Dave Mason (Australian musician)

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Dave Mason
Birth nameDavid Lawrence Mason
Bornca. 1954 (age 69–70)
Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia
GenresRock, indie pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Keyboard, vocals
Years active1976–present

David Lawrence Mason (born c. 1954) is an Australian singer-songwriter and record producer originally from Dubbo. He is the founding mainstay of pop, rock group, The Reels. For the group, Mason wrote and sang their hit singles, "Love Will Find a Way" (October 1979), "Prefab Heart" (1980), "After the News" (July 1980), and "Shout and Deliver" (March 1981). He also wrote "Quasimodo's Dream", which was a non-charting single from May 1981. However, in May 2001, it was listed by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) at No. 10 of their Top 30 Australian songs of all time.


Mason was born in ca. 1954 and raised in the rural New South Wales town of Dubbo.[1][2][3] His father, John Marsden Mason, was a Methodist Minister and, from 1965 to 1981, was the Liberal Party member for the electoral district of Dubbo in the New South Wales state parliament.[4] His mother, Lorna "Meg" (née Boxsell), married John in March 1953 and they raised a daughter and four sons.[4]

In 1976, Mason, on lead vocals, formed Native Sons with John Bliss (ex-Thundaband) on drums, and Craig Hooper on lead guitar and synthesiser.[2][5] They played cover versions of popular music and, when Colin Newham (ex-Condfederate) joined on keyboards, saxophone and guitar, they changed their name to The Brucelanders.[2][6] In 1978 they moved to Sydney and Paul Abrahams joined on bass guitar.[2][7][8]

By 1979 they were renamed "The Reels", with the line-up consisting of Mason, Abrahams, Bliss, Hooper and Newham.[2][7] The group released their debut single, "Love Will Find a Way", in October, which placed in the top 40 of the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[9] Mason wrote the song[10] and it was followed by the release of their self-titled album in the next month—the album was co-produced by the band members and Mark Opitz (The Angels, AC/DC).[11] Mason wrote or co-wrote 13 of the album's 14 tracks, while Paul Mason was a member of The Reels' road crew.[12]

Mason also wrote and sang the subsequent charting Reels songs "Prefab Heart" (1980) and "After the News" (July 1980).[9][13][14] With Newham, he co-produced the group's debut EP, Five Great Gift Ideas from The Reels (November 1980).[2][8] He also wrote "Quasimodo's Dream", which was a non-charting single from May 1981.[1][2][9] However, in May 2001 the song was listed at No. 10 by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in their Top 30 Australian songs of all time.[15] By 1992 The Reels had disbanded.[2][8]

In December 1988, Mason appeared in the Australian feature film Ghosts... of the Civil Dead, which co-starred Nick Cave.[2][16] In May the following year Lot's Wife reviewer G Kavarnoj described Mason's role as "notable for his portrayal of Lilly, a man whose dalliance with transvestism merely emphasises the sexual despair of the caged men".[17] Cinelogue's Matthew Mesaros described the character as "a long-haired man with a feminine frame who copes with prison life by assuming the role of a cross-dressing prostitute".[18]

In April 2003, Mason guested in a duet entitled "Blue Black Sky" for David Bridie's second solo album, Hotel Radio.[8][19] In Bernard Zuel's review for the Sydney Morning Herald, he notes that the album has "stuff to revel in the gorgeous 'The Tender Trap' and the richness of his duet with Dave Mason, 'Blue Black Sky'".[19]

In April 2007, Mason released Reelsville, a solo album of acoustic versions of tracks from The Reels' back catalogue.[3] Guy Blackman of The Age described the album as "a quiet triumph, avoiding the obvious cliches of the genre in favour of imaginative arrangements and unexpected instrumentation".[20] He followed the album with an appearance on the Countdown Spectacular 2 Tour, from August to September 2007.[3]

In 2008, The Reels reformed, with Mason joined by Bliss and Newham, and they performed in Melbourne and Sydney.[21] The following year, Abrahams rejoined and Newham departed, and it was this line-up that performed in Brisbane during the same year.[22][23] On 26 March 2011, Mason appeared on "Episode 108" of celebrity music quiz RocKwiz, on SBS TV, performed "Quasimodo's Dream", and a duet with fellow guest Sally Seltmann—a cover of the Conway Twitty 1974 single "As Soon as I Hang Up the Phone"—ended the episode.[24] Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Greg Hassall stated that Mason had "a few problems with pitch", although his solo effort "could be burped and still sound good".[25]

In September 2012, Mason gigged with Reel Big Dog, a band that included Bliss, Peter O'Doherty and his brother Reg Mombassa (both ex-Mental As Anything, Dog Trumpet), and Brendan Gallagher of Karma County.[26][27] In June 2013, Mason performed at the Sydney Opera House in the Art of Music concert, which also included appearances by Tim Finn, Katie Noonan, O'Doherty and Mombassa, Suze DeMarchi, Dave Leslie, Josh Pyke, Ian Moss, Iva Davies, and Dragon.[28] Art of Music was organised by Jenny Morris for her charity, Nordoff-Robbins' Music Therapy Australia.[28]

In April 2015, Mason performed guest vocals on "Not Even Jesus", the final track on Paul Mac's album Holiday From Me.[29]

Personal life[edit]

In late 1983, Mason was forced to give up performing after contracting hepatitis, which was one of the reasons The Reels went into hiatus.[2] Upon his recovery in August 1985, the group reconvened and continued until disbanding in 1992.[2] From about 1995 to 1997, Mason spent three years confined to his bedroom and was subsequently diagnosed with major depression.[3] As part of his ongoing treatment, he was encouraged by his psychiatrist to return to performing and recording music.[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Countdown Australian Music Awards[edit]

Countdown was an Australian pop music TV series on national broadcaster ABC-TV from 1974 to 1987, it presented music awards from 1979 to 1987, initially in conjunction with magazine TV Week. The TV Week / Countdown Awards were a combination of popular-voted and peer-voted awards.[30][31]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1986 "Bad Moon Rising" Best Performance in a Video Nominated


  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 16 September 2013. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • Spencer, Chris; Nowara, Zbig; McHenry, Paul (2002) [1987]. The Who's Who of Australian Rock. with notes by Ed Nimmervoll. Noble Park, Vic: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1.
  1. ^ a b "'Quasimodo's Dream' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McFarlane, 'The Reels' entry. Archived from the original Archived 15 June 2004 at the Wayback Machine on 15 June 2004. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Lalor, Peter (24 May 2007). "From The Reels to Real-Life Depression". The Australian. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "The Hon. John Marsden Mason (1928- )". Former members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  5. ^ Spencer et al, (2002), "Native Sons" entry.
  6. ^ Spencer et al, (2002), "Brucelanders" entry.
  7. ^ a b Spencer et al, (2002), "Reels, The" entry.
  8. ^ a b c d Holmgren, Magnus. "Dave Mason". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  10. ^ "'Love Will Find a Way' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 September 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "The Reels". Australian Rock Database. Passagen (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  12. ^ The Reels (Media notes). The Reels. Mercury Records/PolyGram Records. 6357 926.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  13. ^ "'Prefab Hearts' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 September 2013.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "'After the News' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 September 2013.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "2001 – Top 10 list". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) /AMCOS. 28 May 2001. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  16. ^ "Ghosts... of the Civil Dead [Collectors Edition] (1998) – Cast and Crew". AllMovie. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  17. ^ Kavarnoj, G (31 May 1989). "Reviews: Ghosts of the Civil Dead Kino Cinemas". Lot's Wife. Vol. 29, no. 10. Shepparton Printers (Monash Student Association). p. 16. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  18. ^ Mesaros, Matthew (29 June 2010). "Ghosts... of the Civil Dead". Cinelogue. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  19. ^ a b Zuel, Bernard (18 April 2003). "David Bridie, Hotel Radio". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  20. ^ Blackman, Guy (25 May 2007). "Reeling in the Years". The Age. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  21. ^ Blackman, Guy (11 May 2008). "Reeling and Reviving". The Age. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  22. ^ Wallen, Doug (5 July 2010). "The Reels: 200 Beats Per Minute". Mess+Noise. Sound Alliance. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  23. ^ a b "Reels' Dave Mason Back in the Loop for GoMA's Up Late". The Courier-Mail. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Ep 108 – Dave Mason & Sally Seltmann". RocKwiz. SBS One. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  25. ^ Hassall, Greg (24 March 2011). "RocKwiz, Saturday 26 March". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  26. ^ "Oz Rock". The Age. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  27. ^ Maud, Paula (14 September 2012). "Reel 'em in at Thornbury". Northcote Leader. Leader Community Newspapers. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  28. ^ a b Ritz, Ant (20 July 2013). "Art of Music". Get Shot Magazine. John Snelson. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  29. ^ McCabe, Kathy (9 April 2015). "Paul Mac launches Holiday From Me record with mystery train ride party". News.com.au.
  30. ^ "Countdown to the Awards" (Portable document format (PDF)). Countdown Magazine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). March 1987. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  31. ^ "Final episode of Countdown". 1970scountdown. Retrieved 23 October 2020.