David Williams (Owner, 1973-1978): The last straw for me was Paul wanting and later taking out the restaurant permit, which legally meant people could not be served a drink unless they consumed a meal on the premises. Now for food Paul purchased frozen pre cooked meals in bulk, thawed them, microwaved them and served it as such. At one stage rather than pay wages he got his mother and Ray to serve the meals, nothing fresh, nothing prepared on the premises and not very nice “food”. He would falsify receipts to show the police who thought it so ridiculous that he’d think they’d believe it, that was why they kept showing up to hassle the place.
The irony was that to take the restaurant permit he surrendered the Wine Licence. Not long after, as there were only a handful of Wine Licences in NSW, the law was changed to allow wine bars to sell beer and spirits without restrictions.
Regarding the music there, he kept on some of the bands I’d been using, but started using some that offered to play for free, the regular bands soon started leaving. I recently asked Ron King (Foreday Riders) as to why they did after almost 10 years, and he told me the place got too heavy, also rather than mix up the styles of music he went almost mainly punk, new wave, or whatever which stopped the other bands asking.
I was talking to him at the door one night when Mental As Anything asked about working there but he knocked them back, it reminded me of Ray French, and I could see the place changing, a pity as I believe had it not changed it could still be running today, as venues in that area still using Blues ‘n Roots based bands, my opinion only.
Also the amount of trouble in the place and nearby increased, when I was there we didn’t need a bouncer, Ray came later. As I saw it the place rapidly deteriorated later on and by mid 80’s he had to close the place as it was losing money by opening the doors.