The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

Sebastian Hardie

Sebastain Hardie is one of those rare ’70s Australian prog groups (there just weren’t that many of them). The first attempt at this band happened in 1967 with bassist Peter Plavsic, and guitarist Graham Ford under the moniker Sebastian Hardie Blues Band. This incarnation did not last long. In 1968 Plavsic and Ford tried again, with drummer Alex Plavsic (Peter’s brother), keyboardist Anotol Kononowsk and vocalist Joe English. This time the ‘blues band’ was left off the name. They had much success as a rock cover band, and even became the backing band for Australian legend Johnny O’keefe. Anotol left the next year to pursue his education, and the band continued without a replacement.

In 1972 Jon left to play Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which led to a successful solo career. Alex also left to join the band Tapestry. This venture wouldn’t last through the end of the year. Alex brought along Tapestry’s keyboardist Steve Dunne for another reformation of Sebastian Hardie (including Peter and Graham). There was some dabbling in progressive experimentation, but  primarily remained a cover band.

Things really began to take shape over the next couple of years, when Mario Millo replaced Ford, and Toivo Pilt replaced Dunne. This incarnation focused on an original musical direction, and would become Australia’s first symphonic prog sensation.

1975’s “Four Moments” was a huge success, and the track “Rosanna” won an award for best instrumental single. “Windchase” was released in 1976, and both albums are considered (by some people) to be prog classics. They at least stand out in the realm of Australian symphonic.

Soon after the release of the second album, the band broke up. Millo and Pilt adopted the name Windchase, and released one album. 1977’s “Symphinity” stayed close to the Hardie sound, but didn’t find much of an audience.

Pilt has gone on to write music for television advertising. The Plavsic brothers got involved with the business side of the music industry. Millo has had a great amount of success as a solo artist and film composer. The original four-man group reunited for some gigs in the early ’90s.

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