PRESS RELEASE: Founding Member of Masters Apprentices Gavin Webb Passes Away

Gavin Peter Webb
22nd June 1946 – 16th April 2024

It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved bassist and founding member of ARIA Hall of Fame inducted band The Masters Apprentices, Gavin Webb. After being in remission for a few years, Gavin passed away from a 6 year battle with cancer in the Royal Adelaide Hospital on Wednesday afternoon 16th April 2024.
Gavin is survived by his son Ben and partner Sharon, Gavin’s grandchildren Lucy, Noah and Matthew, nephews Darren and Jarrad, his brother Darrel (d. 2021) and Jeanette Webb.

Even though Gavin was softly spoken, what few words he did say, he would always make count. Gavin’s band dossier from 1966 says his personal ambition is to “be a good musician”, a humble dream he would go on to transcend. Gavin leaves behind an incredible musical legacy which will live forever in Australia’s music history.

On 25th of March 1965, Gavin’s brother Darrel Webb placed an advert in Adelaide newspaper ‘The News’; “Student Bass player wishes to practice with group. Ph 46-3251 after 5PM”. This advert wasn’t for Darrell, it was for his “extremely quiet and retiring” little brother Gavin. The band that answered the advert was ‘The Mustangs’ Mick Bower, Brian Vaughton and Rick Morrison, who had been practising at The King’s Head Hotel owned by the Vaughton family. After auditioning Gavin and hearing his broad knowledge and skill in rhythm and blues, they instantly knew that he was the perfect fit for their band. Soon the group hired manager Graham Longley (spring 1965) and lead singer Jim Keays (January 1966), transforming into one of Australia’s most significant bands of all time, The Masters Apprentices. The Adelaide based band would move to Melbourne in 1967 and take Australia by storm. Go Set Magazine would report on The Masters Apprentices craze that Australia had seen “nothing like it since The Beatles”.
Gavin’s unique and innovative bass lines adorn some of Australia’s seminal hits including ‘Undecided’, ‘Wars or Hands of Time’, ‘Buried and Dead’, ‘Hot Gully Wind’, ‘Elevator Driver’ and 1967 national song of the year ‘Living in A Child’s Dream’. These songs inspired generations of Australian bands to follow such as Radio Birdman, Hoodoo Gurus and Silverchair all citing The Masters Apprentices influence and covering their songs.

In March 1968, Gavin married Suzette Belle (previously the President of the Beatles Australian Fan Club) and they welcomed their son Benjamin in November of that year.
Gavin left the band due to stomach ulcers in April 1968, being replaced by Glenn Wheatley until the band’s split in 1972. Gavin would re-join The Masters Apprentices in 1986 for a series of 20th Anniversary reunion tours. In 2014, the original line up of the band were to reunite for their induction into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame, just weeks after the death of Jim Keays. The remaining original Masters Apprentices would perform in tribute to Keays with Mark Holden’s brother, Craig Holden out front. The band were requested to perform at the 2016 Adelaide Fringe Festival and have been performing ever since at venues such as Adelaide Oval, Thebarton Theatre, Bridgeway Hotel, The Gov and back at The King’s Head Hotel where it all started.

“Gavin entered our lives 60 years ago. He joined our band as a bassist and from that moment became a member of our family; our brother. We will greatly miss our Gavin and treasure the life long bond we will share forever – from Mustangs to Masters.
Our love eternally ‘Spider’.”
Mick Bower, Brian Vaughton and Rick Morrison – The Masters Apprentices

With love, thoughts and prayers from fellow Masters and team – Craig Holden, Bill Harrod, Dan Matejcic, Jasmin Watkins & Victor Marshall

Media Contacts:

Name: Victor MarshallCompany: The Masters ApprenticesEmail: Phone: 0432862012

About The Masters Apprentices

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60 years ago, Australian music history was made... Mick Bower, Rick Morrison, Gavin Webb and Brian Vaughton form an instrumental band in Adelaide called “The Mustangs”. Managed by Graham Longley, they soon advertised for a new lead singer – enter Jim Keays to the role and an Australian music institution was born, the legendary Masters Apprentices. The name came from watching (Adelaide band) The Others. Every time they played a song by the Rolling Stones they’d say, ‘Here’s something from the masters’ apprentices’, referring to the fact that the Stones were so influenced by the blues greats like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. We thought that was great, so we ran with that. – Mick Bower Fast forward 50 years The Masters Apprentices sell out 2x Fringe shows in Adelaide 2016, plus other sold out 2017 shows, including full houses at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, the Gov in Adelaide and appearances at The Thebarton Theatre 90th Birthday Concert, the David Day Rock of Ages Concert & Triple M's Rock of Ages at Adelaide Oval. - the band is back. The Masters Apprentices feature 3 original 1960s members of this iconic band including original members Mick Bower (guitarist / founder and principal composer), Brian Vaughton (drums), Gavin Webb (bass). Vocalist Craig Holden upfront and Bill Harrod (bass) rounds out the lineup. In the 60's the Masters became a rock’n’roll/r’n’b institution alongside the Aztecs, The Loved Ones, The Twilights and Easybeats taking Australia by storm, now over 50 years later they reunite to rock out yet again. It’s the only band from that era still doing major shows. In the 60’s when Masters were touring and recording you could see the great bands of the times – The Easybeats, Loved Ones, The Twilights and Billy Thorpe – it was a golden time in Australia’s musical history. We are the only band from that era still doing major shows. We are thrilled to be back playing together again in a brand new chapter in the band’s history. We hope to see the early Masters fans come out and see us, we’re busting to keep playing and having a great time together. – Mick Bower Over the last 5 decades the legend behind the songs of the Masters has grown here and internationally. If you see the Masters Apprentices live you will hear the Mick Bower penned early hits ‘Living In A Child's Dream’, ‘Wars Or Hands Of Time’ and ‘Undecided’ (co-written with Rick Morrison) plus the evergreen hits from later years such as Turn Up Your Radio, Because I Love You and much more. 2016 also saw a reformed Radio Birdman cover and release Mick’s 1966 classic ‘Buried and Dead’ – more evidence of Micks Bowers’ enduring legacy with the Masters to this day.