Sunday Herald Sun
December 6 1998

Star Cheats Death
by Murray Johnson

Colin Burgess, drummer with legendary Australian band The Masters Apprentices, has narrowly escaped death in a horrific car smash. Burgess, 52, broke two bones in his neck, his pelvis and several ribs in an accident soon after leaving the successful launch for his new band, Good Time Charlie.

Fire brigade officers had to cut the badly injured Burgess, twice voted Australia's best drummer, from the wreck. Surgeons removed his spleen and half his pancreas. His lungs collapsed and he was on a life support machine. 

Medical staff at Royal Prince Alfred Hopsital in Sydney expect Burgess to eventually walk again. They said he had no head injuries or spinal damage. Yesterday he was conscious and his condition was stable.

"From what I can gather he will pull through, but it will be a long haul," Masters Apprentices lead singer Jim Keays said.

The car crash occurred exactly a month after Burgess and other Masters Apprentices musicians were inducted into the Australian Music Hall of Fame on October 20.

On November 20, Burgess, his brother Denny, who also played with the Masters Apprentices during their stint in England, Denny's wife Clare, and a backing vocalist accepted a ride from a 24-year old man to a party in the Sydney suburb of Stanmore. Clare Burgess said the driver attempted a U-turn as they arrived at the party and was hit from behind by a semi-trailer. Police later charged the driver of Burgess' car with exceeding the .05 blood alcohol limit.

Bass player Denny Burgess, 48, is in hospital with five fractures and titanium plates in his skull. He had 4-1/2 hours of plastics surgery on his face.

Clare Burgess said Burgess' new band received "rave reviews"at the launch. "We're certainly off the road for a while now, "she said. "We're just so glad they're kicking and should recover fully. It will be a long hard haul for them. Denny and Colin are both pretty smashed up."

The Masters Apprentices formed in 1965 in Adelaide. They had Top-10 hits including Because I Love You, Turn Up Your Radio and Living In A Child's Dream. The band recorded two classic albums at the hallowed Abbey Road Studios in London and split in 1972.

Denny also played in The Throb, another post-Beatles Australian pioneer rock'n'roll band which had a hit with Fortune Teller.

Good Time Charlie's launch featured its first CD, Adults Only.

© 1998 Murray Johnson/Sunday Herald Sun