Hey you in the black T-shirt! Biography Michael Chugg
Micahel Chugg talking about Billy Thorpe
I have read a lot of books, thousands in fact. The best book I have ever read is Papillon, by Henri Charriere. This book is up there with Papilllon. Once I started reading it I just couldn’t put it down.
The book starts off with a description of the insanely indulgent excesses of the iconic band Fleetwood Mac while on tour under the supervision of Chugg here in Australia. At the time they had just released their best selling Album Rumours which later went down in history as one of the best albums of all time. This particular first chapter and its explanations of rampant drug and alcohol use although obviously true, beggars belief.
It is these amazing stories that make this book so interesting and readable. Chugg then covers his time growing up in Tasmania where he was a champion cyclist who called horse races and ran small dances in public halls on the side.
Chugg realised very early on that he wanted to be a music promoter and manger. He tells of his meteoric rise in the Australian Music world where he promoted or managed the likes of David Bowie, Queen, Frank Sinatra, Lisa Minelli, Sammy Davis Junior, Guns n Roses, The Police, Billy Joel, Sting, Billy Thorpe, Midnight Oil, Split Enz, Ross Wilson, Max Merrit and many many others too numerous to mention.
He covers the history of the Australian Music scene in both Melbourne and Sydney starting from the 50’s, through to the Sunbury Pop Festival up until the present day.
Their is a rather interesting but sad chapter on the Career of Easybeats front man and heroin addict Stevie Wright. He also explains the workings of the industry and tells many stories about his fellow promoters and partners in crime like Michael Gudinski, Michael Edgly and Michael Coppel.
Chuggy (as he calls himself) is a larrikin at heart and many times he has got himself into trouble by taking the stage and abusing the patrons at his massive concerts, hence the title, “Hey you in the black T-shirt”, a reference to an incident involving Chugg and a major band while in concert.
Chugg explains the workings of the industry and his ups and downs. Plenty of times he was nearly bankrupt. He names names, but does not go too far as he is still in the industry and does not want to burn his bridges. He also tells of his many failed relationships. In fact his honesty is uplifting and you can’t help but like the man.
I actually wrote to Chugg regarding the fact that I loved his book and blow me down if he didn’t write back to me personally. This proves Chugg is approachable and this attitude comes through in the book, a thoroughly enjoyable read.