Jim Keays


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Melborne Magazine March 2012
eg THE AGE - March 09 2012


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Jim Keays' autobiographical book, published by Allen & Unwin, is now available. Titled 'His Masters Voice', it chronicles the life and times of the band, Masters Apprentices, from its inception to the split in England in 1972.
Jim tells stories of early life in Adelaide, white puffy shirts, long hair, drugs, groupies and manager exploitation. Jim doesn't just write his life, but touches on that of others in the scene - Ian 'Molly' Meldrum, John Farnham, Vince Lovegrove and Bon Scott.

Review by Lawrie Zion
The Sunday Age 24/10/99

"In the second half of the 1960's they were one of Australia's leading rock groups with a string of hits that included 'Elevator Driver' and 'Living In A Child's Dream'. By the early 1970's,they were perched on the edge of what they were entitled to hope was the beginning of a successful international career. But in the end, the Masters apprentices never quite cracked the big time beyond these shores, and in 1972 they returned to Australia and broke up.

End of story? Well not quite, thanks to two very different trips down memeory lane from lead singer Jim Keays and one-time bass player Glenn Wheatley. the latter, of course, is also known for his peripatetic career as a manager, entrepreneur and political aspirant. Not surprisingly, then, 'Paper Paradise' (Glenn Wheatley) is ultimately more interesting as a history of corporate manoeuvrings than as a reflection of the experience of playing in a band - fewer than 60 pages into his 400-page tome, the Masters are well and truly behind us....

....Though it covers considerably less territory, Jim Keays' 'His Master's Voice' is also a more erudite and vivid account of what it was like to be part of rock's halcyon days. And those living in hope of revealing accounts of the sex and drugs in what we now rather coyly refer to as the pre-AIDS era certainly won't be disappointed.

"The back of the bathroom door became the score sheet. The girls came and went, so to speak, and the bathroom door gained more and more notches...Now and then the cry of 'Next' could be heard from the bedroom and one would leave and another enter. almost like a doctor's surgery." (Wheatley's own account backs this up.)

Of his numerous "conquests", Keays confesses: "I took full advantage of the situation, adopting a simple philosophy that if I had the reputation already, why not enhance it further?".....

....Keays also offers an evocative account of other aspects of life on the road, providing entertaining anecdotes about Sydney's underworld, playing for underground "camp" dances, the infamous Battle of the Sounds competition, the joys of having a No.1 record, and the ultimately insurmountable challenge of making it in the UK....

....There is a refreshing directness about the music itself. "It was spontaneous and simple, not cluttered with a million ideas; it was its own idea." And as well as articulating the idealism of a now bygone era without resorting to corny nostalgia, he manages to convey - albeit with perfunctory brevity - the real difficulties faced when coming down from the perch of stardom...."





Russell Morris, Jim Keays and Darryl Cotton were among the first Australian artists to look beyond the amiable impotence of a local pop music scene which considered itself inferior to the imports that dominated us for so long. As members of Zoot, The Masters Apprentices and Somebody's Image they decided to think big - and in doing so changed the face of Australian music.

As Cotton Keays & Morris, they can choose from several hundred self-penned songs, more than 40 of which were rock solid chart hits. Each of them can take credit for some of the handful of genuine masterpieces of Australian recording - many of which appear on this landmark DVD - songs such as The Real Thing, Because I Love You, Eleanor Rigby, Wings Of An Eagle, Turn Up Your Radio, and Will I.

And then there are the moments of untouchable beauty like Sweet Sweet Love, Living In A Child's Dream, Rachel and Boy From The Stars. Here it is: an emphatic endorsement of the talents of three giants of Australian rock.


Same Old Girl 
Living In A Child's Dream
Don't Let It Get To You
Elevator Driver
Will I
5:10 Man
Mr America
Waiting For The Big One
The Wings of An Eagle
The Boy From The Stars
Here Comes Another Heartache
(It's All Over Now) Baby Blue
Sweet Sweet Love
Think About Tomorrow Today
Because I Love You
The Real Thing
Eleanor Rigby
Turn Up Your Radio


From the Abbey Road Web Site.

Australian rock superstar Jim Keays - the lead singer from the Master's Apprentices, one of Australia's top rock bands during the late 60's and 70's - was recently in London working at Abbey Road recording excerpts to be included in a new DVD release of their celebrated Choice Cuts album, originally released back in 1971 (and produced by Abbey Road Café owner Jeff Jarratt !) Jim is still enjoying huge success in Australia touring with Russell Morris and Daryl Cotton as Cotton Keays & Morris. We look forward to watching the DVD Jim!

Abbey Road
Lions Did you know that Jim wrote the lyrics for two national football club songs? He wrote the lyrics for the BRISBANE LIONS to the old Lions tune of 'La Marseillaise'. When the MELBOURNE VICTORY club was forming, Glenn Wheatley asked Jim to submit a song. Drawing on his Scottish heritage, Jim chose to set his lyrics to one of the most stirring songs ever, 'Scotland the Brave'. Melb Vic
Waiting For the Big One

Magazines and paperbacks
Print the figures and the facts
It isn't easy to relax
Waiting for the big one

Tea leaves in a coffee cup
Say we'll all be swallowed up
So keep a rabbit's foot for luck
Waiting for the big one

But life goes on
We just wanna have some fun
In this beautiful world lying in the sun
Waiting for the big one

Tarot cards and crystal balls
Gurus in the shopping malls
Religious sects behind four walls
Waiting for the big one

So make a wish and cast a spell
Sound a warning, ring the bell
A man fell down a wishing well
Waiting for the big one



But life goes on
Just like it's always done
In this beautiful world - our Kingdom Come
Waiting for the big one

(Doug Ford's Solo)

What would Nostradamus say
If he could just be here today
Get down on your knees and pray
Waiting for the big one

But life goes on
And there's nowhere left to run
In this beautiful world, nothing's being done
Waiting for the big one

But life goes on
And we've only just begun
In this beautiful world - you look so young
Waiting for the big one

Legend Hopes to Master Cancer

From the Herald Sun - Wed Aug 08 2007
Alan Howe

Australian Rock legend Jim Keays is battling cancer. He has been diagnosed with myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.
Jim felt ill last month while on holiday in England where doctors found his kidneys had failed.
He was immediately on dialysis and made arrangements to come home.
Myeloma often manifests itself as kidney disease and British doctors quickly identified the source of the illness.
"It's treatable and it often goes into remission" said the upbeat Keays, from his Glen Iris home last night.
"I started chemotherapy last week and I am confident both will work.
"My kidneys are running on about 5% but they have improved a bit already."
Surrounded by his family - wife Karin and daughters Holly 11, and Bonnie 5 - the former Masters Apprentices frontman spoke of plans for the future.
Karin said " The doctors are quietly confident Jim's kidney function will improve. Jim has such strength of will that I have no doubt that he will make it happen." 
The Keays time in the UK hospital coincided with last month's extraordinary floods in 
England. "For a few days I was driving through floodwaters several times a day to get to Jim in the hospital, then back with the girls to our accommodation in the country." Karin said. 
"There were so many people, people who we hadn't met before who were ready to help in any way they could, even when their own country was in a state of disaster. It was really heart-warming."
As one third of Cotton Keays and Morris - the band in which he plays with fellow music veterans Russell Morris and Darryl Cotton - Keays has a busy book for the rest of the year.
"We have had to drop a few gigs, and Russell and Darryl played Saturday night together, but I hope to be back in business and playing with the boys next month" he said.
"I've been lucky. I've had good health all my life. Until this I had never been to hospital - and I plan to get out of this one quick smart." 
Keays problems started a few weeks back. He had back pain, but the real problem was a build up of toxins in the kidneys. 
"I saw a couple of doctors but they didn't appear to be able to work out what was going wrong. In the end Karin decided to call an ambulance and get me to hospital." The Keays family decided to dash back home as soon as the Oxford team had stabilised Jim to manage the journey.
"You can't beat being home and, although they are overworked, the doctors and nurses in both countries have been terrific." he said.
Keays is being treated in hospital but is allowed home visits. He has been a fixture in the Australian music scene for more than 40 years after bursting out of Adelaide with the Masters Apprentices in 1966.