The Bluetongue Bush Band was originally created from the members of the Sydney based bands Spinefex and The Rum Rebellion with the addition of Brian Heywood on electric bass, 12 string guitar and vocals. The other members of the band were Jeff Saunders (fiddle), Kevin Tierney (guitar, vocals & percussion), Mary Tierney (vocal, recorder & percussion) and Lucy Gibson (5-string banjo, tin whistle & vocals).
After a brief period with the name Jizzle, Brian suggested that the band name itself after a the Blue Tongue skink, a lizard that is common in town and country New South Wales. The band was resident at two Sydney venues - the Dispensary Wine Bar in Anandale and the Covent Garden Hotel which was just off Haymarket in the center of town. Apart from these regular gigs, the band performed throughtout Sydney and further afield in rural NSW.
As well as performing concert material, the band ran a monthly series of Bush Dances at the Surrey Hills Community Centre as well as appearing at the Balmain Town Hall dances and many private functions.
Brian left the band at the end of 1979 and was replaced by Bruce Stephens (another ex-member of Spinifex). Bruce now plays with the popular Melbourne based beat combo Jugularity. Mary left the band soon after Brian in (Sept 1979) and now lives in Oberon. When Jeff left to pursue his mathematical career he was replaced by Chris Aronsten. Kevin is now a bass player and is still playing folk music with Headland in northern NSW.
The original band folded soon after contributing a track to the Ned Kelly Centenary EP in 1980 (along with The Bushwackers and Redgum). After this, Brian re-adopted the Bluetongue name to play Austalian bush music and dances in the UK. In 2008 Brian brought the band back to Australia to perform at the Fairbridge Folk Festival in Western Australia and the rest, as they say, is history...