AMBUSH ROCK BAND AUSTRALIA

Australian   Suburban  Rock  Band

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The story of a suburban rock band from Ambush to Little Finger and the Stone Dogs

Ambush 1884

AMBUSH  1983 - 1985

Formed in 1983 as the music scene saw some dramatic changes, Ambush was then Steve Massey (rhythm guitar), Richard Mills (Vocals), Venn Hawkins (Lead Guitar), Neil Sandon (Drums) and Bill Molloy (Bass). There first few gigs included Bip's Tavern, Bexley Inn and the Middle Harbor Skiff club.

In 1984 the band took a new heavier direction an introduced Rick Midgley as lead guitarist and Michael Fairbrass as drummer. As a writer & composer for much of the bands material, Massey soon assumed the role as lead vocalist while still providing the core rhythm guitar sound.

Left: Mick Fairbrass (rear left), Steve Massey (rear right), Dave Wingfield (front left) and Rick Midgley.

 

"The Sydney siders from the northern beaches were heavily inspired by many of the rock legends of the 1970's including several Australian act's and played supporting roles to a number of large Sydney and interstate bands at the time. In late 1984 the band was offered a recording deal through a U.K company highly supportive of their style and direction even though they were contending with a changing music industry.

But prior commitments of two band members saw this exceptional opportunity fall by the wayside. Not letting this downside to a larger career affect the moral the band, Ambush continued playing suburban Sydney venues as crowds were drawn by the amazing speed and sound of lead guitarist Midgley and the tight vocals harmonies of Massey and Fairbrass." (OTS magazine)

Ambush Dee Why Glider Room
AMBUSH - Live at the old Dee Why Glider Room in 1984.
Steve Massey left and Rick Midgley.

AMBUSH  1985 - 1987

As often can happen, line up changes occurred and Ambush grew to a new level of high power musical performances after bringing onboard lead guitarist Craig Avery and bass player Richard (Bongo) Davidson. Avery brought to the band a new level of power rock guitar that drew numerous would be guitarists to their shows often seen banging heads in the front stage row.

This line up saw several original songs take shape as they continued to develop their distinctive sound in recording studios. But, Ambush were also renowned for their cover versions of alternate Deep Purple tracks and perhaps more popularly known Van Halen tunes. Often headling, Ambush also featured regularly with bands like Avion, the Allnighters and the Choir Boys.
Bongo Davidson went on to perform throughout Australia in later years with the likes of IOTA and others.

Ambush 1985

Above from left: Richard (Bongo) Davidson, Steve Massey, Craig Avery and Mick Fairbrass.

 


AMBUSH  1987 - 1992

As most musicians discover throughout their careers, venue agencies demand more than is sometimes reasonable and tempers can flare. After one unreasonable booking agency fell into bankruptcy, the band decided to take a break for a while. From 1987 to 1989, singer and writer Steve Massey followed a lucrative career in advertising jingles although his heart always remained in rock music. Massey was occasionally seen giving impromptu performances as guest singer - once such performance was with legendary guitarist Phil Emmanuel. He also spent time in a major club cover show. Guitarist Craig Avery took a short stint with the AC/DC cover show TNT before forming his own original band Lipstick Reaction which, "ironically" did a supporting performance at the famous Selina's for Ambush at one time.

In 1989 the band rejoined with new lead guitarist Stephen Beggs (Beggsy) and bass player Leo Teppo. The band played numerous Sydney shows at venues including Selina's, the Family Inn, Bexley Inn, Manly Warringah Soccer Club, Brooky Hotel, Didi's, the Parkway, Mona Vale, Bryants Manly Vale Seven Hills, Marrickville, Feathers and the Bull & Bush.

The band recorded regularly and recall enjoyed moments spent in the studio particularly at one time when Alan Lancaster (ex-Status Quo and Party Boys) gave up some time to pass on experiences and even mix down a couple of the bands songs. Here is Cruizin by Ambush

In 1990 after auditioning successfully as vocalist for an extremely talented team of muso's involved in a funded recording project, Massey enjoyed two years of writing and co-producing two albums of extensively diverse material. The Dirk Hartog project included Ace Veljanovski (lead guitar) Mick Carter (Bass/vocals) and Tony Reed (Drums).
Here is just one Dirk Hartog recording

 

Ambush 1989

Ambush live at Crows Nest
Stephen Beggs, Steve Massey & Leo Teppo

The song Cruizin by Ambush 1990

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Live at the Venue Dee Why

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Mick Fairbrass - Live at Seven Hills

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Live in Newcastle

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Live at Selina's (Coogee Hotel)

 

Live at Brookvale

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Stephen Beggs (Beggsy)
 

Steve Massey

Steve Massey

Head bangers out front of the stage


1992 - 1994 (Touring Again)

The only two original members from 1983 reformed the band in 1992 and joining them was new bass player Kevin Cook and South Australian guitarist Peter Longe. Mick and Steve decided to take the band on the road under a new name "Little Finger" - a play on Massey's characteristic rock guitar style. But the band retained it truly Ambush sound and following. Though the band mostly headlined, they also were featured acts with bands including The Radiators and Calligula.

Ambush on tour

Pete Long (left), Mick Fairbrass, Steve Massey and Kevin Cook

Mick Fairbrass

 

 


 

The Sydney suburban band grew a large following outside its home stomping ground regularly performing at north and south coast venues and in the country.

The truth is that the name change was due to a growing bikie following that was (not surprisingly) losing the band venues to play. From the add above however, it didn't take long to grow a new following but the band was still Ambush.


AMBUSH  1995 - 1999

A quiet period for the band as singer Massey followed his passion for astronomy and moved from Sydney to the magnificent dark night skies of country Coonabarabran. In 2000 the guys regularly jammed with friends until deciding to put Ambush back on the road in 2004. This decision was reached after an impromptu appearance at the Surf Rock Cafe in 2002 when 1985 guitarist Craig Avery pulled the guys together (including bass player Leo Teppo) to revisit a night of music by the Angels, Bowie, Deep Purple, Foo Fighters, Life House, Perl Jam and The Beatles. Having to contend with the earlier performances of several younger acts and a younger crowd, the band was amazed by the overwhelming reaction as they hit the stage. But Avery is now a resident of South Australia and the band needed to find a local rock lead guitarist to complete the reformed line up.

Before following up the idea further, Massey was recruited by well known Sydney rock cover band "No Secrets"   -the Angels show - as rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist. Huge crowds turning up to see the show proved that kick-arse rock 'n' roll still filled pubs.


AMBUSH  2004 -
After advertising in Drum Media magazine in 2004, - to be continued

AMBUSH 1984 line-up Reunion

In December 2004 the original known band members got together for an old times sake regathering.

Before blowing the roof off at a nearby rehearsal room in Brookvale, the guys revisited the original 1984 location for a then and now photo shoot opportunity.

A little rusty on the old tunes, a good time time was definitely had by all.

 

 

 

 

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