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Rhett May from Australia

Artist History

Out of India to “Oz”

The Journey of Rhett May


Wooly Bully Tracks…

What does a cup of coffee, the Himalayan Mountains, and tracks left by creatures called “Wooly Bullys” have in common?  Easy, Rhett May!  Rhett May is a seasoned musician whose first band was named The Wooly Bullys, and his first big break came via a Brooke Bond coffee commercial.  So, let's have an adventure. This is a quest to uncover the first Wooly Bully, Rhett May.  He's not as elusive as the legendary Bigfoot; however, he has left musical footprints that lead out of India - to his current home in Australia, kindly known as “Oz.”

Musical Menagerie…

Rhett May owes his rare musical sound and style to the unique environment that he grew up in.  Born in 1950, in Calcutta, India, he was immediately immersed in a magical, musical melting pot. Carnatic and Hindustani music and instruments such as the Sitar and Tabla were always providing melody and percussion against a daily backdrop of lifting and soaring voices of Ragas.  By the time Rhett had begun boarding school in the Himalayan foothills; western music had also begun an invasion.  The cinemas featured musical movies from The Monkees, Cream, or Jimi Hendrix.  Elvis and Ricky Nelson's pop also pulsated through the airwaves.  Rhett lived the magic of the musical melting pot, but one experience stood out.  Few, if any songwriters and musicians could grow up in such a perfect time and place of musical menagerie.

Sixties - Seventies - Success…

Rhett's formed his first band, The Wooly Bullys, at the age of 15 with Preston Bortello and childhood friend James Payne.  Their first taste of fame came in 1966, when they won Battle of the Bands.  The Wooly Bullys evolved into a band called The Flint Stones.  The Flint Stones became India's most successful pop group, being featured on the cover of many of the music magazines.  The Flint Stones recorded a successful single in “Be Mine (Happy by My Side)” and even attracted the attention of former Beatle George Harrison and Apple Records.  The band was asked to come to the UK, and was double billed with the likes of legendary jazz guitarist Charlie Bird.  Rhett states, “The sixties got me hooked on bands like The Yardbirds, Steppenwolf, The Beatles, Herman's Hermits … and the list goes on!”  Rhett would carry this heavy influence of the nineteen sixties into his musical future as the underpinning of his musical style. 

A Saturday Night In “Oz”…

Rhett left his native India in 1969, and would start his music career anew in Australia.  Rhett says, “I got a totally new group of musicians together in 'Oz' - we were doing the 'garage' thing.”  This garage band would develop into a successful band which evolved from the “Shakespeare Sarani” to “Prodigy”, and eventually they changed their name to “Lucifer.”  As the decade of the seventies progressed, Rhett's success was about to be changed forever by the “fever” of Saturday Night Fever.  The Disco era came suddenly, and it would force Rhett and his band mates to move out of music.  One of the biggest changes would be the decision of childhood friend and musical cohort, James Payne, to leave the music business.  Over the years, James' influence on Rhett was immense.  However, Payne's departure was not to last forever… he would soon return.  Payne’s return would be the catalyst that would spark a rekindling of Rhett's musical future.

Fast Forward Thirty Years…

With Disco taking hold of the music scene in Australia, Rhett would leave music for the corporate world.  With his tenacious personality, he conquered the business world, having the same success that he had in music, but the need for a creative outlet would return.  After a thirty year hiatus, he bought a guitar, sharpened his songwriting skills, and got the rust out of his fingers, mind and soul.  It wasn't long before the lyrics, melodies and rhythm was flowing again.  Childhood buddy James “Jimbo” Payne was incredibly supportive as Rhett made his way back into the world of music.  James and Rhett joined forces once again and collaborated on new material. 

Cutting Calcutta Boy

With his creative resurgence in place, it was obvious for Rhett and James that a new project was almost writing itself. Calcutta Boy would be the first new release and musical work for Rhett in almost three decades.  With four tracks, and the help of James in the recording studio, the new album would reflect all Rhett's years of exposure and experience in so many different musical genres that gives Calcutta Boy its varied styles and unique sound.  Each song on the album exhibits its own style and with a dominant classic rock feel, “There's a Little White Powder,” has an addictive melodic hook running over an anti-addiction theme dealing with the social disgrace of cocaine addiction. Rhett has always abhorred drug abuse. He states, "My advice to people is not to do drugs, I've never done them, get high on life... get high on music!"

Future Tracks to Follow…

There’s no doubt Rhett May is back to music, and Calcutta Boy is only the harbinger of new material and projects to come.  After each business day, Rhett spends a musical night awake late in his studio.  With the help of friend, James Payne, they’ve already prepared more new material to be released soon.  Rhett’s first tracks were imprinted at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, but they are now reaching around the world.  Rhett is a tenacious, hardworking musical “beast.”  From his days as a “Wooly Bully” all the way to today, this boy from Calcutta continues to leave his imprints in the world of music.  Rhett May, a musical and creative monster has come out of India, all the way to “Oz.”

Rhett May Blog
RadioIndy has published our review!
POSTED BY: radioindy POSTED ON: 27 Sep 2009 01:48 PM
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POSTED BY: Babbbullon POSTED ON: 07 Feb 2009 08:09 PM

RadioIndy created a CD Announcement Press Release for Rhett May


As part of our ongoing promotion with RadioIndy, we have published a press release of our truncated CD review. 

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"Calcutta Boy" Reviewed by RadioIndy.com!
POSTED BY: momof5pacs POSTED ON: 05 Feb 2009 08:16 AM

Rhett May and his latest released CD “Calcutta Boy” gives the music listening world just a tasty hint of what he has to offer. The Australian native, who has opened shows for bands as big as Queen, wrote and recorded his latest disc at his home studio. His sound is hard to define as these four selections all feature a wide variety of influences, but it all molds together for a great album. “Little White Powder Under Your Nose” is a harmonious arrangement with impressive and well written lyrics about cocaine use. His experiences touring takes an evident role in the song “Have Your Arms Been Missing Me” with its lush Freddie Mercury type vocals and melody. Overall, “Calcutta Boy” is a good album and listeners will be looking forward to hearing his full length album.

-Shaun H. and the RadioIndy Reviewer Team
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