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A DAY IN THE LIFE - Bruce Fanning

JIVE: Bruce Fanning was one of The K-Dels, stars of Warwick's 1960s live music scene.
JIVE: Bruce Fanning was one of The K-Dels, stars of Warwick's 1960s live music scene. Jonno Colfs

ONCE upon a time, not that long ago, Warwick was a thriving hub for live music.

Every weekend a country hall would fill up with excited party-goers, looking to blow off the dust of the working week away or take the chance to dance with a fancied sort.

Perhaps the biggest band in town throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s were The K-Dels.

The K-Dels - Bill Jacob (Jake) Lionel Baguley (Doolan) Bill Taylor. (Jeto) Keith Lees (Stumbo) Grahame White (Doc) and Bruce Fanning (Fang).Taken at St Mary's Hall around 1968-69.
The K-Dels - Bill Jacob (Jake) Lionel Baguley (Doolan) Bill Taylor. (Jeto) Keith Lees (Stumbo) Grahame White (Doc) and Bruce Fanning (Fang).Taken at St Mary's Hall around 1968-69. Contributed

Bruce Fanning, a farmer, who has spent his whole life living and working in the Murray's Bridge area, was The K-Dels organist.

"I gave it away in 1973 and got focussed on family and farm life," Mr Fanning said.

"That is until about six years ago, when I got a phone call from one of my old bandmates, Bill Jacob.

"He'd been living in Tasmania but was coming back to Warwick and wanted to get the band back together - 40 years on."

Mr Fanning said he wasn't all that interested in the idea at first.

"I had well and truly left that life behind," he said.

"But I wanted to see all the guys again so I agreed.

"I remember pulling up outside the house, they must have seen me arrive and launched into a song.

"I thought, 'Bloody hell, that sounds just like it used to."

The K-Dels reunion was a huge success with old fans coming from far and wide to see their old favourites.

The old musos played five or six gigs, venues were booked out and all told, they ended up raising about $20,000 for charity.

Mr Fanning said most of the people who came along had met their partners at a K-Dels gig.

The band was made up of well-known Warwick identities and businessmen, with some not so well known nicknames.

Peter Tanna (Pancho), Bill Taylor (Jeto), Lionel Baguley (Doolan), Graham White (Doc), Bill Jacob (Jake), Keith Lees (Stumbo) and Bruce Fanning (Fang).

It was at De La Salle College as a boarder that Mr Fanning discovered a love of music.

"I started taking piano lessons, but when I got a little older, in Year 9 or 10, I realised guitar was the way to go," he said.

"A Chinese student showed me a few chords and I was away."

Leaving school after Year 10, Mr Fanning returned to Warwick and started guitar lessons with Wayne Humphries of local band The Astronauts.

"I only went to him once I think," he said.

"He showed me a few chords but mentioned a couple of guys in Warwick were looking to start a band.

"Gerry and John Gosen rang me, and suddenly I was in a band we dubbed The Saints."

Bruce Fanning, Gerry Gosen. Keith Lees. and John Gosen, a studio photo taken at Haig Studio 1964. Bruce was 16 at the time.
Bruce Fanning, Gerry Gosen. Keith Lees. and John Gosen, a studio photo taken at Haig Studio 1964. Bruce was 16 at the time. Contributed

The band played a few gigs around the region but things took off when Mr Fanning bought himself a Hohner organ.

"With that I could play waltzes, and we started to get a lot more gigs," he said.

"After about two years, the drummer and I were asked to join the K-Dels and that was that."

Mr Fanning said the band was playing three or four times a week in its heyday.

"We earn about $60 for a gig, divided into the lot of us," he said.

"It was great fun - we were probably the most popular band around at the time.

"Pretty conservative though, there was no mucking up and we never had any girls throwing their knickers at us.

"Sometimes I wouldn't get home until three or four in the morning, and Dad would be getting up for work.

"He'd look at me and shake his head and say, 'Bloody motel, this place is a bloody motel'.

The K-Dels - Lionel Baguley, Bill Jacob, Graham White, Bill Taylor, Keith Lees, Bruce Fanning and Peter Tanna perform at the Lion's Fundraiser at King's Theatre on Saturday, November 20 2010.
The K-Dels - Lionel Baguley, Bill Jacob, Graham White, Bill Taylor, Keith Lees, Bruce Fanning and Peter Tanna perform at the Lion's Fundraiser at King's Theatre on Saturday, November 20 2010.

Topics:  a day in the life jonno colfs live music the k-dels warwick people



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