A short history on Mark Laidler and little BIG Rigs PA & Lighting Hire
After leaving The Undecided? in late 1984 where he had already built his first PA that the band was using, a friend asked if he still had the PA and would he hire it to his band.
Mark’s first gig was on the 12th January 1985 hiring his rig out to his friend Mark Mulligan’s band Finger Guns. Mark enjoyed that experience (and got paid – unlike the band members), so he decided this might be a venture worth pursuing … PA Hire!!
At first it was known as Mark’s PA Hire which he advertised in On The Street magazine, now known as The Drum. Mark started to get some bookings and he was on his way. After a couple of years of ads, bookings also came through word of mouth and sharing the phone numbers of a community of PA owner operators like himself. Like many PA owner operators, Mark mainly worked weekends (Friday to Sunday nights), rarely weeknights because of the work commitments of a full time job as well.
Over time the rig was upgraded and named little BIG Rigs PA Hire. Much later Mark learned that Little BIG Rig was a name also used by an owner operator in Tamworth. But it didn’t seem to cause problems for either business.
little BIG Rigs PA Hire continued as a one man activity until 1993 when Mark decided to add a light show to the rig instead of static lights. This meant he needed a lighting operator to run the light show; enter Greg Morris. For the next 7 years little BIG Rigs PA & Lighting Hire was booked regularly with over 600 gigs during this period. Mark and Greg have known each other since before they were born! Their mothers were friends and pregnant at the same time, the boys attended the same school and became close friends. So they worked very well together as a team and had lots of laughs on the way.
In mid 2000 Greg decided he missed being in a band and wanted to get back into playing again. Instead of getting another lighting operator Mark went it alone again.
After over 2500 gigs including about 500 at a Sunday residency at Clovelly Hotel for over 11 years, Mark decided to hang up his headphones. Although he had started to sell the rig in February 2009, his last gig was on the 5th June 2009, working once again for a friend’s band at St George Leagues Club. Not long after that gig Mark developed a herniated disc, which has since mostly recovered. Perhaps all those years of lugging heavy equipment finally took its toll.
During his 24 years he worked with several hundred bands at a few hundred venues. From garage bands to regularly working covers bands, most of the bands were people who played for the love of it and Mark enjoyed that very much. Every now and then Mark worked with artists and ex-members of bands that were well known in Australia including Eurogliders, The Cockroaches, Jimmy and the Boys, 1927, Mondo Rock, Chain, Moving Pictures and some very talented Australian country artists like Darren Coggan and Felicity Urquhart.
But Mark did form good relationships with some hardworking Sydney bands like Rockfish/Superfish, Jellybean Jam, Shooga Katz, Tongue’n’Groove, Baby Loves To Cha Cha and Broken Watch Band doing hundreds of gigs with most of those bands. Here are a few more bands he spent time with over the years: