A REUNION? COMING SOON!


Occasionally we hear from old fans, who invariably ask:  Wouldn't a re-union of Mel, Mel & Julian be wonderful?

A REUNION IS "IN THE WORKS"!
The band is planning to re-unite in South Africa in 2018 for a few dates in the Johannesburg area... Where? When? To be arranged soon, so please watch this space for details!

We are pleased to announce our booking agent: Please contact Rael Birns at Rael@raelbirns.co.za or 082 452-1100

 

Mel, Mel & Julian from an interview in a Durban newspaper, drawn by Jock Leyden, who got it right!

 

   Mel Miller continues his stellar career as Grandfather of South African comedy at shows around South Africa.
   Julian Laxton continues to make his own great music, plus sessions, sound-tracks, commercials around South Africa.  
   Mel Green is a professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator by day, is a songwriter and sings solo around Boston, USA...
   So, please watch this space and your local media for news of future shows!

Once upon a time in the 60s...

How Mel & Mel met: where they performed; when Julian joined the band; who they met along the way; their influences and the key people in their brief, but sweet career ... and what they're up to today. Enjoy!

Links in the M,M&J Chain...

Influences & Earworms...

Two young guys singing in an art school classroom at lunch hour to appreciative listeners, and the realization that they had something special.

Key people and places in their career:

The Troubadour Coffee/Steakhouse in Johannesburg, THE folk club where it was happening!

Gary Bryden, Brit folkie, who got Little Mel up on stage at the Troub in the first place.

Keith Blundell, who auditioned Mel & Mel and who without hesitation offered them a weekly gig at the Johannesburg Troubadour..

Des Lindberg who kept them on at the Troubadour as headliners, when they weren't playing full-time at their long hotel residencies.

Ben Segal, quiet folk fanatic and founder of SAFMA, the South African Folk Music Association, and 3rd Ear Music, who opened his vast collection of music and his hospitality to the guys. 

Johnny Kongos, friend and a hit-making rock & roller, who encouraged them & introduced them to...

John E. Sharpe, a wonderful bluesman, who was managed by...

Billy Forrest, South Africa's greatest C&W singer and mentor to many young musicians, who became their manager, friend and guiding light.

Brenda Newfield, a wonderful folksinger, who gave Mel  & Mel some of their first gigs, and who opened up her home & her record collection to them, thus helping them expand their repertoire. 

David Sapire, a photographer and a fan who also helped with their repertoire, and who most significantly... introduced Mel and Mel  to his brother Julian!

Mike Dorsey, entrepreneur & club owner on the Durban music scene, became a fan, a mentor and helped the band in many ways.

Their influences. They  listened to everything possible, at parties, record shops, friend's living rooms, records and reel-to-reel tapes... absorbing everything that appealed to their evolving musical tastes and their developing musical skills. 

See the BLOG PAGE which has a list of recording artists and songs which first caught their ear(s) and whose styles and genres were adapted to suit their style, carrying on the "the folk-process" down in South Africa.

 

Historic Reference

In 1994 Mel, Mel & Julian were acknowledged and included in the book, "History of Contemporary Music in South Africa"...taking their place as one of few notable folk groups to make an impression on the evolving contemporary music scene.

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The recent ‘inductee’ into the American Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” and ‘Monster Musical Talent’, Trevor Rabin, writes a foreword for Volume One of Julian Laxton’s, as yet unreleased Biography. 

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Many years ago I went with my friend and band mate (Ronnie Friedman) to a band he was into. Freedoms Children.

Being a guitar player, I was quite a harsh critic and very seldom would "glow" at other guitarists. Call it competitiveness.

Consequently I was rarely impressed with my competition, least of all from local players. However that night at the City Hall in Johannesburg, I witnessed someone who left me speechless. He was Julian Laxton.

He was so far ahead of anyone in South Africa and I would argue a match for those in and outside of South Africa.

Freedoms Children had done an album called "Astra". I would also argue, to my ears, the finest South African album to date.

There were 4 band members.

However, without Julian's unique ability as an engineer and producer, the vocals would have sounded "ok" as apposed to electric and unique, the same with the drum sound.

The songs would probably have been "ok" folk songs.

What Julian did with Astra, is produce the greatest prog rock record in South African history. Nothing in South African music history comes close.

When I (as I still do) listen to Astra, I am amazed by the taste, the sound of the guitar, the atmosphere of the vocals, the strength of the drum sound, the arrangement "between " the keyboards and guitar and just the sheer brilliance of the production.

I consider myself a good producer, I have worked with successful producers including Bob Ezrin, Trevor Horn,..... but they don't began to compare to the production prowess of Julian Laxton. 

Coincidentally, the other producer I consider on an equal footing to Jules, is my good friend Mutt Lange.

But for Julian Laxton, I don't believe anyone would have given a shit about Ramsey Mackays songs.

In conclusion, Astra would not be alive without Julian.

Julian and I would often play on the same bill at shows..........we became friends and are to this day.

He is one of the most important guitarists, producers ever to come out of South Africa.

The "South African musician" has long suffered from an inferiority complex when comparing themselves to "music from overseas"

This was never the case with Julian Laxton.

South Africa doesn't make artists like him anymore.

He broke the mold.

I love you Jules….