hand with it, different cultures but all basically coming originally from the roots of the blues and of course Africa. Bob Marley featured strongly in this picture but there was also Toots and the Maytals, The Mighty Diamonds, The Heptones, Burning Spear, Bunny Wailer, Delroy Wilson, Peter Tosh, I Roy, U Roy the list could go on. Ross really got so inside Reggae music that he sweated it. He is a brilliant music spirit and it is implausible that he is not an international star. He is a star to me.

After Billy T broke up I did a stint at Melbourne Pub The Hatter's Castle in a band with Peter Cupples, Sam McNally on keys and Mark Myer on drums. This band though extremely competent was unremarkable apart from the fact that we would sometimes get to jam with really great people visiting town. The night I most remember was the night I spent jamming with Tony Joe White. You must understand that along with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, Tony Joe White is one of my all time heroes. I just love that swamp music and that night I had the time of my life playing with him. Tony Joe, his drummer and myself played the evening out. I was so chuffed especially when he told me he wasn't that happy with his current bass player and would like to take me with him for the rest of his tour. I think I walked a couple of inches off the ground for a few weeks after that. I was a little lacking in confidence at the time and his endorsement gave me a much needed boost to my self-esteem. I talked to him a couple of years ago when he was touring Australia and he still remembered the night. Although that might be because he may have scored that night as lots of bodacious babes used to go to that gig.

Next: Chapter 11 - Al Green and Bobby Womack