Michael David "Mike" Rudd is a New Zealand-born musician and composer who has been based in Australia since the late 1960s, and who was the leader of Australian progressive rock bands Spectrum and Ariel in the 1970s.
Michael David Rudd was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. His first major group was the Chants R&B. The group came to Australia and settled in Melbourne in 1966 but broke up soon afterwards. Rudd then joined The Party Machine led by Ross Wilson and Ross Hannaford, who later formed Daddy Cool.
After Party Machine split up in late 1969, Rudd formed his own group, Spectrum, one of Australia's first progressive rock groups. This also marked the beginning of his long association with bassist Bill Putt. Spectrum released four LPs and several 7" singles, including their national No. 1 hit single I'll Be Gone, which has remained one of the best-known songs of the period, and the first Australian rock double album, Milesago. The group also worked under the pseudonym Indelible Murtcepsand recorded one LP under that name.
After Spectrum split in April 1973, Rudd and Putt formed a new group, Ariel. Along with keyboard player John Mills they joined forces with two leading Sydney musicians, guitarist Tim Gaze and drummer Nigel Macara from pioneering progressive band Tamam Shud. They released one successful LP, A Strange Fantastic Dream, in December 1973, but Gaze and Macara left the band soon after it was recorded.
Ariel continued to record and perform until July 1977, when they announced their break-up; they performed their farewell concert at the Dallas Brooks Hall in Melbourne on 31 August 1977; the show was recorded and later released on two LP's: Aloha; then Ariel Live!!-More From Before.
After Ariel, Mike Rudd moved into promotion and production for a time. He produced the debut album for Newcastle bands Daniel and Jab and demos for Jane Clifton (ex-Melbourne band Stiletto).
Rudd and Putt later formed a succession of groups, in the 1980s—Mike Rudd's Instant Replay, Mike Rudd & The Heaters (both also with Tony Slavich) and the more electronically oriented W.H.Y. (Weird Harold and You), a drummer-less trio comprising Rudd, Putt and John Moon and featuring Weird Harold, an early but cantankerous drum-machine—but none achieved the same level of success as Spectrum or Ariel.
Although Rudd was forced to withdraw from performing for several years due to the illness and subsequent death of his wife Helen, Mike and Bill sustained an enduring musical partnership, including reunions of Spectrum during the '80s, and a duo album in 1996, Living on a Volcano. A new 3-piece incarnation of Spectrum, with drummer Peter 'Robbo' Robertson, debuted in the late 1990s as Spectrum Play The Blues with a CD Spill, which took them back to their musical roots. Ariel also reformed for occasional gigs with varying line-ups, including a final reunion of the 'Mark II' line-up with Harvey James and John Lee, which took place not long before Lee's untimely death in July 1998.
Rudd, Putt and Robertson continued to perform and record as Spectrum, with occasional help from keyboardist Daryl Roberts, until Putt's sudden death in Strathewen on 7 August 2013, ending an enduring 44 year partnership. Spectrum now continues as Mike Rudd with Broc O'Connor (bass), Peter 'Robbo' Robertson (percussion) and Daryl Roberts (keyboards).
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