Singer & Instrumentalist
By the time Rob Milne decided to go solo upon leaving the JOE PARKER SHOW BAND in 1981, he had been associated with many highly successful Rhodesia bands over many years. He attended Cranborne High School in Salisbury, Rhodesia, and, at the behest of his mother, learnt how to play the piano accordion. His guitar knowledge is self-taught and later, as his voice developed, he took on the role of lead vocalist in many of his guises.
In 1967, whilst still at school, he formed a “suburb” band called PSYCO-SET in which he played guitar. Following that, and whilst still at school, his best friend, Digby Baillie, introduced him to the local band, the ASSOCIATES. This meeting resulted in Rob joining the band on rhythm guitar.
After his time with the ASSOCIATES he joined the group ME & THEM in 1968. At the break-up of ME & THEM he formed a band with Digby Baillie in 1969/70. The band’s line-up was:
- Digby Baillie – Lead guitar & vocals
- Rob Milne – Rhythm guitar & vocals
- Alan Young – Bass guitar & vocals
- Graham Waite – Drums
The band played many gigs on the Salisbury circuit.
Rob’s next band, formed in 1971, was SOUND IMPACT who were already playing professionally in Natal, South Africa. Quickly re-organising his life, Rob set off on his first professional gig, an ambition he had harboured for some years.
When SOUND IMPACT broke up, he returned to Salisbury to form MESSIAH in 1972. The band landed professional contracts in South Africa on the club and hotel circuit, their demise following their time in Johannesburg.
Rob, once again, returned to Salisbury where he joined local favourites, MUNCH on lead vocals. His time with the band ended when he was invited to Germany to join RAMROD, a band anchored by a number of Rhodesians.
In 1974 he returned to Salisbury and formed a six piece called BEGINNING. This was followed by a return to the professional scene in South Africa when he joined TALISMAN in 1975. The band formed throughout South Africa until breaking up in 1976. With that, Rob relocated to Bulawayo where he returned to his old employers.
It wasn’t long, however, before he returned to Salisbury to join WIZARD in 1977. This, inevitably, saw a return to the South African club and hotel circuit. It was whilst playing at the Margate Hotel that Rob accepted an invitation from Butch Cook (who had recently left LINCOLN) to join him in a duo. They called themselves the LINCOLN BROTHERS. At this stage venues were starting to shun away from bands in favour of smaller, and less expensive, duos and solo artists.
After a period with the LINCOLN BROTHERS, the duo ran its course and split up in Somerset West close to Cape Town. Rob then formed a trio called TRUCK before combining with well known South African comedian and musician, JOE PARKER, to form the JOE PARKER SHOW BAND in 1981.
A successful run with the JOE PARKER SHOW BAND saw Rob leave to follow a solo career. This took him across the length and breadth and he had residences with hotel groups such as Southern Sun, Holiday Inn, Karos Hotels and Sun International. In the late 80’s he as employed as the Entertainment Manager for the Royal Swazi Hotel and Casino which incorporated The Ezelweni and Logogo Suns in the same complex. He signed off his period of pro residencies with three years at the Fish River Sun (2004 – 2007).
In reflecting on these years, Rob is quick to acknowledge Maurice Fresco who was influential in placing him in most of the professional venues he performed at. He will always be profoundly grateful to Maurice for the role he played in this regard.