ARCA sends heartfelt congratulations to Redgum’s John Schumann on becoming a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) as part of the 2022 Australia Day Honours list.
“Schuie” was honoured for “significant service to the veteran community, to music, and to the community.”
ARCA co-founder Ian “Piggy” Peel” says –
“Big congrats to John. John and Redgum were the first musicians to support ARCA’s Desk Tape Series to help roadies and crew in crisis. It was the biggest honour ever for us. He was always adamant that without good roadies, all the bands and the music industry would be fragments of what they are today, and it was the least he could do to pay his respects. His tribute was giving ARCA the rights to release the live desk tape. Just a great Aussie bloke with a big heart. Thanx from all roadies and crew.”
Their tape came from the Melkweg (The Milky Way) club in Amsterdam, in 1985, and recorded by front-of-house engineer Mark ‘Ramjet’ Williams.
It was part of their first European tour, when ‘I Was Only 19’ was starting to get airplay, and the folk-rockers with a conscience had spent playing six nights a week for some months in Australia and were red-hot on the stage.
‘I Was Only 19’, which John wrote in 15 minutes in his Melbourne backyard after listening to countless cassettes of Vietnam vets, is one of the highlights of the desk tape.
“I’m honoured they trust me enough to tell their stories for me to turn to songs,” he said, adding he helps vets from different wars and the police force.
The song’s success marked the start of John’s dedication to finding justice for the vets who were ignored when they came from with mental and physical issues when they returned home.
All the song’s profits went directly to the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia.
Among its consequences were a Royal Commission into veteran suicide in 1992, and a memorial in Canberra.
We at ARCA are well aware of how music has moved mountains for crews through the Desk Tape series, and John with Redgum, The Vagabonds and his solo works has done his share.