the motown experience
peter cupples band
s Stylus slowly broke up I started working on some new musical projects. A small band evolved and we took up a residency at The Hatters Castle in Melbourne. There was myself, Sam McNally, Mark Myer and Joe Creighton. I was happy to be off the road back at home and playing regular local shows. The touring had really worn me out, and this was where I wanted to be at this time in my life. Mark and Sam moved to Sydney and were replaced by two superb musicians, David Jones and David Hirschfelder. They had been playing in the critically acclaimed jazz outfit Pyramid with Bob Vinier on horns
We hooked up with Mike Clarke on Bass, Linda Cable and Bill Harrower and started playing at the Grainstore Tavern. This band was musically superb. We played a number of my songs and often just belted out an extended blow session of sounds. We were creative and instinctive and this was a great time for me musically. The two Davids and Bob, along with Mike's work, formed an amazing outfit. This band pushed me to write some different music. I moved away from the soul genre and I wanted to explore new frontiers with my writing. This was the time that "Fear Of Thunder" was born. The song itself was really out there. It was exciting and different. It was me expressing the new direction that I had discovered around this time. It didn't fit into any specific musical category and, hence it was when recorded, a difficult record to pitch commercially. It was rock, pop, soul, reggae . A publishers dream and a record companies nightmare!!
The band that was to become the Peter Cupples Band then evolved over this time.
David Jones and Mike Clarke joined up with The John Farnham Band, an exciting rock band that evolved at around the same time as my band.
I went to see Virgil Donati play one night and was immediately drawn to his energy. Rob Little came over from Adelaide and was a known Bass specialist and backup vocalist. I knew Ross Inglis and how good he was.. And it was with this talented group of players that The Peter Cupples Band emerged. Musically we were fresh, different and innovative.
We played in your face music to a loyal legion of fans. We played the Melbourne pub band circuit in the early 80's when pub rock was big business around town. We loved what we were doing, and we felt that we were forging ahead and defining new trends in music. We had a decent publicity machine behind us, and generated a good amount of interest in Australia and overseas. We supported some top overseas artists and received critical acclaim. The album and singles sold well, particularly in Melbourne, but we never received the commercial success that we needed to take the band to the next level.
We never managed to put together the sound that was needed for a big Aussie hit. Maybe we were a bit too different, maybe the timing wasn't right.. - it's hard to say - but we were playing the music we loved playing, and our loyal fans followed us around the circuit as we continued in our pursuit of success.
We started working towards the second album "Half The Effort Twice The Effect". The songs had already become part of our set, and the fans had received them well. We had enough material to put down a follow up to F.O.T. It was just a matter of working out with the record company which direction the album would take.
Around this time we managed to get the opportunity to perform a song for "The Pirate Movie". That song was Happy Ending. We slowed up on our touring schedule and went into the studios to put down the new album. Happy Ending actually opened up a few new doors for me. Although the movie was not that successful, that song enabled me to perform on some variety television shows and events, and showed to me, at a time when I was starting to question my place in the industry, that there was indeed a place for me outside the gruelling world of the touring band circuit..
Half The Effort was again a different project for me. The celebrated American player and producer Louis Shelton was enlisted to produce the record. Louis was, and still is, an absolutely legendary figure in the global music business. He had played with the original Monkees, Boz Scaggs and of course Seals and Croft the originators of Summer Breeze. The album was targeted at the US market and was clearly produced that way. Half The Effort never received its share of marketing. It remains a much loved orphan in my catalogue of works.
For the second time in my career I had reached a stage where the constant drain and grind of touring had worn me down. Similar to the end of the Stylus years, this period in the Peter Cupples Band signalled to me that it was time for a new direction in life.
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