The Indelible Murtceps were formed in Melbourne in October 1971 by Mike Rudd as a side project for his main group, Spectrum, using the same roster for both bands. The line-up was Ray Arnott on drums, Lee Neale on keyboards, Bill Putt on bass guitar and Rudd on lead guitar, lead vocals and harmonica. With the advent of pub rock Spectrum's lengthy and complex material was precluding bookings on the lucrative local dance and pub circuit. Spectrum were performing in a full concert setting, using a large PA system and light show, sometimes augmented by a dance, performance troupe, The Tribe. They commonly appeared at larger venues, like the T.F. Much Ballroom, and at rock festivals.
Rudd created a performance set of simpler, dance-pop tunes, with a reduced stage set-up, for use by Indelible Murtceps, allowing Spectrum to continue its progressive course while supplementing members' incomes with the more frequent Murtceps gigs. The name 'murtceps' is 'spectrum' written backwards. According to music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, the Murtceps were "a stripped-back version that could play anywhere and often." Susan Moore of The Australian Women's Weekly recalled that Spectrum's "music was often regarded as 'progressive' and more for listening purposes, which didn't please dance audiences too much. So the band developed an alter ego which they called the Indelible Murtceps, who turned up when a dance band was required."
In January 1972 they appeared at the inaugural Sunbury Pop Festival, with Spectrum providing a separate set. Three live tracks by the Indelible Murtceps, "We are Indelible", "Be My Honey" and "But that's Alright", were issued on a various artists live album of the concert, Sunbury. They were one of three bands featured on a short film, Australian Colour Diary, No.43: 3 Directions in Australian (1972), directed by Peter Weir, which provided "a sample of three trends in recent Australian pop music".
During that year Murtceps recorded their debut album, 'Warts Up Your Nose', at Armstrong's Studios with Howard Gable as producer; it was released on 20 January 1973. Most tracks have satirical, scatological and sexual themes. According to Duncan Kimball of Milesago website the centrepiece is Rudd's epic 13-minute ode to marijuana, "Some Good Advice". The album was packaged in a brown cardboard cover, intended to evoke the plain brown wrapper traditionally associated with pornographic publications. By May 1972 they had released their debut single, "Esmeralda", which (like the song "Rene" by The Small Faces) was a light hearted ode to a prostitute. The single version was different from the album version. It peaked at No. 36 on the Go-Set National Top 40.
In September 1972 Neale had a nervous breakdown and left, he was replaced by John Mills on keyboards. Neale left the music industry. The Indelible Murtceps released a second single, "Indelible Shuffle", from the album in June. Ahead of the single, in March, Arnott announced he was leaving both groups and Rudd decided they would play their final gig at the Dallas Brooks Hall on 15 April 1973. The performance appeared on the double live album, 'Terminal Buzz' (December 1973), which was credited to both Indelible Murtceps and Spectrum. Mills, Putt and Rudd co-founded a new group, Ariel; while Arnott joined Mighty Kong. Bill Putt died in 2013. Lee Neale died in 2019.
Mike Rudd (vocals/guitar/harmonica), Bill Putt (bass), Ray Arnott (drums), Lee Neale (keyboards)
John Mills (keyboards)
20 MAR '72