You "Stop"

I once worked as a Fruit Fly Sprayer for the Department of Agriculture. We would go out into the suburban backyards of Adelaide and spray people's fruit trees with poison.

One of the guys on my gang was a jazz drummer named Ray. He was I suppose, in his late forties. He told me that one-day he'd just "stopped" and so would I. Ray believed that there comes a point in every musician's life where new music ceases to mean anything. You "stop". You no longer understand what you're hearing. Ray "stopped" when rock 'n' roll appeared in the nineteen fifties. He said he just didn't "get it ". He stayed with what he knew. Jazz.

From then on I couldn't listen to any new music without wondering, "Is this it? Do I "get it" or is this where I "stop"?" I was a young, girl-crazy rock drummer. I couldn't afford to "stop". It was to be a few more years though before I thought I might be in real danger of "stopping".

In nineteen seventy-six in the clunky old "Post" magazine there was an article with scratchy black and white photos of London "Punks" with their razor blades, safety pin piercing, spiked mohawks and a "death to hippies" credo. Gulp, I was a hippie, or a kind of disco-rock-fusion hippie.
" Punk Rock" music was reportedly loud, fast and furious. The audience and bands spat at each other. I didn't like the sound of it all quite frankly. I hadn't heard the music but felt sure that there was every possibility that this would be where I "stop".

I couldn't have been further from the mark. In a way, this was where I "started". The Sex Pistols "Never Mind The Bollocks" was a revelation to me. Television, Blondie and The Jam. The energy and the "anyone can do it " attitude freed me. I stopped playing drums and started playing loud fast chords on the guitar, writing songs, singing a bit, leaping about on stage, moving to new cities and chasing record deals.