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The Rum Culls

RC 1
1978. RL: Shayne Kerr, Adam Macaulay, Pam Merrigan, Phil Bates, Norm Merrigan

1980. RL: Phil Bates, Jeremy Brookes, Alan Wall, Vicki Flodin, Adam Macaulay

The Rum Culls began in 1978 as The Rum Culls Ceilidh Band, when five local folk singers and musicians banded together to play what was called at the time "Bush Music". We played for dances in Newcastle and Sydney as well as having residencies at The Hunter Hotel and The Shaft Tavern, played nationally on the folk festival circuit, appeared on NBN television and recorded for ABC radio.

When Pam and Norm Merrigan left in 1979 we decided to give up our day jobs and move in a more semi-electric direction, bringing in Alan Wall on bass. Vicki Flodin on fiddle. Jeremy Brookes on mandolin, fiddle and electric guitar joined a few months later when Shayne decided to leave. This line-up played residencies at The Shortland Hotel and the Bel-Air and travelled extensively, playing anywhere from small country community halls to the Sydney Opera House. We were also getting huge crowds to our Big Bush Balls, held in the betting sheds at Newcastle Showground.

Vicki left in mid-1980 and Jeremy went back to New Zealand. Our search for a fiddler brought us Kathy Bluff from Adelaide and we settled into a very productive and satisfying two years of travelling as well as playing locally, culminating in recording the "Dead Cocky" album with Mark Tinson at Studio 21 with help from Kevin Toneycliffe, Dennis Butler and Mick Morello on drums, guitar solos and percussion respectively.

By the end of 1982 mass lay-offs in local industry and a crippling drought in outback NSW was making it hard for us to make a living so, rather than go back to playing part-time, we decided to call it a day with a final Big Bush Ball at the showgrounds on New Years Eve.

The Rum Culls was all about playing good Australian folk music in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment. Adam Macaulay's theatre skills gave us a stage presence full of warmth and humour, we set ourselves high musical standards and worked hard. It was a great four years.

Phil Bates

1982. RL: Alan Wall, Phil Bates, Kathy Bluff, Adam Macaulay.

Photographs and Bio courtesy of Phil Bates

LR: Jeremy Brookes, James Sneed, Adam Macaulay, Phil Bates, Alan Wall.

Rum Culls 1979
L to R: Phil Bates, Shayne Kerr, Alan Wall, Adam Macaulay (1979).

L to R (Possibly?) Adam Macaulay, Phil Bates, Alan Wall. 1981 Rum Culls Big Bush Ball

Photographs courtesy of Alan Wall