Photo credit Charlie Bryan

Michael Chugg is speaking to me from Byron Bay having just literally flown in. It’s a busy life for the former Tasmanian, now prominent Australian promoter.

Michael or ‘Chuggie’ as he is affectionately known still gets down to Tassie a couple of times a year, as his brother and sister still live here. He tries his best to get as many acts down here as he can, which honours a promise he made to that effect when he ventured out in 68.

Today we are chatting about about one of Chuggie’s artists, the great Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest voices. Chuggie tells me that Robert particularly asked that his Australian tour take in Tasmanian and tells me Robert has been reading ‘The Fatal Shore’. Chuggie says that if an act wants to go somewhere then he makes sure they get to do so.

It’s part of the way Chuggie does his work. He’ll do what he can to make the artists comfortable and in the case of some acts, as he outlines in his book it means catering for the occasional extraordinary demands but he adds that Robert is not demanding at all and a pleasure to work with, just hanging out with his band, ‘The Sensational Shape Shifters’ as well as catching up with some relatives while in Australia. As is customary with Chuggie he gives his acts space to do their own thing and perhaps that’s one reason he his held in such respect and affection. Chuggie was down in Tassie earlier this year with Elton John who wanted to return after enjoying performing at Aurora Stadium the first time around.

Robert has decided to spend some extra days in Tasmania and no doubt will be exploring around the Huon Valley and the East Coast. He may even head to MONA. Robert will tantalise with his music, blues based and building on influences from the world over including the recording of the music of the Berber woman of Morocco. All this ‘sensationally shapes and shifts’ into Robert’s unique and always transforming sound. Led Zeppelin fans will not be disappointed with Robert revelling in renditions of the songs.

Robert and The Sensational Shape Shifters will be accompanied in Tasmania by support act ‘The Blind Boys of Alabama’, whom Robert enthuses about.

Chuggie, who has attended some of the concerts so far promises a great concert of rock and roll.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Shape Shifters with support act ‘The Blind Boys of Alabama’ play in Tasmania at the Launceston Silverdome on Friday 5 April.
Paula Xiberras