One Man’s Love of Music


One Man’s Love of Music
An Old Punk who didn’t Burnt Out or Fade Away

“You’re not really into music, are you ? ”

A question posed to me by my daughter.

She was comparing me to her boyfriend ‘who is really passionate about his music’.

This got me thinking about my old mate Peter Miller.
He was at the vanguard of the Punk Push in Brisbane in the late 1970s.

Organizing gigs, playing in his band Just Urbain,producing records and generally flying the flag of the then nascent Punk movement. Doing all this in a city notorious for its stifling conservatism and intolerance to ‘progressive’ influences.

To have been a Punk in Brisbane during that period would have required gumption and real conviction. He was a True Believer pushing the envelope during a period when Red Necks ruled Queensland- Joh Bjelke’s reign.

Peter’s seen more Indi band gigs in the last 3 decades than the average Merchant Banker’s had home cooked dinners…His music collection is phenomenal.

He’s got no idea how many, he’s not a numbers man.
If it wasn’t classified in alphabetical order he’d be pushing shit uphill trying to locate something.

His ex wife a canny Scottish woman, invariably complained that he spent too much money buying records- CDs.

I recall her once suggesting , “ Peter, if you sell these old records and CDs we’d have a decent deposit for an investment property.”

The look of contempt he flashed back was priceless.

‘Property Investor’ or ‘Your Money’ isn’t the sort of reading material which piques his curiosity or interest.

Whereas his local newsagent diligently reserves his monthly copies of British music magazines Mojo and Uncut.

His current wife doesn’t castigate him for spending money on music, but she’s perplexed none the less.

“ Honey, all my friends in Romania download music for free- everyone does it.”

His curt reply being, “ well that doesn’t make it right.”
Yes Peter doesn’t follow the pack.

When ‘everyone else’ in the country was listening to the likes of the Ted Mulry Gang and Hush in the mid 70s, the youthful Peter was going against the grain and seeking out those bands who were cutting their teeth at New York’s CBGB .

His current gig is doing a weekly radio show on Nimbin FM .
I don’t know many DJs who’d compile a play list of The Dead Kennedys, The Masters Apprentices, Dean Martin and Devo….and can get away with it.

He knows his music….. and he’s passionate.

So passionate he’s disparaging of those who only access their music from free internet downloads. He’s a straight shooter who wants to make sure artists receive their dues and just deserves. Yes, Music Industry Executives would love the world to be populated with millions of Peter Millers.

He can’t help walking out of most gigs with either a CD, T Shirt or some piece of merchandise.

He’s a band merchandiser’s wet dream.

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He started a fanzine with Wolfgang Kuepper [ brother of Ed Kuepper- The Saints] in 1978 called The Rat.

Being a Punk in Brisbane during that precarious period posed risks. Being on the receiving end of Red Neck attacks was common. He managed to survive this often violent period alongside an ‘assault’ from Brad Shepherd [ Hoodoo Gurus ].

A jealous Shepherd flew into a rage when his girlfriend took a shine to the young Peter’s charms and hurled a tray of party pies at him.

His knowledge of popular music history is Glenn A. Baker like.
(Australian Rock Music historian).

Many an evening I tested this erudition- knowledge with obscure and sometimes annoying questions about which band first had a hit with such and such a song or standard.

There was never a need to whip out a Smart Phone [ I don’t own one and he never seemed to use his ] for my curiosity to have been satisfied. Miller invariably supplied the answer.

He doesn’t limit himself to musical genres.

Whether it was innocuous early 70s Bubble Gum Pop or San Francisco Psychedelic Rock….. he’d provide an answer.
Nowhere near senility.

He broadened my musical tastes when we worked together in London in the early 80s. My Countdown influenced cassette tapes were broadened considerably after I first met him.

I probably would have kept on listening to Molly’s favourites on my Walkman if he hadn’t introduced me to those exciting bands loosely labelled as New Wave during that period.

Yes compared to him I’d have to agree with my daughter, I’m not
really into music.

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So many of those old punks doing those Nostalgia Circuit Tours Didn’t Die Young- nor Stay Pretty… but I reckon Miller still cuts a dashing figure in middle age.

He’ll Deteriorate in his Own Time !

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