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Jim Keays

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  • Jim Keays

    Born in Glasgow, Jim lived in Scotland as a boy. He came to Australia with his parents, turned 5 on the boat and settled in Adelaide, South Australia. When the Beatles eventually toured Australia in the 60′s, Jim was 18. Although he had a passion for the 50′s rock and roll, it was the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc that convinced Jim his future was in music and he set about joining a band.
    By 1965, he had joined an instrumental band, “The Mustangs”.  They were an instrumental (Shadows type) group who decided they needed a vocalist to keep up with the new wave, post-Beatles. They would play instrumental sets, then Jim would get up and sing in the last set. Jim convinced the other members of the band that things had to change and before long he had them playing ‘blues’ and growing their hair.
    By mid-1965, the Masters Apprenticeswere born – a raw, energetic rhythm & blues band that captured the city within months.With Jim out front as vocalist fans were soon packing every gig and spilling out into the street causing traffic jams. The band began trying their hand at writing songs from almost the start and by the end of 1965 had a batch of finished compositions ready to record. The Masters Apprentices were an original band in every sense – sounding Australian rather than English or American and have gone down in Australian music as ‘Legends’, (ARIA award 1998). The band was voted ‘Most Popular Band’ three years in row; caused riots and drew crowds that outdid even the Beatles; created styles in music and fashion alike that many groups copied; and ended up in England recording two classic albums at the legendary Abbey Road studios. Their records sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world and the band is still held in high regard in countries such as Germany, France and England where bootleg CD versions still command big dollars on the collectors market. (A copy of the first album sold in 1998 at auction for $300.)
    When the band finally came to the end in the early 70′s Jim began his solo career virtually immediately. Over the preceding halcyon years as frontman for the Masters, Jim had steadily honed his skills as a songwriter of international acceptance and had now decided to put them to the test with an ambitious project – an album entitled The Boy From the Stars. It was a concept album in the same sense as The Who’s “Tommy” and was accepted well by both critics and the public, thereby establishing Jim as a credible artist in his own right.
    Jim has had an on-going varied career in the Australian Music Industry – at times crossing over to production, management, journalism and even in TV on a show called ‘Move’ in Adelaide 1972 & 1973 and radio as a celebrity DJ – but always writing and recording songs and recording Red On The Meter in the early 80′s. Late in the 80′s Jim got the Masters together again for a successful reunion tour. “Because I Love You” was re-recorded and released again reaching the top 10.1993 saw Jim complete his long-overdue next level of musical thoughts and statements. Released in 1994 Pressure Makes Diamonds saw Jim return to the spotlight as a major contributor to Australia’s musical heritage with an album of ten new tracks.
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