Peter Tilbrook is a leading vocalist and very well-respected guitarist from Adelaide who has worked as a Solo, Duo, Trio and in many Bands captivating audiences wherever he played. Peter plays his own original music, Master’s Apprentices, Twilights music, Sixties music and Rock 'N' Roll which is mainly from 1956 to 1965 Peter was inducted into The Aria Hall of Fame along with other members of the Masters Apprentices in 1998 and more recently he was inducted into the AMC SA MUSIC HALL OF FAME in 2014. Peter has over (130) songs registered with APRA, has recorded over (66) songs of which (55) have been his own compositions.
Peter started learning guitar at the age of 12 at the Adelaide College of Music in the city and his first public performance was in the back of a Tram at the age of 12 on his way home from guitar lessons when the Tram Conductor insisted that he should play a song for everyone on the Tram. He played "Peter Gunn" and "She'll be Coming Around the Mountain when she comes" and got a rousing cheer from all on board the tram. That simple acknowledgement launched Peter into a life of music and entertainment and now, over 55 years on he is still enjoying creating music and entertaining audiences.
Peter’s very first two bands were THE AVENGERS with his best friend Graham Cox and later ROGER BALL & THE BOUNCERS, but his first serious and highly successful band was called The Bentbeaks. The Bentbeaks played regularly at top Adelaide Club THE OXFORD CLUB and went on to come equal second in the South Australian heat of Hoadley’s Battle of the Bands in 1966 the prize being a trip to Sydney to record on the SPIN label and was produced by NAT KIPNER. Whilst he was there BEE GEES member MAURICE GIBB played piano on one of the songs, they recorded and original written by drummer Martin McAvenna. They recorded one single only at BILL ARMSTRONGS recording studio near Albert Park Lake in Melbourne called "Caught Red Handed" / "Raining Sunshine". Raining Sunshine was the first song Peter wrote in collaboration with Steve Adorian the singer of the band whilst living in a flat in Dalgety Street St Kilda in Melbourne. The Bentbeaks played in Sydney, in Melbourne and all over country Victoria, and in Adelaide and all over country South Australia.
The Bentbeaks broke up when the singer’s girlfriend got pregnant and Peter quickly changed from lead guitar to bass guitar and joined top Adelaide band "The Sounds of Silence" who were about to leave for Melbourne where all the music action was at the time. The Sounds of Silence recorded again at BILL ARMSTRONGS STUDIOS two singles "Running High" and "Mary's got a daisy" – an amazing hippy song!!! The Sounds of Silence also won the TWIN STREET MUSIC SA Battle of the Bands competition early in 1967 held at the amazing St Clair Youth Centre at Woodville in SA.
Whilst living in Melbourne and playing in The Sounds of Silence, Peter was approached to join "The Masters Apprentices" that were also in Melbourne at the time. The Masters knew of Peter Tilbrook from his days in the BENTBEAKS. The MASTERS always knew of Peter's wild guitar playing and on-stage antics when he was the lead guitarist with THE BENTBEAKS a top Adelaide MOD BAND. Peter was in the Masters Apprentices in 1967 and 1968 during their hey days when all the action was taking place sometimes playing 35 to 45 minute spots at four different dances a night, playing at huge concerts with audiences of up to 100,000 people such as at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and The Velodrome in Melbourne. Peter was also in the band when they were given the same first prize in the National Hoadley's Battle of the Bands a national competition of 1,500 bands competing nationally. [There was a half a point between the actual winners THE GROOVE from Melbourne and The Masters Apprentices from Adelaide.
The GROOVE won the competition outright, but THE MASTERS APPRENTICES were given the same first prize by the SITMAR Shipping Line as they were only beaten by such a small margin so close in fact that several of the judges left the building because they knew there was going to be a lot of angry MASTERS fans in the building who wanted the MASTERS to win the National competition. Anyway, they received the, same first prize which included a trip to England from Sitmar, an opportunity to record at Abbey Road Studios London along with clothes and a cash prize. Peter was also in the band when they were voted the Most Original Pop Group in Australia by Everybody Magazine and Go-Set Magazine in 1968. Peter whilst in the Masters Apprentices was hailed by top music writer in Sydney David Elfick and Go-Set Magazine as being the greatest rhythm guitar act in Australia.
Peter appeared in five different line ups of the Masters Apprentices in 1967 and 1968 playing with the following members: Jim Keays, Steve Hopgood, Gavin Webb, Tony Summers, Colin Burgess, Doug Ford and Glenn Wheatley who of course went on to manage Johnny Farnham and the Little River Band and more recently, Delta Goodrem.
When Peter eventually decided to leave the Master’s Apprentices at Xmas time in 1968, he left to form a duo with another great Adelaide singer Richard Hay from top Adelaide band The Silhouettes who was living with the Masters in their house in Melbourne at the time and he also did some vocal harmonies for us on some of our songs “Merry Go Round”, “Linda Linda” and “Jam It Up”. The Duo was called "Paradise" and were immediately signed to the "Sweet Peach" record label for recording, song writing and management. They recorded two singles on the Sweet Peach label called "Jessie" and "Sin". Sin ended up being banned. Paradise played all over Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and did countless television appearances. Peter Tilbrook appeared on television approximately 250 times in his career.
After Paradise ended, Peter went solo and recorded two singles "Stop the time" / "All Mine to Play With" and "I Wonder Why" / "A Madman Roams Tonight" all written by Peter. Stop the Time was on the Australian charts for about 4.5 months and reached number 8 and because of its success, he was offered a contract to be a regular singer on the popular Channel 7 Adelaide tonight show called "The Barry Ion Show" singing with the backing of a (23) piece orchestra. As a solo act, Peter performed in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Peter also performed on the very popular "IN ADELAIDE TONIGHT" on Channel 9 then hosted by ERNIE SIGLEY and several TV appearances on THE CHANNEL 7' - GOOD FRIDAY APPEAL.
When disco came in in the 70's, Peter's career went quiet from around 1973 like so many other's in the music industry at the time and he didn't start playing again until around 1986 when he joined a band called "Crosstown" with Attilla Deveney. Subsequently he played in a duo called "The Spoilers" with JOK HOWLETT. he then started playing as a Solo Vocalist/Guitarist and was one of the most successful Solo Acts in South Australia for a very long time.
Peter Tilbrook teamed up with Brian Davidge to form THE PARTY CATS Duo who in their time performed 4, 585 shows up until Davvo’s sad death two years ago in Thailand. They played together for almost (26) years and were one of the most successful acts in Adelaide. They were always known for giving 100% at every performance and value for money for both venues and fans.
A GREAT MEMORY
One of Peter’s greatest memories of the Masters Apprentices involved The Who, The Small Faces & Paul Jones [from Manfred Mann] 1968 Tour of Australia.
Sixties British super acts THE WHO, THE SMALL FACES & PAUL JONES from the Manfred Mann band toured Australia together in 1968. It was decided the Australian support band for the tour was to be selected by way of a National Ten Pin Bowling Competition between all the top Australian bands at the time. This competition was televised live every Saturday morning on Australia’s biggest four-hour TV pop show called “UPTIGHT” over five or six months. The competition was a winner with all the fans as every Saturday they would pack into the Camberwell Junction Bowling alley to watch and scream their heads off for their favourite bands bowling and performing in between games on a stage set up there.
I remember The Twilights Australia’s top band [in my opinion] at that time, recorded a great jingle called “Bowling, brings out the Winner in You” which was played all the time on TV & RADIO for the 6 months of the promotion. The singer of the Twilights was of course Glenn Shorrock who later went into The Little River Band and Twilight guitarist Terry Britten went on to write songs for Tina Turner like, “What’s love got to do with it” and Simply the Best”, as well as I think Cliff Richard’s only top 10 hit in America called “Devil Woman”.
Because we loved THE WHO & THE SMALL FACES not only for their music but also because we shared a similar MOD IMAGE we wanted to win this competition badly, but cruelly we came in a very close second in the finals narrowly missing out by just a few points to another Melbourne band called THE NEW DREAM which in Australia in my opinion were similar to American band The Partridge Family complete with the female singer whose biggest hit in 1969 was a song called “GROUPIE”. We were devastated as we thought we had it in the bag, we never knew we had a star 10 pin bowler in the band with Gavin Webb who scored some amazing results, in one game alone he scored and amazing (270) out of a possible (300). Well done Gavin….by the way, did we thank you!
The good news was that EMI Records who The Masters Apprentices had recently signed with and who brought the WHO, THE SMALL FACES & PAUL JONES to Australia asked The Masters Apprentices to host them around some of Melbourne top nightclubs on one of their nights off. Apparently, they wanted to experience some of the local club scene and see some top Australian bands. So, I found myself in a taxi on a cold wet I think Tuesday night in Melbourne with Who drummer Keith Moon and bass player John Entwhistle along with Masters bass player Gavin Webb and I believe Jim Keays was in our vehicle. I am not sure who was in the second taxi although I do remember Roger Daultry from the WHO and Stevie Marriot from the Small Faces couldn’t make it.
The atmosphere slipped to an extreme low in the taxi when Gavin Webb unexpectantly said to John Entwhistle…”is it true JET HARRIS from the SHADOWS played the bass on MY GENERATION”.
Keith Moon just laughed his head off poking fun at Entwhistle, John Entwhistle was not amused but luckily held back on decking Gavin. I never understood why Gavin ever said that! because he was not one for causing any trouble and in fact, he was the quiet one in the Masters and he loved John Entwistle. Can you possibly think of a worse insult to say to one of the best bass players in the world?
Well despite that horrible moment we went on and had a great fun night going to top spots like “Whisky a GO GO” in St KILDA, AND “BERTIES” probably Melbourne’s biggest pop venue [with 4 levels I think] and was the most popular club in the city. Of all the bands in Australia to be playing ON THAT NIGHT was “THE NEW DREAM” along with “COMPULSION” who were a brilliant New Zealand Jimi Hendrix cover band. THE NEW DREAM was clearly haunting us.
I should point out The New Dream were a great band, all lovely people, great musical mates good at what they did and deserved their win over us as their overall score was undeniably higher than our, we just didn’t think they were the most appropriate band to support THE WHO & THE SMALL FACES. Who the hell did we think we were to be like that! SPOILT BRATS many said.
Well, the WHO, THE SMALL FACES & PAUL JONES concert was on later that week and not to be out done, and obviously being sore losers, The Masters thought hard about what they could do to upstage The New Dream. We decided to create a bit of havoc at the show. We hired GREY MORNING SUITS & TOP HATS got dropped off at the front entrance of Melbourne’s festival Hall in a limousine [If you think that was over the top, well, we even discussed arriving by helicopter] we all got out ALL LIT OUR VERY LARGE CIGARS and proceeded to walk very slowly into Festival Hall getting instant recognition from the crowd, we all walked in a straight line seated ourselves pretty well much in the centre about 15 rows back from the stage. In a rehearsed and synchronised move, we all lifted our top hats to a massive reaction of support from many of the thousands of fans in the hall, many of whom we believed sympathised with us and strongly believed we should have been the support act, and then sat down. We caused somewhat of a riot as our fans were all over us and it certainly took the spotlight off THE NEW DREAM who were on stage and had already started playing by now. We were savaged by IAN MELDRUM in GOSET Australia’s top music magazine at the time for being such bad losers but if anything, I guess it helped create a memorable night for THE NEW DREAM ourselves and our legions of fans who loved it. By the way, we loved the show it was incredible and particularly enjoyable sitting so close to the stage as we were. This was not Peter’s best moment, but it certainly was one of his most memorable ones.
Peter Tilbrook is still one of Adelaide’s best entertainers and is in high demand at venues across Adelaide.