A little over a year since his death at the age of 68, Australian music mogul and Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski has been honoured with a statue of his likeness outside of Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
The full-sized statue was unveiled today (March 24) by Gudinski’s family and Mushroom Group. Among those in attendance were Gudinski’s longtime friend Jimmy Barnes and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, who said the tribute would “remind all Victorians of [Gudinski’s] lifelong passion… and honour his significant contribution to the Australian music and entertainment industries”.
Matt Gudinski, Michael’s son and current CEO of Mushroom Group, also honoured his father during the unveiling. “My family and I are humbled by this great tribute and recognition of my late father that acknowledges his contribution to the Australian music scene and the city of Melbourne,” Gudinski said.
“[The statue] will stand as a permanent tribute to his legacy and importance to making the Australian music and entertainment landscape what it is today.”
Barnes added that having a statue of Gudinski surrounded by “the very venues that made Melbourne the home of everything to him” was “perfect”.
“From here he can hear the roar of the crowds from the MCG. He can see and hear the punters leaving the Rod Laver Arena, or AAMI Park, shouting about being at the best show they’ve ever seen.”
Gudinski, who launched Mushroom Group in 1972 and was at its helm for nearly 50 years, died during his sleep in March 2021. His death prompted an outpouring of tribute from Bruce Springsteen, Molly Meldrum, Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, the Foo Fighters, Midnight Oil, Barnes and many, many more.
The same month, Sheeran, Minogue and more performed at a state memorial for Gudinski at Rod Laver Arena. “The Big G took this little scrawny girl from Melbourne to the world and back home again,” Minogue said during her tribute. “He believed in you when you couldn’t believe in yourself.”
Earlier this month, when the Foo Fighters performed an historic gig at Geelong’s GMBHA Stadium, the US rockers honoured Gudinski at the end of the night. “I would like to dedicate this last song to an old friend, who’s not here with us tonight – a person that always brought us over here, took care of us and made us happy – a sweet man, who made everything fun Down Under,” frontman Dave Grohl said.
“We would not be the band that we are today, here in Australia, if it wasn’t for the great, late Michael Gudinski. I never understood one word that motherfucker said, man – I swear to god, I couldn’t tell what he was saying. But I do know that he was full of love. So let’s give it back to him.”
The band then performed their, final song ‘Everlong’, with a fireworks display and an image of Gudinski projected onto the main screen. Drummer Taylor Hawkins also wore a Mushroom Group shirt throughout the show, and a photo of Gudinski featured on his bass drum.