Melbourne, 1973

Mal Logan (keyboards)
Tony Lunt (drums)
Tim Piper (guitar)
Charlie Tumahai (bass, vocals)


This short-lived Melbourne band, formed in early 1973, was something of a supergroup, comprising four of Melbourne's top musicians. Tony Lunt was from Carson (which Logan also later joined); Mal Logan and Charlie Tumahai had both played in the recently defunct and highly regarded Healing Force, and Tim Piper had been in a string of prominent Aussie groups including The Meating (with Matt Taylor), the second lineup of Chain, Hannagan, Ray Brown's One Ton Gypsy and Bruno Lawrence's legendary Blerta.

Regrettably, this quartet of fine players stayed together less than a year and made no known studio recordings. Only one song, "My Soul's On Fire", made it onto LP. It's the closing track on Garrison: The Final Blow, Unit 2, the second of two live LPs released by the newly-formed Mushroom Records, to commemorate the closure of the popular Garrison discotheque in High St, Prahran, one of Melbourne's most important rock venues in the early '70s, which was managed and co-owned by Adrian "Ada" Barker, former roadie for The Masters Apprentices.

Garrison was forced to close by the local council in mid-1973 due to strong opposition from local residents and businesses. To commemorate the end of this popular venue, Mushroom Records recorded performances over the final five nights, from 6-10 June 1973.

The recordings were produced and engineered by the legendary John Sayers, using the TCS Studios 8-track mobile recorder, with performances by Alta Mira, Ray Brown's One Ton Gypsy, Friends, Chain, Sid Rumpo and Madder Lake, for whom the venue had been an important base. The Albums are now fairly rare, although it is hoped that the 2005 purchase of the Festival-Mushroom archive by the Warner group will eventually lead to a re-release in some form in the near future.

After Alta Mira ...

Charlie Tumahai joined harmony-rock band Mississippi. He performed with them at Sunbury '74 and went to England with them later that year. He stayed on in the UK after Mississippi split, after which the core members returned to Australia to form Little River Band. In the late '70s Charlie achieved considerable renown as the bassist in Bill Nelson's BeBop Deluxe. In later years he returned to his native New Zealand, where he was a founder member of popular group The Herbs, with whom he performed until his untimely death from a heart attack in the 1990s.

Mal Logan spent much of 1974 with The Dingoes, deputising for Chris Stockley (who had been sidelined after being shot and seriously wounded at a party by notorious Melbourne 'crim' Dennis Allen). After his spell with the Dingoes Logan became a member of the Renee Geyer Band.



Garrison: The Final Blow, Unit 2 (Mushroom L25081) various artists
One track only: "My Soul's On Fire"

References / Links

Noel McGrath
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock (Outback Press, 1978)

Ian  McFarlane
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)

Vernon Joyson
Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Australia (Borderline Books, 1999)