Precis and Chapter Outline
This memoir is more than an insiders account of a mid eighties Australian Independent band. Confessions of a Lighthouse Keeper provides multiple insights into the broader music and entertainment world - in a country that has mixed feelings about the arts. It’s atmospheric, light, self-deprecating and full of musings from others who have travelled this road - over the last 50 years. The Lighthouse Keepers are sentimental favourites amongst the generation who came of age in the inner cities Sydney, Melbourne and even Canberra - during the 1980’s.
The book is written in an engaging style and features personal interviews, diary entries, and writing contributions from other witness - all linked by Greg Appel’s very personal text. After all – he has spent a fair part of his career linking the rantings and musings of Australia’s entertainers in TV and Radio programs.
Lindy Morrison – Go Betweens
James Cruickshank – Widdershins, Cruel Sea
Rob McComb – the Triffids
Murray Cook – the Wiggles
John Paul Young – legendary Australian Pop Star
Steve Kilbey – the Church
Ken Gormley – the Cruel Sea
Clinton Walker – writer/academic
David Nichols – writer/academic
Juliet Ward – the Lighthouse Keepers
There are also planned musical events, online videos and a documentary being put together around the book’s publication.
The Lighthouse Keepers were an Australian country and indie pop band formed in 1981 in Sydney. The Lighthouse Keepers combined a "loosely rehearsed, casual ethos" with humour, punk attitudes and pure pop song craft. While sounding unlike anything else at the time they were very successful on a cult level. In November 1984 the group issued their debut studio album, Tales of the Unexpected", and a single, "Ocean Liner". In 1985 the band toured the United Kingdom and Europe, at times supporting their fellow label mates the Triffids. “They are the perfect group with the perfect pop songs, songs about heartfelt passions with simple intelligible lyrics…These people know what they are about, they know how to touch us lesser mortals right at the heart. Pure genius.” raved Jane Wilkes in the UK’s New Musical Express. But after this one European sojourn the ensemble disbanded in 1986, releasing a compilation album, “The Imploding Lighthouse Keepers”, in November that year.
Perhaps as a punishment for his sins in this indie world, Greg Appel ended up as the producer of the ABC TV rock History Long Way to the Top and has created numerous other music programs and events. As a guitarist/songwriter for The Lighthouse Keepers in the mid Eighties – his interest in music has often influenced his work. His diverse documentary work has included Awards in Australia and being selected to open the South African Film festival for the 2010 World Cup with The Team that Never Played. His documentary on Bossa Nova music in 2008, the sound that seduced the world premiered at the Sydney film festival and was broadcast on ABC 1 and 2. He has also produced many feature documentaries for ABC Radio national. Greg brings to this tale a unique perspective on the music business, public broadcasting and program making. From putting on family shows at Caravan parks in his youth, he has come full circle to putting on shows about Caravan Parks in the fraught world of live theatre.
All chapters are named after Lighthouse Keeper songs – with a fairly linear narrative from the Sixites all the way to nowadays.
1. ode to nothing - the lighthouse keepers break up after an onstage brawl in Hamburg
2. Dishwashing Liquid – A dreamy Canberra childhood, followed by a not-very-good punk band
3. Lighthouse Keepers – early history in Sydney independent scene interviews, diaries
4. We’ve got a gig – the Lighthouse Keepers play a lot, the inner city scene explodes (sort of), interviews, diaries, records of live shows.
5. Wheels over the Desert – the Lighthouse Keepers go overseas and try their luck with mixed results: interviews, diaries, records of live shows
6. Torture Road – the end of the road for the band: interviews, diaries, records of live shows
7. A time of Evil – another band the Widdershins is formed, some darker times including witchcraft, drugs and even sex
8. March of the Green Men – Greg Appel starts to work at the ABC and begins to make documentaries
9. Cruising – Greg works on various ABC TV shows including King Street Newtown and A Long Way to the Top
10.Shadowlands – the story of Van Park – Greg Appel’s musical about some old musos stuck in a Caravan Park starring John Paul Young and Steve Kilbey
11. Return of the King – putting on live shows and making docos is occasionally rewarding
12. Love Beacon – what goes around comes around, the artists life in perspective
Interested? send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org