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Dean started playing guitar while in high school. Luckily, one of his classmates was Harry Brus, the famous Australian bass player. Harry was already a good guitarist and taught Dean lots of riffs and tricks. Soon Dean was proficient enough to join a band called The Bottomless Pits. (Known affectionately as The Pits, which reflected their musical capabilities.) When the Pits folded Dean started a band called the Nazz.

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Pick a card...

The name came from the Yardbirds song, The Nazz are Blue. A few other bands had the same idea. For their biggest gig, where they actually headlined the show, The Nazz were billed as The Gnats due to the printer mishearing the name when the booking agent phoned through the copy for the posters.  Soon after this the lead singer, John Cave, left the band and changed his name to William Shakespeare and with a little help from Harry Vanda and George Young had a few number one hits in the early 70's. (When John Cave died recently Dean did a drive past all the places they had played and hung out together as teenagers. Fond memories.)

The remaining members of the Nazz, with a name change to Wireless, carried on for a while with Dean taking over the vocals, and got some extra work as a studio band doing jingles and radio commercials at United Sound Studios. Then, inspired by Australian singer and guitarist Terry Hannagan, Dean started playing acoustic guitar and writing songs.

 
  Dean and Stuart in London. Note the sophisticated recording equipment

Dean and Stuart in London. Note the sophisticated recording equipment

 

And, inspired by Jack Kerouac, he eventually went to America with the idea of doing a real life reading of Kerouac's On The Road by hitchhiking across the country. While 'On the Road', Dean played acoustic sets in many US folk clubs. In LA he met the folk-singer Bob Miles and in New York he met Australian singer/songwriter Stuart Ongley and landed a regular gig at a bar on the West 70's. When his visa ran out Dean headed for London where he got a deal with a small record company, which mainly distributed American recordings. After doing some recordings at the Manor Studio in Oxford with the folk rock band Fairport Convention, Dean was offered a serious contract with a large UK label. Dean was invited to meet their main producer, Hal Shaper, a man who had written songs for everyone from Frank Sinatra down. Hal and Dean got on well and it looked like the deal would go ahead. Hal told Dean that if you got a song recorded by Frank Sinatra, you could forget about it all and retire. He also said a song recorded by Glen Campbell was worth a cottage in the country. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the great dream didn't happen.

 
   The original Troubadour Club and Coffee House, Old Brompton Road, London

The original Troubadour Club and Coffee House, Old Brompton Road, London

 

Soon after this Dean made a few trips to Paris, where a couple of cafes gave him an open invitation to play for food and beer. And, in London, he played some solo gigs at The Troubadour Club. He then reunited with Stuart Ongley and they played together in pubs in Oxford, Cornwall and North Devon. Also in London, Dean co-founded the production company Radio Plan, trading simply as Radio, to coincide with the launch of commercial radio in the UK in 1973. He wrote and produced radio commercials with Radio for various London ad agencies and wrote occasional stories and articles for IPC Magazines. Dean then met the guitarist Russ Shipton and they formed an acoustic duo, doing blues, folk and original songs. Dean also met UK record producer Austin John Marshall around this time. He named the duo Two Bit Band and got them some concert gigs and also got them together with David Swarbrick, Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks from Fairport Convention to record some original songs. While recording in Shaftsbury Avenue, they were visited by some friends of Austin John's, Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention and Vivian Stanshall from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which was very exciting.

 
  Russ Shipton looks out from the back cover of his first book

Russ Shipton looks out from the back cover of his first book

 

Although this recording session was successful, Austin John ended up moving to Ireland and the songs were never released. Russ was about to launch his guitar method, Folk Styles of Today, which eventually became The Complete Guitar Player, which went on to become the world's best selling guitar method, with over 1,000,000 copies sold. By this stage Dean couldn't hang on any longer for fame and fortune in London. To make some money and have an adventure, he got a job in the Swedish Merchant Navy as a seaman, signing on for one voyage to the Middle East. The ship arrived in Beiruit the day civil war was officially declared between the Arabs and the Israelis and was stuck there for months. Dean played his guitar every day for the guys and girls on the ship and dodged bullets and con-artists whenever he could get into Beirut. (It was one of those periods in life that are much better viewed in hindsight.)

 
  Some friends on the ship congratulate Dean for winning the best T-shirt competition

Some friends on the ship congratulate Dean for winning the best T-shirt competition

 

With some money in his pocket, Dean returned to Australia and started writing music and performing around the clubs in Sydney, which resulted in him making some recordings at radio station 2JJ with DJ Sandy McCutcheon, including Dean's song Combination Soup which Sandy often played on his program. Then Dean teamed up with a wonderful musician called Groove Myers. They formed a duo called Deano and Groove and were very successful as a live act, often playing six nights a week, sometimes in three places a night, around Sydney. Eventually the duo went their separate ways and Dean started writing songs with musician, Andrew Thomas Wilson for ATV/Northern Songs music publishers. Dean finally had a song released in London when Constant Change, written for Edith Bliss, was released there as a single. Another highlight was writing a song with Pat Aulton to promote the Australian movie, The Odd Angry Shot. Pat booked Dean’s old friend Terry Hannagan to sing it. It was a great session and a very successful song that was played in cinemas all over Australia.

 
  When you co-write with the likes of Andrew Thomas Wilson and Pat Aulton you can’t help but do well

When you co-write with the likes of Andrew Thomas Wilson and Pat Aulton you can’t help but do well

 

Another interesting project Dean became involved in was the protest to save Luna Park in Sydney. The artist Peter Kingston asked Dean to write a song about it and Dean performed the song with Peter and Martin Sharp outside Parliament House in Sydney. To attract media attention, they were dressed in clown suits from Martin Sharp's fabulous collection. Around this time, Dean wrote the song A Whole World of People, which launched SBS Television and was played every day for years on the station.   

With Andrew Thomas Wilson, Dean also wrote songs for the ALP and corporate stuff for companies like Mayne to play at their conferences.  Another guy Dean worked with a lot at this time was the legendary engineer and producer, Spencer Lee. Spence and Dean produced soundtracks and commercials for JVC, the State Bank, Colgate-Palmolive, Ryvita, Comalco-Alfoil and other companies. Dean also recorded a few songs with Spencer, helped along by musician and engineer Warwick Bone, but they never managed to get a 'deal'.

In the '90's Dean got the bug to start playing live again and got a job at Beth's Café in Annandale, Sydney, where he played regularly for a couple of years. Then he went to Melbourne for work reasons and started playing with Chris Grosz and Bruce Thomas in a band called The Multi Nationals. (After their National Guitars.) Their biggest gig was at The Royal George Hotel in St. Kilda. The Multi-Nationals played together until Dean had to come back to Sydney for family and work reasons.

Back in Sydney, Dean approached guitarist and producer Doug Weaver about recording a CD. Doug agreed to produce it and consequently Dean released Not Really The Blues in 2003. Dean and Doug were helped along by some great musicians, including drummer Mal Wakeford, Bass player, Marshall McAdam and Tuba player, Carolyn 'Cazzbo' Johns. Dean and Doug also teamed up to play all the songs live at the Frankston International Guitar Festival in Melbourne.

Not Really the Blues was played on many radio shows, including The Planet, Stormy Monday, The Blues is Back, KK's Blues, The Blue Room, The Blues Doctor on Bush Radio in Cape Town South Africa and even on blues shows in the USA and Europe. It is still getting airplay on some stations. Since Not Really The Blues, Dean has released several CD’s through Bombora Records in Adelaide and his music has grown from its blues roots into all sorts of interesting places.