COUNTDOWN SPECIAL – PART 1

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Boney Maronie (L Williams) – Hush 1975

 Glam band Hush roared to #4 in September 1975 with their Sweet/Slade-style cover of Larry Williams Boney Maronie which was a perfect vehicle for the band’s flashy hi-jinks, satin flares, bum- wiggling, big hair, starburst guitars, stack-heel boots, glam threads, colorful scarves, and shameless mugging to the Countdown cameras, which all endeared Hush to their many besotted pre-pubescent fans.

Before Countdown exposed local groups to millions of Australians from 1974 to 1987 via the ABC national network, groups like Hush, who were essentially third tier performers behind the likes of Sherbet and Skyhooks during the glam rock years, toured the country towns incessantly to establish a fanbase, led by poodle-haired front man Keith Lamb, an English migrant who had arrived here in 1970; they flashed across the pop firmament for several years.

By 1975 Lamb was wielding his scarves and sharing his goofy grin on Countdown, beside him Les Gock struck rock God poses with his flying-V rhythm guitar and blonde-streaked black hair, fellow Asian bass guitarist Rick Lum hammed it up inscrutably, and ginger-haired drummer Chris “Smiley’ Pailinthorpe revealed his big gap-toothed grin behind the skins at every opportunity.

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Hush were all about jamming as much sound and fury into cover versions of other people’s songs as they could, in short there wasn’t that much substance to their plagiarised music, but they toured their backsides off and captured the zeitgeist of the glam rock era on the Australian scene. Subsequent covers of other recent hits of the time such as Glad All Over (#8 in 1975), You Really Got A Hold On Me and Too Young to Know (#33 in 1976) – all charted.

Surprisingly Hush were also regarded as a sharpie band along with the likes of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Rose Tattoo, The Colored Balls, and Buster Brown, and in the video of their performance of Boney Maronie on Countdown, several sharpie girls can be seen doing the sharpie stomp, all flailing elbows and dragging knuckles, at the side of the stage, reminiscent of the celebrity sharpies from Fast Forward – Michelle (Magda Szubanski) and Ferret (Alan Pentland).

Guitarist Les Gock became one of the most popular glam rockers of the era, his exotic good looks and stage antics attracted plenty of fan adulation, his stage outfits were extreme as he recalled when the band toured Australia  with Gary Glitter “ my costume was a full-length gold lame jumpsuit with red beading … the sleeves were a big v shape that reached to the floor and I kept tripping over them in my big sparkly platform shoes … fashion back then was impractical, but it looked great.”

The band were notorious for their fascination with groupies of all ages which prompted front man Keith Lamb to observe “maybe we should quit the music business and start an orgy shop.” (Glenn A Baker Archive). But for Lamb the band’s ultimate decline was hard to handle, by 1983 he was relying on the royalties from a hit song he had written for Status Quo (Ol’ Rag Blues), but he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, his fleeting moment of fame had evaporated, he wrote bad cheques, and was admitted to the Royal  Park Rehabilitation Centre (Melb), he was also a homeless person for some time, but was rescued by a fan named Louise, ten years his junior, who took him into her family’s home in Bendigo (Vic), and subsequently became his partner.

Les Gock’s final word on his band was recorded by Peter Wilmoth in 2009 in Glad all Over – The Countdown Years 1974-1987 –there was nothing cerebral about what we were doing, it appealed to the genitals as much as anywhere else.”

The band would intermittently play at reunion gigs in the future and in 2006 Hush featured in the Countdown Spectacular National Tour, Les Gock is now a successful music and sound engineer/designer working in film, television and multimedia.

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