THE STORYTELLERS

COLIN, DENNY, COLE AND CLARE BURGESS

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Colin, Denny, Cole and Clare Burgess

Colin, Denny, Cole and Clare Burgess

 

OLEV MUSKA: I guess we’re interested in what drove you to rock'n'roll? Was it something in the area?

DENNY BURGESS: Look it was just love of music, I believe. I went to Burwood Christian Brothers School and Colin did too. Its a funny story: Colin learnt to play drums because he wasn't that well behaved so they put him out - every day they put him out of class - and the only place that they could have detention in those days was the drum room where everybody used to … they’d have the drums to drum people … kids …

OLEV: Half your luck!

COLIN BURGESS: I know. So "Burgess, get outside!" I used to get it all the time, so off to the drum room. Fantastic! What a day!

DENNY: And so he learnt to play, that, so he eventually became twice voted Best Drummer in Australia and I always attribute that to not being so good at school and being put out to the drum room.

OLEV: I think those little strategic occurrences in your life can make all the difference, can't they.

DENNY: Absolutely. You know, they're incidental things that …

OLEV: … yeah, had you not been relegated to the drum room, you'd be …

COLIN: … I always play … I had drums in my body from the time I was born … I think every musician … even yourself, mate … you're born to play music - its just one of those things.

OLEV: Yeah, you hear it in your head – I know, at 4 years old I heard a big symphony … swept me up …

DENNY: That’s right.

COLIN: Denny and me used to save our pocket money to buy real records. We'd save it and go without dinner just to buy some records so we could have records to play.

DENNY: We could buy a record on Friday if we went without lunch.

OLEV: It wasn’t easy to buy that stuff … in those days…

DENNY: I guess our whole family was musically minded and every Saturday, in Flavelle Street, we'd sit around in the lounge room and everybody who was there would sing, you know, or have to play an instrument, or do something and I think that camaraderie and the feeling of the joy … it was fantastic and I think those things happened in those days - people obviously without computers, TVs and whatever have you, they all did that.

OLEV: And when the rock'n'roll thing and Beatlemania and all that came along, it actually showed you a model by which you could do it yourself.

COLIN: Its true.

DENNY: And, to talk about the suburbs and things … when I'd left school … there were certain halls and things around where you would play and there would - I suppose you would call dances now - but that's where we got our grounding to go on to other things.

OLEV: Did you have any other ideas about career, or did you guys feel that you were going to go into music?

DENNY: No, we felt we were always going into music … we didn't think of the financial side of things, to tell you the truth we just …

OLEV: And that sounds very rock'n'roll, doesn't it.

ALL: (laugh)

DENNY: Exactly, and little did we know … no, no …

But I think that we always believed that we were just going to go down that path and, I must say, that we were encouraged by our family …

OLEV: I was going to say that, you must have had support from the family at least.

DENNY: We did, we did, and of course I believed that they probably would have thought, “These guys are crazy” and they … but they did say, you know, that, “If you want to do something … if you want it that much, then go ahead and do it”, you know.

COLIN: Alan Kissick, he was a manager of the Easybeats …

DENNY: Early on.

Denny and Colin

COLIN: … Throb - yeah, very very early on and he said, "Look, I've got George Young's brother, Malcolm, wants to form a band and do you want to play?" and I said "Yeah, OK Allan, I'll play," and so I met Malcolm Young and we went on and formed AC/DC from there …

… I wonder how they're doing now - if they're doing well or not. I just heard that Malcolm spent an absolute fortune on his garden over at Balmain, by the way.

OLEV: Yeah, another local, by the way - pretty much a neighbour.

COLIN: Well yeah, actually, Malcolm had been … he'd spent lots of times at our place at Concord at Flavelle Street, by the way. He'd been there quite a few times … and so did Angus … and look where they went: nowhere.

ALL: (laugh)

OLEV: They should have quit while they were ahead - while you were still in the band, right?

DENNY: That's right.

COLIN: Exactly!

 

View the 1971 clip of The Masters Apprentices' 'Because I Love You'

Colin Burgess is an Australian musician who was a drummer in the rock group The Masters Apprentices from 1968 to 1972 and was the original drummer for hard rockers AC/DC (November 1973–February 1974). The Masters Apprentices had top 20 singles chart success with '5:10 Man', 'Think about Tomorrow Today', 'Turn Up Your Radio' and 'Because I Love You'. In 1998 The Masters Apprentices, with Burgess, were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. He has performed in various bands with his brother, Denny Burgess, on bass guitar and vocals, including The Masters Apprentices.

 

View the trailer for the documentary film 'The Comeback Kings'

A documentary film of Denny and Colin Burgess by Joel Peterson, 'The Comeback Kings', is available to view upstairs and to borrow from the Concord Library.

In the film, Glenn A. Baker states, the reason they stop the traffic is that the The Burgess Brothers are born to play rock n' roll. They epitomise the rock n' roll lifestyle, "in the way they look, in the way they think... and they're a living breathing example of that raucous, rebellious, ragged, but good natured rock'n'roll ethic ..."

 

View the Throb's 1966 hit single 'Fortune Teller'

Denny Burgess is a singer / bass player who played in successful 60s bands that include The Throb, Masters Apprentices, and The Whispers.

"The Throb made this Stones song, written by Allen Toussaint and the originaly recorded by Benny Spellman indelibly their own in Australia, and it was all that anybody who craved raw, real low-slung rock'n'roll needed. The record and the live shows in its wake were unqualified successes all round. Released in February 1966, 'Fortune Teller' shot to the top of the charts in most cities, reaching #4 in Sydney and #2 in Australia's pop capital, Melbourne - a rare achievement in those days."

BACKGROUND

In response to community consultation, a number of local residents were interviewed and recorded. The sessions took place in December 2012 and February 2013 at Concord Library.

A short excerpt from each resident appears on this website. Together, they form a cross-section of insights into the wonderful community that is of and around the North Strathfield area.

The full interviews will be archived and available for borrowing at the City of Canada Bay Council Library Services.


>>> There is more to our story. If you can assist in filling in the gaps and/or providing photos, please email us