Mick Power Remembers:
My life in Music really started at the age of 15 years after running away from Boarding School at St Brendan’s in Yeppoon. At the beginning of the second Term, I took off across the Pineapple Farms and managed to hitch a ride in an old beatup FJ Holden back to Brisbane.
I did have a musical background from the age of 8 years learning Piano, Piano Accordion, and Vocal training gained from my schooling days in Private Colleges. My first gig was in a small make do band at St.Brendan’s where we got to gig at the end of the term school formal. This was at the local girls college St.Ursula’s College in Yeppoon. I was just 14 years of age and had to get special permission from the Head Master, as the Formal was for Senior years only!
After arriving back in Brisbane, and my parents both having a fit at my decision to leave the college abruptly, I was informed to get out and get a job…..quick smart! Within a week I had my first job and, immediately started to save for my first guitar. Within 4 weeks I had saved enough to catch the Tram into the city and purchase my first Jason Guitar and Case from Palings Music Store for $35.00. I thought it was Christmas. On the Tram back home , with my first 50 Guitar Chord Book in hand, I felt like a pop star. Within a matter of weeks I purchased my first Golden Tone Amp, I can’t remember what I paid but I was on my way to the top, so I thought.
I noted most Saturday afternoon’s, a band close to home would practice and, during the week, I would often hear a drummer practicing. One day I followed the sound of this band and, it turned out to be one street away from where I lived. I rode my push bike and turned the corner into Dunrod Street, Holland Park West, only to see four cars lined up with the signed stencil in the back of each car reading IN-SECT. I later found out that the Drummer of that band was Paul Doo and his neighbour was the Lead Player for the IN-SECT Rod Harris. I started to follow the band around watching their every move as they were in demand for all local Fetes and used to hold their own gigs at various halls around the suburbs. One such Venue they would work at the time was the “The Marqee Hall” at Holland Park. On a Saturday Night this hall was booked by a very young “Brian Hegarty” who later became one of Brisbane leading booking agents.
On finding “The Marqee”, I was there most Saturday nights checking out the Local Bands and dying to get up and shown them what I had. On one such night I noted a 5 piece band called “The Mourning Souls” performing and, thought they had a good sound so, on one of their breaks, I made myself known to the Lead Player Neil Adams who was very happy to talk to me and, after I asked him a million questions I was told by Neil that their Rhythm Guitarist was leaving, I immediately asked if I could audition for his spot and it was agreed the following Saturday that I would go to Neil’s house and try out. Well, I must have done something to impress Neil because I was immediately accepted into the band. The band continued along for another 12 months while I gathered experience and it was decided together at a group discussion that we go down to 4 piece drop the singer and I would take over the main vocals and we changed our name to “Einstein’s Theory”. The band consisted of Neil Adams Lead Guitar and Vocal, Gavin Townsing Bass, Trevor Fielding Drums, and myself Guitar and Vocals. We also decided that we would move into the blues, my first introduction to the likes of Paul Butterfield, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac etc…..
After a time, we dropped the “Einstein’s” and went with “The Theory”. We also at this time began to work the city venue’s like Electric Circus, Uncles, Prince Alfreds, the Back Door, and many more around Brisbane, including the North and Gold Coast, and Toowoomba areas. We also had moderate success in both 4IP Rock Festival and Hoadley’s Battle of the Bands. Getting into the finals in both events.
While working Sound Machine one night in August 1969, I was approached by Jamie Dunn (AGRO) and asked if I would be interested in being front vocalist for the next edition of “The Hands Down” after Tony Worsley lead vocalist, decided to move on. I thought about it for a couple of weeks and decided to go for it. What immediately grabbed my attention was the inclusion of a Hammond Organ and a couple of Leslie Boxes played by Peter Case (Toowoomba) knowing the full potential of what a big sound could be accomplished!
The line up was Jamie Dunn, Drums and Vocals, Peter Case Hammond, Warren Adams Guitar and Vocals, Myself Front Vocals, Peter Gates Bass, followed by Gavin Townsing Bass, followed by Paul Davies Bass over the period of the band. Within in 5 weeks of forming, we received news that we were to support The “Easybeats” on the Queensland leg of their Australia wide tour. This was after returning from their successful tour of the UK. This was the perfect start to cement our place in Qld as a recognised band. We went on to support the likes of “The Hollies”,”Bee Gees”, “Ray Charles” and would always be chosen to support Interstate Artists of the day such as Farnham, Doug Parkinson, Russell Morris, to name just a few.
Late into 1970, Jamie, Warren and I were asked to have a meeting with a top soloist of the day in Brisbane by the name of Jon Blanchfield. Jon had an idea to form a band with the return of one member of the Sect then residing in Melbourne. His name was Peter Moscos, Peter had decided to return to Brisbane after moderate success in The Sect. Jon wanted to put together a band that he would manage and use the abilities of Peter, Myself , Jamie and Warren as Composers. Peter had already had a distinguished career as a writer. And so, the band “Burke & Wills” was born with the typical Aussie Name. Peter Moscos Guitar and Vocals, Jamie Dunn Drums and Vocals, Warren Adams Bass and Vocals, Mick Power 2nd Guitar and Vocals. It was followed up by us opening our own Venue in the city called “Ayers Rock”.
The band went onto success with winning the 4IP Battle of the Bands and soon after we were approached by Lance Reynolds who had written a play called “ORG” which featured the first Full Nude Scene, needing clearance by the Qld Premier of the Day. We, the Band composed and performed all the music for the play which had a very successful sell out season that ran for 6 months. We later on were approached by ABC TV to host a TV Program that was recorded at ABC Toowong Studios of the day. The Production was called “Eyeforce” which “Burke & Wills” hosted and, in turn promoted all local bands of the day and kept up local news on the happenings in the music scene in Queensland. I left the band after being called up for National Service and the band went onto to add Neal Waddell on Keys and Sax but within 12 months, Neal deciding to stay on working at the ABC. “Burke & Wills” soon moved onto Melbourne as a three Piece and worked with Beeb Birtles (LRB) and Daryl Cotton (ZOOT) plus promoted themselves as a good solid Rock Band and signed with “Image Records”
I managed to get out of the National Service draft and settled down and got married. Soon after in 1973, I started a jingle company with a 4BH Radio Announcer of the day called Leo Wilson, we would knock out 30 sec Jingles for all the Radio Networks right up to Cairns and South to Sydney in my home studio in Mt.Gravatt. Nice little bit of pocket money. At the end of January 1974, Brisbane was hit by the big flood. I was approached by Leo who had been given a story about the floods and asked me to put music to the words. The idea was as a fund raiser to the QLD Flood Appeal. A new Brisbane Recording Studio had just opened by the name of Multi Media down at Newstead who donated their time for the recording as well as a part of the QSO who performed on the recording. I came up with a tune that seemed to satisfy the executives of the Appeal and with the help of Festival Records the recording was made over the last weekend in January 1974. Last count it sold 65,000 copies.
The musicians I put together to record the songs were from the early band “The Theory” who came on board to assist with the recording. The single was released under the name of Mick Power & Friends. This led onto me kick starting the band “Friends” which started as a four piece with myself playing Drums as I found it difficult to find a reasonable drummer. The band worked solid for a good eighteen months when Neil our Lead Player moved to Canberra for work. At the same time, I recruited Warren Adams from Burke & Wills days after he returned from Melbourne. Soon after Warren got word that Paul Doo was heading home after the breakup of the Sect. I was also keen to get back on guitar and front vocals so, with Paul Joining that gave me freedom to remodel the band. “Friends” went onto becoming a well respected band in south East QLD doing a lot of major events that came up in the city. Harvey Lister, 4IP executive (now Boondall Entrepreneur) managed our affairs for a number of years which saw “Friends” support many overseas bands and artists that played Festival Hall. Also, we were a regular inclusion at every Warana Festival held in QLD. each year. In 1978, “Friends” were given the award for Most Popular Rock Group in the Qld.Pop Music Awards.
“Friends” went their own way after a successful run of 5 years and, After“Friends”, I played solo for a number of years at clubs and, about this time with the success of “AGRO”, Jamie Dunn asked me to contribute with him and, with the help of my son Adam, we wrote a number of songs on the second “AGRO TWO” CD recorded at Alberts Studios in Sydney. Over the following years, I developed a keen interest in Jazz and with my new found love of BASS, I began exploring the Double Bass and Electric Bass, which I brought to use in a three piece Jazz Trio called “Cooljas” Piano, Bass, and Drums, I did the main Vocal. We managed to pick up a venue in the Valley called “Garuva Tranquility Restaurant” right beside the Wickham Hotel. We auditioned for a Saturday night and the owner liked us so much, we ended up being the resident trio for seven years, this was intermixed with Weddings and Sunday Arvo Jazz Gigs.
Soon after finishing “Garuva”, I received a phone call from my good friend Paul Doo who had work for a Singer / Bass player for a heap of work on Stradbroke Island where Paul had lived for the past 25 years. His then band “Shag Rock”on the island had decided to give it away and, Paul still begin hungry to play approached me to join. He had Mick Bohl (RIP) on Guitar and Vocal and with myself involved, the work came in thick and fast. Mick thought we should change our name and, he suggested “The GrooveMasters” and so it was…. To this day with the addition of a young Nathan George master guitarist “The GrooveMasters” still exist and sometimes extends to include Les Crichton, Paul Fox, and even Paul Davies among others and, although we are not run off our feet with work, when we do work, we all still enjoy the buzz. And in saying that, our particular association with BASEQ has kindly given us an avenue to do what we love to do…..perform! June 2021.