By Ian McFarlane. ‘It really is a tremendous recording.’
Band on the Run – Music from the Soundtrack of the Film
By the time he was 21 years old, guitarist TIM GAZE had played on four of the most feted of all Australian progressive albums from the early 1970s – Tamam Shud’s Goolutionites and the Real People (1970), Kahvas Jute’s Wide Open (1971), the Morning of the Earth soundtrack (1972) and Ariel’s A Strange Fantastic Dream (1973). A guitar prodigy of exacting technique and energy, he was also a capable songwriter and contributed a number of quality songs to the albums.
Following his departure from Ariel in April 1974, he played on Renee Geyer’s It’s a Man’s Man’s World (1974) and toured with Stevie Wright and the All Stars for six months. He then spent a couple of years trying to get a number of different bands off the ground – Dayride, Tim Gaze Rock Ensemble – finally getting his dream outfit, the Tim Gaze Band, together in 1977. The line-up comprised Gaze, Peter Bolton (keyboards), Harry Curtis (bass) and Robbie France-Shaw (drums), a very proficient and skilled combo capable of playing in a variety of rock styles. Later on he added Suzanne Petersen (vocals, guitars, flute, piano) and Annette Henery (vocals, percussion) to the line-up.
In 1979, film-maker Harry Hodge approached Gaze with the idea of composing the soundtrack to his latest surfing documentary, Band on the Run. The film followed champion surfers Paul Neilsen, Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, Bruce Raymond and Brian Cregan as they went in search of the “perfect wave”. Indeed, the tagline for the film was “The world was their stage, the ocean their playground”. The water photography was by the acclaimed Dick Hoole / Jack McCoy team who had made their own films such as Tubular Swells (1976).
Surfing and rock music made a powerful and enticing combination that had proliferated since the early 1960s, and in Australia we’d already seen the likes of The Hot Generation (1967), Evolution (1969), Sea of Joy (1971), Morning of the Earth (1972), Crystal Voyager (1973), Drouyn (1974) and Highway One (1976) feature tremendous soundtracks of Aussie rock music. Possibly because of his contribution to Morning of the Earth, Gaze seemed like the logical candidate for the job.
The band worked quickly, laying down a dozen demos (known by the band as the “first wave”) in order to get approval for the “real” recording process (the “second wave”). Of the final ten songs recorded, eight were earmarked for the Band on the Run soundtrack album: ‘Give Me Life’, ‘Oceans’, ‘Beautiful Lady’, ‘Lazy Day Fever’, ‘Brothers and Sisters’, ‘Paradise’, ‘Looking for Answers’ and ‘End Theme’.
By 1980, things were well advanced but it was at this point that things also started to get complicated. Apparently, roots rock singer / guitarist J.J. Cale and his producer Audie Ashworth expressed an interest in contributing to the soundtrack album with a tie-in to issue the record in the US on Cale’s label Shelter Records (distributed by Festival in Australia). So three tracks from Cale’s Troubadour album (‘Travelin’ Light’, ‘Cocaine’ and ‘I’m a Gypsy Man’) plus two new songs (‘Nowhere to Run’ and ‘Bringing it Back’) were added.
Inevitably that delayed the project so it wasn’t until 1982 that Festival had prepared the Band on the Run soundtrack album for release on the Infinity label. The covers were printed and the vinyl pressed (most likely in a run of say 3,000-5,000 copies) but at the eleventh hour someone realised that there was a SNAFU with the licensing for the J.J. Cale tracks and the release was cancelled.
The irony was that a shipment of promo-only copies had already been despatched to the media and sales reps and this is where the rarity factor of this record comes into play. The promotional allocation would probably have been something like 50 copies (or certainly no more 100) and the very few copies of the album that have ever turned up since feature the large Festival red and white bullet promo sticker on the label. No stock copies have ever appeared so we can only assume that the rest of the vinyl and covers were destroyed.
So in terms of collectability the Band on the Run soundtrack album is one of the great rarities of Aussie rock. Yet beyond that, and the inclusion of the Cale tracks, it’s a great pity it didn’t receive its due because it really is a tremendous recording. The Tim Gaze Band tracks are highly competent and beautifully played, featuring a bright, melodic, harmony rich West Coast sound mixed with elements of reggae and symphonic touches courtesy of the interplay between Gaze’s soaring lead guitar and Bolton’s Hammond organ. Perhaps the only other Aussie performer with a similar style was Richard Clapton.
Gaze takes lead vocals on the tracks he wrote (or co-wrote with Harry Hodge) but Suzanne Petersen’s gorgeous vocals on her own ‘Lazy Day Fever’ are like pure sunshine on a rainy day. Other highlights include ‘Brothers and Sisters’, ‘Looking for Answers’, ‘Give Me Life’ and two dazzling instrumentals in the funky, samba-styled ‘Paradise’ and the Pink Floyd-like ‘End Theme’.
Of course, this music was too good to let languish in obscurity and Tim Gaze eventually transferred the original master tapes to digital and issued a double CD in 2004 as The Tim Gaze Band – Music from the Soundtrack of the Film “Band on the Run”. Gaze simply bypassed any licensing issues by dispensing with the J.J. Cale tracks and just concentrating on the Tim Gaze Band recordings. Disc One (Second Wave) features the original eight songs from the LP, with ‘Paradise’ renamed ‘Mauritius’ and ‘End Theme’ renamed ‘Bermuda’. Also included are the previously unheard ‘This is a Place’ and the rollicking boogie-rock number ‘Goin’ Down’.
Disc Two (First Wave) comprises the original demos which are a real surprise in their own right. Mostly instrumental, with even more towering guitar work from Gaze, they feature an organic feel and a brightness which is probably lacking in the more polished Second Wave tracks. There are only three vocal takes, ‘Lazy Day Fever’, ‘Beautiful Lady’ and ‘Paradise 2’. You may still be able to source the CD (try Tim Gaze’s website) but good luck finding an original vinyl pressing of the LP!
So to wrap up this profile, Gaze has continued to perform tirelessly on the Australian music scene. He has never really attained commercial success but his talent and acceptance as a guitarist’s guitarist has never been in doubt. Following the break-up of the Tim Gaze Band in 1984 he worked with the likes of Rose Tattoo, Brothers of the Bell, Gyan, the Peter Wells Band, the reformed Tamam Shud, the Bushwackers, Blue Sierra, the Blues Doctors and the Hoochie Coochie Men.
Original LP release
Music from the Soundtrack of the Film “Band on the Run” (Promo copies only Festival/Infinity L-37842) 1982
1. J.J. Cale – TRAVELLIN’ LIGHT (J.J. Cale)
2. Tim Gaze Band – GIVE ME LIFE (Tim Gaze)
3. Tim Gaze Band – OCEANS (Tim Gaze)
4. J.J. Cale – COCAINE (J.J. Cale)
5. J.J. Cale – GYPSY MAN (J.J. Cale)
6. Tim Gaze Band – BEAUTIFUL LADY (Tim Gaze/Harry Hodge)
7. J.J. Cale – NOWHERE TO RUN (J.J. Cale)
8. J.J. Cale – BRINGING IT BACK (J.J. Cale)
9. Tim Gaze Band – LAZY DAY FEVER (Suzanne Petersen)
10. Tim Gaze Band – BROTHERS AND SISTERS (Tim Gaze)
11. Tim Gaze Band – PARADISE (Tim Gaze)
12. Tim Gaze Band – LOOKING FOR ANSWERS (Tim Gaze)
13. Tim Gaze Band – END THEME (Tim Gaze)
Tim Gaze Band tracks produced by Tim Gaze and Peter Bolton
THE TIM GAZE BAND – Music from the Soundtrack of the Film “Band on the Run” (Tim Gaze Music) 2004
CD 1 – Second Wave: Songs from the Soundtrack
1. LAZY DAY FEVER (Suzanne Petersen)
2. BROTHERS AND SISTERS (Tim Gaze)
3. LOOKING FOR ANSWERS (Tim Gaze/Harry Hodge)
4. BERMUDA (Tim Gaze/Peter Bolton)
5. THIS IS A PLACE (Tim Gaze)
6. GIVE ME LIFE (Tim Gaze)
7. OCEANS (Tim Gaze)
8. BEAUTIFUL LADY (Tim Gaze/Harry Hodge)
9. MAURITIUS (Tim Gaze)
10. GOIN’ DOWN (Tim Gaze)
CD 2 – First Wave: Demos
1. THE END (Tim Gaze)
2. BRAZILLIAN MILLIONS (Tim Gaze)
3. HAWAII (Tim Gaze)
4. LA THEME (Tim Gaze)
5. LONDON (Tim Gaze)
6. PARADISE (Tim Gaze)
7. LOOKING FOR ANSWERS (Tim Gaze/Harry Hodge)
8. THIS IS A PLACE (Tim Gaze)
9. DAY TRIPPER (Suzanne Petersen)
10. LAZY DAY FEVER (Suzanne Petersen)
11. PARADISE 2 w/vocals (Tim Gaze)
12. BEAUTIFUL LADY (Tim Gaze/Harry Hodge)
THE TIM GAZE BAND
Tim Gaze – Guitars, vocals
Peter Bolton – Keyboards
Harry Curtis – Bass
Robbie France-Shaw – Drums, percussion
Annette Henery – Vocals, percussion
Suzanne Petersen – Vocals, guitars, flute, piano