Rick is a multi-instrumentalist and singer who has been performing touring recording and producing since the 1970s. First band was “The Dymonds” which later became “The Paul McKay Sound” in which Rick played guitar and sang. His first record was with “The Dymonds” a song called “Anna J”.
His next band was “Magna Carta” again on guitar and vocals. Rick then moved to bass guitar and became a touring musician playing shows with Peter Allen, Acker Bilk, Jimmie Edwards, Phyllis Diller, and many more.
Next came a stint as lead vocalist and bass player with “Billy Mackin” in a 4-piece line-up.
By this stage he was also heavily involved in the advertising industry as a Voice-Over artist and featured on many ads for TV and radio.
Early on he fell in love with Joe Cocker and also Ray Charles and began to do shows featuring the music and styles of these two artists. As well as his own shows he also stood in as singer with other bands that needed his authentic raw soul and bluesy sound, such as Melbourne’s “Big and Horny” with Mae Parker.
This led to many floorshows and corporate gigs often together with Mae as a duo act with backing band.
Rick was a natural choice for “Leave Your Hat On”. He brings the deep knowledge of Cocker’s style, the love of the repertoire, and the relaxed showmanship required for this authentic Cocker-style band.
Piano & Musical Director
Andy is a multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Melbourne. He began performing on guitar aged 14 before moving to keyboards at 19. He moved to Australia from his native New Zealand at age 27 having played with many of that country’s most well respected performers. That was back in 1980 and since then he has played with some of Australia’s most respected artists including Normie Rowe, Doug Parkinson, Jenny Morris, Digger Revell, Stephen Cummings, Leon Berger, Barry Leef, Erana Clark, to name a few. He has also performed in bands or orchestras featuring Tom Jones, Thelma Houston, and Eric Burdon. He has performed for theatre shows including “Hair” and Wendy Stapleton as “Dusty” and also a one year stint in the Tonight Live TV show band on keyboards and guitar. Andy began producing and recording in the early seventies in New Zealand and now divides his time between composing, recording and performing in an eclectic range of genres from blues to jazz to rock to funk and reggae. He is married and lives with his wife and dog in bayside Melbourne.
Bob is best known for his work with bands Skyhooks & The Angels & his induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. A professional musician since the age of 15 (in 1972) Bob has recorded over a dozen albums with Skyhooks (as guitarist) & The Angels (as guitarist & songwriter & occasionally the producer & engineer), all of which have been certified Gold or Platinum, & toured & recorded with many other artists, from Norman Gunston to Russell Morris & a great variety in-between. The Angels multi-Platinum album “Beyond Salvation” remains the band’s first & only Australian Number One album, and, along side Rick Brewster, featured Bob as the main songwriter. Bob is currently working on his first solo album, a mix of groovy rock/pop songs & slightly obtuse instrumentals.
40 year pro & Sonar & Zildjian endorsed Jeff Barnes has played in the shows Cats, Chorus Line, Hair, Rocky Horror, Grease and many more. Toured internationally backing Ray Charles, Roberta Flack throughout Europe, Asia and USA. Jeff is a clinician and helped set up the Drummers Collective in New York.
Shane is an Electric Bass player who has been honing his skills since the age of 12 – a passion that led him to become the first Electric Bass player to complete a Bachelor of Music at Melbourne’s Conservatorium of Music. He has been a professional educator, music and Electric Bass teacher for the past 15 years.
Shane has performed in numerous genres and productions in the last 20 years from amateur theatre to professional shows and has loved all of the people and experiences that music has granted him. Every gig brings its own fun and excitement whether it be playing with his own band ‘The Madeline Streets’ to playing with a variety of funk, jazz and cover bands including his regular corporate band ‘Studio Live’.
Shane lives with his partner, Lee, and two beautiful dogs – Vader & Doc – out in Melbourne’s West where he proudly proclaims his entire house is a “Man Cave”.
Michelle Johns is a ‘natural’ keyboard player who is passionate about the Blues but versatile across a range of styles. As an MBAS committee member Michelle supports other musicians including “Women in Blues” and “Youth in Blues”. She has been the driving force behind several R&B bands including “Groovemaster” and “Strut”. Michelle has played regularly across Victoria in various bands including “ 4th Avenue band” and “Soul Blue”, in musical theatre and as a sessional keyboard player in various duos and trios. She also runs music therapy workshops for people with disabilities.
The Mad Dog Horns
Trombone & Horn Arrangements
Tim is a freelance trombonist, pianist, arranger and composer. He has worked locally, around Australia and internationally, crossing stylistic boundaries to perform in orchestras, big bands, musical theatre, brass bands, jazz bands, rock bands and brass ensembles.
Bryan works with many bands in Melbourne including Hit Parade, Briefcase Full of Blues, Big City Beat, Big and Horny and the David Cameron Band and has toured throughout Australia, North America and Asia.
He has performed in the pit for musicals including Les Miserables, Fame, Gypsy, West Side Story and recorded with Australian bands and artists.
Saxophonist Jezz Blamey is a fan of diversity; he has directed a big band, performed in a New Orleans style marching funk band, performed alongside an indigenous hip-hop artist, recorded a reggae album, accompanied absurdist Romanian theatre, and done cheesy French cafe jazz on clarinet. In his other life he has a degree in rocket science, a PhD, and two cats.
The Delta Ladies
Nardia Brancatisano has been an Entertainer in the form of a Singer/dancer/ actor/ model for the last 19 years. She featured in her first Television commercial at the age of 7 and recorded her first EP at the age of 17. She has featured in various bands around Melbourne, Asia & Europe. Her versatility & diversity in her voice has provided her with the ability to adapt in many forms from fronting bands to singing in choirs and back up harmonies for various music artists. . Nardia’s professional credits include touring with Mo-Tunes (Supremes tribute band) fronting various Melbourne bands including her band Soul Chic and the Justin Yap Band, theatre shows including a show called Genius (Ray Charles musical), fronting various Jazz & Blues bands and TV appearances.
Georga Byrne has been performing professionally as an entertainer since she was 12 years old. She has had extensive training in all facets of dance, as well as in screen acting, stage acting, and voice.
Georga is frequently asked to perform at special events and concerts both as a soloist and with her successful 2-part harmony duo, “Soul Chic” with Nardia Brancastisno. Soul Chic recently had the honour of supporting Sneaky Sound System at the Crown Palladium, as well as both Pink and Beyonce in their VIP lounges at the Rod Laver Arena.
Georga is currently performing as a Delta Lady in ‘Leave Your Hat On’ (a tribute to Joe Cocker) and with Wendy Stapleton in both her ‘Dusty’ and ‘Swinging Sixties’ shows. She is also writing her first solo album, a children’s album, and can be heard on radio and TV singing the jingle for the new Spotlight TVC.
I have had the joy of music flowing through my veins since I began to sing around the piano with my talented mother. Harmonies have always been my special forte and delight. I trained in opera at Melba Conservatoruim of Music at the University of Melbourne and went on to perform in trios, TV and sessions, solos in jazz blues and soul outfits and the superb 17 piece Ray Charles Shake Your Tailfeather Band and the Genuis musical. I have loved collaborating with some of Melbourne’s finest and currently am performing with Mi Ritmo Latin band as well as working on a vocal duo, arranging vocals and composing and performing my own material. So excited to be a part of Leave Your Hat On showcasing the immense talents of Joe Cocker.