On 12 August 2006, I flew to Melbourne to meet up with the other Mystrys and Kontacts, Charlie Bayliss and Kevin Thomas with his stunning wife Karen, the very lovely Davida Dowal with her husband Robert and Bob King Crawford. We had dinner that evening at La Porchetta in North Melbourne and it was an amazing experience, catching up with people with whom I had performed, toured and had been friends with over forty years ago and had not seen since those days.
It was unfortunate that Kaye Keele and Joy Pownall of the Kontacts were living interstate and could not come to the reunion, but they were there in spirit. At that time, I had still not located Alison Lafferty, so it was a shame that she was not there. Also at the reunion was Charlie's and my very good friend and fantastic jazz singer Tony Paris with his daughter Candice and my daughter Alicia.
Out of this reunion emerged an amazing twist of fate. Kevin Thomas, whom I had not seen for forty years, arrived with his wife Karen. After the usual pleasantries of meeting Karen for the first time had concluded, I chatted further to her and was absolutely gobsmacked to discover that she was the sister of Ken Cooper, an excellent bass player who was actually my duo partner in Sydney for a long time and also part of my concert show backing band. Ken had never mentioned that he had a sister, let alone one that was married to a friend and workmate whom I had not seen for four decades.
To compound this amazing coincidence, I discovered that Kevin's hobby was building and flying radio-controlled aeroplanes and he had been purchasing his model equipment from Tony Cincotta of Hobby Hangar in East Bentleigh. Not only had Tony Cincotta and I been in a local band called The Silhouettes when I was just 16 years old, but decades later Tony had rented his first floor business premises from my sister, who was leasing that entire building in East Bentleigh for her ceramics business, but only using the ground floor.
When Tony moved into his shop, he had no idea that his landlady's brother had been in a band with him so long ago. All these connections were totally unknown to me for many years. The revelations about Kevin Thomas and Tony Cincotta were just mind-blowing and the most extraordinary series of coincidences I had ever experienced.
The remaining Mystrys and a Kontact. Kevin Thomas, Bob King Crawford, Davida Dowal, Charlie Bayliss and Ziggy.
Ziggy and Bob King Crawford enjoying dinner and reminiscing about those fantastic days.
Mystrys rhythm guitarist Kevin Thomas and his wife Karen, with Davida's husband Robert in the back.
Mystrys publicist and songwriter Bob King Crawford chatting to Kontacts lead guitarist Davida Dowal.
Mystrys bass player and lead singer Charlie Bayliss and Kontacts lead guitarist Davida Dowal.
I spent the next few days mostly with Charlie, catching up with other Melbourne entertainers such as our old friend and incredible performer Tony Pantano, but another highlight was when Charlie and I walked into the Vicious Sloth Collectables store in Malvern to meet proprietor Glenn Terry and his partner Peter. I had contacted Glenn previously from Sydney and he was most helpful in putting me onto some of the music historians and collectors of 1960's Australian music such as Paul McHenry, who had been very kind by sending me much material about The Mystrys.
Of course Glenn and Peter had never seen us before, but immediately woke up to who we were when we asked for a copy of Witch Girl by The Mystrys. We chatted for a long time, had lots of laughs and then arranged to meet for lunch the next day. Glenn was amazed when I told him that for many years I had lived in Malvern, not more than a block away from the Vicious Sloth shop. In all the time that he and other music collectors were wondering about who was in The Mystrys, the lead guitarist was living literally around the corner.
On Wednesday 16 August 2006, Glenn, Peter, Charlie, Bob Crawford, my daughter Alicia and I had a fantastic Japanese lunch in Malvern, where we reminisced about the old rock and roll days, told many jokes, had much fun and swore that we would never ever let our friendship be neglected like it was for the past forty years and then I very sadly flew back to Sydney the next day.
So now, most of The Mystrys and Kontacts are now firmly in touch and we will definitely be getting again very often.