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Mayfield Hotel 2006

SWANEE: BY Steve 'Mac' McLennan

How can Swanee not be considered a Newcastle band. Tinno, Screenie, Dennis
Butler, Mick Stove, Pammy & me all served time in the ranks as did Bob
Spencer (an adopted novocastrian). The crew was at one time or another all Newcastle guys as well. Tony (Ex-Rox bass player) Mal from Atlantis, Dale from Heroes...all did time with Swanee...and they're just the names I can remember. Also, the band's best reception outside of John Swan's hometown of Adelaide was always here in Newcastle.
We did 2 sold out nights at The Workers Club on the Swanee / Barnsey 85
Tour that absolutely took the roof off. I was recruited by Tinno once Screenie left.
After the first gig at Mt. Druitt I wake up in St. Mary's hospital. My driver, Mono & I
had headed back to some local girls' house for a post-gig party. I stumbled
out to the car in the wee hours for a nap (trying to do the right thing...I was married
at the time) while Mono indulged in the pleasures of the flesh. Mono (whose name
I fraudulently claimed came from him being testicularly challenged) was a notorious premature ejaculator so I figured it wouldnt be long till he joined me in the car and got us home.
Not to be.
I awoke to find myself laying on the back of a flat bed truck, covered in
blood after being catapulted through the front windscreen of the vehicle Mono was
"driving".He'd run into the back of the parked truck and the car, much to our dismay, was wedged under it. He was reasonably uninjured due to his correct use of a seat belt. I unfortunately had laid the passenger seat down and wasnt strapped in at all.
There's the message for today. So its an ambulance ride for me and Screenie's called back in to fulfill the next week's gigs while I recover. First gig back in at Wyong Leagues and I walk into the band room to be met by a flying Karate kick from Swan. My natural reaction was to defend myself and I accidentally slammed him on his arse into a pile of rare & expensive guitars owned by Tinno, Bob & bassist Gus Fenwick...all now thankfully undamaged but needing to be retuned. The lads berated me for my unthinking stupidity...never once mentioning the initial assault which prompted my instinctive reaction. A few nights later we're at Sweethearts in Sydney's west and I was stupid / honest enough to tell Swanee his stage outfit made him look like a french farmer...jokingly referring to him as Pierre.
No one laughed.
During the encore when Swanee would play a drum soloette he seemed to be struggling so (always the team player) I jumped on the kit behind him...kind of straddling over him one foot on the back of the stool one foot on my second floor tom...and began playing. The crowd went nuts. Then Swanee grabbed me by the balls and unceremoniously launched me over his head, through the kit... drums, cymbals, mike stands went every where. I did a forward roll as I hit the stage and arose to take a bow just in front of the wedges. It was hilarious, glorious, wanton, mayhemic theatre. I soaked up the adulation before turning to see Swanee stomping through my kit, storming off stage in disgust. I was greeted with silent, stoney faces in the band room...except for Swanee who was trashing everything in sight and ranting about me "trying to upstage him".
At least thats what I thought he was saying in that broad scots brogue. I attempted
to explain myself but was shot down with a glare and the inevitable "dont vex me
cretin." The boss had spoken...end of conversation. Amid this sort of madness I have to say I had a wonderful time touring the country with Swanee whom I regard as one of the greatest rock'n'roll singers ever to step on a stage. He was a gracious host and taught me a great deal about life on the road....and I certainly had access to places & people I never would have if it hadn't been for John. I'll never forget opening night at the Launceston Velodrome in front of 10,000 screaming fans and a drum fold back that could blow your brains out, the Adelaide stripper who gave Bob Spencer a temporary toupee (wink wink nudge nudge say no more), hanging out talking about the early Stones' tours with legendary security / body guard Bob Jones or snorting lines of coke off a Hell's Angel's Bowie knife (without a note or straw) and sitting up till sunrise drinking honey tea, eating avocados and listening to Glenn Hughes era Deep Purple at John & Virginia's house where I lived for 3 months. I even wrestled those psychotic Great Danes apart one day....and survived. God bless ya Swanee. Aye ready !!!

Mayfield Hotel 2006

Photographer Scott Rankin