Masters Apprentices have made the grade
by Ian Meldrum
Even though the name will remain the same the Masters Apprentices have now become Master TRADESMEN of pop music having passed public examination.
Their first record ... "Undecided" ... is currently number four on the Adelaide Charts, and beginning to make an impression on the charts in other states. It is the first Adelaide group since the Twilights to achieve such chart success.
The Masters Apprentices which formed about 15 months ago derived their name from the fact that their style of music was influenced by such artists as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jim Read [sic] and they considered themselves apprentices to those artists. The group which has a lineup consisting of of: Jim Keays, lead singer; Rick Morrison, lead guitarist; Gavin Webb, bass guitarist; Mick Bower, rhythm guitarist; and Steve Hopgood on drums, decided after a visit to shift to Melbourne from Adelaide mainly because there was more work. They miss the Adelaide audiences but intend to make frequent trips back just if anything to get homeloving care.
When the Apprentices first formed the big thing in Adelaide was The Twilights, and because their style in music was different they feared it might be hard to get a following. But a following they got perhaps says Jim "... our following might have been of English influence but as the time went on we found that the majority of Adelaide swingers liked us."
It seems much the same has happened in Melbourne as the apprentices in the short six weeks since they moved, they have built up a decent following.
Rick Morrison and Mick Bower write most of the Masters material and their current record - "Undecided" - was penned the night before the recording session. Mick tells of how people have said that a tone bender was used to gain the backing sound, but in fact a valve in one of the amplifiers was "on the blink" and because it produced such an unusual sound they left it in until after the recording session.
The Apprentices are due to put down another recording session in two weeks for their next single, and the week after they will do a week stint on the Sydney scene. They also hope to make a trip to Perth in the near future. A note of interest is that Norm Willson of Kommotion is their Melbourne manager.