Vince Lovegrove was an Australian journalist, music manager, television producer, musician and AIDS awareness campaigner. Perhaps best known for his job as manager of rock group Divinyls and singer Jimmy Barnes. Lovegrove was a member of a 1960s band the Valentines sharing vocals with Bon Scott whom he later introduced to heavy rock group AC/DC.
Peter Cox, Australian history and society curator, outlines an early history.
In 1966 a 20-year-old lad named Ronald Belford (‘Bon’) Scott, from a family of Scottish immigrants who had settled in Perth, was playing drums in a band called the Spektors. Along with their rivals — Vince Lovegrove’s band the Winztons — the Spektors were one of biggest bands in Perth. Both bands were playing regular gigs at venues like the Cave, the Shakeaway, the Big Beat and the Z-Club. Lovegrove, suggested that the two bands merge to form a group that could fill the gap left by the departure of Johnny Young for Melbourne. And so the Valentines came into being. Their long-term ambition was to get to Melbourne (which by now was the hub of the Australian pop scene) and become the best band in the country. If Johnny Young could make it, then so could they.
The Valentines quickly established themselves as Perth’s top band and began playing on radio station 6KY’s dance circuit as well as at licensed discos such as the Top Hat and Trend Setter. With Scott and Lovegrove sharing the vocals, the Vallies (as they were affectionately known) had a repertoire of soul covers and current British hits. They were soon signed to the Perth independent label Clarion and their first single, Arthur Alexander’s ‘Every Day I Have to Cry’, went Top 5 on the WA charts. When they supported the Easybeats in June 1967 George Young took a shine to Bon and, at the post-gig party, he and Harry Vanda wrote a song on the spot for the Valentines. Titled ‘She said’, it became their second single. They went on to record two other Easybeats compositions- ‘Peculiar Hole in the Sky’and their 1969 hit ‘My Old Man’s a Groovy Old Man’.
Excerpt from the Real Wild Child CD-ROM.
Vincent Lovegrove will also be remembered for his role as a campaigner on HIV/AIDS, the disease that claimed the lives of his wife and son. Lovegrove made two documentaries chronicling their lives, entitled Suzi’s Story, which premiered on Australian television in 1987 and ‘A Kid named Troy‘ in 1993.
Vince Lovegrove contributed to the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt Project, the Quilts are now held in the Museum (and gradually being made available online).
I have two panels on the quilt, one for my wife Suzi and the other for my son, Troy, both of whom died from illnesses related to HIV. My wife died in June of 1987 just before my son’s second birthday. About twelve months later, when they were putting the first eight-panel portion of the Quilt together, Andrew Carter phoned me up and asked me if we would like to put a panel on for Suzi.
At first I didn’t think it was such a great idea. I guess I was still grieving and I thought it was an unnecessary, and also, to be honest, a pointless thing to do at this stage. However, after talking with Andrew a little further, it made me realise that the process would have to bring to mind some kind of symbol that eternally represented Suzi, and would have to have me working through that and thinking about it.
None of us were great artists but my friend Mouse, with whom I talked about this, is a seamstress. ……… we figured the best way to create a perpetual symbol of Suzy was to use matchstick figures that represented a dancer, Suzi was a free spirit. Her main loves in life were dancing and Music. She’d been a professional dancer when she was in New York, and had done a lot of teaching of dancing there. She was a New York girl.
The process of going through that and thinking about it became part of the grieving process. Now six years down the road I’m so glad we did it because her ashes were dispersed from a helicopter, and there is no grave to visit and no physical symbol. …..having the Quilt is something that we can touch, that we can feel and talk about.*
The quilt panel features from top left to right: boat playground equipment, Coogee Public School, Troy’s portrait, Coogee beach, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Troy’s glasses, Troy and his dog, Troy’s toys (Transfomers Optimus Prime and Nintendo), Troy at gymnastics, playing cricket, reading time (Roald Dahl’s ‘BFG’) and Garry Galah song. The following inscription is handwritten in black ink on the lower right hand corner of the panel, ‘made by the children of Year 2 (1993) on behalf of everyone at Coogee Public School’.
Troy Lovegrove contracted the HIV/AIDS virus while still in the womb, and died at the age at 7 on 3 June 1993.
* Excerpt from Unfolding: the story of Australian and New Zealand AIDS Quilt Projects</em text by Ainsley Yardley, Penguin Books, Victoria, 1994