Mayliu Currie

Mayliu has enjoyed many years working as a vocalist, both at home and overseas

She fondly remembers her days in The Rubber Band as the firm highlight of her career

Mayliu was a founding member of The Rubber Band, having joined the group in its early days in 1963, when it was still known as The Reverbs. Gifted with great looks and a magnificent voice, the talented Mayliu was always immensely popular with the fans.

The Rubber Band

5 June 1971. Mayliu is seen here singing in the Chevron Silver Spade Ballroom for the Chevalier Old boys Union Jubilee Ball. Les Murray is obscured in the background to her left. Kevin Currie, John Long, Ray Lynn and Mick Csapo can be seen to (l to r) her right.

Mayliu was born in Shanghai China during the Communist takeover. Her English father Reginald Charles Thomas, a sea-captain and journalist, was involved in anti-communist activities. Reg was running supplies up and down the Chinese coast in support of anti-communist forces, and also spying on the Chinese communists for the british government.

He had to smuggle the family out of China when life there became too dangerous. They fled overnight to Hong Kong, leaving everything behind. Mayliu's Chinese mother, Mary, lost her brother Jimmy to the communists. He died in prison, arrested for his association with Western influences. Jimmy had worked for the same shipping Company as Reg, and it was through Jimmy that Reg had first met May's Mother in Shanghai, where he was based, in 1946. A courtship followed.

After fleeing China, the family lived in Hong Kong and Malaysia until 1957, then migrated to Sydney.

Settled in Sydney, Mayliu Thomas soon came to love the popular songs of the day, which were always being played on the family radio. Her favourites included Doris Day, Connie Francis, Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson and Pat Boone - all immensely popular at the time. She was also heavily influenced by a talented American folk-latin singer/composer named Nancy Ames, whose music she played continously on the family record player. Nancy became her 'standard' and as Mayliu began to discover that she had a 'voice' herself, she began to dream of singing in public, inspired by Nancy.

In 1963 Mayliu turned her dream into a reality when she decided to audition for a local band seeking a vocalist. The advertisement called for a male singer, but that wouldn't put her off.


The Rubber Band

24 May 1968. Normanhurst Old Boys Ball. The Roundhouse, University of NSW. Mayliu in the first Rubber Band lineup. From left, Ron Miles (drums) Kevin Currie (bass) Mayliu (vocals), Ray Lynn (lead guitar) and Mick Csapo (rhythm guitar). Note Mayliu's blonde wig, an accessory from her tour entertaining the troops in Vietnam, where following an incident she was awarded a Purple Heart for bravery under fire.


From the beginning . . .

Kevin recalls how Mayliu came to join the band: "Actually, Mayliu was quite an accident. In November 1963, when we were still The Reverbs, we advertised for a male vocalist. Our singer Bruce had handed in his notice. He was an aspiring junior grade rugby league player, and found he couldn't make the time for both that and singing. We held auditions on a Sunday in the local SP Bookie shed, which we had been using for rehearsals thanks to 'connections.'

"Quite a few guys turned up to try out, and a couple were quite OK. A girl had wandered into the room somehow and sat to the side throughout proceedings without saying anything. We took no notice of her except, perhaps, to note that she was pretty good looking. When the guys had finished auditioning and left, she came over to us and explained she would like to audition. We politely told her that our ad had specified a male singer and she didn't appear qualified. She stood her ground and handed us her music, her eyes pleading the way only a girl's can. We figured it would do no harm to let her sing a song or two. But we told her firmly it was a male singer we needed. Truth is, we had never even considered a girl.

"We played the introduction to her piece and she took the mike started to sing. She blew us away. Compared to her, the others had just been a bunch of amateur kids. She sounded amazingly professional and had this great voice that simply took over the room. We were so shocked that, for some reason, we hired her. She was brilliant and we never looked back."

Mayliu stayed with the Reverbs/Rubber Band for ten years, except for a few breaks to honor singing contracts overseas, most notably several months in Tahiti (her school French got a real workout), and entertaining American troops in Vietnam in 1968. She also worked around Sydney independently of the band at times, doing stints as resident vocalist at the Coogee Bay Hotel and Club 77 at Kings Cross, and worked the club circuit as a guest vocalist.


The Rubber Band

29 May 1971. Unisearch house, University of Sydney. NSW Ski Association Ball. Mayliu singing with guitarists Ray Lynn (middle) and Mick Csapo on her right. The rest of the band is out of shot.

Mayliu married bass player Kevin Currie in February 1971. They have two married daughters.







Mayliu Currie

IBM Christmas Party Crystal Ballroom Ryde, 18 December 1970.

Mayliu Currie

P&O SS Himalaya South Sea Island Cruise February 1969.

Mayliu Currie

12 January 1970. Argyle Cellars Sydney, entertaining American forces on Rest & Recreation (R&R) leave.

Mayliu Currie

9 October 1969. King George's Ball, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. Guitarist Ray Lynn can be seen in the background.

Mayliu Currie

Private Party, 13 December 1970. Australia Golf Club, Kensington.

Mayliu Currie

1964. Singing with The Reverbs, Sydney.

Mayliu Currie

Detail from Rubber Band studio photo 1966.