This is where you’ll find out a little more about us so let’s meet the band
Our lead singer, the Elvis of Ipswich and connoisseur of Scottish shortbread. Alex is the front man of the band and has the unenviable task of keeping the rest of the Blue Shades in line.
Originally from Dundee in Scotland, he served his musical apprenticeship on the Scottish club circuit back in the 70s and 80s fronting many bands and appearing in cabaret shows. Since settling in Australia he has performed at many clubs, functions and events and Alex particularly enjoys working with musicians who share his warped sense of humor.
He has an amazing vocal range and can make the transition from Elvis Presley to Robbie Williams with ease. Alex knows just how to ‘work an audience’ and will often leave the stage to join in with the audience on the dance floor.
A guitarist in his own right, he has years of experience with duos, trios and larger bands and, in fact, plays in a duo with our lead guitarist Greg!
His first love is fronting a band and he certainly does just that with the Blue Shades.
Keyboards and Musical Director
Norm was a kid in primary school when Elvis & the rock’n’rollers hit the radio waves. He says most of the boys wanted to be Elvis, but he wanted be one of those piano players knocking out those great licks behind the singers.
He was a teenager when The Beatles & The Rolling Stones & those other great British bands arrived & soul music hit the scene, & he absorbed their styles too.
Norm was the keyboard player in the house band at Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane from the mid-70s, which meant he backed many of Australia’s top artists, including The Delltones, Normie Rowe, Colleen Hewitt, Little Pattie, Ronnie Burns, Kamahl, & many more than he can remember.
Norm gravitated to jazz, & was the pianist in the Allan Brown Big Band, on occasion backing overseas artists as well as Australian jazz great James Morrison on several occasions. He accompanied British comedian Dick Emery at Festival Hall, & on one memorable occasion played in a piano combo for a Royal Command Performance for the Queen & the Duke of Edinburgh at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Norm is delighted to be performing with The Blue Shades, & he particularly enjoys the variety of music in the repertoire, as well as linking up again with Greg, his high school friend & fellow jazz performer from a few years back. Norm says the music of the early rock’n’rollers, the bands of the 60s, and the music The Blue Shades have selected from then right through to now, is a keyboard player’s dream. He looks forward to grooving along with you at their next gig!
Drums and part time announcer
Without doubt, the loudest member in The Blue shades and that’s only his shirts!
Mike’s role should be as simple as keeping time but, as another Scotsman in the line up, he tends to also keep the band on their toes with his occasional comments from behind the drum kit.
He started playing in his native Glasgow as a 14 year old to get him out of doing any household chores and he’s been using that excuse ever since. His experience includes working in the support band to Rosetta Stone who were the Irish version of the Bay City Rollers in the 1970s.
Back in that era the club circuit was huge and he would play 5 or 6 nights a week with various bands. An accomplished DJ and radio presenter, Mike would very often play drums with a band for 45 minutes then jump off the kit and onto the disco for 30 minutes. He has yet to master the art of performing both of those tasks at the same time.
As a drummer and DJ he has worked with some of the biggest cabaret and stage performers in the UK and enjoyed many summer seasons throughout Europe. In 2014 he settled in Queensland and has teamed up with Alex, Greg and Norman for, what he says, is his favourite band yet. Something he says about every band he has ever played in of course.
Bass guitar and vocals
Gerald is a product of a musically talented family. He learned Spanish guitar at school but had a major change of direction after seeing the Rolling Stones! As a result of that he had to have an electric guitar, and proceeded to blow the speakers in the main school hall!
For that reason we tend to keep him away from all things electrical! Gerald started his first band at 15, and played first gig at 16.In the 70s he was a successful UK DJ traveling the country playing the dance music of that Era. From Motown through to Saturday Night fever and the classic songs he knew from his experience playing in bands.In the eighties he sold up everything except 6 boxes of records and landed in Australia, worked river cruise boats, hotels, Clubs and the pub/club circuit.
The mid eighties saw him guitar in hand again where his band won the Battle of the bands, including management and even a recording contract,
After a crazy year of gigs, it was time for a change resulting in a new band and 10 month contract at world Expo 88. Around this time he decided to pick up the Bass, this led to a new obsession - the search for the perfect bass sound! Finding the right band was the next step, which happened when Gerald bumped into Mike in a studio, and took on the role as bass player in the Blue Shades.
Lead guitar and vocals
As well as playing lead guitar and singing several styles of popular music with many SE Queensland bands over past decades, Greg as well as occupying the Shadies' guitar chair, Greg helps to provide backing vocals for lead singer Alex, as well as taking the lead on many Shadies’ songs, particularly those that require a jazzy feel. i.e, Chris Rea, Fats Domino, Michael Franks etc.
Greg and piano player Norm go back to their high school days together and have played together in various bands, including 'The Afro Jazz Connection' at 'Brisbane's Jazz Cellar' in the eighties.