In the early 90s Victorian Koorie band “Stray Blacks” set up their own residency at the John Curtin Hotel in Carlton. Sick of seeing black people booted out and banned from the city’s hotels and clubs, the band decided it was time to control their own gigs and create a place for the ‘mob’ to hang out and enjoy good company and good music.
JC’s was an institution and a social hub for the broader community for many years. Formed in 1989 by the late Alf Bamblett and Tony Lovett, the Stray Blacks have entertained audiences all over the place with their mix of music that is a blend of country, rock and reggae.
However, after losing Uncle Alf in 2015 and then Peter Rotumah in 2018 it is no secret that the remaining band members have struggled to perform without their brothers beside them.
So it is now time for the band to announce that it is time to move on and unplug the amps for good. And what better place to have a final hit out than the place that started it all for the band.
It was with concern that band members learned of the plans to knock down another live venue in the John Curtin Hotel. “This pub was where it all began for us, so it is timely that we finish up along with the pub” said Tony Lovett, founding member. “We hope to get the oldies out for one more night with the young ones and share some great memories and yarns of the good old days”
After long hard fought battles with cancer, Alf Bamblett passed away in March 2015 and Peter Rotumah in September 2018. The band has never been the same since and whilst along the journey, many musicians have been along for the ride; some for just a short trip, others a lengthy continued expedition, the band was never the same with Uncle Alf and Rots.
Stray Blacks at JC’s on Thursday 30th June has been supported by the venue, Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation and our families. The band are very excited about the future of Aboriginal music in this state and welcome some special guests to the stage to perform on the night.