Jim Keays

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1960's

Undecided German

 

 

Born in Glasgow, Jim lived in Scotland as a boy. He came to Australia with his parents, turned 5 on the boat and settled in Adelaide, South Australia. When the Beatles eventually toured Australia in the 60's, Jim was 18. Although he had a passion for the 50's rock and roll, it was the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc that convinced Jim his future was in music and he set about joining a band.

By 1965, he had joined an instrumental band, "The Mustangs".
They were an instrumental (Shadows type) group who decided they needed a vocalist to keep up with the new wave, post-Beatles. They would play instrumental sets, then Jim would get up and sing in the last set. Jim convinced the other members of the band that things had to change and before long he had them playing 'blues' and growing their hair. Mick Bower came up with the name, started writing songs and they changed their image from the old rocker look.

By mid-1965, the Masters Apprentices (Note: the band decided on 'no apostrophe' in Masters) were born - a raw, energetic rhythm & blues band that captured the city within months.
With Jim out front as vocalist (Jim sometimes plays a blues harmonica and occasionally guitar, which he found too restrictive and left to the undoubted experts in the band) fans were soon packing every gig and spilling out into the street causing traffic jams. The band began trying their hand at writing songs from almost the start and by the end of 1965 had a batch of finished compositions ready to record.
Having heard of the bands fast-growing fan base, a demo of four songs was recorded on request for Astor Records in Melbourne. After hearing the demo and the raw energy of their performance, Astor decided to release the recordings as they were. The first single "Undecided/Wars or Hands of Time" was an exciting young and fresh piece of power pop, unlike anything ever heard emanating from this country before, and instantly became a smash hit (The other two tracks appeared on the first album, Johnny B Goode & Hot Gully Wind). This was followed by a long string of hits right throughout the 60's and into the early 70's.

Ugly Things

Undecided

dirty

1970's

The Masters Apprentices were an original band in every sense - sounding Australian rather than English or American and have gone down in Australian music as 'Legends', (ARIA award 1998). The band was voted 'Most Popular Band' three years in row; caused riots and drew crowds that outdid even the Beatles; created styles in music and fashion alike that many groups copied; and ended up in England recording two classic albums at the legendary Abbey Road studios. Their records sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world and the band is still held in high regard in countries such as Germany, France and England where bootleg CD versions still command big dollars on the collectors market. (A copy of the first album sold in 1998 at auction for $300.)


When the band finally came to the end in the early 70's Jim began his solo career virtually immediately. Over the preceding halcyon years as frontman for the Masters, Jim had steadily honed his skills as a songwriter of international acceptance and had now decided to put them to the test with an ambitious project - an album entitled The Boy From the Stars. It was a concept album in he same sense as The Who's "Tommy" and was accepted well by both critics and the public, thereby establishing Jim as a credible artist in his own right. A movie script has been completed based on the original story of this album.
(Jim is still sitting on it! Only one other person has ever read it. He is a friend who works in the film industry and he swears it is genius. The CD release may act as a catalyst to get the script to a professional dialogue writer to finish it off.

Boy from the Stars
Red

1980's

Jim has had an on-going varied career in the Australian Music Industry - at times crossing over to production, management, journalism and even in TV on a show called 'Move' in Adelaide 1972 & 1973 and radio as a celebrity DJ - but always writing and recording songs and recording Red On The Meter in the early 80's. Late in the 80's Jim got the Masters together again for a successful reunion tour. "Because I Love You" was re-recorded and released again reaching the top 10.
Jim n Karin
 Lucifer
Red

1990's

1993 saw Jim complete his long-overdue next level of musical thoughts and statements.
Released in 1994 Pressure Makes Diamonds saw Jim return to the spotlight as a major contributor to Australia's musical heritage with an album of ten new tracks.
Jim has another album written and is ready for recording. His writing partners include Nick Smith who co-wrote many of the Black Sorrows hits. Jim had hoped to start recording before the end of the year (1998) but there is now no chance of that due to commitments with the Masters video and his book. The video featuring interviews and footage of the masters performing was aired on the ABC in Melbourne. Jim's book was released, received great reviews, sold well and was a very entertaining account of the rise and fall of the Masters. Jim is a great story teller.
 
dirty

2000's

Jim has another album recorded but not released yet. He has regular work with Cotton Keays & Morris. At home Jim is kept busy with his family and in his spare time pursues his lifetime interest with the paint brush.

Jim the artist
Dirty

2010's

At an age where many of his contemporaries are content to rest on best of albums and acoustic/lounge tribute shows, Jim Keays has just launched a new solo album of garage-punk psychedelic foot stompers entitled 'Dirty Dirty' that's astonished the music press, garnering glowing reviews and re-introduced one of Australian rock'n'roll's bad boys of the 1960s to new generations of rock fans.

from Rock 'n' Survivor (ABC)

 

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