Tales from the Icehouse
Detour! This Way To Guy Pratt
Guy Pratt was auditioned in London in the same batch of
auditions that produced Andy Qunta. Strangely enough, Guy was actually
recommended to me by Laurie Dunn, who had his own independent record company
there at the time. I didn't know Laurie yet, I think Ray Hearn had known
him from way before that. They both came from Adelaide.
So, the first thing to do was to come back to Australia and do a fairly big tour here. I guess this would have been for Primitive Man. One of the first shows was at Festival Hall in Melbourne. It was an under 18 show and I think the place holds about four or five thousand. I said to him something along the lines of, "You haven't done things like this before so I'll have to give you a couple of warnings about a few things. It's a very low stage here; it'll be full of teenagers - sometimes they get a bit excited. If you see anybody trying to climb up on the stage or anything like that, don't panic. The security people will get them and they'll be heading for me anyway, so just carry on regardless no matter what happens."
So anyway, having said all this, we did the show, and during the show I saw two girls get up, starting to climb up over the edge of the stage - both on opposite sides of the stage. I looked sort of anxiously into the wings for the security guys who were all off with the pixies, not paying any attention at all. Guy was standing slightly behind me to one side singing away at a microphone. I was of course tied to the microphone with a guitar in my hands and I could see these girls getting closer and closer to being able to get up onto the stage.
Still no sign of acknowledgement from the security people. Guy could see these girls getting up, too; we were watching all that was going on. Next thing you know both of them simultaneously made stage level and were obviously on the blocks for a complete bolt across the stage at me. I braced myself for impact because there's not much else you can do when you're playing the guitar. Guy was watching this too.
So I shut my eyes and kept singing. These two girls took off into a full sprint straight at me and just as I got to the point where there was about to be impact they both went straight past me and both of them simultaneously tackled Guy.
I don't know who was more shocked - Guy who'd been tackled, or me at the fact that they'd completely bypassed me and went for the stunning young bass player! I was braced for it, you know - being an old hand - and I was deeply hurt... but it was pretty funny because they both headed straight for me and both went straight past me. I could feel the wind as they went past me and tackled Guy who was somewhere behind me. It was pretty funny - after the event!
On this particular night we were in Melbourne... lots
of record company people... an important night for Iva. During the second
verse of "Big Wheel" I glanced over at Iva to see if I was to
be invited over... no response. Then, with seconds to go, Iva turns
to me and gives "the nod"... the guy is fifty feet away at
least! With all the energy my body could muster, I charged like a retarded
rhino at the unsuspecting figure in the spotlight... I never thought
about how I was going to stop, I just knew I had to be there for the next
It's a moment I'll never forget and one well worth the price
Another similar story happened in Canberra when this same member was booked into a hotel room, but then decided to go home. His room was then vacant for the night, so we used his room for a party. Left it in a terrible state, so they didn't want that person back in the hotel even though he hadn't been there.
We had loads of funny times. There was one time when we were coming from San Francisco to Los Angeles and Iva and Bob were supposed to do an interview at KLOS (a rock station in Los Angeles). They'd built this sort of blue ice igloo in the car park. For some reason or another, everyone was on different flights. Everyone missed their flight except Paul Wheeler, my girlfriend Jane, and myself. So we went to KLOS to say, "We're sorry, Iva's not here. But, you know, we'll do the interview."
We said here we are and they said we don't want to talk
to you, we only want to talk to Iva and they wouldn't talk to us. So we
stood in the melted blue water and took photos.
But this particular time was after that and he was doing his tour here. Laurie Dunn had an association with Bryan Ferry because he had worked at Virgin, so on a number of occasions when Bryan came out here he had to chaperone him around. Laurie invited me to go along and have a look, and to inevitably go backstage and meet him and all that sort of stuff. So on the way in, I gave Tonia a thumbnail sketch of Bryan Ferry's early love life which included the fact that Jerry Hall had been his girlfriend during all the years that he'd produced the albums that got me into it, the very early ones. I think there are a number of songs written about her, one of them being "Editions Of You" which was because she was a cover girl. And I wouldn't mind suggesting too that "Really Good Time" is about Jerry Hall.
Anyway, what happened was that Jerry Hall ditched Bryan Ferry - which broke his heart - for Mick Jagger. And reputedly he's never been the same since. So here I was on the way into town, talking to Tonia and giving her this background and saying whatever you do, don't mention Mick Jagger.
It also happened that two weeks before, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall and family had been staying up at Jonah's, because up here it's a quiet little beach and so on.
Anyway, we saw the concert which was actually great and
went backstage. I said hello and was talking to him. It was one of those
awkward things where you don't know quite what to say to somebody and
they don't know what to say to you and it's hard work. I was very nervous.
My mouth took over and my brain disconnected. I said, "Well, next
time when you come out here when you haven't got so much on the line,
I know what hard work it is on tour, you must come up and spend some quiet
time up there. It's a really great place, it's right out of the way and
nobody takes any notice of you. There's often celebrities up there, because
it's a good place to run away. Why, only last week, Mick Jagger and Jerry
and stopped there and he went white as a sheet and I don't think he'll
ever speak to me again!