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Loud and Proud

Loud & Proud
LR: Craig T Foster, Steve 'Mac' McLennan, Justin Roberts, Grant 'Zac' Lawson.
Belair Hotel, Rayworths Battle of the Bands.

Photographer Debra Joy Smith.

Photograph courtesy of Steve McLennan and Trevor Dare.

LOUD 'n" PROUD: By Steve 'Mac' Mclennan

"What's in a name ?" Leo Della Grotta asked in an article on LOUD'n"PROUD.
He was as always giving me much appreciated support in my efforts to promote
my latest venture. We couldn't get a gig to save our lives because venues &
promoters rightly assumed that we were true to our name. Eventually we
started getting support gigs with other "Metal" bands like Sydney's
"Heaven". But I've gotten ahead of myself.
After "The Idols" called it quits I was looking to pull some people together
to play more for the hell of it than as a career move. I wanted to form a 4
piece rock in the style of Zeppelin and Sabbath (drums, bass, guitar,
vocals) and was looking for like-minded people with a passion for hard rock.
First on deck was Grant "Zac" Lawson. I have no idea how I ended up at the
Lambton Park Hotel but after a few schooners and a spliff we'd decided that
we possibly had the makings of a good musical relationship. A few weeks
later while on one of my many jaunts to Sydney, primarily to peruse the
whares at "Utopia: The Home Of heavy Metal", I decided to hang around to
catch Heaven play a set with Newcastle's own, The Heroes at The Sydney Cove
Tavern. My plan was to approach the band and offer my services as they were
about to embark on a number of US Tours supporting Judas Priest and Kiss. I
not-so-humbly believed I was much better suited to their style of heavy rock
than their current drummer Joey Turtur (who incidentally became a reasonably
close friend many years later when I was touring with Rob Riley and living
in Adelaide). Anyway.I ended up drunk & stoned, and when I barged into the
band room uninvited, was not welcomed with open arms. In fact I blurted out my
suggestion to the first guy I saw (who happened to be Joey) ooops.
Eventually, an alluring young woman led me from the venue to a harbour side
park and my embarrassment was eased by a hash joint and some gratifying
sexual activity. So, broke, drunk, stoned and satiated I wandered back to the
venue to see if I could get a lift back to Newcastle with Tinno.
Unfortunately he wasn't heading up the hill but we sat briefly and chatted
about my future plans which included the search for a suitably loud and
aggressive bass player. Enter Craig Terence Foster. CT was crewing for
Heroes and Tinno thought he was ready for a playing gig. Our first jam up
above Rayworth's Music where I was working at the time was incredible. We
pretty much played Sabbath's Greatest Hits as well as Zeppelin's "The Rover"
and "Custard Pie", the best bits from Ozzy's "Blizzard Of Ozz" & "Diary Of A
Madman" albums and a couple of rarely heard or played Michael Schenker
Group songs. (I actually saw MSG in England in 82.rubbish!!!)
We were in hard rock heaven. Now all we needed was a singer. Not such an easy task when you consider that whoever took the gig was expected to be a mix of Ozzy, Robert Plant, Ronnie Dio & Ian Gillan !! After a number of
less-than-inspiring applicants were disregarded, a young man by the name of Justin Roberts came down to Wallsend Soccer Club to audition. He brought with him Tinno's then brother-in-law, Stevie MacDonald and a Canadian guitarist named Jim Roberts, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bag of the wildest pot I've ever smoked. We all got along swimmingly. I thought Justin's high falsetto sounded more like Bambi than Ozzy but we liked his attitude so he was in. We did a number of gigs supporting Heaven at Wyong Leagues, Doyalson RSL, 7, & Belmont 16 footers.
By the end of that week I think Michael Browning was ready to cancel all of
Heaven's US dates, having punched out one of the guitarist / songwriters.
Turned out that the songs the boys had presented as demoes for their 2nd
album were blatant rip-offs of songs that we covered in our set. Very
naughty boys. With Tinno pulling awesome sound for us we gleefully blew the
demoralised crew off the stage night after night. Eventually I got itchy
feet and bought a one-way ticket to London. The New Wave Of British Heavy
Metal was in full swing and I wanted a part of it. Justin went on to become
a respected singer raking the dollars in with, among others, Gold Cadillac.
Zac creates incredible and disturbing objects d'art under the pseudonym Art
Macabre. CT and I worked and played together in numerous other outfits
including Anvil Chorus, The Beast and Mirage before he achieved national
acclaim with Judge Mercy. Basically, we all lived happily ever after.