Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Hung Out to Chai with Old Friends

I've spent the afternoon with old and dear friends today - drinking chai, telling tall tales and catching up on where our children are. Russell and Jillian Hung are currently up from Sydney for their Christmas visit - doing the family and friends visiting thing - and it was a wonderful thing to be able sit and chat about old times. The Hungs have been a permanent fixture in my life for over 30 years - I first met Russ when I was 20 and we started playing in bands together a year or two later when he replaced our drummer. Russell and Jillian were both Salvation Army officers when they met, fell in love, married and headed off to save the world. A few years later both were very disenchanted and left to pursue very different paths.

Russell played in Sydney bands, did sound, taught guitar in school and Jillian ended up doing research projects and working towards a cure for cancer in women. Meanwhile they had four beautiful children ranging in ages from 24 to 5 and now Russ has returned to the Salvos. He's spent a year in Sydney's western suburbs working in rehab and work centres and has just  learnt he's now returning to preaching and pastoring a Sydney church in Dural (sort of like Samford in Brisbane). He's happy and Jillian will continue with her important work because the Salvos have seen the light and Officers don't need to be married to officers like they were in the past!

So we spent the afternoon catching up on mutual friends - finding out where Neil (Levels) Colledge is (MD for casinos in Singapore; Ross Colledge is working on the NBN here in Brisbane, digging up yards in South Brisbane and playing in his 3 piece band FJ Blues; after leaving Shania Twain's band in the US, Randall Waller is now back in Ausralia playing for Rose Tattoo(!); brother John Waller (Avion), Billy Neilsen (Idea) and Steve Henderson are all working together in an Everly Brothers Show in Sydney, and off course keyboard player and arranger/composer Tom Howard is sadly no longer with us having died of a heart attack in the States earlier this year.

I still have fond memories of Tom and Dori sitting in my lounge room chatting and us sharing lunch here in Brisbane a lifetime ago. Tom and Russ were talking on Facebook one day and the next day Tom was gone (he was about 3 years older than me) and I couldn't believe it when we heard of his heart attack. A lovely man who created some great albums, orchestrated and scored so many others for friends and was moving backwards and forwards across the States scoring movies in Hollywood when he died. The first time we met, he kicked me off the grand piano at Mayne Hall at UQ when I was doing the sound check and blew me away. An amazing talent that will be missed.

Tim Hills has given away Jimmy Styles having gotten bored with the venture. They took out Triple J's Band of the Year thingy a few years ago but Tim decided to fold the band this year. He's still teaching music to handicapped kids and is currently writing his movie script. I'm hoping to catch up with him in the New Year and see how it's all progressing.
Rob Davidson seems to be another international muso - shuffling around the planet with trips to London and Prague and Vancouver. Toplogy goes from strength to strength for Rob and this year they played international festivals, as well as working with the multi-talented Kransky sisters. Earlier this year I sat in his lounge room watching old clips of me playing keyboards a Festival Hall with Rob in the early eighties (funny how so many of my mates have kicked on to bigger and better things and I'm still drawing pictures for a living).

And it was good to hear about the non-musos as well - Dr John Harrison is in the school of Journalism at UQ, teaching ethics and doing research projects; (I managed to catch up with John and Julie last week after far too long and it was great to hear what they were doing and how their kids we going as well). Brother Prof Pete Harrison has left Oxford and is heading up a new Department in European Studies at UQ (Does Pete count as non-muso? Pete and Carol and the kids have re-settled here in brissy after a five year absence in Oxford where Pete had his own chair. I think Russ and I played together with Pete for a brief while in between Pete and the Boys and BluePrint but our memories are failing these days). Youngest brother, Dr Scott Harrison is heading up the Young Conservatorium here at Griffith Uni in Brisbane.

Dr Bruce Redman, another mutual friend of Russ and I, is also working at UQ - the last time I worked with Bruce in film was when he'd finished shooting with Steve Mason (DOP on Strictly Ballroom) before he headed off to fame and fortune in the US - another lovely talented man. It was great to hear he has the academic gig at UQ - when we shot commercials together I always believed Bruce was far too big a talent to waste it selling carpeting and dog food.

And old mate Ross Clark is back at the academic game at UQ and QUT as well doing bits here and there when he's not playing ukelele in the BUMS. Ross has a new love in his life after an absolutely tragic year and we're expecting some great new love poems soon.

And as for the Boucher family -Rod and Vivi Boucher are still in the UK working with unemployed and mentally ill people (great YouTube clip of Rod busking somewhere in the UK - you've still got it buddy and I'm dusting off the libretto for that musical again this year so expect a letter soon). They were due to return to Oz early in 2012 but plans have been delayed;

And there's the amazing Boucher daughters - musicians, artists, actors, writers, mums. Dave & Dani are in the north of England and have given up on the Paris movie unable to get funding for the thriller. They're still doing the international performance stuff with BedlamOz, performing as Slinkies and with their giant inflatables shows - opening airports in Singapore, playing for the Queen... routine stuff;  Ben & Becca are also in London and I think Ben is doing session work while Becca is getting funding for her doco. She is currently unsigned to any record label, but has a new band called Belle O;

Butterfly Boucher is on world tour at the moment - based in Nashville and in love. Her second album finally came out last year with A& M and she's had a big hit with a song on Grey's Anatomy on TV.  She is currently producing Missy Higgins' third album; Sunshine and Nathan are still in Adelaide and Sunny is being a mum as well as producing artwork having had a recent exhibition;

Eden and David were here in Australia recently doing a Lover's Electric tour - lovely to see them and also for them to have a sell out crowd her in Brissy. They've released their second album with Sony and they're back to Germany at the moment to shift house from their current base in Berlin and return to London in the next few months. They have a fantastic website with their latest music video up online which is a beauty!

Angelle Boucher married her model husband in August this year and is still doing the international modelling thing in Japan and Hungary etc, as well as releasing her own fashion line recently. Angelle has been modelling for the last 8 or 9 years gracing the front covers of magazines (like Italian Vogue when she was only 16!) and wearing some of the world's most famous fashion labels.

...and the youngest, Harmony, completed the world tour as Aussie diva Kylie Minogue's guitarist and has returned to London to be offered 2 recording contracts - one as a solo artist and the other with her band Vuvuvultures, whilst also working on a modelling career. Harmony Boucher is well represented onYouTube if you haven't seen what the baby (Good grief -she's 23 now!) of the family is capable of. Whew! Do Your Dreams as Rod says!

So if you're and old friend reading this and are wondering where we all are, that may be of some help filling in the gaps.

Burn brightly, Pete

No comments:

Post a Comment