Malcolm Wakeford

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Malcolm Wakeford

Malcolm Wakeford was born in Dartford, near London, England and emigrated to Australia with his family at age 11. Primarily a drummer / vocalist, he has played drums and sung in Australian bands from the late 1970s to date. He is also a song writer, music producer and plays guitar, bass and keyboards. Malcolm lives in Sydney, Australia.

Early career[edit]

Malcolm's early collaborations with school friend guitarist Stephen Housden [1], led to the formation of a number of bands which played powerful cover versions of eclectic, blues oriented rock music mixed with original material composed by Malcolm and Stephen.

Early bands included their own, Nitro, which recorded the single "Blues In My Shoes" b/w "For Me Or For You". With Nitro he toured Australia and the South Pacific several times.

Malcolm also played drums in Rachette (with Stevie Wright, singer from the Easybeats) which later became the Stevie Wright Band and then the Marcia Hines Band with whom he recorded a cover version of the Rolling Stones' song "Jumping Jack Flash".

He also performed and toured with artists such as Normie Rowe, Doug Parkinson and many others and performed on numerous recording sessions and commercials. In 1976 - 77 Malcolm worked with well-known progressive rock band Ayers Rock and satellite, rock luminary Sammy Gaha at the Manzil Room in Sydney. He also performed with singer Phil Jones in the Phil Jones Band with Stephen Housden and Paul Christie.

Later in the seventies, Malcolm formed a number of bands with Jackie Orszaczky, Stephen Housden, Jim Gannon and John Kemp. Among them were Bland Frenzy and Astonished Boyfriends.

The Imports[edit]

In 1980 Malcolm and Stephen formed their best known collaboration, the Imports, a dynamic three piece progressive, hard hitting, post-punk rock band which was a music industry favourite. They performed regularly around Sydney, playing an average of four gigs a week to large crowds in major venues in Sydney. There were three bass players at various times, Kevin Cooney, Jackie Orszacsky and Simon Gillies.

During their tenure, The Imports supported major touring artists including The Cure, The Police, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Roxy Music, and appeared on the same bill as most major Australian artists from that period including INXS, Midnight Oil, Australian Crawl and Men at Work.

This band recorded a number of demos of original songs and were featured on a Double JJ Live at the Wireless broadcast from a once popular but now defunct venue, The Bondi Lifesaver. Despite attempts by their manager, Steve White, to secure a recording contract, no material was ever released. The band split in 1981 when Housden left to join The Little River Band, after the Imports supported them on a previous tour.

The Imports were well known for their slightly satirical original songs co-written by Malcolm and Stephen such as "Fluctuating Love", "Negative Impulse", "Dog Food", "I Don't Care" and "Reappear". They shared lead vocals and were known for their closely blended harmonies.

In the last two years Malcolm and Stephen have again been collaborating on new material and re-writing some of the original songs and have performed as the Imports at a number of functions and at Allen's Music in Sydney. Further writing and performances are planned in late 2011.

1980s and 1990s[edit]

After the Imports split, Malcolm joined other bands as drummer and vocalist and toured extensively throughout the next two decades. He played with Jackie Orszaczky in a number of bands including Jump Back Jack (as vocalist). He also worked with guitarist Mark Punch and singer Mark Williams in a three piece band and composer / guitarist Mario Millo as well as many other artists. He also worked with several bands playing covers and original material and recording with bands such as Love Gone Wrong.

In 1986 Malcolm joined Little River Band [2] as drummer, replacing Steve Prestwich [3]. The Little River Band line-up at that time included John Farnham [4] (lead vocals), Stephen Housden (guitar), Wayne Nelson (bass), Graeham Goble [5] (guitar and vocals), David Hirschfelder [6] (keyboards). He co-wrote several songs which were recorded by the Little River Band on The Net and Playing to Win albums. He also recorded drums on the track "Face In the Crowd" on the No Reins album in 1986.

Later in 1986 Malcolm played with New Orleans piano player / singer [7] Dr. John, touring Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.

In 1986/1987 Malcolm joined politically oriented folk rock band Redgum with Hugh McDonald, Darren Deland, Verity Truman and Andy Baylor.

Redgum travelled extensively throughout Australia and toured Scandinavia playing at the Gilelae Folk Festival. They played at Tamworth Country Music Festival Tamworth Country Music Festival. Malcolm assisted with the production of "Roll It On Robbie", a one off single for the HIV /AIDS campaign.

In 1987, Malcolm joined the Flying Emus, playing original country and bluegrass songs. Other members were Mike Kerin (fiddle), Ian Simpson (guitar and banjo), John and Jenny Kane (guitar and vocals respectively) and Graham Thompson (bass). With the Flying Emus, he recorded the album Postcards From Paradise in 1989. This band toured extensively throughout Australia playing at many remote places as well as festivals such as Tamworth Country Music Festival where they won several awards.

Malcolm began his association with guitarist Albert Lee [8] [9][1] in 1988 when Albert toured Australia with Vince Gill [10]. Albert toured Australia again in 1991 with Tommy Emmanuel [11] and Malcolm again was invited to play drums. He toured again with Albert with a different line up in 1992 and toured again with him in August 2007.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Malcolm began to concentrate on composing as well as live performances. He continued to work solidly with different bands, which included television appearances with Marcia Hines [12], Redgum and The Flying Emus. In the early 1990s, having decided to have a break from constant touring. Malcolm started teaching drums to students of all ages. He also kept up regular live performances while working on songwriting. He set up a small studio (Diamond Bay studios) where he recorded and produced demos for local artists.

During the 80s and 90s Malcolm worked regularly with musicians such as funk and soul bass player / singer, Jackie Orszaczky, keyboardist Noel Elmowy, and bass player / singer Doug William's band. With guitarist Mark Punch and bass player Michael Vidale, he participated in the 1950s-oriented power rock and roll band, Johnny Guitar.

He formed the successful cover band Tear It Up in which he shared lead vocal duties and tight harmonies with American guitarist Dan Johnson and Michael Vidale or Col Brown on bass. This band performed several times per week for over five years and travelled to Hong Kong and Macau in 1995 for promoter Ted Marr.

In the late 1990s Malcolm also played in bands such as The Excellent Iguanas with Richard Graham and Tony Buggy (formerly of The Razz), playing dinner and dance music. That lineup also worked as a function band called Fez which performed a mix of jazz and Latin music. He also worked with The Flood as well as recording with a number of local bands. He produced demos for local artists including country songwriter John Montgomery aka Joe Kidd.

For the American Express Millennium New Year's Eve Celebrations held in a hotel overlooking Sydney Harbour, Malcolm put together a band with Mark Punch and Michael Vidale.

2000 Onwards[edit]

Malcolm continued his association with The Excellent Iguanas and also played in a numerous function bands. From 2000 he was resident percussionist in the Lounge Bar at the Shangri La Hotel in Sydney for two years. He also began his association with songwriter and musician Dave Mason-Cox in bands playing covers and Dave's originals plus some Irish songs. He continues to play and record with him.

Continuing his long term friendship and collaboration with Stephen Housden, Malcolm has recorded and performed with Stephen in Cork, Ireland, where Stephen lives. This has included revitalizing old material plus some stirring new material for the Imports.

He has performed and recorded with Stephen Housden's younger brother Jak Housden (Whitlams, ex Badloves) and appears on the EP To Die For and album Mad About Disco. Over the last five years he has performed and recorded with guitarist/songwriter Dean Thomas on albums Not Really The Blues in 2003 and Greyhound to Mecca, released in 2009 on the Bombora label. As a trio with Lliam Caulfield (Stray Birds), they supported legendary surf band The Atlantics at the Basement in Sydney.

In 2007 Malcolm was again invited to tour the east coast of Australia with Albert Lee, backed by local folk band Wheelers and Dealers[2], which included headlining at the Troubadour Music Festival at Campaspe Downs in Victoria. (citation) On of their Sydney shows at The Basement was recorded and broadcast as part of the Live At The Basement concert series shown on ABC television in Australia.

Malcolm has performed regularly at Sydney area school events such as the annual Combined Primary Schools Music Festival and the Cranbrook School Mothers' Choir conducted by Kirk Hume.

Current projects[edit]

During 2010 – 2011 Malcolm continues to perform with artists such as Dave Mason-Cox [13] as well as writing songs and recording his own material.

Malcolm's original songs are a diverse mix of styles from hard rock, to pop, to funk to electronica. Some special guests will be playing on several tracks, but primarily all the instruments are played by Malcolm. He is also completing the vocal, horn and string arrangements on several tracks.

Phil Jones, now a resident of the US, was invited to re-form his original band from the 1960s Phil Jones and The Unknown Blues [14], with the current line up comprising Chris Brown (guitar), David Rowlands (drums), Ian Sullivan (bvs and sax), all original members, with the addition of Malcolm, Harry Brus (bass), Mitchell Anderson (keyboards) and Krishna Jones (guitar) playing a repertoire comprising Phil's 1960s hit "If I Had a Ticket" plus other Phil Jones original songs.

Phil Jones and The Unknown Blues played on Easter Saturday and Sunday at the Byron Bay Bluesfest [15] in northern New South Wales as well as performing three shows in Sydney (with the addition of Mike Gubb on keys).

Malcolm has never been a member of The Ringtones.

Some further recording and writing plus live performances under the Imports name are planned with Stephen Housden in late 2011.


Malcolm has written many songs played and recorded by other bands as well as his original material. Songs for Nitro and the Imports were co-written with Stephen Housden and several of these were re-worked and recorded by Little River Band on the Playing to Win album released in 1987 including "Through Her Eyes", "One Shot In The Dark" and "Reappear". "Falling" was released as the B-side of a single and is on the album The Net released in 1982 (citation). This song was re-mixed by Mike Maze in Germany for the German dance circuit in 1999.

Other songwriting credits include music for bands, student performances and advertisements, most notably for The Manzil Room in Sydney.

Malcolm is a full writer member of the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA).

Music Tuition[edit]

In addition to regular performances and recording, Malcolm has taught drums, percussion and guitar since 1992. As part of his preparation to teach music, Malcolm completed the Jazz fundamentals course at the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney.

He was drum instructor at Lombardo Music School in Sydney until its closure in 2005 and since then he has provided tuition in drums, percussion and music theory in a number of public and private schools in Sydney. He has been the Drums and Percussion Tutor at St Vincent's College [16] in Sydney since 1999 and has accompanied student performances for the HSC, AMEB Examinations and the CPSFM Annual Music Festival.

Other Interests[edit]

Malcolm is a partner in Seveneight Productions, formed in 1995 to provide music, production and design services to other musicians. The business branched out towards the area of music production and is involved in production of a number of demos for other artists as well as original projects.

The web site for Seveneight Productions [17][3] – is also used by students to download transcriptions of songs and other teaching materials as well as a resource linking to other music, drumming and news sites. Malcolm's other interests include computers, photography and design.


1. Who's Who of Australia Rock compiled by Chris Spencer and Zbig Nowara 3rd Edition Victoria: The Five Mile Press, 1993

2. The Tamworth Country Music Festival, A Cavalcade of Australia's Leading Country Music Artists by Monika Allan South Australia: Horwitz Grahame Pty Limited, 1988

3. Albert Lee Australia Tour 2007:

4. Little River Band songwriting credits:

5. Postcards from Paradise information:

6. Little River Band personnel:

Roll It On Robbie:

7. Redgum:

External links[edit]