Series 5



johnny chester

Johnny Chester is an icon of our industry.  From his early recordings to his latest cd 'What you hear is what you get', he has kept a special place in our hearts.  Johnny talks about his first gig when he was a shy young teenager, and how through sheer hard work and determination he reached amazing heights in the country music scene, which also in those days meant charting songs on top 40 radio!  An affable, warm, and very talkative person, we are proud to boast the great Johnny Chester as our first interviewee after a long hiatus'
Watch his new clip 'Vegemite Kisses' on Youtube.
  colin cook
It's fantastic to know that some of our earliest singers are still around - in fact still performing.  Colin Cook - because of his dashing looks and the fact that he always looked suave in a suit, spent his early days flying back and forward from Sydney to Melbourne singing on all the TV shows including IMT and the GoShow!.  What we don't know is about all his successes overseas, and he appeared in many television dramas and theatrical productions.  Having had some ill health in the last couple of years, we are lucky to have Colin with us to tell his story.
lynn thorpe  
The quietly spoken wife of Billy Thorpe makes a rare appearance in the media as she talks about her time with the larger than life legend.   Here she explains about the years spent in America, the albums, TV sound tracks, the toy business with Tony Barber, and most of all the hard yards Billy put in to reach the pinnacles he achieved.  She also touches on the 'Long way to the top' extravaganzas and their trip to Morocco where Billy began his last cd 'Tangier'.  With a bit of help she has put together a book complete with wonderful photos and interviews with amazing people that were touched by Bill.  Look out for 'Keep Rockin' - Billy Thorpe', it's worth the read.
  buddy england
I'll admit I didn't know much about Buddy England, so when I heard he was part of the Go! Show Revival in 2010, I was surprised he was even living in Australia, much less just out of Melbourne!   His was a name I remembered from when my parents used to let us watch a bit of IMT, and when I heard his singles it all clicked.  A great interview by our Wendy about a guy who's involvement in the industry extended way beyond our shores and smack bang in the middle of the VERY intriguing upper echelon of the UK scene in the 60's.  A must see - it would make you cry if Buddy didn't put a comedic slant on it all.
dobe newton  
Back when our industry was rife with top 40 Aussie recording bands, it included many styles of music.  Therefore we couldn't leave out The Bushwackers and the eccentric singer Dobe Newton, who plays the lagerphone and a whole other assortment of weird and wonderful instruments.  Dobe still plays with the band, but recently released his first solo cd 'A convict can't be trusted' including his version of the song 'I am Australian' which he co-wrote with Bruce Woodley.  He tells some very funny stories about the band on the road.  Musicians call them 'the gigs of our lives' and every band has them.  But on Wrokdown, you get to hear about them!
  peter robinson
Okay, I'll admit I did a pretty crappy interview with Peter Robinson for the first Wrokdown show because I really didn't know much about him and his achievements.  I just knew he was the bass player in 'The Strangers' and not much more.  But speak to any musician around in the early days of Armstrong recordings and they will tell you about all his amazing arrangements of songs that became enormous hits for our legends at the time.  His harmonising abilities are beyond compare, which is why he replaced Athol Guy in 'The Seekers'.  He began his career in 'The Thunderbirds', and - over 50 years later - currently plays in '80's on the edge'.  My apologies to Peter and anyone else who took offence.  My bad.  And I wish this show could go for an hour sometimes..................
bob bright  
Bobby Bright is an icon.  From the early TV shows to his radio shows, theatre and voice overs, he has never been out of work.  Since the demise of Laurie Allen, Bob has made their hits his own, and his stage presence and powerful voice would put most singers to shame.  We are proud to have him on Wrokdown and hope that this great man succeeds for many more years to come.  I can't say much more.  Watch the show.
  johnny hawker
Johnny Hawker and his gorgeous wife Annie opened their house to Wrokdown and allowed us this totally engrossing interview.  Though now retired, these two beautiful people are still 'the best of friends' after having lived and worked together through the amazing times.  We all remember them singing their hit 'Cinderella Rockafella', but behind the scenes they worked with the cream of artists at the famous Armstrong Studio in Melbourne, arranging hit after hit whilst bring up a family.  John graciously commends 'The Strangers' for teaching him about pop music, but his background in England gave him the grounding for being the enormous influence he became in all aspects of our early industry.  (John sadly passed away 14/3/16)
wrokdown encore  
Early in 2011 we held a Wrokdown fundraiser, featuring four of our most enduring legends - Bobby Bright, Ronnie Charles, Jack McGrath and Barry Smith.  Backed by the Wrokdown Circus, a 7 piece band of professional musicians and md'd by Gavin Carroll, these wonderful singers entertained the crowd with their early hits.  This show was so successful that we did it all over again and filmed it for your pleasure.  The profits went back into Wrokdown to finance more episodes and I am eternally grateful that I have been able to meet and work with these Aussie legends.
Watch on youtube
  allan zavod
Just to prove you don't have to be a rock'n'roll player to be a featured artist on Wrokdown, we were very fortunate to interview Allan Zavod, or should I say Dr. Allan Zavod.  Some of you may know of him as a distinguished  pianist and composer, but what you may not know is he has performed in bands with Jean Luc Ponty and Frank Zappa.  Allan was born into a musical family in Melbourne and very quickly moved into the jazz circle whilst still retaining his classical roots.  A meeting with Duke Ellington at one of his gigs gave him an introduction to the Berklee School of Music in America, and he worked in the USA for 20 years.  A compelling interview with a many sided man!
Passed away 29/11/16  Watch on youtube HERE
nichaud fitzgibbon  
In the early 70's, I was into rock bands like Zep, Purple, Sabbath.  But one day by chance, I happened upon a performance by Smacka Fitzgibbon and I was hooked - even bought a cassette on the spot!  (Didn't tell any of my friends though...)  Smacka's life ended in 1979, so we contacted his daughter Nichaud, a noted jazz singer, to talk about his life.    Smacka crossed all age groups with his amazing style and stage presence, all taught to him from the cradle by his mother Minnie.  His restaurant 'Smackas Place' was the place to go in the 70's.  Nichaud kindly lent us rare footage and photos, which makes this episode that much more special for you.
  mick hamilton
Most of you would probably seen  Mick Hamilton playing guitar with someone in his illustrious career.  After leaving his first band 'The Moods' he was snapped up by 'The Vibrants' who had 3 charting singles.  He toured around Europe in a band with Mick Flynn, supporting among others 'The Osmonds', and when he returned to Sydney backed many large touring artists.  Returning to Melbourne after 17 years, Mick set himself up again as a guitarist for hire, but most importantly he got together with old friend Keith Glass to record a cd using the poetry of John Laws.  Appropriately named 'The John Laws Experience' the cd features vocals by Keith, Mick, and the gorgeous Nikki Nicholls.
Watch 'forget about it if you can' on Youtube
harvey james benefit   

Harvey James 20/9/52 - 15/1/11

On the 18th November 2010, we hosted the Harvey James Benefit - 'Gimme that Guitar'.  Harvey knew he didn't have long to go, and contacted our PR girl Anita Sulcs for some help.  He wanted to play his last gig and go out with a bang.  He wanted to feel the love one last time.  He also wanted his 'exit fees' (funeral costs) and a portion of money donated to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Clinic because of the exceptional care he received.  Believe me Harv got everything in spades.  Fans and musicians came from all over the world.  Harvey gave everything he had and despite his frail condition hardly ever left the stage.  This episode is just a small slice of the night, and a complete rendition including interviews and extra photos from the Sydney Tribute will be available soon on a DVD.  After the show Harvey said he would die a happy man.  We did our job.