Hux Electronics : History 1
A bit of a blast from the past, back in the days when men were men and pubs had rock n roll in abundance.
When I was at around high school age nearly all my mates at the time were into music or played in bands, a natural thing to do was to join them.
There was an old chap (30 or 40) called Fred who did lighting at the Darwin Amphitheater, the biggest gig in town. He built his own lighting boards with domestic lighting dimmers, coloured his own lamps and had a brochure for a Jands J-600 power amp, which at 300 watts per channel seemed to be a monster at the time, I was hooked. I just wanted to be around this stuff. I started by building a small lighting rig out of whatever I could find lying about and assigned myself to one of my mates bands as their roadie and lighting dude. I built a lighting control board out of domestic switches and domestic lighting dimmers (a smaller version of the thing Fred had made), had rows of 60 watt bulbs that I had coloured with Fred's secret method and eventually progressed through to making pyros of a primitive kind (some of these may have been a little on the unsafe side of things).
At 15 I got my first bass guitar, borrowed an Acetone amplifier, joined a band and was off. I was equally fascinated by actually being in a band and the electronics that we plugged our stuff into. It was really a desire to know what made guitar amplifiers and PA systems tick that got me into electronics in the first place. I didn't have a camera or keep records of way back then and so don't have many photos of these really early good old / bad old days.
After playing in pub residencies (3-5 nights a week) for a few years I decided to retire from active playing and pubs but somehow wound up mixing bands in pubs instead. As I was one of the few live sound engineers at the time who had actually been on stage I wound up being in high demand. I somehow managed to fit in doing an apprenticeship in electronics along the way as well..
Following are bunch of random photos and clipping that I have, the rest are just distant memories.
A band called Low Profile, 1979, this shot is in the airconditioned bar in The Vic Hotel in Darwin back in the days when that was a big deal. I played in a lot of bands at The Vic, most of them were in the other bar which was not airconditioned. From left to right, Peter Killington (drums), Warren Huck, Peter Healy, Peter Hughes, Geoff Gifford.
I don't know when this was, sometime at The Vic, probably in the a band called The Woofles and probably 1980 ish. The Woofles went on forever, players would come and go from the line up, I was in it two or three times. Back in those days I was often called Huggy (a play on my surname).
The Woofles in one of its ever changing forms out on a parade float in the streets of Darwin. From left to right, Warren Huck, Bernard Bremond, Peter Killington (drums), Sheryl Hoogwerf, George Dahlstom, Tony Joyce. Sheryl was only in the band for a few months, she had so much presence when she sang that the punters would stop drinking and the bar manager would complain, as a result Sheryl was only allowed to do 30 minute sets, she rocked. Bernard went on to be a founding member of the Johnny Diesel band, Tony Joyce is a Darwin legend and is still up there playing in more bands than a mere human has a right to. George and Sheryl went off and had a string of kiddies and live happily in North Queensland somewhere.
A band called CBE (cant be everywhere). We played in the Vic Hotel for 10 months straight, 3 to 5 days a week. Back row, Warren, Mark, Peter Killington, Charlie, Wazza. All these chaps (apart from me) are Kiwis and could really sing, great vocals in this band. I learned a lot about sitting in grooves and how to push time around with Maori's in the band. No one ever missed a gig, Mark broke his ribs one day and still turned up and sang. Charlie used to turn his amplifier down one notch below where he wanted it and then he would push into his guitar a bit more, when we all did this it was so easy to hear everything on stage (so simple and yet so effective).
Mixing at The Darwin Hotel, this was soon after I retired from live playing, I don't recall the band.
NT Express at The Todd Tavern in Alice Springs. I wound up mixing this band for a couple of years. We toured around a bit and wound up all moving to Alice Springs. Peter Killington (drums), Geoff Gifford, Ross Muir, Dave McCall.
Peter Killington (aka Flatop). Peter is a great feel player but he would forget to hit his snare hard enough (it is rock n roll after all). One way to get him to crack his snare was to get him angry. One of my jobs as sound engineer was to wind him up, this photo of Flatop shows him full fight and suitably pissed off. I have lost track of Flatop, I played with him in many bands and mixed him in many bands. Peter taught me two golden rules as a bass player, they are : to lock in with the drummer and to lock in with the singer, once that is done the rest falls into place.
Mixing the Hermansburg Country and Western Festival 1985. A really long and really cold day. Left home at 4.00am, got back home at 4.00am. In these days I didn't take any crew and just relied on helpers on the ground, I had lots of helpers on bump-in and one reluctant helper on bump-out. The show itself was fun, though there were many versions of "Your Cheating Heart"........
Way back before Blues Festivals existed, my mate Herman put on "The First Australian Blues Festival" in Alice Springs, this is the bump-in and set-up day. Herman had a great line up with Renee Geyer, Kevin Borich, Kirk Lorange, and an impressive array of others. We had a an audio recording truck and a video van on-site, it was all going to rock...... about 1986 ish (cant remember). I was the systems engineer for the show (just means that I mixed anyone who didn't bring a sound engineer and I helped those who did).
More setup for The First Australian Blues Festival. I wouldn't stack a PA like this these days, but this was how we did it then (by the seat of our pants).
The First Australian Blues Festival, nearly ready to go and then it rained. Herman (the promoter) didn't have rain insurance and so he tried to build a roof, it didn't work.
The First Australian Blues Festival. The show finally got underway about 10 hours late, the rain kept the punters away and so it lost money. This shot is of Renee Geyer on stage at 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, she was great.
The Camel Farm, Alice Springs, there were some great shows that were put on out there. I don't remember the year or if the band had a name. It was made up of Ross Muir, Dan Farrell, Mike Farrell and me. I think that we only did a few gigs with this line up.
A gig somewhere in Alice Springs, I started playing live again after some time and filled in with several bands. I wound up being the resident bass player in a band called The Booze Brothers for a couple of years. I was probably in the band at this event but couldn't get my nose out of the mix and so here I am "helping" out the sound engineer Chris (aka Kenwood Mixmaster) Howitt during a sound check.
An outdoor gig somewhere in Alice Springs, cant remember where, you can see the MacDonnell Ranges in the background. Herman on monitors and me out the front mixing, many of the usual suspects in the band.
In Alice Springs the working musicians would rotate in different bands depending on the event. This is a scratch blues band for something or other. Probably around 1995. A great line up including, three guitarists, a baby grand piano on stage (well we always had one anyhow), a blues harp player and a horn section.
I moved to Brisbane in 1997 but flew back to Alice Springs to mix live audio at the CLC 30th birthday party in Alice Springs 2004. This was an outdoor event held on Anzac Oval, I had mixed quite a few large events there and so they decided to wheel me out just one last time.