The Rum Culls
1978. RL: Shayne Kerr, Adam Macaulay, Pam Merrigan, Phil Bates, Norm Merrigan
1980. RL: Phil Bates, Jeremy Brookes, Alan Wall, Vicki Flodin, Adam Macaulay
The Rum Culls began in 1978 as The Rum Culls Ceilidh
Band, when five local folk singers and musicians banded together to
play what was called at the time "Bush Music". We played for
dances in Newcastle and Sydney as well as having residencies at The
Hunter Hotel and The Shaft Tavern, played nationally on the folk festival
circuit, appeared on NBN television and recorded for ABC radio.
When Pam and Norm Merrigan left in 1979 we decided to give up our day
jobs and move in a more semi-electric direction, bringing in Alan Wall
on bass. Vicki Flodin on fiddle. Jeremy Brookes on mandolin, fiddle
and electric guitar joined a few months later when Shayne decided to
leave. This line-up played residencies at The Shortland Hotel and the
Bel-Air and travelled extensively, playing anywhere from small country
community halls to the Sydney Opera House. We were also getting huge
crowds to our Big Bush Balls, held in the betting sheds at Newcastle
Vicki left in mid-1980 and Jeremy went back to New Zealand. Our search
for a fiddler brought us Kathy Bluff from Adelaide and we settled into
a very productive and satisfying two years of travelling as well as
playing locally, culminating in recording the "Dead Cocky"
album with Mark Tinson at Studio 21 with help from Kevin Toneycliffe,
Dennis Butler and Mick Morello on drums, guitar solos and percussion
By the end of 1982 mass lay-offs in local industry and a crippling drought
in outback NSW was making it hard for us to make a living so, rather
than go back to playing part-time, we decided to call it a day with
a final Big Bush Ball at the showgrounds on New Years Eve.
The Rum Culls was all about playing good Australian folk music in an
atmosphere of fun and enjoyment. Adam Macaulay's theatre skills gave
us a stage presence full of warmth and humour, we set ourselves high
musical standards and worked hard. It was a great four years.
1982. RL: Alan Wall, Phil Bates, Kathy Bluff, Adam Macaulay.
Photographs and Bio courtesy of Phil Bates
LR: Jeremy Brookes, James Sneed, Adam Macaulay, Phil Bates, Alan Wall.
L to R: Phil Bates, Shayne Kerr, Alan Wall, Adam Macaulay (1979).
L to R (Possibly?) Adam Macaulay, Phil Bates, Alan Wall. 1981 Rum Culls Big Bush Ball
Photographs courtesy of Alan Wall