Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014

After 24 years of service to APRA AMCOS, we thank and bid farewell to APRA Board member Eric McCusker. Eric is a passionate and highly respected songwriter and advocate for fellow songwriters and the Australian music community. He will be widely missed.

“Eric’s contribution to APRA can’t really be overstated. For more than a quarter of APRA’s existence he has been a fearless, questioning and passionate Board member – always prepared to play a role and very supportive of the organization and its initiatives over the years”. Brett Cottle, APRA AMCOS CEO.

During his time as APRA Board Director, Eric has operated with integrity, knowledge and drive, fuelled from his extensive experience in the music industry going back over 40 years. He started playing guitar in high school and formed his first band with Renee Geyer. Later, he played in The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band before joining what would become one of Australia’s most seminal rock groups – Mondo Rock.

Eric wrote their first single ‘State of the Heart.’ A future classic, the track went gold in 1980, spending more than half the year in the charts. The song earned him the APRA Songwriter of the Year Award that year. Soon after, the full album Chemistry went platinum. This set the tone for most of the eighties, with Mondo Rock, Cold Chisel, INXS, Australian Crawl, Angels and the Divinyls dominating the Australian music scene.It was Eric’s personal and honest songwriting that cemented Mondo Rock in the history books of Australian music. His song ‘Come Said The Boy’ was by far the band’s most successful single. It was named Most Performed Song at the APRA Music Awards in 1984. It has since become an Australian classic that continues to resonate with fans across the world.

Having lived and breathed music throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties, songwriting has always been at the heart of Eric’s career. In 2012, he accepted a position at Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. Eric led a new unit of study called ‘Songwriting: how to write a pop tune.’ The course wasaimed at developing the employability of music students at the University.

Protecting the rights of Australian songwriters has always been a priority for Eric and he has played an active role in music advocacy over the years. In particular, he developed positive relationships with businesses licensed by APRA AMCOS during his time as a board member. 

“Eric has always seen his role as an APRA board member in an ambassador light. He is regularly involved with presenting Awards at industry association nights to support APRA AMCOS’  partnerships with these organisations and increase their understanding of the value music brings to business. Restaurant and hotel owners are always interested in how songwriters earn royalties from the licence fees paid by them and Eric is well placed to share his insights. As an active composer and musician in both the Victorian and National music scene he's been able to provide a valuable perspective at board level reflecting Victoria's place as one of the nation's biggest original live music sector.“ Jenny Gome, Director Public Performance Licensing, APRA AMCOS

Eric continues to support original music through collaborations and creating new projects and in 2013, Eric composed the musical Ava (At the End of the World), a recount of Ava Gardner’s time in Melbourne in the late 1950’s, to great acclaim.

We are grateful for the incredible contribution Eric has made to our organisation and the wider music industry. We wish him well in his future artistic and personal pursuits.


2015 APRA AMCOS Board

The APRA and AMCOS AGMs saw the re-election of Nigel Westlake to the APRA Board, together with Publisher Director David Albert. We’d like to welcome Brendan Gallagher to the APRA Board as new Writer Director. Brendan has been an APRA AMCOS member since 1990 and was one of our first Ambassadors.

Bob Aird (Universal Publishing), Marianna Annas (ABC Music Publishing), Damian Trotter (Sony/ATV Publishing) and Matthew Capper (Warner/Chappell Music Australia) were re-elected to the AMCOS Board and Philip Burn (Hal Leonard) returned to the Board after a three-year break.

We wish the new Board of Directors all the best in the coming year.

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