Whitenoise commenced in 2001, working from a small Toyota van, a two box a side PA and a lot of enthusiasm. The whole system was hand made with each speaker box weighing at well over 30kg. The FOH house desk was a 16 channel Peavey mk3 and mics SM58’s and SM57’s to cover everything. All mic leads were hand made as well with connectors from second hand shops like Smithy’s supplying. It worked and sounded loud and clear, though my back at times paid the price. No room for a trolley in the already over bulging van. All amps were individually sleeved, no racks with wheels in those days
Lights were very basic and included 4 par 56 cans (2 a side) mounted on the PA for front wash and 8 par 56 cans on push up trees for the back. The lighting desk (I still have it) was a 12 scene Jands special with red faders and buttons. It connected to a 30 metre analogue snake into a dimmer rack the size of a bathtub!! The front of the dimmer had on/off switches for each channel and made the PA buzz something chronic when lights were at half power. Consequently I always ran everything flat out by using the buttons with maximum intensity on the master flash fader.
I remember doing one gig in Penrith where I arrived at 4pm to set up for an 8.00 show. I had it all set up by 6.30 and went to grab some tea. Later I was wondering where in hell the band was as it was getting onto 7.30pm. The bar staff informed me that the band wouldn’t get there till at least 10.30 as nothing could happen until after the Friday night football was over – both games!! Consequently the gig ran from 11.30 – 3.30 am in the morning. The sun was coming up when I got home and that was the last time that ever happened I can tell you.
2nd story comes from a gig I did at a extremely posh wedding on the Northern Road, south of Penrith. The first marquee was the size of 2 tennis courts and it housed the wedding party and their guests plus the stage & dance floor. A smaller one was next to it for all cooking etc and the band got to sit outside this in the cold air to eat. Talk about treated like second class citizens. The band was booked to play from 9pm until midnight but the speeches and pats on the back went well until after 11pm. Finally the wedding waltz was done and then the band were into it. 50 minutes later, the band pulled up stumps and said its midnight so that’s it for us. Well you can imagine their faces as the realisation sank in that we were serious. I started pulling down lighting and monitors with the band insisting they were booked only till 12 and as it was 12:15 they were done for the night. Then the crunch came. The father came over and abused the band and me and demanded that we play for the 3 hours they had been booked for.We said not unless there’s more cash involved and at one stage I thought a punch up was on.
The groom and best man then started wrestling each other (as they were Australian school boy rugby players and drunk) whilst this was getting sorted out and pretty soon at least half a dozen other guys had their shirts all ripped and joined in. Whilst they amused themselves rolling around on the floor yelling obscenities at us, i continued to wrap leads as fast as I could. Talk about alcohol being a great class leveller. They were all nothing more than 1st rate thugs and they had the hide to keep us locked outside in the cold all night till showtime.
Consequently we won the argument and we started to leave – but not before they fired up a juke box and basically lined the dance floor so we couldnt get a clear bump out to our cars/vans etc. It took us well over an hour to get out of that place and I swear we were lucky to even get out alive as the crowd was definitely not happy.
3rd story…Jon and I did a gig at Gloucester a few years back and it all went well till we were about 20 minutes out of the place on the way home and we blew a passenger rear tyre on the truck – the inside one. Well after 10 minutes of struggling with the wheel brace and cursing and swearing we finally realized that the passenger side had reverse threads. Well you could have heard a pin drop when it finally sunk in that we were actually tightening the nut rather than undoing it. Consequently when turned the correct way the nuts came off easily!!!
Lastly, I used to own an old Bedford truck made somewhere around late 60’s. I loved that old beast but boy it gave me grief. I had the engine changed to a Holden 202 motor as it originally had a 186 (I think as I am no expert on these things). Well obviously the speedo now would show me doing 180Km/hr instead of 90 or whatever the speed was. The poor little gearbox revved its butt off and one day the extension housing box just blew up when I was on the highway heading to Sydney. Not fun I can tell you. About a year later we were off to do a gig in Canberra and around Collector way the entire front end wish bone collapsed as the high tensile bolts just gave way. They had enough and decided to part ways with the van. The steering went all over the place as you could imagine and I almost ended up in a ditch on the side of the road. The gig was naturally cancelled and we all spent a very leisurely afternoon relaxing at the Collector pub drowning our sorrows. When I eventually managed to advertise it in the trading post I got about 10 people enquiring and they rang up my mates place in Sydney where it was going to be and I said to get them there at 12 o’clock for a viewing. I got as far as Marulan on the way up that day and the back axle broke in half. They reckon the van was on 2 wheels at the back and looked like an aeroplane coming in to land. I parked it by the side of the road in Marulan, rang my mate and said whoever wants to travel down to get it was welcome to it. The keys were in it. I never saw it again.