by Neville Davies
Icehouse - The People
Many Hands Make One Band
Since it adopted the name Icehouse in 1981, there have been no less than nineteen musicians who have been or still are members of this Australian band. To this tally could be added a now unknown number of triers who were involved with the early manifestation of Icehouse playing covers around the Sydney pub circuit under the name of Flowers. The fact that the Flowers line up stabilized during 1979 to the quartet which performed the debut album does not detract from the contribution of these now forgotten pioneers to the evolution of Icehouse.
The majority of the nineteen have been Australians, being drawn more or less equally from New South Wales and Victoria, even though the band had its origin in Sydney. Yet the total does include four recruited from Great Britain and even one Japanese.
The tenure of these various musicians with Icehouse varies from a few weeks to many years, but only one is common to every line up from the early Flowers up to the Icehouse of today.
The Pivot of Icehouse - Iva Davies
Iva Davies has always been the central figure of Icehouse. He was one of the founders of Flowers and soon emerged as the undisputed leader. Today, he remains as the sole member of Icehouse for the whole of its history. Little wonder so many people identify the group with this single personality and, certainly, no one could imagine an Icehouse without Iva Davies.
The leader of Icehouse was born Ivor Arthur Davies, at Wauchope, New South Wales, on 22nd May, 1955, the youngest of a family of three, one girl and two boys. When he was two his family moved to Wagga Wagga where Ivor received most of his primary education at Kooringal Public School. His further education was received at Epping Public School, Epping Boys' High School and the N.S.W. Conservatorium of Music, after the Davies family transferred to Sydney in 1966.
A Musician is Born and Made
Although neither of Ivor's parents were professional musicians, they and their older children all followed musical pursuits in an amateur way, and the home environment in which he was raised was never lacking in music. For the most part, in his early years, he was exposed to classical rather than popular music and this doubtless explains why he still gravitates towards the works of the great classical composers.
Certainly, Iva lays claim to a long musical heritage. Far more treasured in his personal collection of music memorabilia than the many gold and platinum records and other awards he himself has received from his career in popular music, are the Eisteddfod prizes for singing handed down to him from his Welsh forbears.
Well before he could walk, the infant Ivor is reputed to have accurately beat time to music on the radio by wiggling his bottom. Then at the age of two he graduated to conducting with a knitting needle and a pile of books for a dais.
He acknowledges a few early piano lessons from his mother. However, some perverse streak decreed that, in spite of his Welsh heritage, his first serious musical ambition was to play the bagpipes with a Scottish band. This was achieved. The young Ivor from the age of seven studied and practised hard under the dour pipe major of the Wagga Wagga Heather Pipe Band until he was able to join the other pipers of the band and match them in uniform (kilts, sporran, dirk and all), piping, marching and, in fact, everything except age and size.
Whether it was the sheer incongruity of a be-tartaned piper bearing the name of Ivor Davies, or merely the separation from the pipe band occasioned by his move to Sydney, that ended the seemingly promising career with the bagpipes is a matter for conjecture. The fact remains that early in his secondary schooling, the pipes were displaced by the oboe as his main musical pursuit. How this came about was described by him in a Rolling Stone interview in these terms:
"We moved to Sydney when I was eleven and when I went to high school the first thing that happened was that the music teacher asked did anybody play any instruments and everybody answered piano, guitar, trumpet, whatever, and I said bagpipes. I remember he said, 'I think you should learn a more sociable instrument,' (laughs).
"I wanted to learn the trumpet but they didn't have any left. They had an oboe because nobody wanted it. I didn't know what an oboe was but I ended up inheriting it. It also happened his wife was an oboist, I don't know whether there was some sort of scam going on. So I started having lessons on this thing and a couple of years later I went and did a scholarship audition at the Conservatorium. I got the scholarship and started getting serious about it."
The Serious Side
All through his teenage years Ivor Davies expanded his musical interest and knowledge, being active in school bands, choirs and orchestras, in addition to his oboe studies at the Conservatorium. He passed all his music exams along the way with flying colours and, at the end of high school, enrolled in a full time diploma course at the Conservatorium.
At this time, his career as a classical musician appeared to be almost a foregone conclusion. He was performing regularly with various chamber music groups and symphony orchestras, even doing the occasional fill in as an oboist with such prestigious institutions as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Then, about the age of nineteen, things started to go wrong. Ivor abandoned his course at the Conservatorium, even bolting to the country on the eve of a major practical oboe performance examination. Another essay into the world of classical music was made by joining the A.B.C. National Training Orchestra, but this, too, came to an end when a frustrated Ivor had a blazing row with the conductor and walked out. The oboe was laid aside for a while, and Ivor took a job with a menswear store while he started on a new look at his musical future.
Burying the Skeleton
It would be unfair to dispense with Ivor Davies, up-and-coming young classical musician, in favour of the story of Iva Davies, rock star, without relating the sequel to his defection in his late teens from the final practical oboe exam. It gives too great an insight to the character of the man and those attributes which have been the instrument of his success in the popular music field, to be omitted.
Ivor never entirely abandoned the oboe and it even made regular appearances in the recording of a number of Icehouse hits. However, without a doubt, that failure to face the exam has lurked like a spectre in the background of all his subsequent successes. In fact, it was only after the outstanding success of the Man of Colours album that he resolved to confront the ghost and exorcise it. He sought out his former oboe teacher, studied for hours a day for months and months and presented himself for the 1989 examinations for the Associate in Music Australia (A.Mus.A.). He emerged from this enterprise the proud recipient of a Diploma with Distinction which holds pride of place among all his awards. His own description of the examination makes amusing and revealing reading:
"When I fronted for the exam it was really funny. The two lady examiners
had no idea who I was and they said, `Well Iva, what do you do when you're
not playing the oboe?'
"That diploma made my year. It made my two years! It's not that I'm going to continue playing oboe. It was just burying a major, major skeleton."
From Vivaldi to Velvet Underground
Until this change from full time music student to member of the workforce, Ivor Davies had little acquaintance with anything vaguely resembling rock music. Certainly, family influences were in no way likely to promote such a field. It was left to a changing set of young friends to which his new lifestyle introduced him, to effect the transition from a solely classical music outlook to the world of rock. As he later describes it:
"Then just by hanging out with some people I picked up on a lot of radical music in a very short space of time. Which at that time was stuff like the Velvet Underground, Tyrannosaurus Rex. Initially I hated it, until I realised what was really appealing was the literary side of it because they were all great writers - like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop are great black humourists and Marc Bolan is an incredibly clever wordsmith in a kind of eccentric, fantasy way."
From Jug Band to Rock Band
However, the transition from classical music to the punk rock which formed the early covers repertoire of Flowers, was not as direct as this quotation implies.
Ivor's first efforts in popular music were with a jug band named "Lucyfields" which played around a few of the folk music venues of Sydney in the early Seventies. This was during his final years at school and, while the involvement was very much recreational, the experience gained was probably of significant value. Surprisingly, Ivor was neither the main songwriter nor the lead singer of the group. However, it was here that he started to develop those skills, along with many others that have been put to such successful use in later years.
Lucyfields broke up as the members left school and began making their various individual ways in the workforce. However, some of them did keep in contact and, when Ivor Davies defected from his classical music career, they did commence making music and songwriting together. This association did, in fact, result in a short contract with RCA Records through which two singles were released in 1976.
What's in a Name
The duration of these two tiny sparks in the world of pop music was both brief and unheralded. Perhaps, the greatest significance of the exercise is that, through it, the name "Iva Davies" came into being. The label of the first single bore the name "Ivor Davies," but the second was attributed to "Iva Davies and Afghan." Apparently, the misspelling of the name on the label was just the last of such a long chapter of errors in producing the disc; so much so that it was never corrected. The singer Ivor Davies was released to the popular music world as Iva Davies, so he decided to go along with the idea. It has been that way ever since, at least to the outside world. Yet, a few more recent remarks to Rolling Stone on the subject of the popular music industry, do reveal that there is still another inside world with a longer standing inside label.
"You know what this industry is like: you sell a few records and you think you're king of the castle.
"That's one of the reasons why I kept the misspelling of my Christian name for this. They got my name wrong on the label, they spelt it "Iva" instead of Ivor, which is still my legal name. I still sign cheques and my parents still write Ivor on my birthday cards. I get really affronted if any of my friends write Iva. I kept it just to remind me that this is not the real world."
Co-founder of Flowers - Keith Welsh
It was not until after the era of Iva Davies and Afghan that the two founders of Flowers met. Keith Welsh was a resident of the Sydney North Shore suburb of Lindfield where Iva was living and working at the time. They came in contact through Iva's job as a cleaner at the squash courts managed by Keith's mother and became friends through their mutual interest in music.
Keith had played with a few amateur bands and was quick to recognise the potential of joining forces with Iva to further his ambitions in the popular music field. His rather ordinary clerical job with a greeting card firm provided insufficient challenge to fill his waking hours, and the project of establishing and developing Flowers as a pub band soon overshadowed it.
Tall, good looking, competent and enthusiastic, Keith provided a very positive on stage presence in the band and made no small contribution to its transition into the highly professional recording and performing Icehouse of the early Eighties. Nevertheless, whether he really planned or expected to become a full time rock musician is a matter for conjecture. Some clue is given in a quotation from a press article about the time of the release of the debut album:
"From the start we did what we wanted to do," said Keith. "The initial idea was to be a dance band; we just wanted to enjoy the music as a hobby. Our attitude has always been: what happens, happens - we stand or fall on what we are doing."
What did, in fact, happen, was that Keith Welsh remained the bass guitarist, backing vocalist and occasional keyboardist for Flowers and then Icehouse from the first beginnings through to the end of the promotional live touring, at home and overseas, for the debut album. This particularly gruelling period would have dampened the enthusiasm of even the most ardent rock performer, and the subsequent abandonment of a performing role by some participants in it, including Keith, is probably less surprising than the fact that others did return to it.
Furthermore, while Iva and Keith were original partners in the Flowers venture, it was the former who soon emerged as the creative musical presence. While Iva made musical arrangements and wrote songs, Keith busied himself more in business arrangements and promotional activities. It was in this way that both demonstrated their true aptitudes and the genesis of the successful careers that each has followed in separate facets of the popular music industry.
Following his work as bass guitarist, Keith Welsh has remained in close contact with Icehouse as a manager with Dirty Pool Management which managed Icehouse up to 1988 when the Dirty Pool partnership was dissolved. In later years he has been more notable for his management of such successful groups as Do Re Mi and Boom Crash Opera, but the importance of his earlier achievements in the establishment of Icehouse still stands.
Two More of the Flowers Four
The band which recorded the Icehouse album and then changed name from Flowers to Icehouse, was a quartet. In addition to the two Sydney founders were two somewhat less dominant personalities, whose skills and presence were none the less significant in propelling the band out of comparative obscurity onto the stages of the world. These were Anthony Smith, keyboards, and John Lloyd, drums.
The Quiet Rebel - Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith, a lean, quiet mannered young man from the Bathurst District of New South Wales, joined Flowers through answering a newspaper advertisement. This was in September, 1978, at the time when the band abandoned part time gigging and turned fully professional. In doing so he was, perhaps like Iva Davies, rebelling against a somewhat staid background in which rock music played no great part. The band, objecting to the ordinariness of his real name and his rather retiring personality, attempted to create a new image for him by dubbing him with the professional name of "Adam Hall." This only resulted in him becoming variously labelled as Adam Hall, Anthony Hall and even by his real name, until the fans began to wonder just how frequently Flowers was changing keyboard players.
It was reported in one early report on the Flowers quartet that:
"Hall was brought up on European classical music - an obvious breeding ground for insurrection. Studying engineering at Uni was the last twist of the knife. A history of trumpets, guitars, recorders, the Renaissance, the Baroque, school orchestras and then quantum mechanics drove Hall to a change of heart and lifestyle."
Not that any great signs of insurrection emerged either on or off stage. Instead of turning Anthony into a higher key personality, the attempted name change seemed only to precipitate something of an identity crisis, resolved only by a total return to the use of his real name for all purposes. From this secure position, Anthony Smith quietly and efficiently discharged his duties on the Flowers, then Icehouse, keyboards until the end of 1981 when the band returned to Australia from its first and most exhausting overseas tour.
During the early months of 1982 when Icehouse was in recess and even rumoured to be no more, there were reports of Anthony assembling songs for a solo career and rehearsing with other bands. However, when, later that year, a new Icehouse line up was formed, it included two keyboard positions, neither of which was filled by Anthony Smith. Nor has much been heard of him in the popular music field in the years since. It seems almost as if the awakenings of youthful rebellion of a few years earlier may have been satiated by his term of heavy band touring. He slipped quietly out of Icehouse, presumably to return to the more conservative lifestyle from which he had emerged three years before.
Art Student Turned Drummer - John Lloyd
John Lloyd was the only member of Flowers and, as such, the first member of Icehouse, to be recruited from outside New South Wales. In mid-1979 he transferred from Melbourne, where he had already established his reputation as a drummer with Paul Kelly and the Dots. Flowers had tried a number of previous drummers, but the acquisition of John Lloyd brought a stability to that section of the band, that carried through a long period in the life of Icehouse.
John's background seems no more conducive to rock bands than those of the other three members of the quartet. He moved into the music industry after graduating from Art School and, indeed, outside straight performing, his most creative input into the products of Icehouse was in the artwork for the debut album cover.
Although he remained the Icehouse drummer through the recording of the first three Icehouse albums, his input to the recording of all but the first was distinctly limited. To a large extent, this may be more attributable to Iva Davies' propensity to experiment with drum machines and other computerised rhythm and percussion media, than to any reluctance to participate on John's part. Nevertheless, John Lloyd never did appear to demonstrate more than a relatively low key personality during the whole of his six year membership of Flowers and Icehouse - a competent and reliable drummer, usually content to remain in the background on and off stage, but not strongly striving towards other creative goals.
He also survived the heavy load of 1980-81 touring for the Icehouse debut album and returned to the Icehouse line up reconstituted in 1982 to promote the Primitive Man album, continuing touring with the band in connection with both that and the subsequent Sidewalk album.
In fact, apart from Iva Davies, John remained with Icehouse for much longer than any of the other Flowers performers. This very persistence may well have been the ultimate cause of his departure, in that the association of his placid temperament with the more volatile Iva Davies would have inevitably lead eventually to a waning of mutual stimulation. Some hint of this comes out in comments attributed to John Lloyd in referring back to the period in early 1982 when rumours of the splitting up of Icehouse were rife.
"I sensed Iva's dissatisfaction with the band. He didn't like the idea of a band. I certainly missed that feeling of teamwork after the first LP."
When, in 1985, the members of Icehouse assembled in England to record the Measure for Measure album, John Lloyd was not present. He remained in Sydney and entered other musical employment. He has been sighted at Icehouse performances since, but not onstage behind a drum kit.
The Flower that Faded - Michael Hoste
If there is one of the nineteen other sometime members of Icehouse who, more than any other, looked like matching the creative musical talents of Iva Davies, it would be Michael Hoste. He was the first Flowers keyboard player and a major agent in the transition of its repertoire from covers to originals. Of the fourteen tracks recorded for the debut album, five were co-written by him and Iva, and these were some of the earliest.
Michael was a serious student of piano when he and Iva formed their songwriting partnership early in the life of Flowers, and it was the pressures serving his ambition to become a concert pianist that soon clashed with any aspirations he may have held in the rock music field. This internal struggle between two allegiances was to plague him for some years. Ultimately, it probably aborted the realisation of his full natural potential in either field.
He dropped out of Flowers as a performer when the band was building up to the point of turning fully professional. Michael could not bring himself to the degree of commitment that this would entail, resulting in Flowers running the advertisement that recruited Anthony Smith to the keyboards position. Still, he hovered in the background, even performing for some of the recording of the Icehouse album. Then, when in 1982 a new Icehouse line up was formed to tour with the Primitive Man album material, Michael Hoste was part of it.
However, in this second run with the band he still failed to come to terms with the role of a rock musician and it, too, did not endure for long. There is much evidence that Iva Davies wanted to resume co-writing with him, and subsequent events have certainly shown that the former has always sought, perhaps even needed, someone with whom to share his songwriting endeavours. Michael, on the other hand, seemed to harbour some resentment of Iva from their earlier collaboration. Whether through this, or through his own personal problems, Michael Hoste never formed an easy relationship with the new Icehouse and, tragically, did not contribute to the creation of further Icehouse music.
In a 1987 Rolling Stone article, Bruce Elder describes the sad denouement of Michael's Icehouse career in 1983. Referring specifically to the Hoste-Davies songwriting collaboration, he writes:
"In London, years later I heard the story of the partnership's final demise. In Germany, while touring with David Bowie, Icehouse's German record company had thrown a dinner party for the band in a rather swish bierkeller. It was a polite record biz dinner; not by any means uncontrollable rock & roll. As the meal progressed the tension in the band visibly rose. Then, quite suddenly and for no apparent reason, Hoste stood up, picked up two huge beer steins and smashed them together. With explosive force they burst showering the table with beer and shards of glass. Hoste stormed out of the room. The band and the rest of the restaurant clientele stared in disbelief. After the tour he left the band permanently."
The Maniac Guitarist from Melbourne - Bob Kretschmer
When, in mid-1982, Iva Davies was being quizzed on the possibilities for a band to promote his new album Primitive Man, he made reference to: "hopefully a second guitarist from Melbourne - just let it stand that I have been thinking of getting this guy for years, he used to play for Eric Gradman's Man And Machine, and he was Adrian Belew before Adrian Belew was!"
This heralded the arrival of Bob Kretschmer to become both the second guitarist and the second longest serving member of Icehouse. A former television make up artist, he had been noticed by Iva through his playing with cult bands around Melbourne and it was his wild originality, rather than virtuosity, that formed the attraction.
Bob brought more than his guitar to the ranks of Icehouse. Apart from the mild mannered personality which belies the maniacal sounds flowing from his guitar amplifier, he brought a keen aesthetic sensibility which proved an invaluable foil for Iva's creative skills. It was this attribute that led to the fruitful Davies-Kretschmer writing partnership.
It was more than two years after Bob joined Icehouse before he became closely involved in writing for the band. He had previously been involved in some film score work in his own right, but it was not until Iva started writing the music for the Sydney Dance Company-cum-Icehouse ballet "Boxes" that he joined the Icehouse writing team. The partnership continued through the ballet and the composition of most of the songs for the Measure For Measure and Man of Colours albums, the new songs for the Great Southern Land album and finally, most of the songs for Code Blue.
In spite of his long membership of a Sydney based band, Bob Kretschmer clung to his Melbourne ties throughout. His work with Icehouse kept him away from his home city for prolonged periods. A reaction against this and a perfectly natural desire to establish a stable lifestyle based in Melbourne prompted his withdrawal from Icehouse at the end of 1989, leaving a record of faithful service and more than a tinge of sadness among many Icehouse fans.
The Boys from Britain
The Icehouse practice of recruiting some of its members from overseas had its origin in the first overseas tour. This opportunity to encounter first hand music and musicians from other parts of the world was not lost on someone with such an insatiable musical curiosity as Iva Davies. Thus, when faced in 1982 with the need to form a new line up, he looked well beyond the boundaries of his own home ground.
Although the 1981 tour brought exposure to both Europe and North America, it was from Britain alone that the first two overseas recruits to Icehouse were drawn for the 1982 line up. This move was so successful that, two years later, two more from England were recruited to fill the keyboards vacancy created by the departure of Michael Hoste. For a period during the touring for the Sidewalk album, Britain held a majority in the band.
The Krinkly-Haired Keyboardist - Andy Qunta
English born of Nigerian parents, Andy Qunta had for some considerable time been performing with various acts on the English rock circuits when he first encountered Icehouse. This was when Icehouse joined as support band in a few dates with Hazel O'Connor's Megahype for which Andy was then performing on keyboards. Iva Davies later recruited him to the 1982 rebirth of Icehouse.
Wearing spectacles and his normal serious expression, Andy gave more of the appearance of a studious academic than a rock performer. On stage this image vanished, as his face broke into a broad impish grin and he threw himself enthusiastically into the performance. His presence remained a constant feature of Icehouse live touring throughout the world for the Primitive Man, Sidewalk, Measure for Measure and Man of Colours albums.
During periods when Icehouse was not touring, Andy involved himself in various songwriting teams both in England and Australia, and in 1987 some of this effort started to pay off for him. He was one of the co-writers of a song chosen for recording by John Farnham for the Whispering Jack album; in fact, it was this song - "You're the Voice" - which was released as the first single, rocketed to number one chart position and started the album on the path to becoming such a huge commercial success. Then, Andy was strongly involved in the writing of the Icehouse song "Crazy," which performed a similar function for the Man of Colours album.
These successes gave him the confidence to launch into a solo career and this occurred after Icehouse concluded touring with the Man of Colours album in mid-1988. When Icehouse mounted the Life in a Paintbox Tour in early 1989, Andy Qunta was otherwise involved and had to sever his ties with the band that he had been part of for most of the Eighties decade.
Babyface Bassist - Guy Pratt
"Looks impossibly young" was the description applied by one Australian press interviewer of the 1982 new look Icehouse line up to the second English recruit. Yet, Londoner Guy Pratt was already a veteran of such English groups as Funkapolitan, Killing Joke, Children of 7, and Sylvain Sylvain, pursuing a wide variety of musical styles. With this impressive experience record, he soon adapted to his role as bass guitarist with Icehouse and filled that position for the next three years.
Guy's contribution to Icehouse went beyond musical skill. His boyish good looks and bright outgoing personality empowered him to play on heart strings as much as guitar strings, and his list of fans rapidly expanded. An incident from the Icehouse support of the European section of David Bowie's Serious Moonlight tour in 1983 and related by Iva Davies as the funniest event he had encountered on stage, illustrates just how effective was the Guy Pratt presence:
"Once when Icehouse was playing at a big stadium in London I saw a couple of fans get up and start running towards me - that happens quite often! I just braced myself and closed my eyes - but nothing happened! When I looked around, Guy Pratt, our new bass player, was lying on the floor with these two girls sitting on him and doing very strange things! They'd run right past me and flattened him! He'd only just joined us and the look on his face was one of complete fear!"
Guy remained a constant member of the Icehouse line up throughout the touring for the Primitive Man and Sidewalk albums. As did Andy Qunta, he spent the periods outside touring pursuing other musical activities in Britain. Some of these, such as his participation in the writing of hit songs for such artists as Billy Ocean, met with significant success and wooed him away from the Icehouse ranks. When, in early 1986, rehearsals commenced with the material produced for the Measure for Measure album, Guy Pratt was already too committed to projects at home to rejoin the band. Although it is now some years since he was replaced as the Icehouse bassist, his babyface still haunts some long standing fans.
The Not-So-Simple Simon
Simon Lloyd was quietly recruited to Icehouse during a promotional tour of Europe for the Sidewalk album in mid-1984, and has proved to be the most enduring of all the English members of the band.
As well as a background of playing saxophone with English band The Members, Simon brought a wealth of experience in music technology, having spent much of his young adult life working in such hi-tech environments as Martin Rushent's Genetic Studios.
Initially, he was sought as a keyboard replacement for Michael Hoste,
but his many other skills were soon contributing to the band. In the later
stages of the Sidewalk touring, after the completion of Joe Camilleri's
guest appearance with Icehouse, he added the role of saxophonist to that
of keyboards. However, significant as his contributions in these fields
are, it is through his outstanding knowledge of computer science and technology
that he has exerted his greatest influence on the music of Icehouse.
From 1984 up to the present, Simon Lloyd has always been available for Icehouse performances and other work sessions. This quiet, unassuming man has contributed so much more than most Icehouse fans have ever imagined.
Short Stayers of the Mid-Eighties
During the era of the Sidewalk and Measure for Measure albums, that is 1984 through 1986, a number of musicians joined Icehouse for relatively short periods, and then moved on.
Some of these short term memberships were in the nature of guest appearances, others were the result of line up trials that did not quite work out. In the former category was the appearance, for some months during 1984, of well known Melbourne musician Joe Camilleri whose other contributions to Australian popular music, of course, far outweigh this brief stint with Icehouse. Joe had participated with a number of saxophone parts in the recording of Sidewalk and, from this, joined in the touring to promote that album in both Europe and Australia.
About the same time as Joe Camilleri worked with Icehouse, English keyboardist Garry Hughes did a few months' spell with the band. Actually, he was recruited from the same auditions in Britain from which Simon Lloyd emerged. For the latter part of the Sidewalk album touring, Icehouse carried three keyboard players all of whom were English. However, by the end of the tour the value of Simon Lloyd's additional skills had become so apparent that he remained as the permanent Icehouse member, while Garry Hughes returned to work in England.
A further guest appearance, which, except for language difficulties, may have extended further, was that of Masaki Tanazawa. This Japanese drummer and percussionist, who had worked with the groups Chocolata and Hao in his own country, came to Iva Davies' attention during the latter's participation in Yukihiro Takahashi's Wild and Moody Tour in Japan. He was invited to try out with Icehouse and did so to the extent of performing with Iva and Bob Kretschmer in the November 1985 season of the ballet Boxes. However, the difficulties in communication that were encountered there made it obvious that Tanazawa could not effectively operate as drummer for the band.
Finding the Right Bass
The difficulties of providing an effective replacement for Guy Pratt resulted in a couple of short term occupancies of the Icehouse bassist position. When the band was assembled to rehearse for the Measure for Measure tour in March 1986, a small bespectacled candidate from Sydney, Vito Portelesi, joined the initial line up. The first fortnight of touring demonstrated that he was not likely to fit in adequately with the rest of the band and a hurried replacement was made for the continuance of the tour.
Glen Krawczyk from Sydney's North Shore filled the slot temporarily. He had long been interested in Icehouse, had been involved in the recent recruitment of a new drummer for the band and, thus, welcomed this opportunity for a trial as the bass guitarist. He filled the position for the remainder of the Measure for Measure tour, both in Australia and overseas, finally giving place to a more permanent encumbent for the Cross the Border Tour in late 1986.
The Whiz Kid Drummer - Paul Wheeler
Not least of Glen Krawczyk's contributions to the Icehouse story was the introduction of his friend Paul as a candidate for the drums position. Paul Wheeler was only twelve years old when John Lloyd came from Melbourne as drummer for the up and coming Flowers. He was still just a fresh faced nineteen when he became John's successor at the beginning of the Measure for Measure Tour in March 1986.
Also originating from Sydney's northern suburbs, he had been drumming for Machinations for three months before he slipped into the six piece Icehouse line up. It was a fortunate and continuing union. Being the youngest member of the band has lead to his being the permanent butt for jokes from the other members of the band; on such items as the time spent grooming his hair, or in telephone calls to his girl friend from whatever part of the world happens to be the current location for Icehouse touring. However, what he also evokes from those same band members, as well as thousands of Icehouse followers, is an unreserved and unending admiration for his virtuosity behind the drum kit.
Paul loves playing drums. In company, he impresses as quiet, unassertive, even a little dreamy, but as soon as he places his hands on a pair of sticks he springs to life in an unmistakable way. He has added inestimably, through this lively form of self expression, to the more recent Icehouse product, both stage and studio through the later Eighties and on into the Nineties.
And His Rhythm Section Partner - Steve Morgan
The search for the right bass player through 1986 was finally settled from Melbourne when Steve Morgan was taken into the Icehouse ranks for the Cross the Border Tour. Steve took to the band with enthusiasm and became firmly entrenched in the line up through the production and promotion of the highly successful Man of Colours album and thereafter.
His effect on the band's performance image was described in one review during the Crazy Tour in mid-1987 as "a real blessing, not only for his solid bass, but strong backing vocals, very necessary when you put lots of oohs and na na nas in your chorus lines. He works well with Paul's now settled drums, keeping the pace tight and between them making Icehouse's other electronic assistance less noticeable."
Steve's cheery grin is noticeable at all Icehouse activities, recording, performing, touring and partying, though without doubt, at its cheeriest during the last. He has a great love of life and plays his part in it, in all ways, to the full.
The Man From Models - Roger Mason
When, at the end of 1988, Andy Qunta terminated his long spell as Icehouse keyboardist to pursue a solo career, a fortunate replacement was found in Roger Mason. As a member of well known Melbourne group Models which had recently folded, he had established a reputation as one of Australia's most capable keyboardists.
Roger joined the Icehouse line up for the Life in a Paintbox Tour in early 1989 and was again available for the touring in 1990 leading up to and immediately following the release of the Code Blue album.
During this period he continued to pursue his other musical interests and, while Icehouse was off the road producing the Code Blue album, Roger was busy songwriting and performing with other groups. In fact, he fitted very appropriately into one of those loose arrangements which have been a strong feature of Icehouse line ups since the first overseas members were recruited in 1982, and which have, for the most part, been a medium of great enhancement of the live performance aspects of the band. However, they do have the potential for a clash of interests at some point of time, and this was so for Roger. When Icehouse was due to resume touring in early 1991, he was committed to another tour and a substitute keyboard player had to be sought.
New Starters of the Nineties
This vacancy was filled by a young musician who had been actively following a solo career for some time, but was seeking the less lonely environment of an established band. Tony Llewellyn hails from that Northern Beaches area of Sydney where so many of the early performances of the young covers band Flowers were located. It was, then, particularly appropriate that his initiation as an Icehouse keyboardist should be for the Flowers a.k.a. Icehouse Tour in which those early years of cover performance were recalled.
Tony was the second member to join Icehouse in the Nineties, in that Bob Kretschmer's resignation at the end of 1989 had created a need for a new lead guitarist. Auditions in Sydney and Melbourne in early 1990 resulted in Melbourne session guitarist Paul Gildea being invited into the Icehouse fold.
A well trained and experienced musician, Paul quickly adapted to the Icehouse arrangements. Tall, good looking and possessed of high talent as a guitarist and backing vocalist, he provided a very noticeable on-stage presence from his first performances with the band. Paul made his debut with Icehouse for the Code Blue Tour in 1990 and has continued with the band through to its most recent performances.
© 1992 Neville Davies