Bill Putt, founding member and long-term bass player of Spectrum and Ariel, died of a heart attack in Melbourne on Tuesday August 6.
Putt, and singer, guitarist and harmonica player Mike Rudd, formed Spectrum in 1969 – from the remnants of Party Machine and Sons of The Vegetal Mother. They also performed under the moniker of Indelible Murtceps until 1973.
Putt became renowned for his bass playing which one writer described as ‘authoritative and always spot-on: no frills, always totally in sync with the drums, but never dull.’
According to Rudd, Putt’s first band was the Mystics, (1964-’65), after which came The Lost Souls, (1965 – ’68), who won Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds in 1966, and a recording session that resulted in the release of the Souls’ first and only single, ‘This Life Of Mine.’ The single was picked up for the Nuggets series. Rudd says that he first came across Putt when he was playing in Gallery (1968 – ’69). Soon after the two got together for Spectrum.
The original incarnation of the Spectrum/Murtceps outfit released 4 albums and played all of the major Australian rock festivals of the era, including Sunbury. The band’s biggest hit was the single ‘I’ll Be Gone,’ which reached No.1 in 1971.
In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA), as part of its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named ‘I’ll Be Gone’ as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.
After the demise of Spectrum, Putt and Rudd formed Ariel and were later in a series of bands. In 1999, they resurrected the Spectrum name for the album Spectrum Plays The Blues : Spill and have been regulars on the Melbourne music scene and at festivals ever since.
Mike Rudd shared the following thoughts about Putt on his website: “Yesterday I learned of the death of my long-time best friend and musical companion, Bill Putt. In as much as one ever thinks of these things, I never imagined Bill would be the first to go. Apparently, he had a heart attack while chain-sawing wood over the valley from his and Rosemary’s home in Strathewen just after midday yesterday (Wednesday). He was by all reports happy and doing something he loved, but I know this isn’t what he’d have wanted. Bill has been a rock to me ever since I’ve known him and his love and generosity of spirit touched everybody he met. His unassuming and gentle nature will be sorely missed, especially by children whom he adored. I am beyond devastated. Bill was an exemplar of the understated bass-man and his recent songwriting reflected his love of the people and the world around him
I’ve been inundated with messages of support from friends, fellow musicians and people whose lives he’s touched.. I shall let everybody know of arrangements as they come to hand.
Robbo and Lisa, Daryl and Deb and Maria and I extend our love and sincerest condolences to Rosemary and her family.
Vale Bill, my old friend.”