Biography - JIM HERMEL


1945: Born in Hindmarsh, SA.

Jim’s musical journey began at the age of 4 years when he sang Frankie Laine’s song Mule Train and by the age of 15 years commenced his professional career in Sept 1961.

Like many talented recording artists, Jim Hermel’s rise to success was no overnight occurrence.
As lead guitarist with the top Adelaide band, “Nozmo King,” (1967-70) Jim performed at the top Clubs, and Venues, in Adelaide and South Australia, appeared regularly on the Saturday morning teen-age music television shows, and the top night-time variety shows of the day, “Adelaide Tonight,” “The Ernie Sigley Show,” and the popular “Telethons.”
Jim became one of the finest guitarists around, and he was soon backing lead guitarist to Australia’s top recording stars, John Farnham, Billy Thorpe, Ronnie Burns, Denise Drysdale, Marty Rhone, etc., on concert tours early in their careers, and later graduated to a session musician on records and television commercials.

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Jim emerged as a recording and concert star in his own right, as vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter.

Three albums recorded at that time were all widely acclaimed, receiving national and international air-play.


These three LPs were recorded for the Adelaide based record company Nationwide and were all top selling albums.

In the late 1980’s, early ’90’s, Jim fronted a band, “Red Buck” which the Australian government commissioned as part of the A.I.D.S. Awareness program where the band performed at every prison, and every Aboriginal community throughout the state of South Australia, and then medical officers would give lectures on the dangers, and avoidance, of A.I.D.S.

1980 – U.S.A. - In 1980 Jim toured the United States, performing at Clubs in Nashville, Tennessee, including an appearance on the same show as legendary rocker, Jerry Lee Lewis at the “Jerry Lee Lewis Showroom,” in famous Printer’s Alley, Nashville on Jerry Lee’s 45th birthday.

In 1986 Jim again toured America, being based for three months in Austin, Texas, performing at the top venues in Austin, including appearances in Austin’s Sixth Street, the home of “Texas Blues,” and former “haunt” of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Whilst in Austin Jim recorded his fourth album, “Texas Jam,” which was featured in a “live-cross” to the recording studio during the television Six O’Clock News.

Jim also appeared on the main stage of the San Antonio Big River Festival, an annual event which attracted 100,000 people.

Appeared on the top Saturday night cable television variety show, “Citizens Live,” and performed concerts throughout the state of Texas, including an appearance with Willie Nelson’s band, and recording with Kris Kristofferson’s band.

It was through this connection that Jim formed a band with Willie Nelson’s then bass-player, the late Chris Ethridge…, (ex-Flying Burrito Brothers, Clarence White, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris.)
Jim also performed at the Crystal Palace, Tombstone, Arizona, a hotel once owned by the famous “Old West” Marshall, Wyatt Earp.

In 1991 Jim again toured the United States, this time as male lead vocalist/lead guitarist with the band, “Red Buck.”

On this tour he again performed at the Big River Festival, performed for the Desert Storm troops at the U.S. Army Base at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, appeared on NBC Television, performed in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, and many venues in Arizona, and featured in a 30 minute documentary for U.S. television.

The band was also invited by the Apache Council of Arizona to perform at American Indian reservations which included Fort Apache, and Peach Springs Reservation, (AZ.)

1993 – SOUTH EAST ASIA. In 1993 Jim was again with “Red Buck” when the band became the first western rock band in the world to perform in communist Laos, and the first band to perform in Vietnam since the Vietnam War.

All eleven concerts of South East Asia were “sell-outs” with the Hanoi daily paper reporting that “the Australian band Red Buck’s two concerts at the Red Army Stadium (the biggest stadium in Hanoi) were sold out within hours, leaving many thousands of fans disappointed. The band could have filled the stadium for weeks!!”
This tour of S.E. Asia also saw Red Buck become the first Australian band to perform at the famous Hard Rock Café in Bangkok, Thailand.

In 1994 the band was invited back to perform at the Hard Rock Café due to the success of the 1993 appearance. On this trip Red Buck also performed a two week “season” at the prestigious Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bangkok.

In 1999 Jim released a 12 track CD of all original country, country rock and blues, written by South Australian songwriter Craig Roberts.

The album, “Highway to Ride” using some of the finest session musicians in Australia. A year later a five track CD was released entitled “The Ballad of Creswick Mine,” and in 2001 another CD, “Nothing To Lose,” (15 tracks, again all written by Craig Roberts,) featuring Jim’s unique brand of southern country rock.

In 2000 Jim re-formed the classic rock, rhythm & blues band, ‘BLACK CAT BONE,’ with original band members Bruce Benham, (bass,) and Dave Brogden, (drums,) “Black Cat Bone,” originally formed in 1988, performed around Adelaide and South Australia off and on for seven years, and Bruce and Dave were also often in “Red Buck.”

“Red Buck,” (named after the red buck kangaroo,) was the name used when the band went to 5 piece for special projects of touring, recording, or film-making. Black Cat Bone released two CD’s, (a live album, “Lightning Strikes Twice,” and a studio album, “White Lightning.”)

In 2004 Jim married Virginia Coad, a fellow professional musician whom he’d met when they were both working at the Royal Melbourne Show in 1998.
Jim and Virginia were married on the Quorn Railway Station in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia in March of 2004, and honeymooned in the United States in May, 2004.

On that tour Jim and Virginia performed concerts in Arizona and Tennessee.

Jim, Virginia, and Lynette Coad formed Runaway Dixie a bluegrass/country band in 2009, and also a rock n roll band Jim Hermel & The Hot Chix.

2011 – U.S.A. – Jim toured the United States with Virginia and her brother, Peter, and sister, Lynette. Performances included the Smith Family Theatre, (the biggest musical show in east Tennessee,) The Amvets Association, (Arizona,) and a one hour live broadcast streamed around the world from the studios of Radio Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee.., and a performance at the notorious “Dragoon Saloon,” in the “Old West” town of Tombstone, Arizona, the “Town Too Tough To Die,” and site of the most famous gunfight in the West, the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”

In 2017 the Runaway Dixie trio represented Australia at the Mississippi State Bi-Centennial in conjunction with the Jimmie Rodgers Festival, appearing on USA TV networks, along with radio appearances and performances, and also a spot on a multi artist concert at the famous Peavey Auditorium in Meridian.

Jim has achieved 4 Golden Guitar nominations as part of the Runaway Dixie trio.
Runaway Dixie have released 6 albums and perform in their own right at events and as part of the Peter Coad & The Coad Sisters concerts.

‘Jim Hermel & The Hot Chix’ played for R&R events and Festivals such as Canberra Multi Cultural Festival, Birdwood Rock n Roll Rendezvous, Twin Towns etc.
The band still performs but under the title of the Jim Hermel Band.

In May 2018 Jim released a book, “Twelve Tales of Terror,” published by Austin MacAuley (London), a collection of stories of the supernatural which Jim had written over many years as a sideline hobby, and he currently has a novel of the American Civil War ready for publication.

Industry recognition includes:

2000 – Hands of Fame & Avenue of Honour – Barmera & South Australia.
2009 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame in Tamworth.
2010— TSA Salute Awards, Gospel Song of the Year for his co-write with Virginia Hermel – ‘Golden Mile’.



Runaway Dixie (c)