By Ian Peel
R.I.P Grant JenningsSometime in the early '70's, on the way home from work, I picked up this hitchhiker along Nepean Hwy. I was 19. He jumped in with a giant grin on his face and thanked me.
I took Grant Jennings (G.J) to Gardenvale and dropped him off. “Come in and say hi to some friends???” So I did. A long production meeting with John and Margie McKissock ensued and I was hooked on going from colour-in pigments to colour-in lighting. Wow. Off to real work… lol… Clearlight… I became a Roadie… and met Chuggi at Dallas Brooks Hall…
If it wasn’t for G.J I would never have found an extraordinary bunch of people just working away with each other, smashing out night after night incredible sound and lightshows, and looking after stages, bands and gigs. A brotherhood of support… without question… the work ethics of champions…
Grant and I spent many hours working together doing the lights at Hard Rock Café in Spring St, Melbourne. We met so many crew and found so many friends. Too many to list… A fantastic era of my life and ever present in my thoughts to this day. For various reasons….
So much went on under those stairs and in and out of the window at the back of the stage.. Always lots of laughs…And Grant’s stupidly infectious grin…He never stopped smiling…
Bands were in unlimited supply… so many… nearly every band in the old pub rock scene in the early to mid 70’s went through Hard Rock Café twice or more.
Grant and I went on hol’s together and always solved the world’s problems… I remember ending up at The Shannon, out the back of Nimbin… with Tony and Susie on a road trip... ending up at Pommie Nick’s house… with the monitors from Abbey Road blaring away… cooking mushroom stew….
We found we could actually speak to frogs for hours… They called it Mullumbimby madness… and laughed about it all the way back to Melbourne.
Its been over 20 years now since Grant took his own life. I will always remember and feel sad because he needed support and many of us didn’t know.
Over the ensuing years I find many have passed through my own journey and left us all wondering, why weren’t we there???
Sometimes its not possible. I founded the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) to try and make a difference. Someone apparently asked "what right does Piggy have to start ARCA or organise reunions?". Some know, others will find out.
This is one of a few stories that I may spend the time writing. In my own way I remember the faces vividly of many I will never see again… Haunting.
Since the early days of the Australian music industry, there are many more tales that are going to emerge cause they need to be written by all of us. Perhaps it’s a way we can all show some respect and share some funny stories about our mates. Some that are here, and some that are not.
I hope others will find some time too… cos the stories are falling out of my head… most of you will get a mention… There are so many laughs… and I hope we cant still get arrested… lol… and why let a lie get in the way of a good story???
We all have a story…