My father, who was of Scottish descent, though born in Barcaldine, died of war related causes while I was in primary school. My mother, born in Sydney, and of Jewish/ English descent, reared my two younger brothers and myself as best she knew how.
Having no father, and no faith in my life, I soon rebelled and went to the street, eventually ending up in a Juvenile Detention Centre (Yasmar) .
In primary school I was dux of the class; however, my rebellious spirit took over. My high school days petered out after only 12 months. I found a friend who played the piano, at about the time Bill Haley and Elvis were introducing "Rock N Roll" to the world. By watching and listening, I taught myself to play, write and sing. Soon I was playing at the White Horse Hotel in Parramatta, at 14 years of age.
During the late 50s Johnny O'Keeffe had begun his television show, "Six O'clock Rock", while his band, "The Deejays", had gone out on their own. They were playing at the Lennox Hotel in Parramatta, doing
"Six O'clock Rock" with O'Keeffe as well. They were running a talent quest which I entered and won . (Even though I was only 14 or 15 at the time, I could pass myself off as 18.) "Catfish", the leader of the 'Deejays", asked me to join the band as their singer. I sang with them for a couple of years . Which included recording and television work .
I worked professionally all over Sydney until the "Beatles" came on the scene. Around 1964, I received an offer to form a group which became "The Allusions", My life started to spin out of control with alcohol, drugs and sex .
Later I married and then joined some entertainers to go to the Philippines. We joined up with the
American forces and called ourselves "The Action" . We flew to Vietnam, where we spent many months entertaining in firebases, USO bases all officers, NCO and EM messes. We were frequently caught under fire and often had to dive into the bunkers. I believe now that God kept me safe . We came back to a very hostile Australia, so we didn't talk much about the war. We just sat around bars and drank ourselves stupid.
I began to sing on the Sydney club circuit, but found I couldn't settle down. So I gathered a group together and started touring around Australia . We called it 'our musical pub crawl.' During this time I became a father to a beautiful little girl called Suzy.
After playing on P&O Ships and at Great Keppel Island in 1977 and stayed entertainment director under the name of "Beast of Great Keppel Island" and was very well known. You could purchase "Beast" albums and cassettes, and even buy "Beastly Bubble" champagne . This is where I went totally off the rails. I became a 'coherent drunk' - even though I was drunk, people thought I was sober.
I left there in 1985 and played up and down the east coast until I finally settled in Mackay. This is where I received news that my wife had been killed, north of Sydney, by a 'hit and run driver.'
Later, I met a lady and had a son, Aaron. We
were very close, but when he was three, his mother took him away from me. I was devastated, and contemplated the most ghastly things ....until I met Andrew and Maggie Nicholls. They invited me to church, and when I went a few weeks later, they led me to the Lord.
Everything changed and my life suddenly became meaningful. My daughter, Suzy, also gave her life to Jesus during a visit to Mackay and I had the joy of being given access to my son on most weekends .
Three weeks later, lying awake in bed at 3 o'clock in the morning, I felt a compulsion to write some lyrics. I was alone in a shed so I got up and wrote the first 3 gospel songs I've ever writen. I recorded them on a tape, and went back to bed. Immediately I felt a presence and a great peace filled my whole being. I believe that at the moment I was baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Until then, I had smoked up to 80 cigarettes a day. From that moment on, I have never had another cigarette. Three weeks later, I was baptised in water and sang my songs in church. In 1995, I had a triple bypass. I went into a coma with serious complications. During this time in hospital I saw angels around my bed. Once I closed my eyes and saw satan. I prayed, and the Holy Spirit appeared, as a lion on a cloud, with lightning burning up the evil around me. Many miraculous things started to happen in my life and my love for Jesus grew with increasing intensity.
Recently I had been living near Tamworth, looking after my elderly mother and stepfather. I played music in different churches and thought that was my finale . Then a phone call from Mackay in April 2000 had me travelling north to play at a combined church meeting. Here I met Janene, a Christian lady from Emerald, and we were married in September. My son Aaron miraculously arrived on my doorstep . We have also been blessed with a beautiful home, new furniture, a new car, new musical equipment with recording
facilities, and a new ministry in the unity of the body of Christ. As I come to the end of this testimony, tears fill my eyes, joy fills my heart and my love for our living saviour, Jesus Christ, goes beyond the boundaries of my understanding.
To think that someone as unworthy as myself could be deemed worthy of such blessings is beyond my comprehension . All I can do is humbly place myself
at the feet of my Lord and whisper, "Lord, what would thou have me to do?"
I walked into the pub as a drunk. I walked out as a free man.
When I was on afternoon shift, I would be first at the pub at lOam. About 18 months after my salvation, I took a couple of mouthfuls of beer out of my glass, and the Lord spoke to me from the right side.
I cannot explain it, but I will never forget it. The Lord said, "Rod I love, I don't like what you are doing. I've got something better for you." I knew it wasn't the barmaids voice, as we were the only two there. As I wheeled around, I knew there was no one behind me, only six snooker tables.
I went to take another mouthful of beer and the Lord again spoke the same words. I left the drink there and walked out with tears running down my face. I walked into the pub as a drunk. I walked out a free man!
Mum rang Mavis 2 weeks later and asked, "Is he still off it?" She replied, "Yes and he has taken anything that doesn't glorify God to the dump!" Because of the change my dad saw in me, he put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as well.
I have put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made on my behalf on the cross at Calvary. Where I once loved pubs, alcohol and cigarettes, I now love fellowship with God.
If you have tried most things, like I did, and nothing works, try JESUS! "Revelation 3:20, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
Loving Jesus and having fellowship with God daily, was the best decision I ever made. Just like me, allow God to 'get you', it is a relationship that lasts for eternity.