The Hi-Five, Pieter LaBrooy third from left.
My association with Perth bands was basically between postings in the RAAF! From 1964 I was in Phil Mason and the Mexmen (Herb Alpert Tribute), then Reg Carson and the Tollmen until 1965, then I played with Glen Ingram and the Hi-Five until the end of 1965. Unfortunately after that I was off on a posting to Butterworth, Malaysia, from which I had to go to Thailand during the Vietnam conflict. I was back in Perth in 1968, then played with the Top Brass, and later the J.A. Sound Syndicate doing ‘Chicago’ and semi big band stuff. That was it until 1972 when I was off again to Wagga Wagga, NSW as a RAAF instructor. I played some live music over there too, on guitar.
Our house was full of music when I was little so it was a natural progression that I would be involved in music. When I first heard ‘Apache’, that was it. Then Gene Vincent’s guitar playing finished me off – I was hooked and haven’t been the same since (my wife is still a widow!).
I think the Hi-Five was my best time, but I can say they all were great times. The jive songs really used to get the audiences going! Once that beat started that was it, especially if the song had a good feel. That was the essence of the whole deal. There was a song called ‘Tiddlywinks’ (an instrumental based on the Sailor’s Hornpipe) that we rocked up, and that got everybody going. We used to play that at the Bicton Hall Hop. People still tell me they used to go to the Bicton Hop and dance to it.
Jive, Twist and Stomp (December 2010) is available from Fremantle Press.