FLYING EMUS (1985)
The Flying Emus mainstay consisted of
Mike Kerin on fiddle, Ian Simpson on banjo and guitar, John Kane
on guitar and mandolin, Genni Kane lead vocals and guitar. Other
members of the band included Hanuman Dass on percussion ,
Michael Vidale on bass. The band line up also included Malcolm
Wakeford on percussion and Graham Thompson on bass.
The Flying Emus were one of Australia’s
leading bluegrass bands from the late 1980′s. Several on the
band members played in the Slim Dusty band and the Emus were
formed during a six-year period when Slim Dusty had stopped
1985 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame.
1986 – Golden Guitars for Instrumental of
the Year with “Look Out Below” and Vocal Group of the Year with
1987 – Golden Guitar for Instrumental of
the Year with “Emu Strut”.
1988 – Golden Guitar for Instrumental of
the Year with “Jackaroo” and Vocal Group of the Year with
“Auctioneer”. ARIA Best Country Album with “This Town”.
1991 - Golden Guitar for
Instrumental of the Year with “Dixie
Look Out Below (1985) – Larrikin
This Town (1987) – Flying Emu Productions / Festival
(1989) – Infinity/Festival
Thank you and goodnight (1990) – Infinity/Festival
Ian Simpson - banjo, vocals
Ian was born in Fremantle in
He started playing classical piano at 8 years of age. At
about the age of 13 Ian heard The Wreck of the Old 97 and the
banjo solo by then famous folk ensemble The Seekers. He became
obsessed with learning to play the banjo, and started teaching
himself to play from listening to records slowed down to 16 rpm
and learning out of the very few books that were available at
At the age of 15, Ian met Western Australia’s
seasoned bluegrass musician Jim Fisher, and before long he was
playing evenings and weekends in bands such as the Outlaws and
the Bluegrass Kangaroos in Perth
pubs, folk clubs and taverns while he was still at school.
Ian moved to Sydney
at age 21 to tour with Slim Dusty. Ian played on more than 20 of
Slim’s albums and went on to appear in many DVDs and the famed
Slim Dusty Movie.
In 1984, Ian was instrumental in
forming The Flying Emus with John Kane, Genni Kane and Mike
Kerin. This band took their version of bluegrass music to the
masses winning 6 Gold Guitars at Tamworth,
and also achieved an Aria award.
As Ian’s talents were continuing to
develop, his musical career extended into the recording and
touring scene. He played support to many high-profile Australian
Country Music names such as Paul Kelly, Keith Urban, Anne
Kirkpatrick, Graeme Connors, and ABC’s nationally recognised Ian
‘Macca’ McNamara from Australia All Over. He was also a member
of the famous comedy/bluegrass band Sensitive New Age Cowpersons
for most of its ten-year existence. More recently Ian toured and
recorded with Paul Kelly’s bluegrass band The Stormwater Boys.
He won the Australian National
Banjo Championships at
no less than 3 times in 1983, 1986 and 1987. He was also a
member of Western Australia’s
famed Bluegrass Parkway
for 10 years.
Ian now resides back in Western Australia
where he performs regularly with Jane Germain. They have won the
Best Group or Duo Award
at the WA Country Music Awards for 3 years running and in 2010
he and Jane had the honour of performing in the Australia
Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai
which he found to be an amazing experience.
Ian and ex Flying Emu John Kane
recently recorded an all instrumental CD for the ABC called
One of the tracks from this album,
won them a Golden Guitar at the 2011 Tamworth Country Music
Festival for Instrumental of the Year.
- fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals
Between Slim Dusty commitments, the Travelling Country Band in
fact recorded three albums together, and Mike Kerin also
recorded four albums with the Flying Emus during the band's
six-year reign as the hottest group in country music during the
1980s, during which they took out three Golden Guitars.
Mike says he loved the years with the Emus, formed during a
six-year period when Slim was off the road.
Since 1978 Mike has been a quiet driving force in the country
music scene, having played for 10 years with The Flying Emus,
more than 20 years with Slim Dusty’s Travelling Country Band and
is currently touring with Anne Kirkpatrick.
Mike was a 2007 Golden Guitar nominee and 2007 winner of a
Victorian Country Music Award, toured as a soloist with Richard
Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra in June 2007.
Currently sings vocals in the country/bluegrass band "The Hip
Replacements" along with Jon Wilby and Gavan Wickes..
- Guitar, Vocals
Currently produces recordings for the ABC Children Series and
the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He recently released a
CD entitled "The Great Australian Songbook – celebrating 100
years of classic songs for Aussie kids" which also features his
sister Genni on vocals.
Born in New Zealand, Graham released his first recording at age
16, and has been in demand since then, playing for some of New
Zealands’ top bands until 1989 when he moved to Australia to
continue his career in both recording and performing with many
high level Australian acts. Graham played bass for the highly
successful Australian band The Stars between 1975-76 but was
replaced by Roger McLaughlin before they actually hit the big
time with their single "Mighty Rock". He also played bass for
Finch, the Ray Burgess Band, Avalanche and Russell Morris and
the Rubes, and of course the Flying Emus. Today, Graham is the
bass player for the 70's cover band 'Scandal'
He is best known as a drummer and singer in Australian bands
since the 1970s. He is also a composer, producer and
percussionist. Malcolm has played the drums in such bands as
Rachette (with Stevie Wright, singer from the Easybeats) which
later became the Stevie Wright Band and the Marcia Hines Band
with whom he recorded a cover version of the Rolling Stones song
“Jumping Jack Flash”..