The musical journey that led to the State Secret band and the recording of Life Gets Better started way back as a teenager fresh out of Salisbury High. playing in a popular rock band Ra we would often do gigs at dances with other bands, one of them being a band featuring Bruce Hardy and Tony Mockeridge, Captain Jack , who were always prepared to take their music out to the boundaries.
Over time as these early bands came and went, and after a stint playing in Perth and Kalgoorlie with drummer, Keith Megson in soul band "Ace Trucking Company" I returned to Brisbane where like musical minds came together in Carnival ; one of the first bands in Australia to illustrate the influence of modern jazz on rock n'roll music.
Carnival's line-up was Keith Megson on drums, Tony Mockeridge singer and percussionist, Danny Egan/Greg Wilson bass players, with myself and Paul Draper (now a driving force in the Queensland Conservatorium of Music ) playing a dual guitar role. After some years of musical adventure and Queensland political intrigue I moved to Mackay and put a new band together with local Mackay musicians, bass player John Tebbitt and guitarist Andrew Heggan and powerhouse English drummer, Sean Freighter, formerly of Fairport Convention . This was the group which soon became Razz . Andrew and Sean moved on into other things- Sean to his trucking empire and Andrew reinvented himself a few years later as Red Rivers . Having the most beautiful gig in the world at The Eimeo Hotel every Saturday night, it was not hard to convince my Carnival buddies, Keith and Tony to join me and John in rock n' roll heaven NQ.
Razz performed every weekend to crowds that just seemed to get bigger. For all of us in the band, it was a peak moment in our lives. For the first time we were playing our own songs to big audiences that just wanted more of them. We were all writing songs, then performing them with an energy matching our audiences' craving for music that came fast and loud. Perhaps it was the accident of geography that brought it to its ultimate conclusion or maybe just another symptom of youth. We all moved on for a number of years to other musical adventures, including learning the art of recording, production and developing as performers and writers.
Most of us kept in touch through the times after Razz; others went to the far flung corners of the Universe. Somehow, the powers that be managed to put us all in one place at one time and I realise here was the perfect opportunity to do the thing we were always destined to do - record our stuff properly with the talent, the time and the knowledge on our side, Life Gets Better was born. I took this opportunity to include as guests on the recording, some of my favourite singers and musicians that I'd grown to love and admire over the years, including my good friend Ewan Mackenzie, who I played and recorded with in the Ewan Mackenzie Band . Ewan made his Patch of Blue album at Fruitbat and the great results he achieved with that recording made me realise I could produce music of high quality in my own home studio environment.
It's a great thrill to have my favourite song writer and friend John Tebbitt with my good buddies, Tony, Keith, and Bruce Hardy in the studio and my recruitment of Michael Tully was just an extension of some great work we have done and will do together.
One of the really great things about production is it is always a team effort. The contribution made by everyone who wrote the songs, played the songs and recorded the songs worked was absolutely incredible. The other good thing is, production is all about ideas. If you are reading this and you've got ideas, feedback on the disc or just to swap imaginings - I'd love to hear from you - check the email page and drop me a line.