Chugg Recalls Most Insane Aus Tours & More: ‘He Was Out Of Control’

16 March 2023 | 2:49 pm | Mary Varvaris

Car crashes, insane riders, jail time and more.

(Pic by James Elsby)

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Michael Chugg has been featured on the latest episode of Matty JohnsGood Chat, where he mentioned the wildest experiences he’s ever had with numerous big-name artists who have toured Australia.

No one is safe from Chugg on the podcast; not Fleetwood Mac or Elton John or Simon & Garfunkel

As he recalled Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 Australian tour - two years before he would co-found Frontier Touring with the late, great Michael Gudinski among others - which took place just six months after the release of Rumours, Chugg commented that the band had a “medieval marquee like you would see in the old jousting movies” backstage.

“In the marquee, there was a 40-foot-long table with king and queen chairs. And on the table were whole pigs and whole sheep and just piles of fruit and vegetables,” he added. “It was just over the top. Every imaginable drink – I’d never heard of Pimms before that tour. Vintage French champagne. Just everything.”

Fleetwood Mac apparently never used the lush backstage marquee, according to Chugg. “They never went into that tent at all. It was a total waste of money!”

Chugg then brought up Billy Thorpe, with a story beginning at a party that led to Chugg spending time in county jail due to public drunkenness. “That was pretty scary,” he said, as he was thrown into jail for a few months on a misdemeanour charge. “That was a big warning.”

Elsewhere, Chugg mentioned Guns N’ Roses, whose Australian tour “was like planning a D-Day… The media are predicting death and destruction.” 

But he was fond of vocalist Axl Rose, despite public opinion towards the rock singer. “We toured them in ’89. Everybody told me what a jerk Axl was, and how he hated promoters. But we became quite good friends on that tour, spent a lot of time sitting in hotel lobbies till two, three or four o’clock in the morning and just hanging out.”

The best tour financially, Chugg said, was Elton John’s monolith Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which expanded several years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The biggest disaster, however, came in the form of Simon & Garfunkel. Chugg said "Art [Garfunkel] was the prick" to the assumption that Paul Simon had a prickly reputation. He added about Garfunkel, "he was out of control".

Halfway through the podcast episode, Chugg cited Iggy Pop and “the Pepsi wankers” as Gudinski was attempting to tell him about Pepsi in a sponsorship deal. What did Iggy Pop do? Scream “fuck Pepsi” on stage to the horror of Pepsi officials. 

Chugg certainly didn't let us down with his stories. Check out the full episode below.

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