The Malta Bums

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The Malta Bums at 1966 live on radio Koln in Germany

It was nearly 1963 that the younger Freddie Portelli try to formed a band the members where Mario Perrone, Paul Perrone two brothers which today both passed away, Tony Camilleri well known as Bayzo. But Mario was emigrated to Australia and was replaced by Tony Muscat then known as il Maduwi who started playing Rhythm guitar and at times even lead guitar, Paul Perrone could not continue and was replaced by Tony Bartolo Il-Gegu who was suggested to Freddie by his father to play drums and that was the final set pof the originali known Malta Bums, and from there begain the adventure of this famous Maltese Band new line up Freddie Portelli (19), Tony Muscat (18), Tony Bartolo (17) and Tony Camilleri (Bayzo) (16).

It was interessting the fact about the name of the this band, because in the early sixties the band had no name. As they all had no job job they jokingly named the band THE BUMS but when they went on tour in Germany the their Manager Herr Otto Alf named the band MALTA BUMS which in Germany was taken as Malta’s Explosion.

They started in West Germany, in Essen West, Dusseldorf, Duisbergwen to Koln where they gave TV live shows on radio and Television

The band got a great opportunity to tour aboard, when during the rehearsals in a Garage in St Paul’s Bay a German couple used to come hearing them rehearsing and before they left to Germany, they offered to take them to Germany for the first aboard experance.

Herr Otto Alf payed everything for them, and they were contrated for 20 days but it was already six months when Freddie urged Herr Otto Alf to let them go for a rest which he reluctantly accepted on condition that the band will return to Germany, but when they came back to Malta they were stormed with gigs and concerts {A TV crew from KOLN TV came to Malta and produced a documentary called ‘Malta of the Malta Bums’ where they were filmed playing live, but Herr Otto Alf came to take them back to Gemany but then, they had two offers from USA and from Tokyo and they chose USA so before Herr Otto Alf could get them back to Germany, they left for America where they toured California, New york, Detroit, San Francisco and strait to Canada.

The Malta Bums had aparticular sound, beside their good musical backing they were specialized in harmonies as all the four members were voclists with a sharp ear for music.

Freddie wrote VIVA MALTA due to a unique offer, they had to appear in Germany’s top rated TV show which accepted only international hit makers in fact the guests before them were Sonny and Cher at their peak, this offer came after Koln’s TV producer heard them singing live on Radio Koln where he was impressed and made it a point to come to one of their gigs where he noticed their talent and potential and with their style when he made them this offer on condition that the band will sing in their own language that is in Maltese.That’s why and when Freddie wrote and composed VIVA MALTA When Viva Malta was aired it was a sudden explosion in Germany and that’s when The Malta Bums became so popular there.

Viva Malta - That’s All I know

In Germany and England they had various opportunities and were highly looked at.

When Apple, The Beatles record company wanted to release a song they recorded at their studios Trident, the song which Freddie wrote and composed was titled OLD OLIVE TREE and they recorded it using the very amps and drums of the Beatles, but on concluding the deal, Mr.Russ Conway a very popular pianist who had hits all over the world and probably one of the first English artist who obtained gold records wanted 50% from profits of copyright because some time before Freddie signed a two year contract and no agreement was reached

The Malta Bums got released four vinyl singles 45rpm, one of them was with three songs Dinja Din on A-side and B-side there was Yvette and Il-Football, there was Ġej il-Milied, Do this, That’s all I know, Viva Malta was released on (Portelli Producations), there was even Nerġa Insir Ferħan. Appart from this their was (Old Olive Tree) the song which was to be released in UK but never came to materialize due to disagreements between Russ Conway wanting 50% profits from Freddie’s Copyright and Apple

The Adventure of Freddie Portelli and The Malta Bums came to an end in 1972 when Freddie got a lot of commitments, and he could not cope with playing everynight, play wterpoolo, work as a draughtsman and so he left The Malta Bums, but formed another band named The Black Train to play only in weekends.

Life goes on, and The Malta Bums contuined with their own commitments, instead of Freddie Portelli came in a guitarist Alfred Scicluna a very dear friend of Freddie , an expert on Computers and he is the one who still guids Freddie himself on programming. Bayzo now was the main lead singer and in 1973 thay make a big hit when they issued the great song by Alfred C. Sant lyrics and music by Ray Agius L-Ewwel Tfalja li Ħabbejt (First loving Girl) they get this success meritedly due to their professionalism gained , due to the great experience they got during the begining Tours, all over the world.

But, about two years from this great success The Malta Bums, started fading away from the music scene, because then, it was The Black Train Malta’s main attacition and thats when The Malta Bums was split up, Bayzo went as a solo artist and later formed Bayzo u Klikka.


Singles A & B -Side

  • Dinja Din / Yvette / Football
  • Viva Malta / That's All I Know
  • Ġej il-Milied / That Ain't A Sin
  • Nerġa Nsir Ferħan / Do This
  • L-Ewwel Tfalja Li Ħabbejt / Mister D.J

See also

Category:The Malta Bums Photos