PIONEER MUSIC MEN

A PIONEER of electronic music in Australia in the 1970s, Geoff Green grew up in Swan Hill, still playing music to this day.

Spending his childhood in Swan Hill, Mr Green launched a band in his 20s alongside fellow Swan Hill musician Fred Turner.

Over the past 40 years, Mr Turner has taught guitar, bass and drums to thousands of music students in Swan Hill. His wife, Sue Turner, is also a musician.

While Mr Green's band, Cybotron, which featured 11 synthesizers and recorded four albums, toured the country with Split Enz.

To this day, Cybotron's music still sells overseas.

Mr Green said it was "stressful" being pioneers of a music genre.

"At the time, we didn't realise that we were the first band doing it," he said.

Mr Green's first live performance was a battle of the bands competition, in the Blues City Shakedown band, at the Swan Hill Town Hall.

"And the second biggest performance was (another battle of the bands competition) at Festival Hall in Melbourne," he said.

Their band came fourth out of 22 entries in Victoria.

"The scariest thing is we were the first band on and I opened the curtain and I looked out and there was thousands of people everywhere.

"I freaked out and said to Fred I can't go on."

Mr Green has previously taught guitar and keyboard at the now closed Koorie Open Door Education (KODE) school (which had campuses in Swan Hill and Mildura).

He also hosted a program on Smart FM called Turn Up Your Radio since 2004.

"Where I play heavy rock like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Motorhead and Metallica," he said.

Mr Green said he liked to play music for the enjoyment of other people.

"I remember some show when I was in Cybotron, we were charging nearly $10,000 (to the venue) a gig, but we played just for the sake of playing and it didn't feel like..." he said.

"But there's other shows when you're doing love jobs that you're not getting paid and the participation and feedback you get, that was the payment because the audience had feeling."

Mr Turner plays guitar, bass guitar and mandolin and "one tune on the harmonica", teaching at his home studio five nights a week, and twice a week at Swan Hill College.

He started his music career at the now-closed John Martin's Music Studio and is now part of the Swan Hill band Still Cruisin' Trio.

The musician fondly remembers a gig played with the trio seven or eight years ago.

"One time we were playing at the racetrack and there was the three of us and I could hear another instrument," he said.

"Finally, I spotted one of the local doctors had his back to us and he was playing the harmonica along with us, so I called him up on the stage and made him..."

Mr Turner was also a band member of Blue City Shakedown.

"We both ended up moving to Melbourne (coincidentally living in the same suburb) after we finished with this band and sort of kept in touch but we both went different ways," Mr Turner said.

"Geoff got into a bikie band at one stage, and I got into a band that did a three-year residency at a restaurant.

"Then Geoff moved into what I would call creative psychedelic music (Cybotron), whereas I continued to mainly be a rock and roll player."

Mr Green was a social member of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club whom he played shows for.

"At some stage we decided that we were sick of the city," Mr Turner said.

Both musicians were born in Melbourne, later moving to Swan Hill.

He believed both the musician's passion for music came from "similar places because we've known each other since we were children".

They were born on the same day, one year apart, with both men playing in various bands "all of their lives".

"We used to go around and bash on the piano at your place," Mr Turner said.

"We've met a lot of nice people and had a lot of good fun and never got into too much trouble.

"If you're a musician, I think you either lead a long life or you die young."

Mr Turner's sentiments echoed Mr Green's of why he loved to play and create music.

"That it puts bread and butter, and ice cream on the table," he said.

"Probably what I would say about what I love about the music is that you can never say you know it all; there's that many brilliant people around that can always teach you something new.

"So you can never sit down and say 'that's right, I've finished learning'."

The music teacher said it was rewarding to teach other people music because some of the students reached a level they could play in bands.

"It gives people something that they can basically do for the rest of their lives."