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  #1  
Old 09-27-2010, 11:06 PM
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Default 1977 backstage with FM in Australia & cocaine

Excerpt: Michael Chugg's Hey, You in the Black T-shirt
28 September 2010

by Michael Chugg


In this sneak preview of Michael Chugg's autobiography Hey, You in the Black T-shirt, out today, the industry icon recalls touring with Fleetwood Mac in the heady days of 1977, bizarre medieval marquees backstage, smoking pot and breaking his #1 rule.

I am the king. I must be the king because I am sitting in the king’s chair. Down at the other end of the banquet table is the queen’s chair, but it’s empty. The twenty or so remaining seats on either side are also vacant. Whole pigs, sides of beef, shoulders of lamb, chickens, ducks, turkeys, vegetables, fruit and bread lie waiting, begging to be eaten, nut no one enters. Champagne, brandy, wine and more crowd the parts of the table not occupied by food.

Every night it’s the same. I appear to be in a medieval tent, like something set up for a royal jousting carnival. It feels strange to be here alone, sad even, yet there’s this amazing rush of wellbeing that comes and goes in my head. At its peak it feels like all I have to do is snap my fingers and anything I want – and I do mean anything – will be mine. When it subsides, futility and loneliness creep in.

This, you might think, is perfect fodder for the psychiatrist’s couch; the recurring nightmare of a man who wants for nothing but who can’t find happiness, a man too busy in the pursuit of money and power to appreciate the good things in life such as family or a few days lounging by the pool.

You’d be wrong. This is no dream. This is backstage at a Fleetwood Mac concert in Australia in 1977, nine months after their album Rumours went ballistic worldwide and just a few days after they arrived in the country for a tour that took in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland. The man sitting alone is me, Michael Chugg. thirty-year-old tour director for Australian rock promoter Paul Dainty and the person in charge of supplying the members of Fleetwood Mac with their hearts’ desires for the duration of their stay.

Top of their list is a medieval marquee, complete with flags, bunting and carpets, to be erected backstage at every performance so that they – Stevie Nicks, Linsey Buckingham, John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood – can indulge their newfound superstardom in a private and suitably excessive manner.

Also on their wish list is Gatorade, a drink almost unheard of in Australia at the time, which we have to import. They want limes, not readily available everywhere and, as with all fruit and vegetables, banned from certain interstate transportation. For the first and only time in my life I’m a lime-smuggler. Their testes in alcohol, not surprisingly, are five-star – French champagne, Courvoisier cognac, Tanqueray gin and Pimm’s, a drink I knew about only because my mum liked one on special occasions. And for every show there have to be six-dozen bottles of Heineken beer – another exotic taste in 70s Australia – in the dressing room.

These requirements are above and beyond the security blankets they have brought along with them from the United States, such as a mobile gymnasium, two grand pianos and a masseuse. Only the masseuse and one of the pianos make it out of their flight cases during the tour. There was also cocaine – lots of it – although I wasn’t aware of that at the beginning. An assortment of interesting people turned up with it. In Mac world, at the peak of tier vacuum cleaner capabilities, whatever went up their noses was never enough.

In March that year we had toured ABBA, which was madness in its own way, but this was different. This was down ‘n’ dirty rock ‘n’ roll. ‘The promoter’s rep will meet the band’s tour manager in the car park of Sydney Airport with two ounces of cocaine.’ That was the instruction from the band’s HQ in Los Angeles prior to their arrival.

I had made a rule, round about 1971 when I first started smoking marijuana, that I would never do powders. It was just a thing I had about heroin and all the other as yet unknown dangerous substances. When I was 18 and I had just moved to Melbourne from Launceton, guitarist Lobby Loyde gave me a purple heart one night and I didn’t go to bed for three days. I talked everybody into delirium. I was a big enough loud mouth as it was without having all that **** in my body, so I never did that again.

Marijuana was my drug of choice. I wasn’t best placed to go skulking around Kings Cross in Sydney or anywhere else looking for marching powder. I knew a man who could and would, though, and his name was Ray Arnold. Ray was one of the best roadies in the business and a key figure in significant parts of my life. There wasn’t much he couldn’t do or fix.

I rang Ray and told him what I needed and arranged to meet him in the car park at Mascot the following Saturday morning. The deal was completed before Fleetwood Mac had left the baggage carousel. As it turned out, compared to the illicit drugs that followed them to Sydney, our stuff was pretty ****house. I know that because the feeling of euphoria I had while sitting by myself in the marquee wasn’t brought on by feasting on roast pork and sautéed potatoes. I broke my rule. I chopped a few lines of the good stuff. I bowed to peer pressure. If you didn’t do it you weren’t going to be part of the mob. You were going to be banished. So I did it and that was that. Cocaine remained one of my partners in crime for decades.

I spent quite some time in that marquee during the Fleetwood Mac Rockarena tour, either on my own or with various members of the 67-strong crew, or with some of Santana, Little River Band and Kevin Borich Express, who were also on the bill. I was managing Borich at the time, as well as working for Dainty. Every night a gang of us enjoyed the lavish spread of gourmet delights and copious amounts of grog that otherwise would just have sat there untouched. Courvoisier and coke became by tipple of choice and I was drinking it for years afterwards thanks to the surplus from the band’s ridiculous rider.

Lighting roadie Peter Rooney and myself commandeered and customised a couple of road cases, which became the drinks stash that would be divided up between us when Fleetwood Mac had gone home. If you gave it back to the caterer, they would still charge you for it, so no harm was done. None of the band lobbed even once into that marquee, never mind that it was their idea. All of them were too wired to eat. The excess was outrageous. There was just too much coke and too much weed.

Although they didn’t touch the food, the Mac pack did make significant use of the Heineken. Before every show I would do the rounds of the dressing rooms and backstage area to make sure everything was in order. It had bothered me at the first show, at the Sydney Showground, that many of the bottles had been opened but the beer remained untouched. When I made the same inspection in Melbourne a few days later the same thing had happened. In fact all 72 bottles had their tops removed but every on of them was full.

I went completely berserk, as I have been wont to do in stressful situations over the past forty-five years, streaming ‘what the **** is going on?’ to anyone who would listen. Eventually one of the roadies took me up on stage, where they had two small tents, one on either side. In each of them there was a card table laden with bottle tops, sitting in neat little rows, with two caps pushed together, one on the bottom, one on top, to form a kind of capsule. I lifted one of the tops and saw the cocaine inside. During the performance, each of the band in turn would wander off to get a little card table action; all of them except drummer Fleetwood. His needs were somewhat greater than those of his colleagues, so he had his own colleagues, so he had his own card table within arm’s reach just behind him.

I could have brought Fleetwood Mac enough bottle tops to fill ten dressing rooms for what they had cost with imported Dutch beer attached, but I guess that wasn’t the point when you were ****ed up and successful as they were.

That was the most over-the-top, insane few weeks of rock ‘n’ roll debauchery I had been witness to in my career at that point, certainly from an act enjoying that level of success. That’s not to say I had been a good boy myself up until then; far from it. I’d been living the life for about thirteen years, either on the road with bands or hanging out in the pubs and clubs of Melbourne or Sydney, working with people like Michael Gudinski, Roger Davies and Michael Browning, among others, all of us trying to mark some territory in the fledging Australian rock business. But for me that 1977 tour was the beginning of a new era, the entrée to many wayward nights on the rock ‘n’ roll circuit with Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Billy Idol, The Police and a thousand others. At its most outrageous, the nights rolled into days and just occasionally days turned into weeks. In the 70s, 80s and 90s any night could be party night and there was always something, or someone, on hand to make it go with a bang. Show me a joint and I’ll show you a line of coke as long as your arm.

Win Chugg's book

To score an autographed copy of Chugg’s Hey You In The Black T-shirt, simply tell us, in 25 words or less, what was your first band T-shirt? Send your details (name, address and your answer) to competitions@themusicnetwork.com.

http://www.themusicnetwork.com/music...Black-T-Shirt/
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2010, 03:16 AM
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StreetAngel86 StreetAngel86 is offline
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the book came out today
i want to read about EVERYONE

this interview was from last night:

http://7pmproject.com.au/video.htm?m...ovideo_m=72124

ETA: apparently u can only watch this if you're in Oz ... sorry
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Last edited by StreetAngel86 : 09-28-2010 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivfox View Post
Their testes in alcohol
Yuck. I wouldn't want to partake of this drink.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:13 PM
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I would love to go back and be a part of that for one night, and just go crazy
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckydimecaper View Post
I would love to go back and be a part of that for one night, and just go crazy
I'd want to be a part of it for a month or so!
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:00 PM
Aussie W/Heart Aussie W/Heart is offline
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This whole excerpt from Chugg, has made my day!!! i have been trying with no luck to find some info from this concert Rockarena 77... I was there!! & if seeing F/Mac perform wasn't awesome enough, front row.. now this is the cheaky part , me being a care free 15 yr old, decided to venture back stage noticed the large marquee i casually walked over & stood in the doorway for a couple of minutes, it was wild inside just as Chugg mentioned. I scanned the room for Stevie, there she was sitting in the back corner next to Christine beer in hands & laughing with each other.. it crossed my mind to just walk up to say Hello, i chickened out thinking she might tell me off for being in there. 15 min later they were on stage
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffdweller View Post
Yuck. I wouldn't want to partake of this drink.
Their testes in alcohol, not surprisingly, are five-star


Dammit, you beat me to it!!!
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Aussie W/Heart View Post
This whole excerpt from Chugg, has made my day!!! i have been trying with no luck to find some info from this concert Rockarena 77... I was there!! & if seeing F/Mac perform wasn't awesome enough, front row.. now this is the cheaky part , me being a care free 15 yr old, decided to venture back stage noticed the large marquee i casually walked over & stood in the doorway for a couple of minutes, it was wild inside just as Chugg mentioned. I scanned the room for Stevie, there she was sitting in the back corner next to Christine beer in hands & laughing with each other.. it crossed my mind to just walk up to say Hello, i chickened out thinking she might tell me off for being in there. 15 min later they were on stage
Wow! Seriously, that's amazing.. Do you regret not just taking a risk and going over to them?
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:05 PM
Aussie W/Heart Aussie W/Heart is offline
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Originally Posted by luckydimecaper View Post
Wow! Seriously, that's amazing.. Do you regret not just taking a risk and going over to them?
Yeah i do, but at the same time i realised gatecrashing or intruding in their space was probably not a cool thing to do, though if i had of thought up a reason for being there, eg:like i was related to someone inside the Marquee, then i would of casually wondered over. I have mentioned this before that i had talked to Stevie on a bus for 10 min, i know it sounds unbelievable but its very true!!! a treasured experience i will never forget..
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Old 11-12-2017, 02:23 PM
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Flashback: 43,000 pack in for Showground rock
40 years on, we revisit Paul Dainty's one day Rockarena festival, the biggest outdoor concert of the time, featuring headline acts including Fleetwood Mac, Santana, Little River Band, Kevin Borich Express and Creation.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald on November 12, 1977

Lindsay Scott



More than 43,000 people – a record Sydney rock concert crowd – packed into the Showground yesterday for Paul Dainty's one-day Rockarena festival.

For more than seven hours they sat on the grass and perched in the stands, many bare-chested and basking in the ideal summer conditions. By 9 pm tickets were still selling. Crowd estimates varied. Mr Dainty put the figure as high as 48,000. Three of the world's top rock groups. Fleetwood Mac, Santana and the Little River Band, headed the five-act show. With all but 30¢ of the $12.50 going to Mr Dainty, he would have grossed more than $525 000. He has personally invested more than one million dollars in the two Rockarena festivals. The second will be at Calder Raceway, near Melbourne, tomorrow. About 6000 people made a dash for the best vantage spots when the Showground gates opened at midday. Some had slept there overnight.


Sixty uniformed police, about 12 detectives and 80 security men kept watch on the biggest Sydney gathering since the Rugby League grand final two months ago. By 8.30, police had arrested about 20 men, mostly for drunkenness. The 40 ambulance workers treated about 30 serious cases, mostly for cuts and drunkenness. At 9.30 the headliners, Fleetwood Mac, received a tumultuous ovation when they started their first-ever Australian concert.

Backstage, a party atmosphere prevailed among the 200 performers, crew and guests. They ate, drank and played pool and pinball machines in two specially constructed tents.


Out front, people were sitting on friends' shoulders, dancing and clapping to the music being pumped through the biggest sound system constructed for an Australian show – twice as big as that used by Abba and Rod Stewart.



http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/...12-gzjnky.html
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:28 PM
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and you think people stay normal and grounded living like that?
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