Pat Drummond

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Pat Drummond from Sydney is an Australian singer/songwriter based in Leura, New South Wales who emerged from the Sydney Folk scene with his brothers in the 1960s; performed as a solo artist in the 1970s and then in numerous projects in different music genres including as a member of bush band, The Bushwackers .[1] He is possibly best known prior to 1989 for his 10-year solo residency at The Rest Hotel in North Sydney and in later years, at a national level, as The 'Tales From The Local Rag' Reporter, a travelling troubadour chronicling the true life stories of average, albeit often courageous, Australians in verse and song. He also owns and operates the 2003 Independent Country Music Record Company of The Year, Shoestring Records[2]


Pat Drummond's three-decade-long career has seen him pass through a half-dozen 'reincarnations' that have produced a large body of original work in as many different musical genres.

Beginning with his spectacular stints as Sydney's 'king of the hill' in the anarchic 'sing-along uni/ bar/ pub' scene of the late '70s and early '80s, Drummond became renowned for writing what were effectively musical mini-operas that included whole sections scripted for and performed by the crowds.

Although the music was actually 'folk rock', it was a very 'punk' philosophy of performing in which the whole emphasis was on breaking down the' barrier' between the crowd and the stage.

For many in Sydney, his 10-year Friday night residency at Sydney's Rest Hotel was a 'rite of passage' and the pub saw well over three hundred thousand fans pass through its doors during that time. The night before its demolition in the late '80s the whole soundscape was captured by CBS/True Blue on the Double CD, 'Live at The Rest Hotel' in a gig that saw over 2000 people turn up to a pub that only held 350; and traffic brought to a standstill in the surrounding North Sydney streets.

Always of a theatrical bent, Drummond's next project was the 1986 Rock opera 'Skooldaze'. This show provided his next 'character driven' reinvention and saw Pat and his six-piece Rock outfit in short pants and full Schoolboy Regalia, touring with Cold Chisel and Marcia Hines in 1985 /1986. Drawing heavily on his training as a Primary School teacher in the early 1970s, the album explored the concept of 'hidden curriculum ' (the lessons that children often actually learn from the school experience as opposed to the ones the curriculum claims to teach them.)

With the demise of 'Skooldaze' Pat was press-ganged by friend, Roger Corbett into a revived version of the Bushwackers and shortly after became a duo partner to John Schumann after having supported Redgum on a national tour. Immersing himself in the nationalist Australian bush music style, it wasn't long before his next 'character' emerged.

With the release of his "Tales from the Local Rag' CD in 1990, Drummond adopted the on-stage persona of an 1940s newspaperman (complete with a 'Tamworth Daily Leader' press card in the hat band). On stage and off he dressed at The Reporter for his fictional paper, 'The Local Rag', interviewing at every opportunity those people who subsequently became the subjects of his songs.

In what was, at the time, an untried and groundbreaking strategy in Australia, he began to 'live out the part' through a series of erratic tours across Australia working for community-based organisations, schools, preschools, toy libraries, church groups and service clubs, staging fundraising concerts.

It was a theatrical and dramatic move that saw him firmly adopted by the Australian folk and country music fraternity. By 1993 he had been Joint Winner of Male Vocal of the Year at the Australian Bush Music Festival and was Grand Finalist for Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Heritage Award and Country Song of the Year in the Toyota CMAA Australian Country Music Awards (The Golden Guitars).

Drummond claimed that it was a conscious attempt to break the inevitable connection that had grown up between the entertainment and alcohol industries, as well as being a tremendous forum for meeting a broad cross section of Australians and gathering the kind of stories that were to become the basis of the next 5 albums.

The tours were remarkably successful. By involving local media and community networking the financial outcomes for these groups and their recipient charities proved to be excellent. So successful were some of these fundraiser concerts that they sometimes became the springboard for the development of whole tours or even festivals, as was the case with The Volunteers for Isolated Education Fundraiser Tours, The Dubbo Ralston Homes Country Concert and most spectacularly 12 Years The Galston Country Music Festival which by 2005 had become Sydney's largest Country Music Event. In October 2000 Pat was awarded the Australian Independent Country Music Artist of the Year.

Meanwhile yet another strand in Drummond's career was about to deliver perhaps his most unexpected commercial success to date. Since "Laughter Like A Shield" in 1993 each of Pat's albums had incorporated at least one poem with his "Wheels and Wires" CD(1996) yielding the strikingly beautiful "Colours of the Cross" . By 1998 Pat's long standing interest in spoken word led to what was to be a highly successful association with The Naked Poets; a gathering of 5 of Bush Poetry's preeminent comedic performers.

The group featuring Marco Gliori, Shirley Friend, Murray Hartin, Ray Essery and Bobby Miller first performed with Pat at The Tamworth Golf Club in 1998– 1999 and again it was Drummmond's fascination with new technologies that led to his producing and recording their combined show on the newly developed Sony digital mini disc recorder.

What followed was nothing less than a market phenomenon with the Lie...v (Naked Poets 1) album becoming the most ordered item in ABC Shops and centres across Australia several times the following year. With sales in the tens of thousands nationally it would have been a significant release for any major Australian label but for Pat, and his wife, Carol's independent record company, Shoestring, it was an overwhelming success.

The hit single, Murray Hartin's, "Turbulence" went on to win The Australian Bush Laureate Award – Best Single Performance in 2000 and the following year, the Naked Poet's second album, 'Newdirections' followed up by winning both the Album of the Year category and Best Single Performance (for a poem written & performed by Marco Gliori).

The runaway success of these albums at a retail level greatly expanded Shoestring's operations as record company and led to the radical development of its roster. By 2008, the company had a roster of 78 albums, was representing 15 acts and was supplying over 600 shops across Australia.

Meantime Pat's immersion in commercial country had shifted his songwriting style again... this time to a romantic country duets album with 2002 Independent Female Country Vocalist 'Karen Lynne'. Produced by legendary Australian Country Producer Rod Coe, "Six Days in December" saw them pick up the 2001 award for Contemporary Country Song of the Year with a duet called "The Rush", which had previously already taken out 2 sections of the Queensland Songwriting competition and prevailed in a strong field which included Slim Dusty's tour de force, "Looking Forward, Looking Back" penned by ex Cold Chisel veteran Don Walker. What next? Well..... politics it seemed.

In 2001, apparently restless yet again, Pat confronted his following with an astonishing bipolar theatrical metamorphosis... The Chess Set, which created not one, but two new characters. Dressed half in white ... half in black ... with half a beard, Pat began an in-depth musical examination of the political divisions that had emerged throughout Australia in the first decade of the current century.

In a series of highly charged political songs almost calculated to completely alienate his conservative country music following, The Left Wing Black Knight and The Right Wing White Knight took up the cudgels over issues such as Australia's involvement in the Iraq War, The Refugee Detention Centres, Reconciliation and more..

For those who had been drawn to his comedic appearance in the Naked Poets, it was a very challenging contrast. A double boxed interactive CD which featured 26 new songs and enough script, background briefing and political speeches to fill a book, was released in 2004–2005 and Pat's live 4½-hour one-man theatre show from the project featured at The Blue Mountains Folk Festival and The National Folk Festivals in 2006.

In 2008 Pat's new close harmony three-piece comedy outfit, the BBQ Kings was signed to ABC/Universal and their first album 'The Fellowship of the Grill'. was released nationally and received a Final Five Nomination in the 2009 ARIA Awards for Comedy Album of the Year.

Back in the dress up box with fellow songwriters, Tony Williams and Chris O'Leary the show is set around three old mates who meet at a BBQ after not having seen each other for nearly a decade and seeks to explore through comedy the triumphs and tragedy of the middle aged male.

Complete with BBQ aprons, the piano set in to the BBQ six-burner and lots of laughs the show became an immediate favourite with Corporates and Rotary clubs around the Australia.

At an administrative level, Drummond has also served as a long term and/or founding director with a number of major entertainment bodies; including 5 years with The CMAA (The Country Music Association of Australia), 12 years as Entertainment Director at The Galston Country Music Festival (Sydney NSW), and more recently with The Blue Mountains Folk, Blues and Music FestivalThe Hartley Big Backyard Bash and The 2LT Oberon Music Festival and The Steam and Vintage Fair. His off topic interests have also led him to serve as a director and/or to found a number of Commercial art and Animatics organisations with his son, Matthew, including Electric Art Digital Creations, drummondesign and 2008 Emmy Finalist, Hive Studios International.

When will he stop? Well, Pat says, "It's all about never stopping, always changing and growing older creatively."

A Full '30 Years in Music' Retrospective (with masses of photos, history...etc.) is available at this page on Pat's extensive Website at -: [3]

See Also 'The BBQ Kings.'[4] Their first release 'The Fellowship of The Grill' was released on 23 August 2008 through ABC and Universal.[5] Featured tracks include Manboobs, Buggerit and Ode to Keith Richards.[6]



Solo and with Karen Lynne[edit]

  • What You See Is What You Get (December 1980, Shoestring Records)
  • Pat Drummond (1981, Shoestring Records)
  • Skool Daze (February 1985, Shoestring Records)
  • Age of Rage – Live at the Rest Hotel 1977–87 (1988, Shoestring Records)
  • Tales from the Local Rag (September 1990, True Blue Records)
  • Laughter Like a Shield (May 1994, Larrikin Records)
  • Of Wheels and Wires (August 1996, Larrikin Records)
  • Through the Cracks- Live at the Clarendon (March 1998, Shoestring Records)
  • Six Days in December (April 2000, Shoestring Records)
  • The Chess Set Volume 1 and 2 (2003, Shoestring Records)
  • The Long Journey Home (2008, Shoestring Records)
  • The Shark In The Bath and Other Tails (2009, Shoestring Records)


  • "Chippendale Song/The Lucky Country" (1981, Shoestring Records)
  • "The Kelly Option/The End Of The Line" (1989, Shoestring/True Blue)
  • "Shoahaven Man / Flicker Of An Eye, (1990 True Blue Records/ Larrikin Music)
  • "The Sao Song"/The Local Rag (1991, True Blue Records)

With The Naked Poets[edit]

  • Naked (1999, Shoestring Records)
  • Naked Poets...newdirections' (2001, Shoestring Records)
  • Naked Poets...buttseriously (2003, Shoestring Records)
  • Naked Poets...swinginockers' (2005, Shoestring Records)
  • Naked Poets...looseends&wobblybits (2009, Shoestring Records)

With The BBQ Kings[edit]

  • The Fellowship of the Grill (2008, ABC/Universal)


  1. ^ Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara, Paul McHenry with notes by Ed Nimmervoll (2002) [1987]. "DRUMMOND, Pat". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. Retrieved 20 February 2010.  Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
  2. ^ Shoestring Records
  3. ^ Pat Drummond's Homepage
  4. ^ The BBQ KINGS
  5. ^ ABC Store
  6. ^ The BBQ Kings Myspace

External links[edit]

Official website