Mick Leyton Talks About The Very Short Lifetime of Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly - Noise11.com
Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly SCRA

Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly SCRA

Mick Leyton Talks About The Very Short Lifetime of Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly

by Paul Cashmere on September 26, 2022

in News

Australian big band Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly has a very successful but short history. The band formed in Sydney in 1971 and it was all over in 1972. The first album ‘SCRA’ was released in December 1971, the second album ‘The Ship Album’ was released in March 1972 and then it was all over.

Co-lead singer Mick Leyton tells Noise11.com that the whole thing last “Just over a year. There was a heap of people to pay. Once you are in it for a job it was very difficult to earn a living. At that stage we weren’t just musicians running around with the arse hanging out of our trousers, two of the boys, Blocko (Ian Bloxom) and Dave Ellis were with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Blocko was a percussionist and Dave the bass player for the Sydney Symphony. Myself, I started doing session work in 1971 and I was working practically every day in the studio doing jingles or film musicals. When we finally lost our resident gig we all said it was lovely but time to day goodnight. It was purely financial. We all loved the band and were having a great time but it was a hell of a job trying to pay everyone’s wages once a week”.

Watch the full Noise11.com interview with Mick Leyton here:

After the band split, SCRA members were constantly still working together but a reunion never happened. “With the session thing we would always meet in the studio for someone else, purely as working singers or working musicians,” Mick says. “I’d get a gig and head into EMI to do something for film, I’d stroll in and there would be Jim (Kelly) or Pete (Martin) and we’d all have a laugh but there was no reunion of the band as such”.

Mick Leyton is now 80 years old. Many of the members are still around but some have now passed. “Blocko died, dear Blocko,” Mick recalls. “I’m still here, I think, sometimes. It wouldn’t be possible to get together and do it all again. Russell (Dunlop) died. That was a terrible shame. He died at his son’s wedding. His son got married. He played there on the wedding night, did the first set, everyone was laughing and he dropped dead. Sheryl (Black) is still alive. She sent me some pictures on the computer the other day. Peter (Martin) is still around. Jimmy (Kelly), he is cool. I rang Don (Wright) the other day. He is still here. Yeah, we are still drifting around”.

Sheryl Black, the female lead singer in the band and Mick, the male lead singer, now live hundreds of kilometres apart. “She is living up in Byron Bay at Mullumbimby. I am still in Sydney. It would work like a wheel if we got together again. Her and I, we just get on. I would like that very much. I’d like to sing gentle songs with Sheryl. She has such a beautiful soft sound to her voice and I can go there too when I’m in the mood. Between the two of us we could probably come up with a really nice album if we got together. Time is pressing on”.

Philip Israel’s Possum Records has just released a 50th anniversary edition of Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly’ SCRA’ and its on CD for the very first time ever. Find it here.

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