The Age has reported that Jim Keays, former lead singer of the Masters Apprentices, one of Australia’s most popular bands of the ’60s and ’70s died this morning of pneumonia, related to a long-term illness, at the age of 67.
Keays was diagnosed with multiple myeloma 7 years ago but released a new album Dirty, Dirty in 2012 and has recently been recording another album. For many years he toured ’60s contemporaries, Darryl Cotton and Russell Morris as Cotton Keays and Morris.
The Age quoted Morris paying tribute to Keays: “Jim was one of my closest, and dearest friends – I spoke to him everyday. He was exceptionally brave, erudite, funny and incredibly talented. I loved him very much, and I will miss him greatly – but he will live on; in our hearts, and through the wonderful music he created.”
The Masters Apprentices formed in 1965 in Adelaide, South Australia, relocated to Melbourne in February 1967 and attempted to break into the United Kingdom market from 1970, before disbanding in 1972. The band enjoyed 9 T0p 40hits between 1966 and 1971, with ‘Because I Love You’ re-charting in 1988. Other singles included ‘Undecided’, ‘Living in a Child’s Dream’, ‘5:10 Man’, ‘Think About Tomorrow Today’, ‘Turn Up Your Radio.’
Davey Lane, of You Am I, who played on Keays recent recordings paid tribute to Keays on his Facebook page saying: “Australian rock ‘n roll lost one if its all-time greats today in Jim Keays. A totally unique voice who left behind an incredible legacy of songs covering a variety of styles. As he would say of his band the Masters Apprentices, “First we were doing the garage punk, even though we didn’t know what it was called then, then we went all psychedelic, and then we turned into prog rock!”
“I knew him for the last 6 or so years, and had the absolute honour of playing a whole bunch of live shows and making two killer records with him. He was a true raconteur with stories for days, a funny bastard and most importantly an upstanding gentleman, and I’ll miss him heaps. Here he is doing what he did best, just generally being a super badass rock ‘n roll singer, singing one of the heaviest and most awesome songs ever, Easy To Lie. Rest up Jim.’