The Riotous Rollercoaster Ride that was Mental as Anything from 1976-2019. Now being told for the 1st time by those who were there.
This book sets out to collate all the bizarre and beautiful moments that led to The Mentals becoming one of Australia's most loved and successful bands ever. To explore the funny side of life on the road, the creative decisions that lead to the hits (and misses), the lesser known 'Did You Know?' stories behind the making of their videos and albums, and to generally celebrate a band that was larger than life. So we can all continue to live it up, even though the band has laid down their weapons (and, er, tin foil hats).
Through my own musical aspirations in bands (including The Steaming Latrines of which original Mental, Steve Coburn, was a member), and as a manager of Tim Freedman and Itchy Feet, my path crossed with these berserk warriors over many years on the road, in art galleries, and even as far afield as Singapore and Vietnam.
I first met Reg in the men's room of the Vulcan Hotel in 1980 -- at a Cockroaches gig -- where we excitedly agreed to swap shoes (I coveted his winklepickers, he desired my foam ferryboats) before realising we were three full sizes different. No prizes for guessing whose feet were the smaller size 7s! (Alcohol may or may not have been involved.)
I was lucky enough to have in-depth discussions with Greedy and Martin especially about songwriting, when I wrote for publications like Variety, SongSmith and Australian Musician, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian (also interviewing the likes of REM, Paul Kelly, Denis Handlin, John Woodruffe, and Bic Runga). And always enjoyed my time with Reg, Peter and Bird, too, and their laconic humour and insights on life and the music industry.
The last time I saw Greedy, if I remember rightly, was helping to carry his keyboard to his Subaru after a gig on the Northern Beaches.
If you had any magical Mental moments, I'd love to hear from you or see your pics or posters, so we can include them in the book. Let's make this a whole-hearted celebration of one of the greatest Aussie bands ever to have played on the pool table
of the Unicorn Hotel.
Thanks for your kind contribution! Stuart.
(Draft cover artwork for illustration purposes only)
Me (in grey beret) with the band, Paul Dempsey, and Skip in Vietnam 2000 - the day before the classic line-up's final ever gig together.
Who I've Already Got Some Great Material From:
Richard Gottehrer (super-producer), Mark Moffatt (award-winning producer), Steve Coburn (original bass player), Martin Plaza, Greedy Smith (RIP), Reg Mombassa, David Twohill, Peter O'Doherty, Paul Dempsey (early promoter), Keith Welsh (Flowers/Icehouse), Peter Doyle (Mangrove Boogie Kings/ Hawaiian House Wreckers), Jim Blackfoot (sound guy), etc. List to be updated progressively as I complete interviews. (Be great to add YOU to this list of contributors, too, thanks.)
DOING MY BIT FOR CHARITY: Like Martin, I have been undergoing cancer treatment for the past 6 years, and plan to donate a portion of any writer's royalties earned from this project to Tour De Cure, who have already funnelled funds into 40 promising cancer treatment research programs.
Praise for Stuart Lloyd
Kevin S Cummings
author, Bangkok Beats
" Lighthearted. Stu's a very good story teller. Entertainingly quick pace."
Tom Iggulden, Fairfax Group (now ABC Producer)
"A damn fine journalist."