The Friends of Les Scott
decided to make the last Sunday
of every February an annual event in Honor of him. To be held as a
fundraiser with the money raised going to a Les Scott Sponsorship
for young aspiring players which we are currently in the process of
Click on Photos 1 below for the final
farewells to our very special, greatly respected, friend, musician &
A TRIBUTE TO OUR BROTHER,
As written by his older sister, Rita.
Les was born in Yule Island in 1956, about 60 nautical miles from
Port Moresby. (The reason I say 'nautical miles' was because the
only way we travelled to Port Moresby was by boat.) He was delivered
by our Aunty Mary (now aged 93), at home and she always called him
Les began his school years in Port Moresby in 1962 when our family
went to live there. As a child from Grade 1 he excelled with his
lessons and was Sister Katrina's favourite pupil. She liked to use
the end of the feather duster to keep the kids in line but he never
was one of her "candidates".
I remember when he was to make his First Holy Communion and Mum had
bought him new shoes. He wanted to wear them straight away but Mum
said 'No'. And come Holy Communion day, Les did not want to wear his
new shoes. He said, "When I want to wear my shoes "they" say No -
now when I don't want to wear the shoes "they" say, Yes. Anyway, he
ended up wearing the shoes. Please keep in mind that Les was only 7
As a teenager Les called Mum, "Mate". She said to him, don't call me
Mate - I am your mother, not your mate!. She asked him what his
friends called their mothers, and he said, "The Old Cheese". Calmly,
she said, OK, you can call me "Mate".
Les got his first guitar lessons from our older brother, William,
who played in a band (called Contikis) in Port Moresby when Les was
about 13 or 14 years old. William played lead guitar with the band -
that would been in the late 60's. It didn't take long before Les was
getting pretty good with the guitar, and William laughed and
commented that Les was getting better with the guitar than him. They
both taught themselves to play the guitar.
Les, and our other brother, Lionel, would strum their guitars in
their bedroom just about every night, practicing Credence Clearwater
Revival songs, etc. It was lovely going to sleep listening to their
Les went to Maris Brothers College in Brisbane until Dad and Mum and
the younger members of the family came to Townsville in 1973 where
he attended Townsville High School. After high school he attended
James Cook University.
Tragically we lost our brother William in a car accident in 1976,
and later in 1991 we also lost our brother, Lionel.
Les was always the quiet one in the family, but whenever we needed
his advice he was always there to ring.
We would like to thank you all so very much for your love and
support you have given Les, and so much so after his death -
particularly, Gary Brown, Mary Ann Burton, Mary Heard, Greg
Williams, Bryen Willems and all Les' many friends in Sydney.
All his families in Brisbane, Cairns, Port Moresby, Lismore and
Darwin thank you so very much.
It so hard realising our previous Brother has
left us all. IT HURTS SO MUCH.
Love you so much Bro., and God
Your loving sisters and families
Rita, Yvonne and Bridgette
- Vale Les
Scott from the Murray Hillbillies
We had the
pleasure and privilege of working rehearsing and associating
with Les on a regular basis over the last five years.
During that time we have been able to enjoy Les’ friendly
company and exceptional musicality and like everyone that came
in contact with him we are feeling the acute sense of loss that
comes when someone like Les is taken from us in such an
Rod Gary Robbie and myself although saddened by the loss of our
friend Les, have the memory of many shared magical musical
Our friend and multi-talented musician LES
SCOTT has passed away at the early age of 52.
Les Scott will be sadly missed by all his family & friends around
our music industry...
Hope to see you all there & please pass this on
from Mary Heard
In 1995 I put an ad in Drum Media for a
bass player and Les answered it. He was the only person who answered
it, he said he played bass because it was easier to get work that
way. His long standing Country Rock band and his relationship with
the singer had just broken up and he was starting again I suppose. I
was so green, I don't know how he put up with me, but from the
outset he was always more than a bandmember, he made a commitment.
When our guitarist left he told me guitar was actually his main
instrument and that's when I got to know that amazingly smooth but
jangly papuan guitar playing that I can never imagine myself singing
without. Some nights when Midwest Obsession played Les wouldn't be
able to make it because he wouldn't give up certain other
commitments for me (so many people wanted him) and there was always
a gaping hole as there will be whenever I sing from now on.
When we went into the studio to make the album''Happy Ever After''',
Les came with me all the way. We spent hours at his place doing
pre-production (him trying to get me to sing in tune). I still
remember so well coming out of the studio each time and I could tell
by Les's face that I still hadn't got it and then he'd say so
delicately "'Er... I think you'd better do that again Mary". I cant
imagine being in the studio without Les when he put down those
rhythm guitar tracks you knew you had a bed of gold to lay your
vocals on. He never lost it no matter how difficult things got, he
was always kind and thoughtful of others.
When I was pregnant with my second child I went to Les and said I
didn't think I could keep the band up anymore and he said "'Mary
make sure you put your relationship first'', it was a very loving
thing to say to me. Les always put his music first but then he was a
different calibre of musician.
I didn't see him much during those years when I wasn't singing but
he did come over one day to take my husband Jeff fishing. Jeff had
the amazing experience of catching a fish off Tamarama beach, of
course Les really caught it but Jeff still got to pull it in.
Les always went fishing to relax. He used to say" Ï was born on an
Island" it was a sad day for him when he had to leave his house by
When I decided I wanted to sing again I rang Les and he was straight
back in there. The best time I have had with him has been the last
year when Mary-Anne Burton, Gary Brown, Les and I formed a group
called ''Quite Contrary". We had all known each other so long and
were on exactly the same wavelength. We spent hours working out
three part harmonies to all the songs, Mary-Anne and I would always
get the first two parts and poor Les would have to work his part out
from whatever notes were left so he often had difficult parts going
into falsetto. To hear Les singing a harmony on his own (which can
only be done in the studio) is to get an insight into his delicate
soul - there was something angelic about his voice although he
didn't like hearing it.
I am so happy that I got the chance to go to Dorrigo with Quite
Contrary last year. I drove up with Les (he was a very slow driver
so it was a long trip) and got to talk with him all the way. He was
an intelligent man who thought about a lot of things but didn't
share his thoughts very often. We had the best weekend together, Les
had such a great sense of humour, that beautiful smile would just
creep over his face all by itself. On the last night of our trip we
stayed up for hours having a singalong and it was the best one I've
ever had. We played every Hank Williams, every Patsy Cline, lots of
Elvis, Beatles, Mary-Anne is a human jukebox and Les played every
song on guitar like only Les can play.
I know Les didn't die feeling alone because he had made such a great
friendship with Gary Brown - they spent every spare minute in Gary's
studio and some great stuff came out of there including Mathilda
Sommers and of course Bryen Willems album. We are so lucky to have
all these recordings.
On Friday night I went to rehearse at Mary-Anne''s. Ironically Quite
Contrary had their first big gig in Sydney at Cooks River coming up
on the 25th February. We were practicing really hard. Les had put
the harmony for suspicious minds down on tape for me backed by his
guitar and when Mary-Anne and I played it we both looked at each
other and said "Aren't we lucky" he just made everything we did
sound so much better. Then we got in the car and went down to Cooks
River for the last set of Bryen Willems gig. The last song of the
night was "Just a Closer Walk With Thee", Mary-Anne and I got to
sing the girlie bits - I think those harmonies were his
Les with Midwest Obsession
Vale from Bryen
Les Scott, much loved Sydney based musician
passed away Sunday 11 February at 1.30pm from cardiac arrest. He was
51 years old. Les was well-known around the Sydney and Tamworth
Country Music scene.
Les played guitar from a young age in his native Papua New Guinea
with his brothers, who were also very musical. He listened to the
classic 50's country artists and his impeccible rhythm guitar
reflected the music that found its way to his receptive soul. His
family moved to North Queensland when Les was in high school, where
he played guitar with his life-long school friend Terry Bonanno. It
was there, while at university, that he first met his good friend
Greg Williams. They played in bands together there. They lost track
of each other only to meet again 20 years later playing in Bill
Chambers' band in Tamworth.
The bands and individuals he played with include Quite Contrary, the
Murray Hillbillies, Mary Heard and Midwest Obsession, Rob Lucky,
Alby Pool, Rob Wilson, Leighton B Watts, Bryen and the Bayou Boogie
Boys, Bill Chambers, Audrey Auld Mezera and others. In Tamworth he
played guitar for the Jazzer Smith Talent Quest, Leslie Avril's band
and Andy Baylor's band. He also played with Greg Williams in the
Young Country Stars and Winners & Grinners shows in Tamworth and at
his gigs in country NSW.
Recently he played guitar on Tracy Coster's album. In his last year
he co-produced 3 recordings with his good friend Gary Brown in Unit
4 studios in Sydney. The recordings include Matilda Summers' first
CD - a really nice bluegrass project. He produced his first full
country album; Bryen Willems' "Too Cold at Home." The album that
captures Les Scott best is an offering from Quite Contrary. This
little band is made up of Mary Heard, Mary Anne Burton, Gary Brown
and Les Scott. It's an acoustic album of classics beautifully
produced. Les's guitar, bass, backing vocals and class permeate the
Les was the consummate country gentleman. He was always reliable and
patient with the band. He had incredible ears and always knew
exactly what to play and sing...both live and in the studio. He was
never pushy but always helpful. The wise musician in any of Les's
bands could learn a world of music from him in one set. Les loved
music and people so much he was always ready to help out...even when
money was not available. As he used to say, "If we don't help each
other out, we don't get anything done."
Les is sorely missed by his family and friends.
Les is survived by his three sisters; Rita, Bridgette and Yvonne.
There is one song on the Quite Contrary album; an instrumental
number called "Little Martha". The song is just Les and his guitar.
file of Les playing guitar. The song is a Duane Allman song called
Funeral arrangements are:
Monday 19th February,10.15am
Cnr Delhi Rd and Plassey Roads
(the entrance is opposite the Channel 10 Studios)
VALE - LES SCOTT
My beautiful Papuan Bassman Mr. Les Scott passed away suddenly on
Sunday – he had just turned 51 in Tamworth.
One of the loves of my life, he will be sadly missed & has left a
huge hole in my life – not to mention that of his fellow musicians &
close friends in Sydney.
We were just about to record a couple of tracks for my 4th C.D......
working in Sydney & Tamworth will never be the same.
Good Fishin’ my gentleman friend.
LESLIE AVRIL TRIBUTE TO LES SCOTT
When I first met Les at the Hank Night in Sydney, I thought he was
one of the most handsome man I had ever met….I like’em dark with
curls…& what about those eyes!
After our first rehearsal at his place at Malabar, I wasn’t ready to
leave so we went down to the beach & he talked about his love of
fishing & I talked of my love of the sea.
I then learnt what a conscientious & hard worker he was.
His diligence & professionalism was something I greatly admired.
Most people thought of him as shy & humble on stage but if he didn’t
want to do something - he said so very clearly….no stress.
He was always well prepared & on time…”I just have to pace myself
Very quickly, my flirtatious manner became an issue.
Les rang up one night & said “don’t you like me anymore?”
I was very confused as we hadn’t worked together for a few weeks & I
hadn’t been in touch.
We had a serious conversation about what our relationship was gonna
be & I made the choice to keep it professional as I dearly wanted to
keep working with him without complications.
After he started working alongside Sam, Andy & Robbie, I think he
had more of an inkling of what made me tick.
I think he respected my decision but I on the other have one regret!
On stage & after, I always told him how handsome he was……
“Introducing – on bass - my tall, dark & handsome Papuan man…. Mr.
After all these years, he still blushed & smiled shyly.
I am now very distressed that I will never get to stand up close &
personal again & record those beautiful love duets.
After a gig, I was always sure to thank him, kiss him & give him a
big sweaty hug.
He loved giving gifts & he was the instigator of the annual gift
presentation & last supper in Tamworth….& he always offered to pay
anywhere we were.
I am so sad that I postponed that ritual this year (to Melbourne),
as he looked so disappointed…….mind you…I had mine already picked
out & ready to put in the mail!
Over the years we talked about fishing, him visiting my beach house
in Qld, his upbringing, his mother & family, even his heartbreaks &
I am so glad that I constantly told him how I felt about him.
I have often asked him to work overseas with me which he was unable
to do because he didn’t have a passport. I have just been told that
he finally got one.
We are all still in shock…it’s like a bad dream & life will never be
the same without him.
I’m hope he new just how much he was loved & pray he wasn’t
frightened or lonely when he called for help .Always the true
gentleman…. the last words he said were thank you….
2005 in Bathurst
Vale from Greg Williams
February 13, 2007
Just writing this is painful, as it confirms what I’d rather not
accept, that my old mate Les is gone. But there’s something driving
me to continue, as he deserves what little I can give to his memory,
as he was a very special person, and my good friend. Since his
death, its become apparent how well loved and respected he was in
the music industry, with so many people contacting me, knowing our
close friendship. I just hope Les realised while he was alive how
much so many people thought of him, as in most cases this emotion
isn't expressed until its too late.
Most of our time together was to do with music, and the great love
of ours Country Music was always predominant, even though we both
loved lots of genres. Les could play just about any Beatles tune,
Eagles, and so many other great songs and styles. He could play
guitar (and bass) so well, and bring any song to life.
Our friendships history was long, and interrupted, as we met when he
was attending James Cook University in Townsville North Queensland
in the 1970’s. I cant recall the exact moment of our meeting, but it
was probably while I was running a music shop and booking agency in
Townsville, and a very active band scene was in action at that time.
Les and I played in bands together (and they were good ones!) in
Townsville, until he graduated and moved away from North Queensland,
still in the 1970’s. We didn’t meet again for about 20 years!
The next time I saw him, I remember very well (about 10 years ago?),
as it was at Tamworth Country Music festival the year Bill Chambers
and Audrey were doing their Hank Williams tribute shows. It was a
great pleasure to be playing drums for the first show at The
Longyard, and a bit scary too. I remember getting familiar with
someones else’s drumkit onstage in the dark, and I thought I’d
better meet the other players, especially the bass player as we’re
the rhythm section, and we were doing the gig “cold” – no rehearsal,
no talkthrough, no nothin’!
I walked across to him and said “Hi, I’m the drummer - Greg
Williams”, and he answered ”Yes I know, we used to play in bands
together in North Queensland 20 years ago, I’m Les Scott”.
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, I stepped over
the monitor wedge on the stage floor and said “Bloody hell mate,
this is amazing, I’d better give you a hug!” We had a great gig that
day with Bill leading the band, and from then on during that
festival Les came and sat in and played at my gigs. That chance
meeting created the opportunity that whenever I was close enough to
his Sydney base for him to travel to play with me, till the end of
2007 Tamfest Les has played most of my guitar (or bass) playing
gigs. There have been 100’s of gigs since then.
I describe him as the perfect sideman for any singer, always playing
the right notes, supporting all the time, picking great tasteful
solos when required, singing nice harmonies, never getting in the
singers way, just superb he was!
He also had a great work ethic. If you booked Les Scott, you knew
he’d be there, and most times he’d beat me to the venue, to load in,
play, and just enjoy our time together. It was never just a gig with
Les, it was something we both enjoyed. I’m gonna miss him, no doubt.
He was more than that though, and even what I can recollect now
doesn’t really do him justice, as he had a wonderful politeness
about him, which inspired likeminded behaviour from all he met. He
was a very private man, which engendered respect towards him, and he
was totally gentle in his behaviour, which also came through in his
A very thoughtful and kind person, whenever I stayed at his place in
Sydney, there’d always be a fresh towel and cake of soap sitting on
the guest room bed, and when he stayed at my Tamworth home for the
many festivals we did together, he’d always give me a present of
some kind, and he was great at sussing out what I may need and use.
I always wished I had that insight of giving presents that someone
would actually use, a rare skill I reckon. I now treasure the coffee
maker he gave me just a few weeks ago, as I use it every day, and “I
think of you old mate.”
I’ve lost count of the number of Jazzer talent quests at Tamworth
Country Music festival Les played for, but its almost as many as
I’ve done, and I think I’m up to 12 or 13 years now. He was ideal
for this job, as he could back anyone, whatever their skill was. He
especially loved working with the Young Country Stars concert
performers, mainly Camerata graduates, which has run at The Pub for
the past 9 years, and also for my Winners & Grinners shows for 8
years. Les would study all the songs, plus whatever other gigs he
was doing, before the festival and in the time between gigs, and
give each performer such excellent guitar playing support, and he
loved doing it.
I feel so privileged to have known Les Scott, a rare individual, a
wonderful man and great player.
But most of all Les was my friend!
- Les with the Leslie Avril Band
- Les at the Bluegrass Breakfast
- God bless you Les Scott