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More: John Marsden - Kirk Syrett - Guy Lawson

the band

John Marsden (lead vocals/lead and slide guitar)
Kirk Syrett (drums/ backing vocals)
Guy Lawson (double bass)


Formed in 1988 the band sprung out of Sherbrooke Community School, also the venue for Wild Turkey's first official gig (the band was previously called "The Deviates" prior to that so actually started in 1987!). 
The line up for that first show as WILD TURKEY on the 20th of August 1988 was John on guitar and vocals, Matt Walker on lead guitar, Matthew Ralph on bass, and Chris Latham on drums. We also played at "Subterrian" which was a Melbourne club with the same line up amongst other shows.
After having many drummers (including Fred Strauks from Skyhooks, a teacher at Sherbrooke who played a couple of gigs for us), we finally met Kirk in 1990 and at that stage Wild Turkey started performing more regularily in Melbourne Venues. 

Our  debut release was the Cassette; "Wild Turkey Vol. 1"in 1991.
Shortly after the launch  Matt Ralph left the band. 
The Late Andrew Wilkie played with us until we recruited Phil Smith mid 1992. 

"I Drove All Day" - the debut C.D. was lunched at the Punters Club in Fitzroy in November 1993. Our guest bands on the night were "Chairoscuro"(Andrew Wilkie's band), and the "Runaway Boys" who went on to become "The Living End" around this time! The M.C. for the night was Hugo Armstrong from 3PBS FM.

In 1994 the first recording sessions for "Love That Kills" began. Matt Walker left the band to further his solo career and Wild Turkey became a three-piece outfit! In 1995 Phil Smith left the band and Paul Mileham became the new bassist. Paul left in 1996 and Guy Lawson joined the band bringing the new dimension of the Double Bass to Wild Turkey.

 The album "Love That Kills" was finished and released in 1997 at The Esplanade Hotel in St. Kilda - guest bands were "Oozin Blues" and "The Exotics"

In October 2001 the Live CD "Surfin' Hearse" was launched at the Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda. Special guests on the night were The Mess Hall and The Satelites. The disc was recorded live at The Espy. 

Meanwhile the band had started recording for the new album which was finally mixed and mastered by David Briggs late in 2004. David also joined us on stage to celebrate the bands 16th birthday at a great gig at the Micawber Tavern with many other special guests and former members joining us on stage.

In 2006 we released "Devil Ridin' Shotgun" (distributed through MGM) and launched it at The Corner Hotel in Richmond which was huge! The CD is also available in Europe through Nervous Records and received a great review in Ol Skool Rodz Magazine.

In July 2006 our debut United States Tour hit the road through Colorado, Arizona and Utah and it was an awesome experiance with great crowds and wild times galore!

We returned to the United States in 2007 and toured for almost 3 months - gigged at the Atomic Cantina in Alburquerque New Mexico, Hollywood Bar in Dolores Colorado, Bo Huffs Rockabilly weekend in Utah to mention a few and our last show was at The Doubledown Saloon in Las Vegas!

In 2008 we celebrated our 20th Birthday as a band! We had our instrumental "The Chopper" featured on the "It's a Gas" CD and we played a special series of shows to recognise 20 years on the road!

In 2009 we had our 21st Anniversary World Tour which the highlight was performing at BONNEVILLE SPEED WEEK in Utah on the salt!


2011 - USA and Australian Tour! 

2012 - Johnny toured Colorado and Utah USA playing with Madog and The Smokin J's!


2014 - Wild Turkey 26th Birthday tour!

2015 - Wild Turkey 27th Birthday tour!

are one of the longest running Rockabilly and Psychobilly bands in the Southern Hemisphere

We have gigged constantly since our beginning! No holidays!


Latest "Devil Ridin' Shotgun" studio album features new original songs and bonus live renditions of "The Muleskinner Blues" and "Strychnine" - the last live recording done by Espy Recorders at The  Esplanade Hotel. Also has "Surfin' Hearse" Video Clip. Special guests on two tracks - Gil Askey on Trumpet and Mick "The Rev" O'Connor on Hammond Organ. Released in March 2006 and is distributed by MGM in Australia and is also availible in Europe through Nervous Records.

"Surfin’ Hearse" CD - Released in 2001. Recorded 'LIVE’ at the Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda over two nights capturing their wild live show. Features 14 original tracks and a version of "Jack The Ripper". Distributed by Newmarket Music.

"Love That Kills" CD - Released in 1997 and distributed in Australia by Newmarket Music. Available in Europe and the UK through Nervous Records (UK) and in the USA through Hep Cat Records. Features 13 original songs and live versions of "Miserlou" and "Bombora". Special guests include Paul Williamson, Wendy Stapleton, Mick O’Connor and former Wild Turkey member Matt Walker.

"I Drove All Day" CD - Distributed by MDS and released in 1993. Features 5 original songs.

"Wild Turkey Vol 1" Cassette - Released in 1991 featuring six songs recorded live.


"Surfin’ Hearse" video - A classic road adventure released in 2000. Wild Turkey worked with film maker Steve Westh (Grey Nomads, Auto Stories - ABC, Grey Voyagers - SBS) to make the fun clip which has been broadcast on "Rage" - ABC TV, Channel V, MTV, and Melbourne’s Community T.V. station - Channel 31. It is also on The "Devil Ridin' Shotgun" CD as a CDROM.

"I Drove All Day" video - released 1994 and aired on "Rage" ABC TV, "Nomad" SBS and Channel 31.

the compilations

"The Chopper" is on the "It's A Gas" Rockabilly CD released in 2008.

"Noon and Night" is the opening track on "Real Australian Blues - Volume 4" CD (Empire Records). 

"Love That Kills"
is on "The Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival 2000" CD.
"I Drove All Day" is on "Big Blues Family Day" CD.
"Devil Ridin' Shotgun"
is on the 3PBS FM Swampbuck Blues series Volume 2 CD.


"Salt Flat Racer" DVD on Bonneville salt lake racing features Wild Turkey in the soundtrack!
"Speedweek Down Under" DVD - Australian Salt lake racing - 2010 release


Soundtracks- "Stingers" (Channel 9) featured five songs from "Love That Kills" during series 1, 2 ,3 and 5. "Good Guys Bad Guys" (Channel 9) used three songs from "Love That Kills" in the episode "Elvis Lives" of this hit series which has been broadcast internationally. "Wonderworld" (Channel 9) featured tracks from "I Drove All Day" in six episodes.

Performances - Appeared live on "Good Morning Australia" - (Channel 10), "Ernie and Denise"(Channel 9), "Vivace" (Channel 3l) and "Channel 31 Telethon 1999".

We are also featured on "RODDERS LIFE" in the soundtrack regularily.


Nationally - "Love That Kills" was a 3PBS FM "Hit Pick" and was one of 1997’s best on the 3RRR FM’s new release show. 
"Love That Kills" and "I Drove All Day" featured on JJJ FM, MMM FM and FOX FM new releases shows.
"Devil Ridin' Shotgun" aired on JJJ, PBS, RRR, ABC, and many more.
 All our CD’s receive regular community radio airplay throughout Australia.

International- "Country Eastern Radio Show" on KULM-FM in Columbus TX, WPHB-FM in Phillipsburg Pa, RPEMFM in Spain and JRR International Short Wave, Ireland. Also aired by Tom Jackson on WLUW FM Chicago IL, "The Boudin Barndance" WRIU-FM Kingston RI, Radio Milo, Belgium; "The Jane Weber Show" in Slovenia; Jacques Spiry in France and the "Underground Show" in Romania. 
John performed live on KSJD in Cortez, Colorado USA and the interview was broadcast over many states in 2005 and the band returned to the same show in 2006 and played live to air..

festivals and events

International Bo Huff Rockabilly and Kustom Car weekend - Sunnyside Utah USA 2006, 2007 and 2011 
The Rattlers Hot Rod Club Independance Day Car show - Phoenix Arizona USA 2006, 
The Atomic Cantina - Alburquerque New Mexico USA 2007, 
The Doubledown Saloon - Las Vegas Nevada USA 2007. 
The Hollywood Bar - Dolores Colorado USA 2006, 2007 and 2009.
George and Dragon Pub - Phoenix Arizona USA 2007,
The Joint - Flagstaff Arizona USA 2007.
Johnny toured with Madog and The Smokin' J's 2012  - Stubbies Bar - Basalt Colorado, White River Inn - New Castle Colorado and Bit and Spur Saloon - Springdale Utah

Narrandera Hotrod Run 2012 - Narrandera NSW
Avoca Music Festival 2012 - 1st one!
Wild Turkey Tasmanian Tour 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 AND 2011.
Hot Sauce and Fiery Foods Festival - Jindavick 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. 
John's Rod and Custom Picnic - Pakenham 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. 
Kustom Nationals Phillip Island 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015
Motorcycle Grand Prix - Phillip Island - 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014
Super Bikes - Phillip Island - 1999 and 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011
Slim Jim Phantom and Darrel Higham show at Rubys - Belgrave 2006, 
Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival 2000 - Narooma NSW. 
Rockabilly Riot 2000 - Continental Cafe Prahran Vic, 
Anzac Day Anarchy 1999 and 2005- Esplanade Hotel St Kilda Vic, 
Chapel Street Festival l994 Prahran Vic, 
Melbourne Fringe Festival. 
Hayes Creek Blues Festival 1995 - Darwin. 
Australian Street Rod Nationals 1999 - Geelong Vic. 
Big Blues Family Day l997, 1998 and 2000 Vic, 
Broadford Rock Concert - 1995 and 2000 Vic. 
All American Car Display - Gembrooke Vic - l996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
 The Vine Blues Festival 1999 - Wangaratta Vic. 
Australian Blues Music Festival - Goulburn NSW 2003 and 2007, 
Rockabilly Frenzy - Club 77 Sydney 2002,
 Monbulk Jazz and Blues Festival 2004, 
1st Rockabilly Rumble - Calder Park Raceway 2005. 
2nd Rockabilly Rumble - Lardiner Park - Warragul 2011
Broadford Tattoo Show 2012
1st Cranksters Cruise - Nagambie Vic 2012


Esplanade Hotel - St Kilda. Corner Hotel - Richmond, Retreat Hotel - Brunswick,  LuWow Tiki Bar, Cherry Bar - Melbourne, St Andrews Hotel plus many other venues throughout Melbourne and Victoria.

acoustic performances Live to Air - 8DDD ABC FM Darwin. 7NT ABC FM - Launceston. 3PBS FM - Melbourne. Sport 927 AM - Melbourne. KSJD FM - Cortez Colorado USA, Malden Folk Festival Vic. Selby Folk Festival Vic .

charity events

Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal 1997 - the band organised a benefit show at the Mt Dandenong Hotel. Red Cross Christmas Appeal - 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. Big Blues Family Day fundraiser for Community Fire Brigades, Good Friday Appeal. Somalia Benefit. Community Aid Abroad. "Crop a Cop" Cancer Research Benefits. Channel 31, 3PBS FM Benefits. 3MDR FM Benefits, Black Saturday Bushfire benefit - Mount Dandenong Hotel 2009, Rockin' for the Kids Good Friday Appeal show 2011 AND 2013, Queensland Flood benefit at Kinglake Hotel 2011 and many others.

musician jam night

Wild Turkey were one of the first bands hosting Jam sessions in Melbourne way before it became trendy!
The have hosted many jam nights including the ORIGINAL Mt Dandenong Hotel Thursday night jam - a huge night which ran for all of 1993. Paradise Hotel Clematis Thursday Jam - 1994. 

John and Kirk from Wild Turkey hosted the original famous Micawber Tavern Jam in Belgrave every Monday from September 1996 until it ended in December 2007. John and Kirks’ Home Hotel Launching Place Wednesday Jam - l998, 1999, 2000. John and Kirks’ Wednesday Jam - Sam Knott Hotel Wesburn - 2000, 2001. Bondy's Barn Thursday Jam Nights, Bayswater,  2002 - 2005. Other jams hosted include Harp Of Errin Hotel - Kew - 2004 - 2005, Bridge Hotel Richmond - 2004 and many more.  

the extra bits

"The Red Kangaroo" - In 1992 Wild Turkey recorded the music for "The Red Kangaroo", an original song by singer/songwriter, Ted Bardo. The late Gus Mercurio is the vocalist in the original version - we are priveledged to have worked with Gus. Special guests included Gerry Hale and Matt Walker. Ted Bardo went on to record 13 versions of the song in different languages, achieving a world record!

"Mule Skinner News" - The official newsletter of the band since 1996 - includes gig information, reviews, news, beauty tips and lots more!
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