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According to a recent update on the Madder Lake's social media page, the former lead singer Mick Fettes passed away on Friday the 18th of November 2016 at the age of 65.
Madder Lake is an Australian progressive rock band formed in Melbourne in 1971. They got their name Madder Lake from a crimson-coloured water-based dye (alizarin) mixed with alum and used in paintings. They were the opening act at the inaugural Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1972. In fact, Madder Lake was the only band to perform all four years of the iconic Sunbury music festival from 1972 until 1975.
They were one of the first band's signed up on the Michael Gudinski co-owned Mushroom Records which released their debut single, "Goodbye Lollipop" in February 1973, followed by their classic album Stillpoint. This contained their most recognisable single, "12lb Toothbrush". Their second album Butterfly Farm was released in April 1974, they left Mushroom after their last single, "I Get High" appeared in July 1976.
Mick Fettes left Madder Lake in 1974 and formed Bandicoot with Shane Bourne, who later on became known as a comedian, actor and a regular on Hey Hey It's Saturday. The band consisted of Shane's brother Dannie Bourne (keyboards and vocals), Ross Davis (guitar), Bruno Stanislo (bass, vocals) and Gary Young (drums, ex Daddy Cool). Bandicoot only released one self-titled album and this single called 'Living Off The Radio'. Both records were released in 1976 on the short-lived Rainbird label. It is a hidden Aussie rock gem, waiting to be rediscovered.
Ex-Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs drummer and the former head of Aztec Records, Gil Matthews has made the following statement on Facebook:
"Today I have to say yet again R.I.P. to someone. MICK FETTES from Madder Lake, one of my favourite bands from the 70's has past away. I loved Mick because he was a little crazy. I remember mastering a track of Madder Lake...live from Sunbury and he was talking in RUSSIAN or something, in one of the songs and I remember thinking this guys NUTS, but I LOVE IT. He wasn't the best singer in the world but he sure suited Madder Lake, in fact he was perfect for Madder Lake and I spent some time with him when I ran a couple of 70's gigs at THE PALMS at Crown called "ROCK OF AGES". And I couldn't help but NOT like him (probably because he was as crazy as me). R.I.P Mick , you're gone but your music's NOT."
In 2008, Aztec Records lovingly restored and released the two prog rock classic albums, Stillpoint and Butterfly Farm with extra cuts such as rare B-Sides and Sunbury and Garrison: The Final Blow Unit live performances from 1973 and 1974. Which lead to these Aztec Records showcase performances called Rock Of Ages.
This may be the last ever recorded performance of Mick on stage with Madder Lake at Rock Of Ages 3, six years ago at the Crown Casino. Mick retired soon afterwards and was replaced by Ian Ferguson ex-RJSS, Carson and the Blue Dukes in 2011. Madder Lake released one more album in 2013 called 'World' with their new lead singer.
More recently, the all girl Aussie rock band Stonefield covered '12lb Toothbrush' at The Age Music Victoria Awards in two years ago at 170 Russell with The Age EG All Star Band.
Cover photograph of Madder Lake at Sidney Myer Music Bowl: Nathan D. Brenner
Videos by Carbie Warbie
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