Roger Ashley Mason is an Australian keyboardist who has been a member of new wave groups Models, Absent Friends and Icehouse. He was a session and backing musician for United Kingdom's Gary Numan and for various Australian artists. From the early 1990s he has composed music for television and feature films.
He appeared on Models best performed album, Out of Mind, Out of Sight (1985) which reached No. 3 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and spawned a No. 2 hit "Barbados" and a No. 1 hit "Out of Mind, Out of Sight". On 27 October 2010, Models were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by former member, Wendy Matthews.
As a composer, he has won Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards for his work on The Extra (2005), Peking to Paris (2006), The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (2009).
Roger Ashley Mason was a keyboardist in Colt early in 1979. He joined vocalist and guitarist James Freud (ex-Spred, Teenage Radio Stars) in James Freud & the Radio Stars with fellow Colt members Murray Doherty on bass guitar, Glen McGrath on drums and Bryan Thomas on guitar. Further changes by year's end resulted in Freud and Mason joined by Peter Cook on guitar and backing vocals, Tommy Hosie on drums and Mick Prague on bass guitar. They signed with Mushroom Records and their debut single, "Modern Girl," was released in May 1980, which peaked at No. 12 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. They supported the English singer-keyboardist, Gary Numan, on his Australian tour. James Freud & the Radio Stars' debut album Breaking Silence was released in June, it was produced by Tony Cohen. Numan liked the album and offered to produce the next one in London, as there was already a UK band called The Radio Stars, a name change to James Freud & Berlin occurred. While in London, Mason joined Numan's backing band and was recorded on the live album, Living Ornaments '80. Neither Freud nor Numan were happy with the London-recorded album for James Freud & Berlin and it was not released and one month later, in March 1981, Freud disbanded the group. Freud and Mason returned to the UK with the intention of forming a new band, Orient-R, which only played a single performance before disbanding. Mason then went on to join Numan's touring band, and appeared on Numan's 1981 album, Dance and subsequent 1982 album, I, Assassin. While in London, Mason worked for glam rock guitarist, Rob Dean (ex-Japan, Numan's touring band) on a potential solo album. By 1984, Mason and Dean had combined with Hugo Burnham (Gang of Four) and Australian singer and bass guitarist Philip Foxman (Supernaut) to form funk-rock outfit, Illustrated Man. They released a six-track mini-LP, Illustrated Man, then toured to New York but soon disbanded.
In late 1984, Mason re-joined with Freud to replace Andrew Duffield on keyboards in Models. He appeared on their best performed album, Out of Mind, Out of Sight which reached No. 3 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and spawned a No. 2 hit "Barbados" and a No. 1 hit "Out of Mind, Out of Sight". With Mason and Freud, the line-up of Models was Sean Kelly on lead guitar and vocals, Canadian-born Wendy Matthews on backing vocals, New Zealand-born Barton Price on drums and James Valentine on saxophone. Their final studio album, Models' Media was released in December 1986, which peaked in the Top 30 and the band had a slot on the Australian Made Tour into early 1987. Mason as lead singer and Kelly, formed a side-project, The Clampetts, to record cover versions of nine country music tracks, which was released in 1987 as The Last Hoedown.
Mason joined Jenny Morris's backing band late in 1987, together with Amanda Vincent (ex-Eurogliders), Jehan Lindsay (Richard Clapton Band), Paul Burton (Mark Williams Band) following the release of Morris' debut solo album, Body and Soul.
In 1988 Mason toured with Los Angeles new wave group Wall of Voodoo and appeared on their live album The Ugly Americans in Australia. In late 1989 Mason re-united with former Models members, Freud, Kelly and Matthews performing on Absent Friends' first single, "Hallelujah". Mason then toured with Icehouse, following the release of their seventh studio album, Code Blue. He also was a member of Tommy Emmanuel's touring band between 1988 and 1992. In 1990, Matthews recorded her debut solo album Émigré with the assistance of Mason and various band mates, Garry Gary Beers (Absent Friends, INXS), Kelly, Mick King (Absent Friends), Valentine and Duffield as well as Tim Finn and Peter Blakeley. Mason wrote her hit song, "Token Angels" which reached No. 18 on the Australian singles chart and won Matthews an ARIA Award in 1991 for 'Breakthrough Artist - Single'.
1992 saw Mason (keyboards) join Johnny Diesel's 'Rock 'n' Soul' Tour, with Kane Baker on drums, Leslie Barlow on backing vocals, Matthew Branton on guitar and Jim Hilbun on bass guitar.
Mason released an album, Vision II, with Graeme Revell in 1997 through New York based Angel Records, featuring Sheila Chandra, Noa, Lori Garson, Esther Dobong'Na Essiene aka Estha Divine and the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
As a composer, he has won Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards for 'Best Soundtrack Album' for The Extra in 2005, 'Best Music for a Television Series or Serial' for Peking to Paris in 2006, 'Best Music for a Telemovie' for The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce in 2009.
On 27 October 2010, Models were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by Matthews.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license