The redoubtable Lobby Loyde (b. 1946) is one of the true legends of Australian rock'n'roll. During the 1960s, when the guitar became the dominant symbol in rock, Loyde emerged as Australia's first true guitar hero. As Glenn A. Baker put it, Loyde was busy blowing up speaker boxes years before high volume and feedback became a rock staple.
Lobby Loyde was born John Baslington Lyde in the central Queensland town of Longreach. He studied classical music as a child, before taking up electric guitar in his teens. In 1963, as Barry Lyde, he joined Brisbane band The Stilettos, playing -Shadows-styled instrumentals. In 1964, he joined a young R&B; band called The Impacts fronted by expatriate Englishman Mick Hadley. Along with fellow Englishman Bob Dames (drums), Hadley had experienced the burgeoning London R&B; club scene first hand. With a name change to The Purple Hearts, the band became one of the hottest R&B; outfits in Australia. In early 1967, Barry Lyde became Lobby Loyde and began transforming a one-time jazz/R&B; band called The Wild Cherries into one of the most relentlessly experimental psychedelic groups Australia ever witnessed. He remained with The Wild Cherries until the end of 1968, when he accepted an offer to join emergent blues hero Billy Thorpe in his band The Aztecs.
Under Loyde's influence, The Aztecs spearheaded the burgeoning blues, boogie and heavy rock movement of the day. It was on that foundation that Billy Thorpe earned his position as the unassailable king of Australia's early 1970s rock scene. Loyde stayed with The Aztecs until October 1970. At the start of 1971, he recruited the former Fanny Adams rhythm section of Teddy Toi (bass) and Johnny Dick (drums) in order to record his outstanding solo album, Plays with George Guitar (issued in September). That album remains a progressive rock milestone, one of the most remarkable heavy guitar records of the period. Out of that association, Loyde, Toi and Dick formed a new, three-piece line-up of The Wild Cherries. Loyde kept the band going until February 1972, after which he formed a new band called Coloured Balls. That band lasted for three years. Following the band's premature split at the end of 1974, Lobby initially went solo, issuing the single `Do You Believe in Magic?'/`Love Lost on Dream Tides' (December 1975) on the Bootleg label.
Loyde issued his second solo album, Obsecration (May 1976), which was an impressive work of guitar explorations and thematic textures. Backing Loyde on the album was a loose aggregation of musicians which he dubbed Southern Electric. The line-up comprised two ex-Coloured Balls members, Andy Fordham (rhythm guitar) and Janis Miglans (bass), plus M�ndu (vocals), John Dey (keyboards) and James Thompson (drums; ex-Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs). With the release of Obsecration, Loyde moved to the UK with a couple of Southern Electric members (Fordham, Dey, Thompson). The Virgin label had shown interest in issuing Obsecration in the UK, although a deal never eventuated. The UK was then in the thick of the punk movement, and Loyde was not able to get Southern Electric off the ground. Loyde ran the front-of-house sound for a few new wave bands and worked in a studio learning production skills. On his return to Australia in 1979, Loyde formed a new band with Gil Matthews (drums; ex-Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs), Gavin Carroll (bass) and M�ndu, initially dubbed The Empty Halls Band but later renamed Southern Electric. That potentially brilliant line-up recorded the masterful hard rock album, Live with Dubs, which eventually saw release in October 1980.
In 1979, Loyde also contributed the track `John's Song' to the Various Artists Australian Guitar Album (Festival/Razzle), which also featured Kevin Borich, Mario Millo, Ian Moss, Phil Manning, Rockwell T. James, Chris Turner, Mick Elliott, Russell Smith, Ian Miller and Harvey James. In the meantime, Loyde had joined Rose Tattoo as bass player. That line-up of the Tatts recorded an album in Los Angeles which remains unissued. Loyde toured with the Tatts for a year (October 1979 to September 1980).
He then devoted his time to production duties and live sound mixing for the likes of Sunnyboys, Machinations, X and Painters and Dockers. In 1990, he played bass in a short-lived band called Dirt alongside Jex Byron (vocals, ex-Olympic Sideburns), Mick Holmes (guitar, ex-Zimmermen), Geordie Leach (bass, ex-Rose Tattoo) and Cal MacAlpine (drums; ex-Chosen Few). In 1997, Loyde formed a new band called Fish Tree Mother.