How many bands have I played in? The time when I could count them all is long past. I formed my first band at high school with school mates Michael Edwards (piano), Leo Botham (Bass) , and Roy - name eludes me now (drums). We played instrumentals made famous by the Shadows and some of my early intrumental compositions influenced by these surf guitar hits. Later I answered an ad in the Manly Daily and, while still at school, landed a job as lead guitarist with a local rock band - I can't remember the name of the band now - and began playing at hotels while still underage, with my Vibratone guitar and a homemade guitar amp which once sent me flying across the room with electric shock. One vague memory from those teen years was supporting Masters Apprentices at Beacon Hill High School basket ball court.
I met Sydney songwriter and UK ex-pat Roderick Morgan during my first year at the University of Sydney, who was a big influence on my songwriting and we began jamming together. I still jam with Roderick 40 years later when I visit Sydney. I was about 19 when I bought a Burns Bison from his friend Keith Grey. I was asked by a guy in my psychology class at uni to play at a concert at Hyde Park - it turned out to be a very large Christian gathering - an audience of thousands in the park - and that's were I met my future wife Cammie Lindon, who was headlinging the show, and another singer, who also became a lifelong friend, Malcolm Smith. After that meeting Cammie and getting together with her and Roderick, she would drop around to my terrace house in Chippendale in her school uniform for rehearsals. Cammie and Roderick I began performing at coffee shops and restaurants around Glebe. We played original songs and pop covers in an unplugged acoustic style, much influenced by the harmonies of Crosby Stills & Nash, and developed a love of harmony singing.
During my tour with Africa: the Savage Musical, she contacted me and sent me tickets to a Leo Kottke Concert at Sydney Town Hall, where she, at 16, had been chosen as support act - she sang two of my original songs in her set and I flew up from Melbourne to be in the audience.
While working with the Lindsay Kemp Company in Melbourne on "Flowers" I joined two of the cats members of Africa: the Savage Musical" - Rod Freeman Smith & Glenda Lum to perform a madcap rock cabaret "Kabaratz" at the iconic Flying Trapeze Theatre Restaurant. It was there I met Colin Hay of later "Men at Work" fame. I performed with Colin at the 76 Sunbury Festival and he sang the lead role on my first demo of my Howson/Ferrier opera "Squizzy".
I met a talented unknown Chris Clark through Roderick and I began performing across Sydney in a duo with Chris, who coud do a perfect Paul McCartney impersonation, and we had a residency at Ali's Oasis in Birkenhead. Colin Hay came up to Sydney on my invitation and stayed at my parent's house in Dee Why and went to the audition for the musical "Ned Kelly" I had been offered by Faith Martin my theatrical agent in my place b ecause I felt already too committed to take up a role - and Colin won a role in that production. I remember one particular night during that period when he came to Ali's Oasis and I persuaded him to sing some songs - and his incredible voice drew people from who knows where - wthin a half an hourt the restaurant was full of people mes,erised by his talent.
A few years later, Chris Cammie and I got together again with Roderick to perform "the Milky Way Cabaret" at the Flying Trapeze in Melbourne.
I also formed a band with Malcolm and a drummer named Alex which went on to back Phil Jones (of Phil Jones & the Unknown Blues and later Quintessence) as the New Quintessence., playing regularly at the legendary French's Winebar in Oxford Street and a whole range of gigs in Sydney & Newcastle. There is a vague memory of us backing Dobie Grey who was touring Australia in the 70s, at a Double J concert. I worked with Jeff St. John for two years. An astonishing vocalist who was disabled by polio and sang from a wheelchair with a powerful voice and dramatic fair, Jeff was highly competitive and would beat me at every game - cards, chess, scrabble when we travelled to overnight gigs in Newcastle. He would pick me up in his modified EH Holden station wagon with hand controls.
I had had brief stints backing John Paul Young and also Gordon Waller of "Peter & Gordon" fame, who was in Australia to play the Pharoah in "Joseph & the Åmazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" (I was a cast member).
Barry Ferrier (aka Barry Ferrier) is a Byron Bay based Australian musician, songwriter /composer and multimedia designer.