John Long

Drummer John Long joined The Rubber Band in 1970

He remained a key member right through the band's successful early 1970's period

John replaced founding drummer Ron Miles, who left the band to go to London and get married. John was an immeditate success. He provided the solid, driving pulse that made the band so popular to dance to. His strong, reliable timing and impeccable styling of pop material became a trademark of the band's performances.

It wasn't just John's first-rate drumming skills that convinced The Rubber Band to hire him when he auditioned for the vacant spot in 1970. John's positive attitude, likeable personality and great sense of humour made him an unmistakeable winner.

Kevin remembers, "There was something about John. We auditioned a lot of drummers that weekend, and some of them were excellent. A few probably played better, and impressed us with their fancy fills and technical skill. But John seemed solid. His playing was steady as a clock. Nothing flamboyant, just a really good reliable groove to play to. And he seemed to fit in. It felt like he would stick around, not just use us as a stepping stone. The jolt of losing Ron Miles had made us nervous about instability, and that was a factor in our decision. as it turned out, John was an excellent choice."

The Rubber Band

The Rubber Band performing at a private party at the Australia golf club, Kensington, Sydney, 30 December 1970. John is in the foreground, and Ray (left) and Mick can be seen behind him. The others are out of shot.

The Rubber Band

29 May 1971. The NSW Ski Association Ball, Unisearch House, University of NSW, Sydney. Ray and Mick can be seen behind John.

John recalls, "I joined the band in 1970, after responding to a newspaper ad for a drummer. I remember the audition at (lead guitarist) Ray Lynn's place at Ashfield. Audition songs included The Weight, Aquarius and some Shadows instrumentals.

John Long's first musical instrument was the harmonica, which his father taught him at the age of 3. He took to it, could always belt out a tune, and quickly developed his love affair with music. His first band was a 4th grade combo at Burwood Public School. It was a 4-piece line up comprising recorder/flute, 2 drummers and John on harmonica!

With only one microphone between the four of them, they would broadcast from the remote music room out into the playground during lunch break and school assembly. John says:

"I can only imagine how bad this combo sounded. However we were allowed rehearsal time, which cut into the boring normal school curriculum. That was a big motivation for us to keep the band alive. "Out of school we would annoy parents with rehearsal on weekends at someone's home, and we often played & broadcast live from 2GB & 2UW kids radio programs (this enabled us to annoy the entire city).

"Some days later this was followed up with an interrogation /interview at my home. By now I could tell that these guys were serious.

The next I heard from them, I was congratulated on being a member of The Rubber Band! Whammo! I was in with a top Sydney band that would widen my appreciation of music genre for life.

"We started rehearsals at the Rooty Hill farm of Ray's parents. We didn't have much time to get it together, as their then drummer, Ron Miles, was about to leave for London to get married. I dove into the songs as quickly as I could.

"My first gig with the band was at the Argyle Cellars. Until that night I hadn't even met the band's girl singer, Mayliu Thomas (Mayliu later married the bass player Kevin Currie, so is now Mayliu Currie).

"The band was a whole new ball game for me - excuse the pun [John would play at many balls with The Rubber Band]. I didn't own a dinner suit, and had a short 9 to 5 hairdo, so a rapid make over was required. I soon bought the dinner suit, and got the longer hair with sideburns up and running. My small Slingerland drum kit did not cut it either so I invested in a larger Ludwig kit.

John Long, drummer

John playing with The Rubber Band in the Chevron Hotel ballroom, Sydney.

"The band ran like a clock with Richard Debenham's marketing and management skills. Nothing was overlooked, all we had to do was be there and perform.

"Great gigs, great money, great songs and a great bunch of talented musicians. We played at some amazing venues to very large crowds. Audiences of 1000-1500 people were not unusual. I enjoyed also the frequent travel to the country.

The Rubber Band, although centered in Sydney, played a lot of gigs in regional NSW as well. Many of these were Bachelor and Spinster Balls (B&S Balls) and their related 'recovery balls,' always held the following night.

"We played towns such as Nyngan, Narrabri, Warren, Cowra, Orange, Lithgow etc, etc. listening to Neil Young, Pink Floyd & Poco in Ray's van along the way. We were always very well received in regional towns, sometimes like royalty. We were treated like big celebrities from the city.

"I just can't recall how we managed to fit 6 band members along with all of our equipment into Ray Lynn's old Commer van. I think that there was a strict loading process supervised by Ray. However despite the crowding we still somehow managed to travel in a degree of comfort.

"I also played my first of many Pacific Cruises with The Rubber Band and these were lots of fun to do."

The Rubber Band

22 August 1970. John playing with The Rubber Band at the The 3M Company Ball at Unisearch House, University of NSW, Sydney.

John Long left The Rubber Band in 1974 and formed his own group, Father Tyme, which later evolved into a very successful Sydney dance band, Rockin' Horse. John was later joined by fellow ex-Rubber Band members Mayliu Currie, Kevin Currie and Mick Csapo.

Rockin' Horse was managed by Ray Lynn, who by this time had quite a number of excellent Sydney bands working through his agency, Ray Lynn Enterprises.

John Long, drummer

2 July 1970 at The Roundhouse, University of NSW Sydney.

John Long, drummer

16 March 1970 at the Argyle Cellars, Argyle St., Sydney. The Rubber Band performed weekly for American servicemen enjoying R&R from the Vietnam war.

John's son, well-known guitarist Robbie Long, has followed in the musical footsteps of his father.

Robbie first developed his love for music as a young boy watching The Rubber Band at rehearsals.

Now a respected multi-award winning musician, composer and producer, Robbie's latest award is Oz Flatpick Champion 2010.

Robbie has performed at many of Australia's major festivals, including Woodford, The National Folk Festival, Port Fairy, Illawarra Folk Fest, Blue Mountains Blues & Roots and Tamworth Country Music Festival. He has performed live to air on ABC radio national many times, has appeared on The Sunday Arts program on ABC TV, and was featured on The Daily Planet on Radio National with The Lawnmowers.

See more about Robbie Long here.

Knock yourself out! - see Robbie Long playing with fellow acoustic guitar masters. Promo clip and details of Acoustic Guitar Spectacular 2012 - On Tour.

John Long, drummer

John at the Crystal Ballroom Ryde, December 1970. It's just possible to make out Ray Lynn in the background.

John Long, drummer

8 July 1970, Castle hill Showground. John is wearing his trademark hat!

John's other son, Gordon Long has also taken up the family musical tradition! A vocalist with a fine voice, Gordon, like his brother Robbie, is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, bass and drums. He is also a talented songwriter.

Along with Robbie, Gordon developed an early taste for music bopping along at Rubber Band rehearsals.

John Long, drummer

21 August 1970. Argyle Cellars, Sydney.

John has a long and proud Australian ancestry dating all the way back to 1816!

"Actually I can outrank him. My first ancestor came out on the Second Fleet in 1790.

"Yes, he was a convict!"

- Kevin