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Mystrys, The

Melbourne (Australia) entrepreneur and businessman Michael Kopp came up with the concept of The Mystrys purely as a gimmicky business venture in 1966.

They secured singer/bassist Charlie Bayliss and completed the lineup with Ziggy Zapata on lead guitar, Kevin Thomas on rhythm guitar and Malcolm McPhee on drums (later replaced by John Lake when McPhee descended into alcoholism and drug use).

Also recruited for the venture was recording and media consultant Bob King Crawford, who would write the songs for the band.

The Mystrys wore green velvet hoods whenever they appeared in public and did not divulge their true identities.

They claimed to come from another planet and adopted preposterous alien-sounding names – Ankharr, Kuff (who claimed to be 347 years old), Zoarg and GMX. They also claimed there was a fifth member of the group called Finstar – but he was invisible.

Their debut single, Witch Girl (June 1966), was released on the Leedon label and incorporated eerie female backing vocals and bubbling cauldron effects – but was largely ignored by local radio although it made the local charts.

Following appearances on Go!! and Kommotion the band began an extensive regional tour, playing in country towns in Victoria and South Australia – including the remote opal mining town of Andamooka.

Unfortunately, Michael Kopp made a habit of passing bad cheques and disappeared when the Federal Police – to whom he was known under many aliases – came knocking.

With no financial backing, The Mystrys had to call it a day.

Charlie Bayliss
Vocals, bass
Ziggy Zapata
Lead guitar
Kevin Thomas
Rhythm guitar
Malcolm McPhee
John Lake