Entertainers of the Island – COL SHIELDS
As an indication of both his versatility as a musician and also his determination, our entertainer for this edition started his professional music career as a vocalist despite having a burning desire to be accepted in a band as a guitarist. He told me that in the early stages, everyone wanted him to be the singer when all he wanted to do was play. (Must be tough having such a good voice Col.)
Featured image(above): Col Shields, a passionate guitarist
Longtime Locals Only band member Col Shields grew up in Brisbane and developed a love of music through his mother who was an accomplished singer and of course, had a guitar which Col began playing when still a boy. He broke into the local music scene as a singer at the then very popular TC’s Sound lounge, a sixties music venue in Elizabeth Street. At the ripe old age of seventeen, Col replaced George Marshall, who by the way has previously featured in this segment, as a member of The Diamonds who had a similar sound to the Shadows.
This, however, was not to be the case for long and, due to his personal passion for the genre, Col turned them into a blues band. Understandably, every band dreams of having a regular gig and for The Diamonds, this was as the resident band at the Pearl Hotel in Caloundra. Col told me that they became quite friendly with one of the local constabulary. ‘When we finished our show at the Pearl, we would spend the night sleeping on the beach after a few drinks,’ said Col.
Col made sure that he could find his mug(left) and Col’s first gig was as a singer at TC’s(right)
‘One night, the copper came down and had a few drinks with us and he got so drunk that we had to drive him home in his police car. Not long after that, we became the victim of a very antiquated law which prevented anyone under twenty-one from being in the lounge and as I was the only one who was, the rest of the band used to get fined every time because we had to go through the lounge to get to where we were playing. The pub had to pay the fines,’ he explained. With this situation beginning to get out of hand, a bit of anonymity was called for and so this brought about a change of name to “Three of a Kind.” Around that time, bands were all eager to compete in a competition that was big in the late sixties and known as Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds.
The competition was run at a state and then a national level and it was while paying as “Three of a Kind,” the ex-Diamonds members progressed all the way through to fourth in the Queensland section. From “Three of a Kind,” Col played with a variety of other pub bands including Atmosphere and the Cruisin’ Fairlanes as well as the 50’s and 60’s rock band, Stepback. Moving to Bribie Island about eleven years ago, Col spent a short time with the country band, Janice and the Jamdrops until he came to the decision that that genre was not really his cup of tea.
He had also become friendly with another keen musician, Alby Lincoln and when Alby founded the Locals Only afternoons at the Blue Pacific Hotel Col found his place in the Bribie music scene and is still a regular to this day. Apparently, he received the Locals Only “Stork Award” in both 2014 and 2016 for being the one who always delivers. Entertainers such as Col Shields must be acclaimed as a large part of the reason that Locals Only has maintained its popularity with both locals and visitors for over ten years.