Venus Flight was my first high school band. I formed the band with Tony Smith and Mark Colwell in 1976 over a number of sessions in our high school library, where we would lock ourselves in one of the Audio-Visual rooms, stick three sets of headphones into a cassette player and listen to Paul McCartney & Wings cassettes all lunchtime.
We formed the band before we even had instruments, let alone knew how to play them! I originally wanted to be the drummer, but Mark got in first – and also had access to a drum kit.
And so I chose to be the bass player since it seemed it would be easier to learn to play, only having four strings (and big thick ones at that) as opposed to six on the guitar.
The three of us would frequently catch the train up to Sydney and scour the second-hand record shops for Beach Boys albums and then drop by ‘Elliotts’ – a second-hand store near Central Station – which sold used musical equipment. We would spend an hour or more drooling over the twin-stack Marshall amps and the old Fender Bassman valve amps.
Eventually, we added a fourth member, Steve Nolan (an accomplished guitarist by our standards), but when our sound became a little heavier – and the number of Status Quo covers exceeded the number of Ol’55 covers – we backed off, parted company with Steve, and settled on a line-up including two girls, Jo-Anne and Cathy. Thus began our ABBA phase.
Tony ‘Rocka’ Smith
David ‘Lemmy’ Turner
Mark ‘Taffy’ Colwell