Fraternity quickly rose to prominence in the Australian music industry after forming in 1970. Led by bassist Bruce Howe, the perfectionist, alongside seasoned guitarist Mick Jurd, the group was synonymous with the quality of their live performances and original material.
Each member was a sought-after experienced performer: John Bisset, the master of the draw bars on the Hammond organ, John Freeman, with the best right foot in the business on drums and lead vocalist Bon Scott, who went on to world-wide fame with AC/DC.
With the help of manager Hamish Henry, Adelaide based Fraternity were soon performing with acts such as Deep Purple, Manfred Mann, Free and headlining Hamish Henry’s 1971 Myponga Music Festival with Black Sabbath.
Fraternity continued to evolve musically, eventually adding elusive harp extraordinaire, Uncle John Eyers, and multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sam See to the lineup. After defeating Sherbet and Jeff St John at the prestigious National Battle of the Sounds competition against in 1971, Fraternity was given the title of Australia’s #1 band. Fraternity performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra before leaving to find success in the UK and Europe. Their complex musical arrangements and originality influenced following generations, including some of Australia’s greatest musicians such as later members Jimmy Barnes and Swanee.
For the first time in 50 years Fraternity’s story is told in their own words and this significant lost chapter in Australian music history is revealed.
Adelaide historian, music promoter and PhD student Victor Marshall has produced live music events with some of Australia’s greatest performers and is now co-director of The Grape Organisation who managed Fraternity and many other significant Australian bands since the late 60’s. Victor worked with Fraternity’s original manager Hamish Henry on restoring the band’s albums, singles and releasing newly discovered recordings in a 3CD Box Set for Cherry Red UK. (The only official CD release available)
Space Lab 9 will also be releasing Fraternity's 3x albums on Vinyl. (The only official Vinyl release since the original pressings in 1971 & 1972)
Now the official Fraternity biography has been released with extensive and exclusive new interviews from all the living band members and their entourage, newly discovered historic interviews with Bon Scott, newly uncovered photographs and many other primary source materials. This book has been applauded by Australian critics for only using primary resources and interviewing the key people who were part of Bon's life at the time. This 521 page book is the untold missing link to Bon Scott’s history. Fraternity’s story truly gives fans a greater understanding about Bon Scott’s formative musical years and the band that supported and influenced his musical growth into becoming one of rock’s greatest frontmen of all time.
Earlier this year Fraternity celebrated their 50th Anniversary at a sold out Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide with Chain, Spectrum and The Masters Apprentices. World renown singer Vince Contarino of Zep Boys fronted a band made of former members of Fraternity and others, performing a stellar set of Fraternity's songs. The band received messages from some of musics' biggest names such as AC/DC’s Brian Johnson who recalled meeting the band in 1973 on a cold winter’s night.
Author Victor Marshall: "I am proud to be working with the original members of Fraternity. It is an honour to be entrusted with their story and musical works. Overall the project has taken over 4 years to put together. Over the years, since the band split, Fraternity have been taken advantage of with countless bootlegs, even imposters, and have never made any money from their work. When I met them all one by one, it became apparent over the years their story had been hijacked and sensationalised because of the journalistic interest in lead singer Bon Scott. Bon Scott was a real person, sometimes authors and journalists forget he has real family and friends who are affected every time something sensationalised is written about him. It is for this reason, the members of Fraternity have refused to participate in interviews until now. I hope the CD set and book set the record straight, gives Fraternity back their history and they can be proud of their music and achievements."
Fraternity: Pub Rock Pioneers by Victor Marshall has been published worldwide by Simon and Schuster and Brolga Publishing. A special bundle can be ordered at the Fraternity website:
For more retailers please visit distributor Simon and Schuster website:
For Interview requests please contact Victor Marshall at the Grape Organisation:
For media review copies please contact Elly Cridland at Brolga Publishing:
Fraternity's Facebook Page:
Grape Organisation Website:
Official Bon Scott Estate Website:
Fraternity's original songs are published through Grape Organisation and administered by Sony Music Publishing