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Marianne Faithful Hunters and Collectors

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EDITOR & PUBLISHER: Donald Robertson ADVERTISING Lyn Saunders (0 2 )3 5 8 3366 Dear Roadrunner, Do you know what I like about you? The way you always make me angry (or delighted) enough to want to write you a letter. Usually I don’t get around to it. Today I will. Two beefes(?)! Firstly, what have you got against Mental As Anything? One of the most unique sounding AND indigenous bands in the land. No ultra hip existentialist dirges for ye old Mentals. They are as corny and clever as anyone else in the world. Scott “ I hate everything in the world but me” s comment “The Mentals magic has warn out for me. Cue stardom I suppose” just about sums it up I guess. Secondly, what is this shitty back-stabbing at Stuart Coupe, you seem to so delight in? Most Oz journalists, as you no doubt are aware, earn crummy wages. I’m sure Mr. Coupe has well and truly deserved his trip overseas. Most Oz journalists (even the En­ glish demi-gods) are jetted around the world regularly. Has anyone ever accused Alan Jones of crashing in his cre d ib ility for travelling to exotic places with XTC. The resulting stories are a delight to read. But we Australians it seems, are inferior to the rest of the world. As soon as we agree to such an ex­ » I pedition a la record company, we sell our brains too. Look you dumb clucks! Stuart Coupe has been scribbling eulogies to Springsteen all over Oz papers for the last four odd years. If CBS can send him to « I Europe to write a slightly more colourful and immediate eulogy, then good for them and better for us. Coupe would be a fool to re­ fuse. Surely journalists should be en­ couraging such moves. The chance to experience music in a live medium as well as on record can only enhance one’s musical understanding, the chance to do live interviews and reviews should surely appeal to your journalists’ nose for a good story. The record co. are unlikely to send anyone to see a band they already dislike, yo u ’d be a schmuck to accept. Therefore, only schmuck journalists lose their credibility. Stuart Coupe is not a schmuck in this context. Most Oz jou rn o s are hopefully not schm ucks. Som etim es, after reading you, I w onder. . . D.S. Newtown It’s the readers who like stab­ bing Stuart, not me, honest! I can only agree that one would have to be a schmuck to turn down an o/s trip. I’d be on the plane in a flash, no worries (is anyone listening?).

PERTH BLASTS BACK Dear Sir, Thank you a million times over for the (belated) review of The Scientists’ album by C. C. Mitch­ ell. As an old (and avid) fan of the S cientists, I was extrem enly pleased with (and proud of) the glowing review these guys so richly deserve. Unfortunately, it’s too late. When I see groups like The Sunnyboys (great) on televi­ sion, I think of how the Scientists should’ve been a national or in­ ternational success. It’s a shame that finances prevented them from going to the UK where I feel they would’ve gained recognition after a favourable review of “ Fran­ tic Romantic” in N.M.E. Hopeful­ ly, something will come of the [proposed union in Sydney. 1hear James has joined up with Flick again so here’s hoping. However, I miss The Scientists and their “ honest” approach to music, and the sessions at the Broome, The Beaufort and the Broadway will

remain in my memory as classic moments in Australian music. May I thank Mr. Mitchell (again) for the report on the state of mis­ ery (where’s the excitement?) this winter in Perth. I was surprised, however, with the comments on the Manikins. I too have followed their progress form the beginning, and yet I tend to enjoy their present sound more than the previous efforts. I feel their new sound is very market­ able (is that good) and I like it, but I do think that one cynic in the group was enough without the sarcastic abuse heaped upon members of the crowd by the new Manikin. Finally, in closing, may I say that w hilst I agree that these gangs (ala Skins, Punks, Mods etc.) are getting out of hand, I feel the media is ail too willing to throw things out of proportion and cash in on recent trends in England. Okay, so the Mods are young, naive and slightly misguided in their loyalties, but all they really want to do is dance and dress up in their style. They’re not into vio­ lence and as long as they don’t hurt anyone else I think we should let them enjoy their youth in all its naivety. I know the same can’t be said for some violent individuals but let’s not judge en masse even if it’s tempting when that’s how they appear. Thanks again C. C. Mitchell (whoever you are) and ROAD­ RUNNER for the Perth news. I love Orange Juice and the Fire Engines too. Yours sincerely, Lynda (Sowden) N.F.P. Dear Roadrunner, 1 am totally disgusted at “ C. C. Mitchell’s” negative, tasteless (obviously opinionated), unresearched, shallow offering in “ Perth: Post Meltdown” — Roadrunner No. 8, September 81. I am no accomplished writer but I feel I must speak out against this sort of tripe. Journalism? This cretin should write for the Melbourne Truth. It sounds as if whoever he or she is has a financial or rom antic interest in the “ legendary” Scientists, and is negotiating some sort of deal with the Triffids — both good bands yet hardly the best bands in Perth. In fact it appears that C. C. Mitchell’s appreciation of music involves finding a band with a derivative sound and applauding them for it, Triffids — (Velvets, Television) etc. and Scientists — (H eartbreakers, N.Y. Dolls), (terrible mix in both cases). Both bands are largely ignored by the m ajority of people who go to live gigs in Perth. A lot of hard work and a desire to play th e ir music anywhere they can (as opposed to playing one gig a week to a small cliquey audience) sees that the Rockets are not ignored — the Rockets sound like the Rockets. I mean, C hrist, it’s hard enough to get anywhere playing original m aterial w ithout incompetents slagging you for all the wrong reasons. The sm ack/junkie Rockets? What can you say when faced with the same ignorance and m entality that locks up dope sm okers and applauds alcoholism in society? The Rockets are not junkies, anyone who knew what they were talking about could see that. I admire what the Manikins have done, they and the Rockets are changing and developing their own sounds — not copying others and calling themselves original. I could go on and on, so disgusted am I at this pathetic

attempt to sound so hip and removed from the “ other slime” . My last words are to Roadrunner who should be ashamed to print such naive, m isinformed slop, particularly when, as we all know, calling a band a “junk band” is the kiss of death in Australia. The Rockets are a very good band, ask any of their 1,000 plus satisfied follow ers. They have always been aware of the necessity of changing their material; and their lyrics and songs are honest, intellig en t im pressions of life; I should know: I sing and write for them. Yours, Allan Stewart Lead Singer, Rockets 71 Malcolm St., Perth, W.A. P.S. As an afterword I would like to say that if A ustralian bands are to develop an original sound/style then surely any honest attem pt at creative, original m usic is to be encouraged, we (the Rockets) have been misrepresented and misunderstood so often that we have lost faith in the “ rags” , who seem so intent on ignoring and slagging us; why? Because we’re different. That is fucked! Well, you can’t win ’em all, eh C.C.?

Hi There I’d just like to say that Australian music is taking over my world. It’s doing that because it deserves to. It should take over the whole world but who knows? All I know is I’m stuck D ownunder (where women glow and men plunder) and it’s where I’ll stay. From this point on, words almost fail me. Matt Finish, Little Heroes, INXS, MEN AT WORK, BROD SMITHS BIG COMBO, BILLY MILLER, SUNNYBOYS, THE CHURCH, RICHARD CLAPTON, MODELS, RENEE GEYER, NUMBERS, MATT TAYLOR, SWANEE. Let us not forget, of course, COLD CHISEL, ANGELS, AC/DC, MID­ NIGHT OIL. The list goes on. Par­ don my indulgence. I’m an indul­ gent person. There’s many I ha­ ven’t even heard. Let’s stand up and fight for what we’ve got. Let’s let them know they’re good. Beats paying $15 a pop for O.S. acts. Not much else I can say. Tommy Sydney. P.S. I’ve read heaps of Half­ hearted reviews of the LITTLE HEROES album. I think it’s superb. Maybe “one perfect day” this album will become a classic. I think it already is.

Deqr Editor, This is a comment (more like essay) not a criticism of David Pestorius’ article on “ The Cure” gig in Brisbane. (Sept. Roadrun­ ner). I went to all of the Sydney gigs and on my first listening to the tracks from “ Faith” I was a little doubtful, but after really listening to the album, the solid, if melan­ choly sound is immaculate — both live and on vinyl. If the audience at Festival Hall were “ quietly disap­ pointed” then they really missed a lot by not giving the newer mate­ rial the closer listening it de­ serves. Live, “ The C ure’’ are com ­ pletely absorbing despite the total lack of band to audience com­ munication, i.e. the “ are you hav­ ing a good time” (repeat 3) effort by some bands, who desperately try to push themselves as per­ sonas to get an audience on their feet. With “The Cure” , emphasis is solely on the music and I was totally pissed off at one concert

OFFICE Giles Barrow SYDNEY EDITOR: S c o tt M atheson (0 2 )2 1 1 3 1 8 0 MELBOURNE EDITOR: Adrian Ryan (03) 347 3991 BRISBANE: David Pestorius PERTH: M ichael M ullane LONDON: Keith Shadwick, Larry Buttrose, Chris Safewicz NEW YORK Keri Phillips CONTRIBUTORS: Stan Coulter, Jenny Eather, Earl Grey, Tyrone Flex, Span Hanna, David Langsam, Adrian M iller, Ruthven M artinus, Craig N. Pearce, Brecon Walsh, DESIGN & LAYOUT: And Productions — Richard Turner, Kate Monger, (08) 223 4206. TYPESETTING: SA Typecentre 211 8811 DISTRIBUTION: Gordon & Gotch for Australia and New Zealand PRINTER: Bridge Press, Seventh St., Murray Bridge, S.A. 5253 Ph: (085) 32 1 7 4 4 . Recommended retail price — $ 1.00 ROADRUNNER is registered for posting as Publication No. SBF 1813 HEAD OFFICE: 2 College Road, KENT TOWN S.A. 5067. Ph.: (08) 42 3040. where some remnant from the BCR (rem em ber?) era was screaming at an unmoved gallop to “ get his gear off.” What a pain in the arse for a band who puts so much into live shows and record­ ings, and obviously tries to avoid stereotyping members into sex symbol, clown, front man or what­ ever. Of course there is always some pathetic individual who stops at nothing to gain the atten­ tion of the desired hero. Right, back to the point, I for one feel “ Faith” is a great progression from “ Seventeen Seconds,” the emphasis on keyboards and vocal echo adds dimension to tracks such as “ Other Voices” and “AH Cats Are Grey. ” Bass comes into its element on “ The Holy Hour” and “ Primary, ” the newer sound is broody and darker, not danceable, I agree, but the band as a three-piece has to work harder on stage to achieve the solid, tight sound. There is no cause to be disap­ pointed by “ Faith”, there is no

reason to assume that this is the direction future albums will take. “ The C ure’’ originally had 13 tracks for “ Faith” but eliminated five songs because they didn’t tie in with the theme, which must mean they are something else again. No, suicide is not for “ The Cure.” Too much like “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” I’m not waiting for them to come back out here. I’ll go twelve thousand miles to the UK to see them play there. Oh, and David, the only low point about any of the gigs was the end. Yours, Anna P.S. Sorry it’s longwinded, I can’t sum up this band with few words. P.P.S. So, when is “ The Cure” feature coming up?, thanks for Consat Angels feature. Cure feature was in last issue Anna. Are you Really going to the UK just to see them? That’s pretty keen.

Roadrunner


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T H E Elvis Costello is undertaking a mini-world tour to showcase his new country and western album, Almost Blue’. There’s two preChristmas gigs in the London area, followed by one in Los Angeles, one in New York, and one at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Then it’s back to Lon­ don for a night with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall (!) and the tour finishes with a concert in Paris. Costello hasn’t written any of the material on the new L.P., although he has written some impressive country styled mate­ rial in the past. Among the tracks are Hank Williams’ ‘Why Don’t You lo ve Me’, Merle Haggard’s Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down’, Gram Parson’s ‘Tm Your Toy’ and Charlie Rich’s ‘Sittin’ and Think­ ing’. The cover sticker on the album goes, “WARNING!!! This album contains country and western music and may produce radical reaction in narrow minded people.”

become the first rock act to play at London’s historic Old Vic Theatre, generally considered to be the world’s leading ‘classical’ theatre. The threatre has been closed since May this year when the resident theatre company went bankrupt. The shows will be the last of Dexy’s ‘projected Passion Revue’ performances.

The Pretenders’ recent Ameri­ can tour had to be abandoned after drummer Martin Chalmbers suffered a hand injury. However he’s now mended and after a British tour in December it’s off to America in the New Year and then, after months of speculation, Australia. Their new single is a Ray Davies song, ‘I Go To Pieces’.

Willy de Ville was in cracking form in a recent N.M.E. interview. Asked if he was jealous of Bruce Springsteen he said, ‘He still lives with his mother. He doesn’t let his band smoke pot. He’s a clean boy from new Jersey.’ Elvis Costello fares a little worse. ‘I know where his tricks come from. But I hate him. I think he’s a racist and a fascist.’

Although the Specials have split it seems that at least three new outfits will emerge from the wreckage. The triumverate at the heart of the split, singers Terry Hall and Neville Staples and singer/guitarist Lynval Golding are already functioning as the Fun Boy Three and their debut single, ‘The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum’ is already released in the U.K. Other guitarist Roddy Radiation has a ‘skabilly’ band called the Tearjerkers, while it seems likely that Jerry Dammers, Sir Horace and drummer Brad will continue under the Specials origi­ nal moniker, the Special a.k.a.

Joining Adam and the Ants in this year’s Royal Variety show will be fellow pop sensations, Lonnie Donegan (who’s just released an E.P. in collaboration with Me Rockabilly kings The Shakin’ Pyramids), Alvin Stardust, Marty Wilde (wot? No Kim? Boo!) Acker Bilk, the Searchers and (gasp!) a one-off reunion of Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners will

New album from AC/DC, re­ leased this month is called, ‘For

Those About To Rock’. And Pink Floyd’s newie is called, ‘A Collec­ tion o f Great Dance S ongs’. Teardrop Explodes, with a new line-up, will have their second album, ‘Wilder’ out soon. Also look out for the new Skids album, ‘Jo y ’ , new Orchestral Man­ oeuvres In The Dark, ‘Architec­ ture and Morality’, and after reject­ ing one test pressing and finding three had warped on their way from Am erica, M idnight Oil should have their English re­ corded ‘Place Without A Post­ card’ in the shops this month. A statement from the band said, ‘Rather than release a lesser quality album on schedule the choice was taken to persevere until such time as the quality matched the original realse.’ And the new Angels album, ‘Night Attack’ will be out later this month.

New Zealand’s Tigers will be supporting Eric Burdon on the once upon a time Animal’s down under pub crawl. Burdon has been here once before, in 1967, when they played with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Paul and Barry Ryan and the Loved Ones.

Richard Clapton apparently ‘too buggered’ to finish off his solo album after his acclaimed effort producing the INXS album, ‘Un­ derneath The Colours’, therefore release has been put back till the New Year. Plans are already being drawn up for a summer tour, which will be handled by Dirty Pool.

Some dispute about whether forthcoming DIvinyls mini-album will be out before the Icehouse/

Simple M inds/ Divinyls tour. Seems the band might have to wait until the release of the film ‘Starstruck’ in which the songs are featured.

Dave Studdert, lead singer with Tactics, was off cleaning H.M.A.S. Platypus mere hours after completing the band’s sec­ ond album, ‘Glebe’ (it took just eight days, after they took eight months to do their first.) First reports indicate a less structured, more improvisational sound on this one, with brass player Penny Short guesting on a number of tracks.

The Go-Go’s, whose debut album ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has just been released in this country, will be supporting the Police on their Australian tour, scheduled for February next year.

Nina Hagen, who has just had a baby, was back in action re­ cently at New York’s Studio 54, replete with fluorescent pink wig, bass player and drum machine.

The Birthday Party have suc­ cessfully completed a wild Ameri­ can tour and will be leaving London on December 15th for their homeland (tha t’s here, mate!) A January national tour and a new album will keep the lads busy. The band’s first two American shows both lasted only four songs, with the management of the Underground and the Ritz shunting the band’s brand of performance anarchy and aural assault offstage for driving people

out of the clubs. However Washington D.C., Trenton, Bos­ ton, Philadelphia and Chicago all had the chance to experience full (on) B.P. The N.M.E. of 17.10.81 contains the best article ever written about the band. It’s by Barney Hoskyns. All fans should seek out a copy immediately.

Hunters and Collectors have completed their debut album and are currently being hunted by record companies (Mushroom is favourite). They make their sec­ ond trip to Sydney this month (supported by the Moodists) and could be in Adelaide before the year is out.

The Confused/Confusing Readers Guide to page 17 of Matt Finish. The adventure begins at the end of the third par in the second column. From . . maybe it’s to pick their curiosity a bit” we skip to the sixth par in the third column, “I can’t really see how you can like a band when you’re ten year old sister’s got their poster on her w a ll.. . ” From here we travel south, nor north-east and proceed in a south­ erly direction down the fourth col­ umn until we reach “ . . . He’s started his own PA hire company with really good equipment he hires cheaply to young bands.” Hold on fast to those biros kid­ dies, because it’s back west to the second column, “MM: We don’t wanttobepidgeon-holed. . .weget to see a lot.” And finally in the mid-ranges of the fourth column “Talk turns to bigotry.. . ” Don’t expect a scouting badge from me, call the record company instead.

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more letters Dear Roadrunner, I think it’s abour time your jour­ nalist Craig Pearce gave up writ­ ing. Having just read your October edition of Roadrunner and live re­ view of Marc Hunter at M el­ bourne’s “ Grainstore Tavern” I was disgusted I’m writing this let­ ter to set the record straight for gig-goers who may be influenced by this review and miss the greatest frontm an/singer this country has seen for a long time. I’m a great Hunter fan and have not missed a Melbourne gig since he came to Oz from New Zealand. Most rock journos let their own private preferences influence what they write about perhaps you (Craig) should go to a gig with an open mind. I doubt that you were even there at all that night as there were a few mistakes in the story: Marc, since returning to gigs again does not sing “ Are You Old Enough” or “ Sunshine.” He does however sing “This Time,” “ April Sun In Cuba” and “ Island Nights” from the old days. Everything else in the set is basically stuff from the new album “ Big City Talk” . Open your ears and eyes and get your act together. Regards Melbourne fan. P.S. I don’t expect to see this in print but it sure made me feel better writing it! Come on all you Craig N. Pearce fans — you’re not going to take this sort of stuff iying down are you? Are you?

Come on, Scott, get your act together. The world is watching. Honestly mate, your piece on No Fixed Address is a real shocker. Just what, may I ask, was pas­ sing through your tortured tem­ ples when you wrote, “ Forget the fact that this is a band of four Aborigines and what you’ve got is a group with irrimense talent” ? I don’t think you meant to imply that it’s necessary to forget they are aborigines in order to ap­ preciate their talents, so I shall ig­ nore that possibility. It’s just that this remark about what we should and shouldn’t bear in mind com­ pletely contradicts the thrust of your article. How can we forget th e y’re aboriginal when four-fifths of your article is devoted to a George Negus style synopsis of the plight of the aboriginal people? What really would you like us to do at a No Fixed Address gig? Yell for tunes about leprosy? Or would you prefer us to pity them for being so downtrodden and wretched? Or just for being? Indeed, your article reeks of self-righteous pity. Maybe that’s why you’re contradicting yourself so much. We all know what an impotent sentiment pity can be. Just look at the role of the Church in those “ 200 years of repres­ sion.” I don’t dispute the idea of writing about racism in a music paper. I’m pleased to find you so aware of the incidence of trachoma and syphilis in the north of Australia. But don’t you think you missed the point somewhat? When I go and see a band like No Fixed Address (or any band forthat matter), and I get up and dance, that doesn’t mean I feel sorry for them. Or that I’ve decided to forget who they are. It means that I support them. The dumbest remark in your ar­ ticle, and one of the dumbest I have ever read in Roadrunner, is “ . . . why should they ever have to sing about fighting fortheir rights” . Singing is an-emotional business. And most of it deals with fighting of one sort of another — fighting with oneself, fighting for the love and attention of others, fighting for freedoms large and small. Fight­ ing for one’s rights is just one of the nobler uses of singing. You should try it sometime, Scott. Regards Brett Wright Sydney S

ROADRUNNER

SPRINGSTEEN AND TALKING HEADS FOR ADELAIDE FESTIVAL? ‘FRAID NOT. . . Plans to have Bruce Springsteen and Talking Heads perform at next year’s Adelaide Festival of Arts have fallen through. Festival artistic director Jim Sharman was keen to present Talking Heads, one of his favo­ rite groups, in a Festival Theatre concert with musical collaborator Brian Eno. Unfortunately that approach was ended abruptly when the group disbanded. Sharman then turned his at­ tention to possibly the world’s greatest rock ’n' roll drawcard (“ a lot like good fu ckin g ” — Larry Buttrose), Springsteen and his E Street Band. Economic realities meant the M emorial Drive concert would have had to be part of a national tour. But problems arose in organising S pringsteen's first Australian tour to coincide with the Adelaide Festival, from March 5 to 21. Sharman did consider import­ ing someone like Spandau Bal­ let, but with his top two choices scratched, the attempt was only half-hearted. There is, he adds, a chance Springsteen still could play Adelaide in March, but “ not at the moment, not unless some­ body organises something bet­ ween now and then. It is possi­ ble, but I have my doubts." The absence of both Ameri­ can acts leaves the 1982 Festi­ val virtually devoid of rock and pop, an unfortunate tradition that has been disturbed but rarely in the biennial event’s 22-year his­ tory. That is rather surprising, considering Sharman’s name is linked inextricably with rock m usicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair and Rocky Hor­ ror. His taste, by the way, is im­ peccable and his knowledge

IT ’S A LIVING White Nellie, a collection of musical anarchists, are lately playing around Adelaide at the Aurora Hotel on Tuesday and the Angas Hotel ijn Saturday Nights. Anyone who remem­ bers the halcyon days of their last Angas residency, when the band and most of the audi­ ence discovered that flagons were cheaper than pints,' can look forward to a summer of wine and noises. THEY ARE BACK!

makes for great conversation, even if you know nothing about theatre, opera or literature. “ The only one I was really in­ terested in was Talking Heads, then they broke up,” Sharman said. “ I thought that was the sort of thing a Festival should be exploring in that sort of music. If the Festival is going to move into the area of popular enter­ tainment, it needs to be some­ thing pretty special. That’s why I was interested in Talking Heads, whereas Bruce Springsteen was just if there was a tour. It was one of those things that was so complicated, getting it to collide with the Festival. I think people are still pursuing Bruce to to u r . . . there still could be a tour in the first half of next year. Those areas that Sharman has left untouched should be fil­ led by organisers of the Festival Fringe. Fringe adm inistrator Peter Tregilgas says a couple of major venues are being lined up, and he is “trying to bring a couple of very interesting things from overseas, or at least top national acts and double them up with some Fringe cabaret things.” Back at the “ official” Festival, there will be some rock talent, on Sunday, March 21, last day of the Festival, with a concert by Aboriginal artists, featuring tradi­ tional dance and music, plus rock and country acts, including local groups Us Mob and No Fixed Address. And there should be much in the rest of the program to tempt Ye Olde Roadrunner Reader. Sharman recom m ends The Comic Strip, seven English comedians billed as “the tough­ est and funniest line in humor since Lenny Bruce.” Their songs and routines, he says, “ really

As a long time follower of the White Nellie lifestyle, I can say they have never sounded better. The following is an interview? with Chris McGloin a family man and the quiet member of the group. Q. Who or what is White Nellie and where the hell did they come from? A. White Nellie was born in 1971 in Balmain, Sydney. They moved to Adelaide in 1975 amid an outpouring of spontaneous in­ difference from the local folkies who didn’t like paying $1 to listen to this rather ribald assortment of drunks and camp followers (actu­ ally we’re all straight, dear!). Q. Why did you move to Adelaide? A. To escape the nationization of the horse drawn cabs and be­

come out of the rock ’n’ roll cul­ ture in a way and most of their humor is based on a sort of new wave . . . They have one routine. A narchy in D re am ian d.” (Oh yes, very droll — J. Rotten). There will be concerts by jazzmen George Melly and Keith Jarrett, Jeannie Lewis and “ the historian of the bush,” Slim Dusty. Italy’s Nuova Compagnia di Canto Popolare, whose ap­ peal and impact is “ similar to what a rock band would achieve here,” sounds interesting. Their two Adelaide concerts will feature music from southern Italy; ‘T h e real m usic of the country came from the songs of the religious feasts, of the work­ ing people, as passed down through generations. Music that inspired all the great 18th Cen­ tury composers, songs of the people and dances like the T arantella, which were per­ formed to drive out the Devil and exorcise erotic passions,” comments Sharman, who was hugely impressed when he saw them perform to 3000 students and factory workers in Naples. The major opera is the Austra­ lian premiere of Leos Janacek’s The Makropulos Affair, starring Swedish soprano Elisabeth Soderstrom and directed by 1984 Adelaide Festival head Elijah Moshinsky. It is a State Opera production. The com ­ pany's Sharman-directed Death in Venice was a^highlight of the 1980 Festival. Classically, the Sydney Sym­ phony and Australian Youth or­ chestras have exciting prog­ rams, reflecting Sharman’s de­ sire to premiere as much new work as possible and also allow local companies to benefit from working with overseas directors and conductors — in this case.

brilliant young Belgian Ronald Zollman and Mark Elder, of the English National Opera. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the centenary of A ustralia’s greatest and most eccentric com poser, Percy G rainger; Y o rksh ire ’s G rim ethorpe C olliery Brass Band will give three concerts; Aloys and Alfons Kontarsky, “ the finest piano duo in the world,” will appear at Adelaide Town Hall; and “ the greatest Brechtian actor in the w orld,” the B erliner E nsem ble’s Ekkehard Schall, will give two late-night seasons at the Playhouse. Centrepiece of the Festival is the Theatre of Pina Bausch, from the small W est German town of W uppertal. “ Working from a dance base, Pina Bausch has combined choreog­ raphy, the spoken word, a mon­ tage of sound and music, to create a unique form of perfor­ mance theatre that take the most ordinary human situations and explores them with humor, insight and a mastery of staging and visual impact that places her work at the forefront of con­ temporary theatre,” according to Sharm an. The ensem ble will present three major works from its repertoire, Bluebeard, Kontakthof and 1980. Non-music highlights include Signai Driver, the new Patrick White play commissioned for the State Theatre Company; Sydney Theatre Company’s A Map of the Worid, by English playwright David Hare, who also will direct it; The Curse of the Starving Ciass and Buried Chiid, Playbox productions of two plays by “ A m erica’s greatest living d ra m a tist,” Sam Shepard; A delaide-based Australian Dance Theatre with a new fulllength work, apparently its most ambitious yet; Melbourne’s Cir­ cus Oz with its first all-new show since it debuted at the 1978 Adelaide Festival; and, from the W hitney Museum of Modern Art, a retrospective exhibition of American painter Edward Hopper. It’s a good program. Shorter than previous Festivals, it has a high (70 per cent) local content and a number of premieres. A break from the past 11 Festi­ vals, it will set the direction for the next 11. Bruce or no Bruce, it’s for you, the average General Public in the street. Enjoy it.

Julian Stuart.

Q. Who is actually in the band at the moment? A. At the moment Reg “ Brown Dog” Byrnes on lead vocals, slide whistle and rhythm schooner; Chris M cG ioin on 12 String Guitar, harm onica, dobro, hawaiian guitar and nasal 2nd harmony. Andy “ The Pig” McGioin on 6 String guitar, washboard and even more nasal 3rd harmony; I Rob Bartiett (Ex Brenda Wootten in the West Country Warblers) on lead guitar and solar head; The Reverend Drew on bass guitar ^ and Shirley Bassey imitations and last but definitely least Vin “ Wait­ ing for the drugs to take effect” Green on fiddle, tuba and jokes nobody (including himself) under­ stands. Q. What are the long time ambitions of the band? A. To make enough money to pay off our two double adaptors, one extension lead and our bookies. We’d like to play the cause we heard the local water Royal Command Performance was good for piles. Q. What sort of music do you when Malcolm becomes King. To write a musical based on the play? screenplay of the movie of the A. Rubbish! We started out as a book of the play by Fidel Scramble trio (Chris McGloin, Reg Byrnes & called “ Watts Next”, an autobiog­ John McGrath) singing (debatraphy by Charlie somebody who’s abie point - Ed.) traditional Irish, still learning to write — and read Scottish, English, Am erican, — and drum. music hall favorites (for Mums & Q. Can you sum up the basic Dads) country, skiffle, jug band. philosophy of the band? Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, A. A wise man was once asked Disco, Reggae, Funk (luv that “ What is worse — apathy or ig­ word) and we’re working on a norance?” Well, actually we don’t Shadows bracket with lead tuba at know and we don’t care. We be­ the moment. We like to mix it up a lieve in.......................................” bit as you can see. A typical brac­ here the conversation was held up ket could include a Rolling Stones by the arrival of several glasses of number, followed by a medley of mixed drinks, maybe we will finish Vera Lynn’s greatest hits or a Jim it next time. Reeves memorial twist — you Tom Mix know a good polished act!

, ^


BILL PAYNE LET YOUR FEAT DO THE TALKING Arguably the best mainstream rock key­ boardist that America has produced, Bill Payne of the late lamented Little Feat, now has a reputa­ tion as being a classy, im aginative session musician. No doing it straight or boring for him; his playing oozes style and individuality, and consequently, he’s a busy man nowadays. Payne has been touring with James Taylor — whose regular keyboardist is off playing jazz — since late March in a jaunt that’s already covered America and Japan before coming here, and which will proba­ bly take in Europe early next year. In the middle of this trip he took off ten days to tour and record with Linda Ronstadt, whose album he will com plete when the Australian leg of Taylor’s tour is finished. Before all that, he was responsible for the em ergence of what ap­ pears to be the last Little Feat utterance, a double compilation of odds and ends going by the unlikely name of “ H oy-H oy!!” I asked him the reasons be­ hind the album. “ 1 pretty much came up with the idea of doing it as a result of not feeling the best about ‘Down on the Farm’ as being a proper way to close

a statement from a band. I thought we owed our fans something. We owed ourse­ lves something too. The group had a history that was strong enough to warrant such an album.” I’ll say. Little Feat have always struck me as the only band to hail from America’s much maligned West Coast worth worrying about. Never slick or shal­ low, their work was rich in emotional depth and musi­ cal innovation. The late Lowell George is usually given much of the credit for their individuality but Bill Payne also contributed many a classic song to the Little Feat repertoire. These days, Payne is concentrating mainly on the session work. He’s been playing sessions since about 1974, when he re­ corded and toured with Bonnie Rait and the Doobie Brothers. He’s been writing ail the time though, so what chance of a Bill Payne solo project? ‘Td like to, but I don’t know if I’ve got the time or if people would be interested in it. These are two questions that have to be sussed out.” Anyway, it transpires that if he does do something on his own, he’ll stick with his present record company, Warners, for an album of conventional songs, butforan instrumen­ tal album — a film score or the like — he’d prefer to

work with a smaller label. Less hype involved, I sup­ pose. Another project lined up is a video of the Lowell George Tribute C oncert, held at the L.A. Forum back in August 1979, featuring people like Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Nicolette Larson and Bon­ nie Rait. Apparently this project has taken so long to reach the public because of various legal problems, and also because people in­ volved were too busy doing other things to carry it through until now. Like I said. Bill Payne is a busy man. He’s a slightly built, amiable chap with a receding hairline and mous­ tache, and he speaks with a quiet Am erican drawl. When I met him, the pace of the last year was definitely showing, but at the concert the next night he seemed pretty bouncy behind his keyboards. He’s been play­ ing piano since he was seven, turned professional at fifteen, and he’s thirtytwo now. It was pleasing to hear that he likes to keep in touch. “ I like to check out what’s happening but lately I’ve been real swamped.” On his return to the States he’s going to have a three-week break before continuing his various commitments. I’d say he deserves it. I mean, you couldn’t call him lazy.

Ruthven Martinus

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, Waaagh! Being an all female band has always had a number of problems associated with it. The music scene has always been somewhat prejudiced against them and the band has the task of gaining credibility by virtue of their musical abilities rather than their novelty value. In Adelaide o ne band work­ ing to overcome these pertinacious attitudes is the Screaming Jennies. It consists of four young women (Liberty Bear, guitar, Violet Flare, vocals, Deo Demure, bass, Chris Blades, drums) who formed the group to present an alternative sort of women’s band. Liberty “ We’re totally different to Foreign -Body — the only similarity is that we’re all women. We get a different audience to Foreign Body.” Violet “ We get all types.” The feminist crowd isn’t their band-wagon and their music doesn’t have any strong political message. It’s a matter of writing and playing about anything that inspires them. Liberty “ We have this song called “ She’s OK" — the feminists love it because they hear “ She’s OK, leave her alone” . But it’s really about a junkie.” Deo “ You Can’t deny half an audience. Anyway, we’d lose a mixer and a roadie if we were separatist.” On first impression the Screaming Jennies could appear to be a Punk revivalist band, but on closer examination it becomes evident that they’re not. Deo “ Punk. That’s just a label we’ve got since we started playing. Punk’s dead.” Chris “ It’s just the clothes we wear, we can’t afford anything else. I’m a trendy at heart.” ______

The name Screaming Jennies was being thrown around in certain circles about four months ago. They played at a few parties and a psuedo-cult following soon developed. Deo “ People expect you to be an all women’s band with a political message, or to be a psuedo heavy metal Girlschool type of band. They don’t get that.” The band calls it “ screaming music” , it’s fast and danceable with songs like “ Close Enough to Kill" and “ Ow! Fred". All of the members write material, making their repetoire almost entirely original, Alf Omega’s song, “ Skag” , is one of the few covers they play. When the band comes on stage the first thing that strikes you is the vocalist, Violet. Every time she gets up on stage she has a different image. One recent afternoon at the Uni she had bright magenta cropped hair. The previous week at Sinatra’s she looked like Johnny Rotten. Violet “Yeah, it’s going to cost me a fortune in hair styles, but it’s good to change otherwise it gets boring.” Violet must be considered as something of a discovery. This is her first band, but up on stage her crazy personality comes across radiating with confidence. Violet “ I like to jump around a lot, but I do tend to hide behind the microphone. Once ' get used to it I’ll venture out.” The band is still young, with all the problems associated with that state, but they have the musical originality and competence to show the cynics that feminists can play music without alienating 50% of the popula tion. “ Three little ladies got the night wrapped up Three little ladies had enough crap.” Violet “yeah, chewy on your boot.”

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Eva Beauclerk ROADRUNNER

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2nd LP “GLEBE ” OUT NOW NOVEMBER NOVEMBER NOVEMBER NOVEMBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER DECEMBER DECEMBER DECEMBER

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- 14 -

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LRG 094

GREEN EMI RECORDS AUSTRALIA

Manufactured and Distributed by EMI (Australia) Limited

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ROADRUNNER

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SYDNEY CANBERRA MELBOURNE ADELAIDE MELBOURNE SYDNEY BRISBANE SYDNEY NEWCASTLE


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The Ballad of Marianne Faithfull

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by Keri Phillips “ This will make you laugh. This is my ‘up’ record. How about that!’’ Marianne Faithfull is in New York, talking about her new album, Dangerous Acquaintances. That Marianne Faithfull is talking about anything at all may come as a surprise to many who followed her unsteady progress through the sixties, reported with lip ­ smacking detail in the international press of the time. Faithfull, product of an aristocratic but impecunious English upbringing came to public attention during London’s Swinging Sixties. In 1964, when she was 17, she was “ discovered” at a party by Andrew Loog Oldham, then manager of the Rolling Stones. Several hit singles — As Tears Go By (written by Jagger/Richard), Come and Stay Woth Me, This Uttle Bird and Summer Nights — gave her brief pop success. But it was her romance with Mick dagger that really pulled her into the public eye. By 1965, she had left her artist husband and was living with dagger, then in the final stages of his relationship with Chrissie Shrimpton (sister of dean, who scandalised Melbourne when she appeared at the Mel­ bourne Gup in a mini-skirt and without stockings or gloves). Faithfull was quickly

sucked into all the outrage that surrounded the band in those days. Although it’s hard to imagine now, with the Rolling Stones firmly ensconced in the international jet set estab­ lishment, in the sixties the band was re­ garded with horror and fear by all rightthinking persons. (There effect was rather like that of the Sex Pistols just over a decade later). As symbols of depravity, they encour­ aged drug-taking, sexual promiscuity, anar­ chy and . . . growing your hair. Brian dones, Mick dagger and Keith Richard(s) and their close friends were subjected to police harassment and sensationalised drug busts and trials. Although the band members themselves seem to have survived reasonably intact (except for Brian dones, of course, who was found dead on the bottom of his swimming pool), those who got close to the band often paid heavily for their place among those shining stars. For example, Anita Pallenberg, one-time girlfriend of dones and later long­ time amour of Keith Richards, seems to have disappeared into a heroin-dominated twilight world, emerging recently once more onto the front pages of the afternoon tabloids when a young man shot himself in her bedroom here in New- York.. ^ .

(A book called Up And Down With The Rolling Stones by Tony Sanchez, better known as Spanish Tony, for many years the drug dealer for both dones and Richards, will give some insight into the suffering of those within the Stones’ orbit. It is possibly the most badly written book I have ever read, and most of the specific information must be taken with a grain of salt, but the overall picture presented probably does approximate the truth. The book is available in Australia and the U.S., but because of more stringent libel laws, is not published in Britain.) Marianne Faithfull certainly seemed to lose much more than she gained from the association. Heroin addiction and suicide attempts clouded her years with dagger. When they came to Australia in 1969 to appear together in the film Ned Kelly, Marianne Faithfull took an overdose of sedatives in her hotel room and spent the rest of her time in the country hospitalised, and hounded by the press. She dropped from sight when her relation­ ship with dagger finally dissolved later that year, and even though she is obviously still nowhere near on top (she has a court case

pending in England on a heroin charge), her reappearance two years ago with an album called Broken English and now another. Dangerous Acquaintances, shows she’s not fo the count. out for Broken English stunned everyone (the music press in particular) and garnered healthy sales. Gone was the wistful little girl singing supplicatory love songs. Here was an emotional and honest — but tough— woman singing in a voice evidently abused by too many cigarettes and too much booze. The last track on the LP, based on a poem about sexual jealousy by Heathcote Williams, Why D’Ya Do It, was considered too forthright by Australian record company execs (who were also worried about a repeat of the expensive court case over the Skyhooks’ song Why Don’t You All Get Fucked) and they dithered about for some time while import copies of Broken English did a brisk trade. Faithfull had refused to let them “ bleep” out the “ offen­ sive” words. The success of the single The Ballad of Lucy Jordan forced the record company’s hand and they released the record with nothing but empty grooves for the last song. (The grooves were literally pres­ sed in the vinylj but there was no sound iri ROADRUNNER

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them. Perhaps it was so that when people looked at the disc, they wouldn’t feel they had been short-changed). Broken English is a difficult record to follow. Not only was it surprising that Marianne Faithfull had actually re-emerged on the music scene, but it was even more amazing that she had done so with one of the best albums of that year. It was hard to imagine that she could again meet the standards she had set on Broken English. Dangerous Acquaintances obviously cannot shock us in the same way. And although there is nothing on it that is likely to be as confronting and controversial as Why D’Ya Do It, the lyrics, almost all composed by the singer, do present us with some of the difficult aspects of life and relationships that are not often dealt with in pop/rock music. (She says, in explaining the two year gap between records: “ I write about my life, myself. Things have to happen before you can write about them, so it takes time.” ) Most of the songs are written in collabora­ tion with one or more of the members of her band — Jo Mavety, guitar, Barry Reynolds, rhythm guitar, Terry Stannard, drums and Steve York, bass. The song Intrigue, written by FaithfuH’s husband, Ben Brierley (who is a member of the band the Blood Poets, and contributed the song Brain Drain to Broken English), looks, at the time of writing, to be a hit in Britain, which Marianne Faithfull says is “ rather nice” . She adds: “ It’s always been very difficult for me to be accepted in England, for some reason.” Barry Reynolds turns out to be a touchy subject. His name appeared in song-writing credits on the two most recent Grace Jones LPs (she is, like Marianne Faithfull, signed to Island Re­ cords), and he figures in the writing of six of the nine numbers on Dangerous Acquain­ tances. Faithfull has just discovered that her name has been left off the song-writing credits for the closing number on Nightclub­ bing (I’ve Done It Again), which she says she wrote with Reynolds. Faithfull is obviously upset: “ People think I’m so stupid. They go so far, and I don’t care, and I don’t care, and I don’t care . . . and then suddenly it comes down. Barry came out of nowhere. I found him on a street corner, and that’s why it hurts.” She is considerably more cheerful when talking about Steve Winwood, who worked on both her last albums. “ In a way,” she says, “Broken English was pulled together by Winwood. If he hadn’t come in and done all that magic/stardust/glitter/sparkle, it wouldn’t have been like that. Fortunately this time around it didn’t need that, because he was busy working on his own album, and then, when the time came for him to do his stuff on

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my record, he’d just returned to London from a particularly gruelling promotional tour of the U.S. and he was beat.” Winwood wrote For Beauties Sake, with Faithfull, for Dangerous Acquaintances. She says: “ Working with Steve is inspiring and wonderful and very easy, I find. On Broken English, for example, I could hear Lucy Jordan in my head, but I couldn’t play it. I remember I told Steve — I can’t recall how I actually did it, but I put it across to him how I saw it — and he just knew exactly. For Beauties Sake took longer. We worked on that for three days, and then he made me learn how to sing it.” She laughs. “That was the best bit — singing lessons from Steve Winwood. How to phrase it — ‘No, this is where you breathe.’ Oh, it was wonderful.” Dangerous Acquaintances deals largely with the darker side of human, especially romantic, relationships — as well as the passage of time and growing older. A sample of the lyrics will give you a rough idea: “ Where did it go to my youth/Where did it slip away to/fiho was it told the truth — the bitter truth/fihe truth we didn’t want to know” (from Truth Bitter Truth). “ I’ve noticed how few emotions stand the test of time/fieelings come, feelings go and the days are fine” (from Tenderness). “ I find it really hard to write love songs,” Faithfull explains. “ I suppose it’s got something to do with the desire not to be soppy, to keep an edge on life. My love songs are Sweetheart, Intrigue and Truth Bitter Truth.” She laughs. “ I tried, I really have tried — but that’s life. You remember the story about Pandora’s Box? Right at the bottom is Hope, and that’s really all we’ve got.” Although the singer includes Sweetheart in her list of “ love” songs, it’s more an assertion of independence and separate­ ness than anything approaching what one normally thinks of as “ romance” . Indepen­ dence, she says, is “ frightfully important” , and continues: “ It just finishes me off, not being independent. I like to have my own money, my own space. I always have. Perhaps because I was poor as a child, I don’t know. Perhaps because I’m just like that.” The new record, like Broken English, w ^ produced by Mark Miller Mundy, not a well-known name in producer-circles, but Marianne Faithfull interprets a question about his "background” as referring to his family. “ He’s sort of English upper-class hoo-ray,” she replied. And then: “ He doesn’t really have a musical background. Broken English was the first thing he ever did. He’d worked a bit at Island. He’d done something with Third World (the reggae band), but it

One of the films Faithfull has appeared in never came out because it wasn’t good had never been released. It is Kenneth enough.” Anger’s Lucifer Rising, in which Faithfull Faithfull sees Broken English and plays Lilith (dagger was also supposed to Dangerous Acquaintances as two-thirds of a appear but withdrew and was replaced by his trilogy. Although not displeased by Broken brother Chris). Marianne Faithfull describes English, she thinks this latest release is the the experience: “ Kenneth took me to Egypt better album. She does admit to being surprised by the success of Broken English : and put me in grey make-up and a grey “ I was really thrilled that it did so well and I chiffon nun’s dress, crawling about in a would have been very upset if it hadn’t, but I cemetery with a skull covered in Max Factor blood.” Anger was not pleased with the knew it was good. And it would have been most unfair if it hadn't been successful. That results and the film was never shown. (Anger, whom Faithfull describes as “ very would have meant the last ten years were a weird” , is reputedly involved in Black Magic, waste of time, which wouldn’t have felt so and Sanchez, for what it’s worth, claims the good.” Stones came into contact with him as a result She says that most of the reviews of the of their own dabbling in the occult.) new LP have been favourable, although It is possible to see Faithfull’s problems there have been some mutterings about it being “too commercial” and that she has and crises of the sixties and beyond as the result of her induction as a naive schoolgirl “ sold out” . She responds: “ I don’t make elitist into the debauched and drug infested life-atrecords — at least, not yet anyway. I don’t wish to. I don’t want to make cultural ‘snob’ the-top-of-the-pops with the Rolling Stones, records. I love pop music and rock because it 'b u t she sees things differently: “ if I hadri’t done all that, I would never have got all this cuts across these sorts of barriers. Broken English, to use a dated term, blew peoples’ together. I’m obviously a very late developer. It has taken me a very long time to learn how minds completely. I did not just want to make to do it. The earlier I got involved the better, or ‘Son of Broken English’.” I would have been forty by the time I got it As for live work, Marianne Faithfull says together. Thank God I got into it at 17. I’ve she’d like to do “ one big world bash” . “ I do not wish to go to hell on the treadmill of been in it for 17 years now, and I’m still only 34.” terminal touring,” she continues. “ I reckon on As for her future, she says she will always one really excellent world tour, which is be interested in music: “There are three tentatively happening in March. I wasn’t great things that I really love — that cut prepared to go on the road with only one album, because my boredom thresh-hold is across everything. One is music, another sex, and the third is vision. — pictures and very low. I don’t want to have a limited films. But then, on the other hand, I have my number of songs to sing.” life to lead and I’m not going to get on the If the tour does come off, she’d like to treadmill, as I said. I’m going to make some include some of the other musicians featured records, but then I might do anything. I’m on Dangerous Acquaintances in the touring rather unpredictable.” Does she ever think band. These include veteran British players about the past? “The human brain has this Chris Stainton, Neil Hubbard (‘^He’sthe only wonderful mechanism,” she replies, “ this person in England who can do the old ‘Steve sort of ‘natural editing’. I forget an awful lo t.' Cropper Chop’, says Faithfull referring to the mainly remember just having fun, actually. guitarist with Booker T and the M.G.’s) and And I’m lucky, I did get out in time — just Mel Collins — who have worked over the about. It was a very crazy period, but it was years with Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, great and it wasn’t so useless, in a way. Oh, I Kokomo and King Crimson. don’t know. I don’t believe in yesterday.” She What about Marianne Faithfull’s fledgling laughs. acting career? In the sixties she appeared on While Marianne Faithfull may not. be stage in Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Ham­ interested in sifting through her past, she let, with Nichol Williamson — and took the says the English press keeps offering her lead role in a film called Girl On A Motorcy­ large sums for a look at her private life. News cle. “ It was fine early on when 1 did the of the World recently offered her 160,000 Shakespeare and the Chekhov,” she says. pounds, and every time she refuses, they “ Then it just turned into cheap exploitation of raise their bid. She laughs about Up And my name, which I didn’t want. Also, it’s a very Down With The Rolling Stones and thinks it’s snobby world. I didn’t go to drama school, a “ fine irony” that their dealer should have and it must be very difficult for straight actors been the one to write their biography. to work with me. I realized I can act in my Faithfull, however, is not interested. She music. I’d much rather act on stage singing uses her life in her songs, she says — that’s Why D'Ya Do It or Lucy Jordan.” her life story!


^ BEA I

th e m etbo n o m k

P LA V

w it h t h e

by Tyrone Flex

Melbourne has for some time been the Australian music scene’s hub of stylised experiment and self-conscious image. The Boys Next Door immor­ talised the movement, but refused to stay part of the brief buzz/quick death syndrome, Birthday Partying on into wider circles that quite rightly regard our dry piece of turf as just another Genesis, it being how you Exodus that counts. But things never stay static or depressed for too long, as much as the desperate pessimism of late 1980 might have convinced many tourists, (’yours truly’ being one of them), that all was indeed lost and ‘not happening.’ A murmur of hope, or at least a better atmosphere, seems to be growing — not quite the sort of thing to put ‘the old days’ to rest, but cassette and vinyl releases are finding their way back on to the counters and a double fist full of bands worth their salt are strutting the boards. One unit you aren’t likely to find pumping the Jump Club, but who have a ‘long awaited’ album on the shelves, is the Metronomes. The associations are obvious and yes, they do use a basic metronomic beat and they’re ‘pseudoelectronic’ when it comes to sound sources, but that’s where the regimented pretensions end. The Metronomes as they stand today are: Alister Webb and Andrew Picouleau as founding members, and Ash Wednesday (ex Models) as the synthesist who came to dinner and stayed for breakfast. A compact interface of talent, 3 being a good working number for those taking the ‘technobeast” by the horns but not wishing to become introverted one-person computer programmes. The history of such a unit will almost inevitably include references to the struggle toward a ‘new freedom’ in musical expression, and to breaking boundaries and cliches set by previous phenomena. Such tales outline internal pretensions and external assumptions, but, as became obvious in a recent interview with Al Webb, these things are often just confusing distractions. Initially Andrew and Al at a party for intending name-droppers at Ross Gardiner’s. Al: “ I’d been doing some home recording on a 4-track I had, using a metronome to keep time. It was an instrumental, something that had been floating around for such a long time. I mentioned to Andrew about it and he had a few instrumentals as well. Somehow we decided it would be a good idea to release a record with a metronome as the rhythm section, Andrew doing one side, me doing the other. At that stage it was still pretty chic to record quirky singles.” Such a project seemed inviting on more than just the angle of aural simplicity. Both initiators had been through the old Rock’n’Roll wringer and had experienced the various bad tastes that band politics can leave. Andrew had just left Secret Police (who mutated into Little Heroes) and had recently joined the Pop Gun Men, who had been, and who later mutated back into X-Ray-Z (now signed to Mushroom). Al had paid a few instalments on his dues in a relatively unknown bunch called Streetlife, but had wandered the bitchy maze of Rock Journalism long enough to know the feelings of frustration. And then there’s also the problem of the live/studio mismatch, prompting the obvious reply. Al: “ You get into a rut. Bands have a certain line-up on stage, they’re limited by what they can do and they all want to play at the same time. Every song tends to sound the same. On their albums they try and reflect what they do live. They’ve got these stylistic limitations, ruts they can’t get out of, whereas the freedom we’ve got is way beyond that.” The original metronome idea developed apd softened into two single sides very different in basic style and use of extra rhythmic elements. Al’s reminds me of a spaghetti western soundtrack and Andrew’s is a bass-orientated melodic meander. Al: “ It was more a ‘two man show’ in those days. Whoever’s side it was, had total artistic control. As it turned out, I didn’t play on Andrew’s side at all and he didn’t play on mine. My side was just myself and Ash who came in as a friend to do the session. Andrew had a couple of guys from the Pop Gun Men in on his side. I’d been trying to find ways of working with Ash ’cause I liked his ideas, and it was the perfect opportunity.” Both sides are quite worthwhile turntable fodder, although very little interest was forthcoming from the sleepy record buying public (nothing new!). Al: “ I can understand that. It was a bit glib at the time, although it wasn’t like anything else out then. The second single did suffer a bit from what was happening at the time. By then Ash had become a full-time Metronome. (Ash helped on both tracks). “A circuit iike m e" and ‘‘d o se d d rc u it" — it was the first time we’d ‘gone electronic’, using drum machine and synth, but in between when we’d recorded it and when it appeared, the Gary Numan thing had got a bit out of hand and there was a backlash toward anything consciously electronic, and that (single) was ‘superconsciously’ electronic. All the words were ‘floppy disc’ and that sort of jargon. To us it was very funny, but everyone who heard it said, ‘Here we go, more computer talk.’ ” I’m not sure how much notice was taken of this single, and in some ways, probably the less, the better. Electronics aside, there isn’t the same fresh enthusiasm evident in the debut, and the whole computer thing is still as trite as it was then. Skipping from the first single to the album gives a much more flattering sense of the Metronomes positive potential. All financial matters held in hope, it was now time for the grand slam, to throw in the whole kit-and-kaboodle and come up with an album. Basically a ‘Whatever we decided to do we did, given the limitations’ affair with as much

diversity of “ feel” as possible. Al: “ It cost $1,300 to record the whole album, less than most singles, and the only equipment we had was Ash’s Odessey, by Mini Korg, a Roland Strings and a DR-55 drum machine (unmodified), plus bass and guitar of course. We borrowed a sequencer for one track. It was a very small studio, just an 8-track, and the guy who did the engineering was totally ’freaked out’ by the whole thing. To give you an idea, I walked in the first morning before the other rolled up and he wanted me to hear this “ great recording” he’d just done of this country group that he was really proud of. Here am I, a bit nervous, thinking of different approaches to make to this album work, and he plays me this country track. I had to get him to take it off half way thru, before I had a breakdown.” Considering the restrictions and pace that had been set 6 hours total practice time and 100 for recording, there were “ almost zero artistic conflicts” and very little time wasted in fruitless experiments or mucking about. Al: “ For the first few days he (Rick, the engineer) didn’t know what hit him. We were doing things like overdubs without hearing any playback. He started coming around to it in the middle, and by the end I think he may have even started enjoying the music, although that may be taking a liberty. As far as we were.concerned, that tension was good in a way, another chance element. He’d suggest something and we’d'end up saying ‘That’s very nice Rick; but what we want is the exact opposite!’ It was a real learning experience.” The Metronomes work on a well defined power base. He who writes or conceives has final artistic say, although much mutating and experimentation goes into each song’s development. Al: “ It works in two basic ways. Andrew’s composition credits are just 3 complete songs. He had them worked out so we did some rehearsal. We worked fairly fast and inspiredly, rehearsing 2 or 3 (prewritten songs) and writing 2 or 3 in the rehearsals. A couple of tracks came together while Ash and I were vyaiting for Andy to arrive (at the studio), he was always late.” Methods encouraging mutation and such in the Multiple Choice sessions were not new but the clearcut simplicity is worth more than just passing interest. The idea of overdub­ bing without hearing any other overdubs, only the basic bed track, can produce “three ideas usually miles apart and for that reason, they tend not to conflict with each other.” The technique has been used by Brian Eno since ‘‘Here come the Warm Jets," an album also done on 8-track, if the comparison means anything. Another classic piece of studio-style experiment involved a track finally known as ‘‘Hey Coach." Al: “That was originally intended to be just a track of guitar feedback, with maybe one, or two other sounds floating through it. We had a little bit of tape left on the multi-track and wanted to find out how much tape there was. Ash happened to be in the studio in front of a'm ic­ rophone and he started this rave on these lyrics he’d been fiddling around with for another song. At the same time the Korg was on and I was hitting any notes I happened to hit. This went down till the end of the tape and we decided to save those two tracks and just put the guitar feedback and

stuff around it. As it turned out, it was just perfect, so it became a Wednesday/Webb composition — really satis­ fying and when you hear it, it sounds a coherent track. With chance there’s always that accept/reject factor, and you should use chance to expand your ways of thinking (a dose of the ‘laterals’). But you need prods to stimulate, like the Burroughs cut-up method of writing. This was all done consciously, the ideas weren’t just covertly absorbed.” On this line of thought, the question of art vs. pop will no doubt raise its hideous head. Al: “ It’s always fighting somewhere in the middle. Most good pop albums have got some element of sophisticated thinking, in some cases it’s maybe more overt. Ours may be pretentious, I don’t know. I’m expecting some people to say there are bits of pretension on the album, but that doesn’t particularly worry me. You could compare it in a sense, with David Chesworth’s album. It seems to me he’s set out specifically to create something which is a very arty album. It’s very well executed, an extremely good album, but we just set out to get some good songs down and make the whole thing a little left of centre. There’s no direct philosophical statement on anything at all, just fairly acces­ sible pieces of music given an unpredictable edge. That’s what we all like most about music.” Since the actual recording, late ’80, the Melbourne ‘at mosphere’ has expanded and changed, as such things have a tendency, and there were many fears that Muitiple Choice would arrive a little too late. The album had been held up due to “ problems getting it manufactured,” but guess if 9 months works for human beings there’s a chance the effort may not be wasted. Al: “There are a lot of people who never really got into the Metronomes thru the two singles, but who’ve liked the album. I was surprised. I was expecting a lot of negativity in Melbourne, there being that ‘hometown’ thing, like at RRR where people know what’s going on, they know everyone in the band personally, so it doesn’t seem as important as if the record come from ‘outside.’ They perhaps take it a little more seriously because it’s an album.” The release itself, a B.Y.O. ‘party’ at the Prince of Wales in St. Kilda, was a trifle on the lifeless side, but then most parties are when you know too few people and even those you do ‘just popped in to make an appearance.’ It was a good chance to listen to the ‘artifact’ thru a largish stereo and Al was right, it is a reasonably diverse set, although the ‘low’ spots did tend to fade into oblivion at times and still do on further listening. For a more direct review, flip thru to the appropriate section near the end of this glorious little publi­ cation. ’Nuff said. As for the Metronomes’ future, things look as ‘chancey as some of the recording techniques. Ash seems to feel the whole thing was something that worked well at the time, but who’s future depends somewhat on Multiple Choice’s re­ ception and the state of his busy life. I was unable to find Mr Picouleau in time, but Al’s position seems similar, if not a mite more positive. Like many ‘hopefuls’ I’ve met in such positions, he’d like to move away from the R’N’R retrace into something a little less neurotic and more lucrative, like advertising jingles or film scores — hopeful’s not quite the word. As they say in some circles, “tch, tch, tch . . . ”


HUNTERS AND

Normally I come to grips with a band — know what it’s trying to do, the way it’s going about such things, and whether or not they’re succeeding — after seeing them about twdce. Then (sadly as far as I’m concerned) my interest in theni seems to fade. Unless they are some remarkable chameleon of musical verve and intent (and there are a few such as Teen Beat and Laughing Clowns) I tend to let the memory of what they’ve taught, and hopefully blessed me wdth, suffice. There’s no point in continually seeing an artist or group of artists once you’re at home with what they’ve created. Futile habits for futile lives. That was the basic process I originally went through with Hunters and Collectors. After a couple of sightings I, though greatly impressed and dearly in love with the sound the boys in the orchestra were putting out, was full of what they had to offer me and I quietly slipped out of their regular coterie of followers who are, believe me, a veiy dedicated bunch. Then again, the band has become a fashion in itself. They have been acclaimed across the board by media and public alike. A more picturesque cross section of fans y ou ’ve never com e across. Since the ban d ’s inception into the live circuit their gigs have been (and still are) the place to be. And the fracas shows no signs of dying down. The hype for the band wasn’t so much a pre-gigging phenomena but piore something which was waiting to explode. As soon as that first gig was over the dam, burst and the word spread thick and fast that this band was not just THE band to see but, in fact, it would prove to be the whole goddamned scene! I haven't seen an article yet that has pushed the angle that Hunters and Collectors are the arbiters of a new rock court, where to be seen seeing is all th a t’s required of one. Yet that is certainly one of the factors that keeps people coming to see the band. However Hunters and Collectors need no postures to redeem their stance, nor do they rely upon any cliquey colour tones to brighten up their performances. They, their instruments, the music that is urged out of their souls in spinning, controlled six minute cyclones of cerebral motion and the feeling that is created by the music (not the response — though if you haven’t been part of that then y o u ’re really missing out on something) is all that’s required in such a sparkling new faction of noise. The wares they exhibit are, ironically, these days often secondary to the party they create. Anyway, it happended that after a period of about two months during which I didn’t see the band (going without hearing them is an impossibility as their three song tape has been imbedded in the upper reaches of 12

ROADRUNNER

3RRR’s playlist since it was released) I came across them supporting Teen Beat (or was it the other way around?) at that now famous venue the Oxford Hotel (recently and cruelly taken out of the hands of enterprising independent and good looking promoter Chris Hodges to be made into another agency time waster). The night’s entertainment was a fascinating blend of Teen Beat’s scratchy, semi-electric disorganisation and the vibrant calculated bell tones of Hunters and Collectors. Obviously Hunters and Collectors had matured a great deal in the time my eyes went looking elsewhere for excitement. Their set had changed and the songs had grown. Subtleties were more precise, the beats were becoming more attractively intangible and most noticeably, the sound had become edgier. With the confidence the band had picked up from their gigging there was a steadier approach to the music. They were more walling to stretch out, improvise, and manufacture optimum results from the minimum of material. The funk was so incredibly hard in places I had trouble keeping my stomach flexed to protect myself from the thumping. The band was making truth out of John Archer and Greg Piranha’s claim a few months ago that their funk was better than that which you’d find being played by slick cabaret musicians. One of the reasons being that virtually none of the band were, technically, very good musicians — Doug being the exception. Fact is, their music was beginning to show off their common sense. Intrinsic weaknesses inherent in the guys’ m usical knowledge were being smartlyj emphasised and successfully explored and exploited. So instead of staying clear of the band I decided I had better let up my blinds of preconceptions, get off my high horse of expectations and make a stab at view'ing the m usic with an eye for its heart by confronting the boys and examining their creations a little more closely.

THE FUNK IDEAL L e t us not forget a very im portant premise concerning all perfect funk music, and one which is directly applicable to this band. That is, though there may be an intellectual effect from the music and an intellectual approach is fair when examining the sound, it cannot be stressed enough that funk comes from a basic human urge that manifests itself at its most successful when the sound, the people who relay

that sound and the people who receive it join up in a sort of total communion which makes a scene of the sound, an exp erience of give and take. It’s an unconscious gamering of the senses which are lifted up, taken aw^ay and w ashed out by way of a quasi-physiccil cathartic process. Hunters and Collectors go closer to achieving this state than any other I know.

IVIAKING SENSE H aving once said that, however, it must be made clear that the sole route to this state of being need not necessarily be one of straight, traditional funk as far as music is concerned. The perfect funk does it but it doesn’t have to be that particular musical form to achieve it. The mentcdity on which the premise operates is the most important factor in its existence. Things have got to be thought out, made clear and be tailor made to share. There must be a willingness to improvise, let the audience show its form and affect the craftsm en aspiring to become artists. Hunters and Collectors have proved themselves to be craftsmen unique; but for them to become artists unique there must be a rapport between them and the audience. The form requires it. The sound demands it. And the individual variation and combination of forms the band has moulded into their own liew broth su cceed s in achieving and communicating it. Greg: 'The audience is just a continuation of what’s going on onstage”. Mark: “The principal aim is to involve the audience in a general way with what we’re feeling towards each other when we’re playing r-eaUy well. We work hard at that every gig. Which doesn’t deny that something’s bound to go wrong. It just might be a bad night. “But we’re running a much more genuine risk of ailing than a lot of other bands simply because we depend so heavily on everything between each other. So I reckon, in a lot of ways, we’re more self-abdicating in being stars than a lot of other bands and yet people seem to think because it’s so tightly organised stnjcturally we are kind of removed in some way. “But I think it works in the opposite altogether.” Though some audiences I’ve seen have been slow to respond to the call ultimately all have come around, looked up, and aroused in themselves the innate desire to become involved in the action, a part of the art, and catalyst to the explosion of the senses. Hunters and Collectors collate and contrive into a single solid form; senses of wonder, illusion confronted with those of fact

Jj


COLLECTORS and force. Contradictions and affirmations all condensed into something that refuses to lie down. The band has observed, is involved, and is at times projecting something of what will eventually come to pass. Hunters and Collectors are articulating more than mere substance, theirs is a journey into the spiritual as much as the physical. Perhaps their records will forgo their need for response to reach their highest peaks (already the previously mentioned tape, has shown promising signs). For the moment, to reach their most significant pitches, they need us — though not half as much as we need them. Anything that delves into man’s ill and unformed unconscious as this band does deserves our support.

FUNK OFF! D ou g : “We don’t want to be a funk band. I don’t play funk rhythms. I use elements of funk and I use elements of all sorts of things. But I don’t want to be a straightfunk drummer. None of the members want to be straight anything. We all use various influences — naturally, and basically if w e’re producing funk rhythms then the only way to make it not funk is for me to straighten up the drumming. “And vice versa. If I’m playing a funky kick drum riff then we tend to steer clear of having a funky hi-hat or bass or guitar. That’s why you can hear funk wash through it without ever being upfront. "We don’t play a distinct style. We use bits of them. The vast majority of us are just so conscious of rhythm. Every now and then we sit back and listen to a tape and say it’s too funky or it’s too this or too that. But that’s just a matter of personal taste, it hasn’t turrled out the way we like it and that’s just . . . something else. “You get six people playing with various pieces of metal and wood trying to create something that is more than just the sounds individually put together. You’re trying to create something that is more than just the sounds. It involves emotions, it involves visuals and it involves people relating to us on all sorts of levels. And we wouldn’t be disappointed if everyone didn’t get that deep and sincere meaning behind each and every song or understood the way the bass and the keyboard was working in the third bar from the end. "It can work as just a dance band — but there’s more to it if you’re looking for depth.’’ "As long as they feel that listening to that song was worthwhile and better than, say, watching television. But above all as long as they feel they’ve been entertained, they’ve done something useful with their time.’’ Greg: "Hopefully they’ll feel some sort of release from seeing us. It works both ways, but I think we play to a lot of people now that don’t have the time to go out most of the week and don’t really know what records to buy. And, basically, when they go out on a Saturday night it’s their night out. But when they do go out they may be alienated from what they’re involved in and I don’t think that’s a good thing. Especially when you look at the way the whole attitude of music has gone over the last few years — there seems to have been a lot of alienation. People getting bludgeoned, depressed, hopeless.’’ Mark: “Or being made to feel as though they don’t un­ derstand something that is central to a particular band’s approach. With us I think you can relate to us on a number of levels. That’s why I think we have a certain degree of appeal.’’ Be included. Be drawn out and hoisted high. How can you resist their appeal? Greg: "Even when it’s been harsh, all the best music has always been a certain celebration, and I think that’s one of the ways in which we work.’’ Right! It’s a party, an atmosphere, a new environment for which they try and dictate the terms. Hunters and Collectors allude to much more than they’re willing to or have defined. Theirs is a magic sound because they make landscapes and ideas transpire in the mind without forc­ ing them down your throat. They aren’t obvious. It’s a dreamy creation of frequently impossible to grasp mo­ ments. Outside on skin and inside their dreams — this is sex and something only the idea of sex can ever achieve. Whilst I think Hunters and Collectors lift the audience by what I think is a sound that involves strength not facism, knowledge without didacticism, and beauty wdthout cheap sentimentality there are some whose views are conflicting to mine. When I suggested to the band that they were manipulative, implying they have a certain con­ trol over people when playing, I was confronted with a determined barrage of self defence by Mark who was sure that I was intimating that the band was something to be suspicious of and that it contained elements dangerous to the human mentality. I then explained this was not my purpose. On the con­ trary, I had meant that the band, by taldng control of the audience’s senses, did good things to them, implanting a harmony and rejuvenation in their souls. Which is some­ thing sadly lacking in the effect most bands have on people. Mark: “That word has been used to describe us in a negative way. We’ve been termed as cold and manipula­ tive. What does that mean? Is it that we, for some reason, are walking onstage playing a series of feels that are speci­ fically designed to force people to dance? I mean, it’s an absurd line of argument."

WE GOT THE RHYTHM! T h e beginning of the band was in a collection of cronies dating from past groups and shared ideologies that occupied them in preparation for the final combo .The big one — the one succeed on both an artistic and com­ mercial level with equal profundity.

Ray: “From the start we were very interested in rhythms. We seemed to be thinking about rhythm a lot and the importance of it and working a song out around a rhythm. Often they were rhythms you’d pick up off a drum machine but it had a certain feel about it. “That’s why I suppose, for me at least, a certain number of furtk riffs came in. Because they’ve got that rhythmical feel." Mark: “Something that probably stands out with us is the length of the songs. That wasn’t something we initially decided to do. It just happened very quickly, just after we all got together. That idea evolved very quickly simply because I think we had a degree of empathy which held the notion of rhythmical dynamics in common. In the initial period when we all got together so many things happened incredibly quickly. WE didn’t have any idea which way it was going to go but we knew it was very exciting.” The music wasn’t a terribly conscious channelling of sounds. The days on which the songs were written and rehearsed were the final influences on their direction. What’s on the radio influences the band. It could be one of a number of feels, for Hunters and Collectors expand their originality from a number of bases that include swing, soul, disco, chancy jazz and the affirmed rock mould (which is not to exclude anything I’ve left out — but we could be here all day). Doug: “To some extent the influences on you as a musi­ cian go back further than you are aware." Mark: “You register melodies subconsciously when you’re very young.” Doug: “The deepest influences, which are the ones that come out when you play, you wouldn’t even be aware of. ” Electricity is something modern, something now. Couple it with the natural influences of six men and you have a force both natural and relevant, concerned and aware, fragile and fractured. Within the round rhythmical housings of Hunters and Collectors’ songs we have an expressive force of a truly modern note. Not afraid to declare their cultural heritage, happy to embrace their humanity and bold enough to realise their art in invigorat­ ing* modern idiom — this is a picture rich in texture and innovative in form. When Hunters and Collectors are tension mongers is when I like them best. They become the architects of a sorely rideable sound. Sweaty palms, shivers running down my spine like sticks rattling across an xylophone — it’s in these moments my eyes widen and my eyes trip off. As it happens this isn’t the state of being most favoured by the band, though Doug readily admits it may have been this state of tension and unease that first attracted the band to a lot of people. As it turns out it was just a reflection of their nerves, their unhappiness with a gig — it wasn’t done on purpose! Oh, woe is me! What they like is cool syncopation. A brouhaha of empathatic ideas that come together in a smooth steaming ray of white hot light. A slinky and lithe beast turning out beats like they were Studio 54. Maybe they are Studio 54. Why not? Mark: “I think we’re happiest when we generate a feel­ ing of involvement amongst ourselves so that we can look at each other and know that there’s a real musical under­ standing happening. And if that builds up through the set we’ll walk off and be really pleased with it. The thing is, there’s no way of relating that to one particular person in the audience. Because we can’t account for personal opin­ ions.” Still, the band rarely fail to inject into the audience enthusiasm and appreciation. Big headed Sydney bands who get fhastrated because of the lack of response in Melbourne audiences should observe a Hunters and Col­ lectors gig. They’d be in for a rude awakening regarding Melbourne’s ability to whip up a storm of response. Doug: "We know each other well enough now to be able to say, look, that’s not good enough. It’s a process of constantly examining the material, and if it’s not good enough working on it until you find an alternative that works better. "To some extent that happens to the songs we’ve been doing for a while. Sometimes you only realise a part of a song isn’t working properly when it doesn’t work onstage.” They're determined to transform the mediocre to a stage of excellence. Perfectionists always re-evaluating their material, then being prepared to move on —■knowing how to work around each other with the minimum of fuss resulting in the maximum groove creations. They’re not reactionary people. No sound is too proud to be stripped down and improved. Things are being worked at — everything, all the time is in a state of flux. I wonder how the songs ar^ written. Doug: ““Certain songs come about in certain ways. Sometimes you’ve got an overall picture of what the song should be like and at other times you’ve got a rhythm and no idea and no idea at all what the song is going to be like.” Mark: “In irehearsal today we had this song, for which we already had a musical theme, and I had a series of lyrics which Geoffwrote so I had to begin to work the lyrics into a melody. And as the rehearsal developed we struck on a series of notes that sounded slightly disturbing in relation to the underlying instmmental. “Now in the previous rehearsal the song was incredibly simple and had a very straight melody but now it has a totally different mood to it. It’s got a lot more tension and the lyrics are very tense — sort of isolating.” Tension. Welcome home. So observe the contradiction. At once wanting, then disputing the value of tension in their music. It seems as if the perfect sound for the band is one which comes out smooth and controlled yet has that ’ol heart of darkness about it. More than one person has commented on how “black’ the sound seems. True — sometimes dangerous, sometimes threatening. You shouldn’t lack respect concerning this band. Never let them relax you because they just m/gfit have a shock in store for you beyond the next riff.

by Craig IV. Pearce. Lyrics are something the band feels strongly enough about to want to put them on their record sleeves. Live, the lyrics content is secondary to their sound but when re­ corded the separation of instruments has and will make them clearer. Geoff, Mark and Greg write the words, each with a different and distinct style. Geoff is the observer, the mor^ mundane, realist sort of writer; Greg, the expres­ sionist — images are evoked in his writing that aren’t physically there; and Mark writes about "particular work­ ing places that are symbols of emotional situations." Often the phrases are worked out in a disjointed fashion to suit their delivery and the sound textures they’re com­ plementing, so on paper the lyrics are made to look more offbeat than they actually are. And they actually are, in the accepted normal sense, different to a lot of band lyrics that I’ve read — which is only right seeing as how Hunters and Collectors think a lot differently and about a lot more diverse subjects than most “rock’ bands I’ve heard. Their mere surreality allows for them to be interpreted in different ways, one of the pleasures of art, and the unpredictability of live shows further opens up a variety of areas into which the songs may be analysed. A sense of humour is a valuable asset of this band and one which far too many people overlook. Lyrics/sound/ behaviour are quite often flushed out in quite a clever mode to keep themselves amused and their detractors confused. In Greg’s lyrica for “Loin Clothing’ come the lines, “Flesh to, flesh to Flesh to, flesh to The rag and bone man cometh’’. These words have more than a hint of erotic flavouring and a hearty dose of parody for such well-known choruses as “Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust”. Who’s the rag and bone man then? Personally I dig the satire in Mark’s “Run Run Run’ lyrics. Taste this for its flavour: “Gently as you squeeze us Your jelly beans ’ll be shocked Squeeze his Juice that ’s in us And squeeze me till I drop The general is a wiseman General is a shock Flip flop ego — we ll go now Ego flip flop. ” It concerns what I consider to be the most dangerous two men on the face of the earth at the moment. And they don’t even drink when driving over bridges.

CRITICAL TENSION I ask them do they stretch themselves, their talents,

their ideas. They reply: Doug: “As a drummer you can stretch your talents by pulling more beats to the bar than any other bugger on earth but it just comes out as a mess. Whereas I would regard stretching my talents as fitting in with what the song needs and that might be playing one kick drum beat per sixteen bars and have nothing else. It takes just as much talent to recognise what’s needed. “What you try to create is a whole. The mistake you see a lot of young bands making is overdoing it because they think virtuosity means filling up the sound and it doesn’t. It means creating something more than the sounds that make it up." Melbourne and Australia is a good place for this band — for their sakes. It allows them the freedom to pro and digress from their present form without the extreme pres­ sure such a market as England’s would put on them — where I’m sure they could migrate and have a couple of Top 40 hits under their belts in no time. Hunters and Collectors want to be and will be popular, and if the word were pure I’d call them a pop band. But seeing as how ugly connotations come with the nom de plume I’ll resist from doing so. From Australia they can strike out at the overseas mar­ kets. Theirs is an international sound, interplanetary even (they’re heaven for me), whilst stiU firmly planted in the Australian consciousness. Greg grew up with Maoris, the rest grew up here and like I said they acknowledge their past, they don’t refuse it. If you’re wondering why they’re not out and out rock like most it’s probably because they happen to be smarter than most, more daring and more aware than most. They could even be more sensitive than most but I've no wish to descend to pap to make good copy. Mark: "We’re quite self critical. We all try to do some­ thing that is new for us as individuals compared to what we have done up to that point. We also try to do things which stand up on their own.” Greg: "Each of us push ourselves to the limit of what we can do. We’re as creative as possible.” Ray says that often he isn’t capable of actually manifest­ ing his ideas into action. Theoretically it works but practi­ cally it takes time to achieve his ideas. He’s pushing. He’s working. He, like the band, is moving on into uncharted territory. That excites me. I can’t wait to be transported to their new worlds. Mark: "You can create a performance which is the exact opposite of what people expect and if they’re drunk and if they’re squashed into a really hot, small room the chances are if you push them hard enough they’re going to react negatively and mob the state. “There are two things you can do. You can do that or you can go on with the premise that you’re playing to entertain. With us there are a whole range of factors in­ volved in it. “We re trying to create things differently. We’re trying to be unique within a certain series of traditions and we try to create new sorts of sounds.” Visually, this band is as varied as their influences, each member constantly changing their stage dress with the pride and style of a young beau on the prowl and the annual masqued ball. As proud of their appearance as they are of their sound the innovation doesn’t stop with ROADRUNNER

13


m

the music. The geographical placing of the band is smart and help displace the centre of action which lead singers have held for far too long, each member capitalising on their floor space — Ray with his dancing, Mark with his prowling, John with his half yard smile, Geoff with his brooding, Greg with his unsteady mixture of composure and erraticism (should that read ‘eroticism’), and Doug, who ably gains his share of the attention with his studied and suitably frenetic approach to the drumming. All of which is dynamically perfected by the beguiling and simultaneously laser like light show. As challenging bn the eyes as on the ears. Doing their duty diffusing preconseptions. Total, baby.

SPIRITUALITY T o tal also in trying to perfect the standard working relationship. Giving themselves over in an attempt to gather strength in their unity. Here we have Greg expound­ ing his views of the verbose, sullen individuality of some in contrast to the wide eyed spirituality of the world's gener­ ally less respected races. “The best bands that have worked together have obvi­ ously been black bands. In most black races a certain amount of energy is formed in a small community when they're in an alien society. Musicians have always been used to working like that, wdth each other, because they have a common cause. They’re more interested in the community than the individual. “Most of us have been brought up to be competitive, which is a very important point. Once you start working on a rhythmic basis where you're adding something to what’s already there rather than trying to do something which wiU stand out by itself it’s your contribution rather than your incredible talent that makes the song work. “Once people start working together like that I think they’ll begin to pick up on it. And I think now it’s starting to happen more arid more and just because you’re a white person there’s no need to feel embarrassed about sharing some sort of thing that's going on onstage. It’s not a stupid cliquey ideal, it’s just the way things should work ’cause it obviously works better."

ORCHESTRA PERSONNEL

Front Right: Ray Tosti-guerre — guitar, dancing. Front Centre: Mark Seymour — guitar, bass, voice. Front Left: Jo h n A rcher — bass. Back Left: Doug Falcon er — drums. Back Centre: Greg Piranha — percussion. Back Right: Geoff Crosby — synthesiser.

Hunters and Collectors, though, as Mark said are not one big happy family, attempt, like Teen Beat and People With Chairs Up Their Noses, to work as a Unit, respecting each other. They’re not willing to walk over each other for the sake of some transient slice of glory. Conventional at times they may be accused of being, an attitude such as this is like the proverbial shag on the rock in this business/art form. ^ Maybe these guys aren't giving it all, but they’re giving a lot. Each is musically and to a large extent ideologically, financially and perhaps (though not to as great a degree as the other factors) socially committed to their joint venture. The band is their major source of satisfaction — at best an exalting release of pent up emotions and tempestuous urges. At worse a good rehearsal. Greg: The problem with a lot of so called pop music is that because it's so structured, so tight, that people fail to express their emotions. The reason, I think, why people are getting so critical these days about l3rics like, “She’s the girl for me,” is because they sound so corny. It doesn’t sound as if there’s that much emotion behind it."

SOLIDIFYING TRANSIENCIES AA^hen records come the band will insist on having fuU artistic control. At the moment a contract is being negotiated and a three-track single will be out on a ten inch disc in the near future — tracks being The Watcher,' 'World o f Stone,’ and Loin Clothing.’ They have no pre­ tences concerning selling out’ by signing to a major label.

A record is a record and money is money. Mark: “We want to explore, musically, as much of the resources the six of us have as we can. If we want to survive as a band we have to have some kind of material return for our work. We want to be able to record albums. We want to have something we can say is ours, to put on the stereo and say that’s something we’ve created. “We are trying to set up the situation where we feel we’ll have the greatest degree of access to the resources that accord us." Greg: “I’d like people all over the world to hear our Don’t worry. That doesn’t mean compromising their standards or values. This band has been smart enough to form a body that allows for growth. It has formulated ideas not only about the music, but about, commercially and multi-national wise, how it should be dealt with. Hunters and Collectors are more than music makers — they have made sense of the music industry (as much as that is possible) and are working to utilise it to their advantage. Doug: “The music’s not really recognisably Australian but then, neither is it recognisably arlywher^ else. As far as that goes you could market it anywhere equally well. Ob-' viously because it is Australian it will have advantages and disadvantages in different markets, the music should sur­ vive whatever country it’s released in." When I, and others, use the word ‘funk’ in connection with Hunters and Collectors don’t take the word too miTch to heart and forever isolate the band within that particular musical genre. They play funkily, with what Tthink is a funky mentality, but heaven forbid the line that says I dismiss every other sort of musical avenue running through their town. To grasp the gist fuUy either a sighting (preferably) or a listen is needed. To describe their sound is simply trippy whilst being enveloped in it resounds in every mind a minor moment of eye watering, self sewn definition draughting. Greg: “It’s just the overall sound we create.” Seein’ is believin’.


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S A R

V A tall, thin bespec­ tacled man lent over my shoulder, “ You know, if I ever had to go to war. I’d go with Sardine on my Walkman. They’re ab­ rupt . . . abrupt, like a big confrontation. In fact, they’re catastrophic.” The battle took place at Sydney’s Trade Union Club with one roadie down, the bass player ill, the organ malfunctioning. The small contingent of fans were greatly reinforced at half­ time when the bouncer went off duty. Definitely not a good night, thought the band, although one Sardine seemed pleased that most of the audience survived the hour and a half of “ What­ ever it was” . Sardine have been com­ pared to everyone from Magazine to AC/DC, Ultravox, Joy Division, The Cure and spaghetti western soundtracks. Seem daunt­ ing? Sure, there’s elements of everything in there but not enough of any one thing to make it easy to put the label on. Clever, eh? They attract the ritz of the blitz kids, the derge of aging adolescent punks and the unmarked inbetween. One very drunk person insisted that Sardine were great as “ they sound just like The Church. I used to work in a record bar so I know about things like this.” Comments like that make one realise the value of asking the band to describe themselves. Guitarist Ian Rylan adds to the confusion, “ I don’t know how you’d class Sar­ dine music, because that’s what it is, it’s Sardine Music. It’s modern because it’s

by Jenny Esther

being done now ., . It’s not old rock and roll, it’s not “ Modern music” in terms of com puterised drum machines and synthesiser. It’s just what we play, we have no choice in what we play. I mean, we make up a song and we PLAY it. There’s no preconcieved ideas whether it’s modern, old fashioned or whatever. I think I get more influence from songs my mother sang to me as a kid than going to someone’s place and lis­ tening to a record player.” Sardine music is very simple, very melodious. “ It usually starts off with guitar” , says Ian, “ I just play some chords and Stephanie plays the keyboard lines immediately on it.” “ Usually the first thing we come across when a song comes up ends up being the song. It seldom changes” , adds Stephanie. “ The lyrics, whatever lyrics there are, are spon­ taneous . . . we don’t write pages of lyrics then find the music to fit it or vice versa .. . We do a lot of minor stuff. It’s easy to play and they’re really nice chords — they’ve got sadness and fear.” On stage Sardine deliv­ ers swaying, hypnotic keyboard dominated pas­ sages that are overtaken by driving riffs from Ian’s gold 1958 Hagstrom. Balanced, articulate drumming from Greg Skehill and Phil Hall’s excellent bass playing complete the force. Ian’s smothered vocals drop in and out of songs that begin as catchy tunes, build up, fade away and then return to seemingly climatic levels. Visually, lighting of pastel hues add dimension to the

sound, occasional flashes of red create spark and verve. Forties inspired clo­ thing com plem ents the overall effect. “ We’re con­ cerned with production .. . we do think about the ap­ pearance of the band to a big degree as far as colours, lights and clothes go.” Sardine are said to have “ A Velvet Underground charisma” , a description Ian takes as a complinient. The band don’t promote inti­ macy with their audience through on-stage conver­ sation. “There’s nothing to say. What do you talk about? You talk after the gig in the bar or something.” Ian Rylan is a “veteran” of Australian rock having played with Band of Light, Rose Tattoo and X. Sardine is Stephanie Rylan’s first band. “ I never played until a couple of months before Sardine began. I just started playing on an organ that Ian and I bought for the children and just out of the blue we wrote a few songs. I was al­ ways very nervous about it and never wanted to play live. But when Phil and Greg played with us one day I found it really exciting and thought, why not?” Ian had invited Greg Skehill and Phil Hall to play on a demo tape for pub­ lisher John Anderson of April Music. “ It just fitted so beautifully that it really screwed up Phil’s ideas about going back to New Zealand — he was deter­ mined to go. We were say­ ing stay, this band’s going to be great. I had to trap him into staying. Over the next three days we wrote another four songs, our best songs. We thought they’d get him for sure, and they did.”

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Greg Skehill is an ac­ complished guitarist. “ He took an interest in drums six months before Sardine started. He bought an old kit from the papers or some­ where . . . He wanted to get rid of it at one stage but I needed a kit and they were harder to get than drum­ mers. The type of drum style we like seems to come from people who aren’t ac­ complished drummers but who have a good sense of feel and time . . . We’d have ‘drummers’ coming in and making a joke of the whole thing . . . Greg reminds me of an old ’40’s negro swing player — just nice and soft, it’s lovely. It’s perfect. And he’s so good looking! I’ve always played with ugly drum m ers,” (uproarious laughter) And yes folks, I’ve been assured Greg’s great looks come across on video. “ There’s been various at­ tempts by people who’ve said we want to do a film clip and it will only cost you ten grand, or we want to do one but you’ve got to go through Simon Townsend’s Wonder World and pass the strin­ gent test of being a wor­ thwhile citizen. . . Everyone talking, but nothing hap­ pening.” Recently, Sardine have been sighted cruising Oxford Street in suits adorned with bacon bones, mousetraps and fish hooks, enjoyed sipping wine sea­ ted knee-deep in the very best of rock pools and in­ dulging in occasional games of chess (using real fish pieces, of course!) This strange marine saga will be the clip to accompany Sar­ dine’s first single. Sabot­ age, backed with Sudan. The film was produced by Peter (who’s heavily into “ electronic sculpture” ) and John (“ lunatic” and collage contriver extraordinaire). “Sabotage has a similar keyboard line to a song on

the last Ultravox album. The only reasin I heard it is be­ cause someone brought it around and said listen to this — it’s Sabotage! The uncanny thing about that is that the song is called Mr X and the past three years of my musical life was devoted to the band X.” Stephanie explains that the Vienna film clip was similar to Sardine’s concept for Sabotage, “and now we’ve seen it done.” “ You wipe all that out. Six m onths of p la n n in g ... other people doing the same thing — screaming around trying to find old, elaborate houses — as usual, someone else has al­ ready done it.” A tape of Sabotage was played on Triple Jay. “ We didn’t hear it but everybody else did. They said we sounded like a rock and roll band, that was the way it came a c ro s s ... but I’m lead to understand that isn’t the mix that’s coming out. I hope n o t. . . I don’t know what happens with record companies. Unfortunately the single has been cut or pressed without us hearing it, which is a bit of a disap­ pointment.” “ It’s been a long wait. After the band formed we did our first demo at Trafal: gar for John Anderson. He was going to a publisher’s convention in Germany .. . We got six release offers throughout Europe on the strength of that demo tape. John came back from Europe really buzzing say­ ing come on, let’s go! But nothing seemed to hap­ pen.” “ Now we never seem to be able to capture the band in the studio for some re­ ason. I thought for the first time with Sardine I was going to have a band that was an ideal recording band . . . but we just never seem to have any success in the studio. We’ve done lots of different sessions in

different studios and I don’t know why we didn’t release a record a long time ago. I think our manager Lobby Loyde has been screwing around for a long time to get a record d e a l. . . Sabotage was recorded eight months ago and it should have been released then . . . A us­ tralian bands can be to­ gether for years and all that sort of stuff before anyone will take any interest.” CBS in France has more than a passing interest in Sardine. “ Phillipe from CBS came over to hear the band play. He saw us about four times. He’s really wrapped. He thinks Sardine is the perfect French band for some reason — even the word appeals to them. He’s been ringing up every m onth. Our p u b lish er’s tearing his hair out, he’s to­ ta lly freaked out by the whole thing. Why haven’t we got product? Where’s the record deal? W e’ve been in touch with Phillipe the whole time and as soon as we have a record o u t. . . ” Off to Gay Paris? “ Well, that’s where we want to go — as soon as possible.” “ For the last year we’ve been sitting around playing in the five square miles from the rehearsal room (Day Street) and nothing’s been happening at all.” Sardine will return to Melbourne in November for a second series of gigs but it will be some time before they tour Brisbane or Adelaide. At the time of writing there is still no defi­ nite release date for Sabot­ age. Sardine were to sign to Liberation Records for a prestigious one-off release deal but since then there have been some interesting murmurs of a new label. They are currently working at Central Recorders with Lobby Loyde as producer putting down tracks for an album and “ Overseas” . The Rylans don’t listen to

other people’s music very often. “ It’s nice to get away from music if you live with it . . . My idea of relaxation isn ’t coming home and turning up a record player really loud . . . For the first seven months of the band’s life together we moved into a big house in Darlinghurst and really lived out of each others pockets. The big breakdown was the record player. . . ” Ian’s personal collection “is about five Jimi Hendrix records” and he prefers seeing bands who are “ a bit bent” . “ Paul Kelly and the Dots are a bit of an exception. Paul’s music is basically straight. They’re an effi­ cient, hard rock band, but they’re bent, yeah. I prefer lots of bands I see around the local pubs in Darling­ hurst than super-efficient, ordinary bands. I’d much rather hear four people who never played before making lovely noises than boring.

efficient rock and roll that’s been plaguing record players and radios for the past ten years. There are only a few differences — a new electronic drum or something that changes it from 1974 to 1981.” “ I’ve never really clas­ sified myself as a musician. I probably started playing in bands about eight years ago but I couldn’t play. In the first band I played with quite efficient musicians, but I really couldn’t play. I’ve always been a one note player and played bass until Sardine . . . If I broke a string Td have to really think what key I was playing in and sort of fiddle around to find the same note on another string . . . but the music will always push you to whatever it is.” The “ v ” after Sardine’s name symbolises comple­ tion. “ When people ask me about it we usually make things up. One person who

found out I was from Mel­ bourne said, oh I know, it’s for Victoria, isn’t it? We said yeah, yeah, of course it is. A lot of people think it’s a versus-S ardine versus whoever — but it has no­ thing to do with that at all. It means am ongst other things completion. A friend of mine in advertising de­ signed the type face which is actually a letraset thing. He picked it out after weeks of trying to design a logo . . . he has all these cosmic reasons for putting the v on — all these reasons I couldn’t quite understand.” “ v ” -an abbreviation or symbol. Established forms of those generally preferred precede the definition: v-the sym bol fo r vanadium , a bright, soft white ductile metallic element; v-velocity; v-venerable; v-verse; vversion; v-verso; v-vice; v-vocative; v-voice; v-volt; v-volum e; vvictory..... Sardine v.

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Greg Skehill (drums), Phil Hall. Pic.

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Lindsay Dennison

RH’/THM METHOD ABANDONED: A Bitter Pill for Perth Music to Sv/allow. — by Colin Lockhart. Photos by Phil Okely.

The tone of the evening was bright, as Perth rock nightclub Adrian’s literally rattled to the sound of Rhythm Method and friends. The addition of two extra percussionists, two addi­ tional saxes, a second keyboard player and different vocalists to the band at various times gave them an enormous sound which gained momen­ tum with the hours but never became cumbersome. I stood and listened with a mixture of awe and sadness, for this was the last gig for one of this town’s most witty and indi­ vidual outfits. They went out in style, showing us that even here, and even today, rock still has the power to excite and inspire. 16

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Two days later, we sit in a tavern office and discuss the rise and fall of what was Rhythm Method’s rather modest empire. The mood is restrained now and vocalist, saxophonist and frontman Gary Eddy remarks that “ in other circumstances this may have been a holiday” , but after two years of playing Perth’s smal­ ler venues, “ everyone was a little tired and impatient” . Eddy adds that “ Perth is as good a place as any to start a band, but if you want to do anything original, you have to get out at some stage” . The consensus amongst those gathered in the room at the time was that Eddy’s comment was an indisputable truth. Rhythm Method were living proof of that. The group’s beginnings were marked by a sense of purpose and a distinctive sound. Deter­

Peter Hadley (centre, mike in hand) leads the congregation in song.

mined to play original music (a rare sentiment amongst Perth musicians). Rhythm Method built their sound around a steady and inventive rhythm section which more often than not gave them a ska feel. With the addition of Peter Hadley’s forceful keyboards work, George O’Brien’s frenetic guitar style and Eddy’s saxophone, the band proceeded to play subver­ sive pop music. Conventional sounds and statem ents were often warped or torn out of context in the name of humour, satire or parody. “We started out with the expec­ tation that people were waiting for something and that somehow the difference in our music would make it enjoyable for them” says Eddy. Bass player Scott Saun­ ders picks up on the point and comments that “we tried to chal­

lenge a lot of bad things that were around. There were too many bands taking on a standard rock’n roll outlook, and we wanted to challenge all those assumptions” . The band took their message onto the circuit of small, mainly inner-city venues which encour­ age original music here and built up a core of loyal fans. The larger and more lucrative suburban market, however, would not be moved by these idolbreakers, pre­ ferring to listen to groups who played Top 40 covers. Rhythm method set about the task of mov­ ing beyond cult status. Eddy recalls that “ one of the things that changed as we went along was that we became selfconscious and began to write songs that we thought would have commercial appeal. We became

too conscious of the audience. Saunders’ feeling is that this “ didn’t seem like a bad thing at the time, but it manifested itself later as a lim itation and everyone began to feel frustrated” . The change in direction brought some advantages as well as prob­ lems. The band played the sup­ port gig at the now infamous Perth Madness concert, appeared on the West album and began ap­ pearing at some bigger venues. The size and makeup of their fol­ lowing was not appreciably al­ tered, though. They needed more room to manoeuvre, to feel in con­ trol rather being controlled. The rum ours of a Rhythm Method split began to be heard from around May of this year. They were finally confirmed in mid-September, when it was an­ nounced that the band’s last show, wryly dubbed ‘The Debt Collector’s Ball’ was to be held on September 30. A large crowd gathered to pay their last respects and were treated to what was without doubt their best perfor­ mance. “ We burnt ourselves out play­ ing week after week after week” is Saunders’ concise summary of the band’s .struggle. Eddy nods and describes the effect of playing the pub circus as a “ simple case of alienation. You just don’t care about it anymore” . So we are left with another case of Perth’s recurrent tendency to eat its own musical babies. There may come a time when the city can accommodate a wide variety of quality original music and will no longer feel the need for the parasitic human jukeboxes which now dominate the industry. The signs are that it won’t be too long, but for the moment, R.I.P. Rhythm Method.

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IAN DURY HUMAN BEING By Donald Robertson G o L L k a ^ lx e J t.

It’s been five years since Ian Dury burst into the pop world limelight courtesy^of his ‘New Boots and Panties’ album, and the ‘S tiff’s Greatest Stiff’s’ tour, which also unveiled Elvis the sec­ ond, Nick Lowe and the engaging Wreckless Eric. The sight, for I was one fortunately enough to see one of the dates, of Ian Dury playing drums in Wreckless’ band is one of my truly treasured rock images. Un­ fortunately, after Lowe/ Edmunds, Larry W allis, Wreckless Eric and Elvis Costello, I was too over­ come with the old joie de vivre to cope with much more brilliance and spent most of Mr. Dury’s set con­ suming pints of Newky Brown in the bar.

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At long last my omission is going to be rectified. Ian and cronies, including W ilko Johnson, ex-Feelgoods and doubling the Blockheads with his own Solid Senders, Mickey Gallagher, virtually ‘the fifth member of the Clash’, saxist Davey Payne, drummer, Char­ ley Charles, bassist Norman W attroy and quiet guitarist John Turnbull, are due here in November and December with a trip to New Zealand sandwiched in between the two Australian legs (saucy!). The firs t electrom agnetic rendezvous with Mr. Dury aborted due to a mix up in telexes and the second was delayed due to Ian being in the studio until 6 a.m. the previous night. So had I as a matter of fact, but since that’s neither here nor there I’ll get on with it, shall I? First topic of conversation, after contact had been estab­ lished was Ian’s latest L.P. platter, ‘Lord Upminster’, re­ corded, with ex-Blockhead musical mentor Chaz Jankel and Caribbean ace rhythm team, Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar, in the Bahamas earlier this year. Why record w ithout the Blockheads Ian? “It was in the nature of a sabbatical,’’ he replies in his warm, brown Cockney voice. “I just thought I would learn a lot more by working with some other people. I got invited over to Nassau to work with Sly and Robbie so I jumped at it. It’s like being invited to work with Al Jackson and Duck Dunn. I had no choice (laughs) I had to go!’’ The offer came from photo­ grapher Adrian Boot, while Dury was working with Chaz Jankel on Jankel’s solo album. It was like going away to get a fresh head.’’ He definitely has a vivid turn of phrase, our Mr. Dury, I comment that it seemed a bit surprising that Ian would go off and work with Chaz

again, after Chaz had split from the Blockheads. “Well — we were never actu­ ally married to each other (I laugh) More like a series of love affairs. They sometimes burn out on ya. We’re also very close. Sometimes it feels as though w e’re doing each other’s breathing or something. “Chaz is the first person who ever gave me self respect from working with a really good musician. Every time I work with him I feel very lucky.” Ian and Blockheads are in the studio working on a single at the moment, actually one of the songs from Jan ke l’s solo album. Ian has got a few bits and pieces of songs/lyrics to­ gether but the next Blockhead album won’t really get started till after the Australian tour. The Blockheads have been working sporadically this year, although Wilko has been also working with the Solid Senders. “As soon as we come off the road — boom, ’e’s off again. He loves it.” Ian’s feelings on the topic are a little more mixed. “We’ve been doing lots of one-offs which is great. Touring — you get very very tired and switch onto autom atic after three weeks. The old cold sores won’t go away. Those little cuts you get on your hand, vitamin de­ ficiencies . . . but I suppose Australia’s warming up a bit now.” Indeed it is mate. One of the shows the band did this (English) summer was on the Royal Wedding Night. “We actually did two — one outdoors, which was organised by Ken Livingstone (left wing Greater London Councillor who the conservative British press have dubbed ‘Red Ken’). That was at Crystal Palace, and we thought we’d do one in the evening as well, at Ham­ mersmith Odeon. I sm>pose you could say one wa^ out­ doors and one was ridcoco. Whatever — I didn’t see any stags getting shot, (laughs) I dunno whether they were proor anti. We were taking some of his dairy away cos ‘dairy’ is limelight, right? We were taking a little bit of cream away from the top of his milk. We’re all very staunch royalists . . . in a Marxist sort of way.” Uproari­ ous laughter from yours truly. “We’re the Lenin’s of Windsor.”

agrees. ‘And without any grass.' ‘Upminster is the last stop on the District Line (London Un­ derground). All along the Dis­ trict Line you’ve got Bow Road, you’ve got Mile End, you got Stepney, you got Plaistow, you got East Ham, Barking, Dagen­ ham, Elm Park, Hornchurch, crash, you’re in Upminster. The last train to Upminster, the one o’clock from Becontree has always got all the drunks on board who wanted to get out at Aldgate Pump, but in fact they’re all asleep on the train. So when they get to Upminster, bang, they ail wake up and have to spend the night on the plat­ form, cos they can’t get home. Yeah, it’s well known for that.” About time for a sweeping generalization I think. Since ‘New Boots And Panties’ you seem to have moved away from characterization in your songs, things like Plaistow Patricia and Clever Trevor. You seem to be writing from a more personal point of view. “Yeah . . . in a way I don’t know if I want to do that any more, because maybe it’s more personal when it’s about some one else. You put more of your own self into it. I mean one of the reasons I moved away from characters is that I started se­ eing them on Guinness ads on the telly— talking the same way I do. It was almost as if they’d stolen my sound. And people started moaning about Cockney music, which I hadn’t even thought of when I did ‘New Boots and Panties’. And it even got to the point where some Scottish geezer came down from Edinburgh to London, sang two songs in Cockhey and both got in the hit parade. Geezer called B. A. Robertson. Elton John, the old trouper, said I was in danger of becom­ ing the Roy Hudd of rock’n’roll. A Watford comedian. So I just thought. Fuck that. I tried to become George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic). . . but it didn’t really work (laughs). So I’m moving back tow ards characters now. I’ve got one about whales — it’s called Wat­ son the Whale ‘What’s up Wat­ son, got the hump?’ (I laugh.) ‘I got one — related to Clever Trevor — its called Jimmy the Jubbly and it’s about a bloke who says a lot of intelligent

answer that by asking you a question’, things like that. “I wanna do some love songs as well. Very soft very gentle love songs, but coming from the lips . . . that are scarred from the ravages of dysentery and cider.” Dysentery and cider? I splutter “Yeah.” Laughter. “I think I need a joint.” That’s the trouble with these electromagnetic rendezvous. No physical contact.

that goes ‘place your hardearned peanuts in my tin/ And thank the creator you ain’t in the state I’m in/ So long have been languished on this shelf/ must give all proceedings to myself.’ Which is actually me waving my tin and saying ‘Put all your money in ’here’. “I did it in order to represent som ething rather than for something. I did ‘Spasticus’ to be me standing with those people and looking towards normal land. But not to be for

“I haven’t met anyone who’s not disabled in some way or another. ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ Ian. “You know the expression ‘storm in a bed cup’, I mean (laughing) storm in a teacup? Weil this is a storm in a be­ dpan”. This breaks me up com­ pletely. When I recover, Ian con­ tinues. “We actually withdrew it from sale so I could go around waving my arms about and shouting and screaming about what has happened to my re­ cord without actually being ac­ cused of trying to push the sales up. Which were to say the least,” he delivers the word with relish “slender”. “There’s a verse in the song

them. To be of them.” Was there any one thing that prompted you to write it? “Well, yeah. The Year of the Disabled really made me do it. I just don’t think about these things normally. Until The Year Of The Disabled I didn’t know I was ‘Disabled’. Two years ago I’d walk down the street and people would say, ‘Look, there goes a bloke with a bad leg.’ Now this year, thanks to the Year Of the Disabled, you walk down the street and people say, ‘Look, there goes a disabled person’. “I mean. I’m not knocking anybody, but I haven’t met

it

We’re all very staunch royalists. . in a Marxist sort of way. ” Upminster, ‘a charming little suburb town nestling in the hilly slopes of Essex’ Is, as I suspected, the part of England from whence Mr. Dury sprang. I query him about the ‘slopes’. I always thought Essex was flat. ‘Flat as a pancake’ he solemnly

things all the time, while actu­ ally meaning sweet fuck all (more laughter). Like a politi­ cian. It’s quite hard to do be­ cause you have to think of ones that sound quite convincing and mean nothing. It’s like when a politician says ‘Let me C h a rle y

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anyone who’s not disabled in one way or another. If you spent time looking for it, you could find weakness in anybody. It seems a waste of time. If you look for the good, and try to recoanise that in other people — th a t’s what everybody should do with everybody. “Some people like watching fire engines go by. Some people are mesmerized by fire engines because they think about other people’s misfor­ tune. Thinking Thank God’ it ain’t them. “It’s the person that matters not what they’re saying. In a characterization, it’s the person you try to get across, not what they’re saying. Words are only a line from that person’s mouth into your ear.’’

After a bit of chat about Sly and Robbie, who this year have also worked with Grace Jones, Joan Armatrading and on Joe Cocker’s new album (‘It’s hard — it’s Sly and Robbie playing the blues) I asked Ian about the label swap from Stiff to Polydor. “Stiff went limp,’’ he shoots back, very pleased with the pun. “So I limped away from Stiff.” More mirth. “I just felt this town wasn’t big enough for me and Madness to be on the same label! That’s what Elvis Costello thought when I joined Stiff. He ran with his tail bet­ ween his legs.” W hat’s his new country album like? “It’s fairly country. I prefer him singing original material really. Sounds like an album by

“Stiff went limp, so i limped away. What about the rest of ‘Lord U pm inster’? Are you happy with the album overall? Long pause. We both laugh. “ It’s made me wanna do another one. I hope that doesn’t sound too wanky but making a record is really inspiring your­ self to do some more work, and I really enjoy making records so . . . perhaps another two weeks would have made it more . . . I would have had time to prepare it more. I think we would have taken the music a stage further actually. I think it’s a little bit light. It’s a holiday record. There are two hard lyrics on there and the music is so sparse on one of them— Lonely (Town) — that’s it’s almost a dirge. Which is a shame, if we’d have had more time on it I think we could have structured the music to make it more revealmg. I comment that ‘Trust (is A Must)’ seemed more developed than the other songs and Ian tells me that that was the only one to be remixed. “We’re playing a lot of the songs on stage and they sound great.” ^

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someone who hasn’t written any songs this year. I may be wrong of course. “There’s always a terrible pressure to produce— from the record company and the public at large. Which is a very wel­ come pressure, because it means there’s a demand of some sort, but that pressure sometimes doesn’t allow you to produce your best work. There’s always a conflict going on between an artist and his audience. Which I don’t think “ ** you resolve by making C&W records. But there you qo.” Maybe it was just a h( toliday record for him too. “It’s being hyped as some extraordinary . . . he’s got the London Philharm onic O r­ chestra with him, at the Albert Hall, which is slightly over the top for a holiday album.” Sounds like Jake Riviera has been working hard. I“Yeah, Major Jake. I can’t think who else it would be. Anyway, I musn’t be naughtly must I?” Oh, why not? “Well, I never have, but I see that fuck­ ing Costello popped me in the Melody Maker last week, so I owe him one.” W lU kZ O

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DONALD ROBERTSON Icehouse epitomise the problem that any Austra­ lian band faces in trying to make a global impression. Working, like most bands, from a general base of influences (in this case the Bowie/Roxy/Bolan early seventies axis) they are not only liable to be grouped with all the other bands mining the same lode, but are apt to suffer invidious comparisons (e.g. Ultrabruce, Numanesque) with those same bands. The odds are definitely against critical acceptance, particularly in tired old cynical Britain. America poses rather a different problem. In the land where valium rules the airwaves, to be too original or excit­ ing is a definite no-no. And, if you haven’t heard, America is where one makes more money than anywhere else. Icehouse’s managers, Ray Hearn and John Woodruffe, being astute men, are aware of this fact, and therefore the major part of Icehouse’s overseas stay has been spent in the land of the brave and the free. The Icehouse album, given a lighter/poppier mix by Iva Davies and Ed. E. Thacker (who has also just finished working on the new Angels album, ‘Night Attack’) did pretty well, for a debut album, in the States (even though my ears still prefer the original Australian release.) In the N.M.E. ‘Icehouse’s ’ two line throwaway album review was followed up by a cruelly contemptuous live review of a gig at London’s Venue. “ I’m expecting the British to be really critical,’’ said Iva Davies when I talked to him a few hours before he caught a plane to New Zealand, the first leg of the round the world tour, nearly five months ago. “ I’m not saying it’s fair — it’s just the way it is.’’ The next time I talk with Iva it’s the day after the British tour with Simple Minds has finished with a date at London’s

Hammersmith Odeon. He’s still four weeks away from Sydney (with an American tour in between) but he’s looking forward to coming home. “ Well the thing is I’m not, generally I’m not that excited about touring. I’m the settled type. I like to surround myself with things I like. The thing was, I’d been like that for so long that I was really itching to cut every connection, which is what I did. I haven’t got anywhere to come home to. I moved out of my house and everything I have is in storage. It was like this new leg — packing everything up and living out of a suitcase for four months was really timely. I’d wanted to do it for a long time. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s only really now, being 3-4 weeks away from getting home that I’m starting to enjoy the idea of coming home. Up till now I’ve really gotten off on the idea of only spending one night in one town. I haven’t got any connections at all and I don’t even have any belongings.” Almost like an old wandering minstrel, isn’t it? “ It’s something, like when you’ve done something that’s really extreme it’s great to turn round and do the complete opposite. It’s like having a blood transfusion or something.” Iva Davies had lived in the same house for seven years before leaving Australia, and as is more or less generally known, it was that house that was partly the inspiration for the song that became the band name. When I interviewed him last year, Iva told me about the strange relationship he had with his house — other people would’nt go in the house, Iva even said it’s the kind of house that eats people. When he left, the house gave him a send off. “ The last night I spent at that house” he told me, “ I spent in candlelight. I was on the phone when I heard this strange crackling. I went to have a look and the fusebox in the house was ablaze. Just burning up. I called the council, but there was nothing they could do. It was really peculiar.” There’s something uncanny about Iva Davies. A relent-

less perfectionism, a surgeon’s precision in his crafts (writ­ ing, singing and playing) and tons of charisma. If you look bn charisma as some sort of psychic attraction, it’s not really surprising that Iva Davies has strange relationships with his houses. To recap. After Icehouse left Australia they did a New Zealand tour, flew to London, recorded “Love In Motion”, did three dates (two supporting Hazel O’C onnor’s Megahype) and then went to America. A cross country tour, including the accident in Canada that wasted $250,000 worth of equipment, then back to Britain for seven dates supporting Simple Minds. A three week U.S. tour then H.S.H. for the other way round Icehouse/Simple Minds tour. Got the outline? Let’s allow Iva to colour it in. From the top: “Love In Motion” ? “ It was something I wanted to do for a long time. It was somthing like the mix Ferry used to get on his solo albums. He’s got this peculiarly European style always but, sort of roots, American, black sound about him. It seemed like it was an accident of fate because everyone’s doing that in London now; they were’nt back then when it was recorded. We actually did it within a week of arriving in London for the first time. We had three weeks to get the gear together for the three dates we did, and we recorded the song, which I actually wrote in the flat in London. It was a pretty quick song — I wrote it all in one go. In all the reviews in America, and there were quite a few good ones, everyone of them commented on ‘Love In Motion’ which is great because normally it takes a while for new songs to settle in. It was originally written as a ‘b’ side for ‘Goodnight Mr. Matthews’ so I didn’t really work on it to make it a good band song. But it just happened to turn out really well. Everybody was in a real dilemma — we thought they were very evenly matched as songs and we wanted to put out a double ‘a’ side but in order not to confuse the radio possibilities, basically

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everyone decided it should be the A side. So there you go. “ The guy who recorded it is a guy called Steve Nye who vyas actually assistant to the assistant engineer on Roxy’s first album then ‘For Your Pleasure’, and some of the early Eno albums, ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ and he’s done all the Ferry solo albums and recently he’s been doing Yellow Magic Orchestra in Japan. He has a big history in that early Roxy thing. That was a bit of an accident too. I met him for the first time the day before we went into the studio. And he was great to work with.” America? “The shows in America were great. The only one I wasn’t really pleased with was New York, which was one of the first ones we did. I was just totally intimidated by the fact that we were in the middle of Manhattan — I was just unnerved and I had a really shaky night. But from there on we started doing really well. By the time we got to Texas, believe it or not, really peculiar, we had sell-out dates. We sold out 2,000 seaters and turned 300 away. Craziness like that. There were some really strange extremes, like we did that and things like the Old Waldorf in San Francisco which is a tiny little club — using 2 speakers for a PA and no production whatsoever. That was actually a fantastic gig — it was like playing at a party in a corner. Somehow that situation didn’t worry us at all. In fact it was really refreshing to play without any of the trappings, and play well and really enjoy and be received well. We did big shows in certain towns where we got a lot of radio play — we walked in almost as established stars, and in other places where we didn’t have any kind of profile, on air, but, as in San Fran­ cisco and Los Angeles we did really well, everyone seemed to enjoy it. “ Then we went to Canada. Canada was where we had the accident, which was a real drag. But even so we only missed one night. The quarter of a million dollars worth of gear that was written off in the accident fortunately wasn’t ours. Unfortunately it was most of Todd Rundgren’s stage

set up. It was all insured so I’m sure he’ll get his brand new gear out of it. Amazingly all our guitars got out of it un­ scathed except for one which was the one I bought from Ian Moss — the one he did ‘East’ with. But it’s not beyond repair. I did play it the next night. It’s just that half the body is missing. If we’d lost some of our key guitars it would have been a real problem but all that we lost was hired and we managed to get other gear.” Back to Britain with Simple Minds. “ The English press over here have given us a hard time partly because we had the big American sell, which was unfortunate because it built up a resentment straight away. By doing 7 really good dates we’ve surprised quite a few of them. It’s done us a lot of good to be the underdog. The hype from the American end of the company should have been stopped by the British end of the company, but it wasn’t. So I jumped up and down about it when we started getting a few adverse reactions, from N.M.E. and whatever. Since then we’ve taken a much more realistic sort of profile and we’ve just put ourselves out in front of the public and with a minimum of tinsel and said, ‘Well here it is, I hope you like it.’ And generally it’s been really excellent. It’s definitely the way it should be done.” And what about these tartan terrors who you seem to have struck up such a firm friendship with? “ Simple Minds are great. They’re really great guys and they’re uncannily like us, in lots of ways. Not only musically but as guys as well. Jim, their lead singer is an incredibly retiring sort of guy. They’re really hanging out to come over. “They’re a very moody sort of band. Most of their songs live are 7-10 minutes long. Not highly involved but they tend to set down this kind of disco rhythm and layer on top of that. “ Lots of bands over here really dipping into the same pool of resources. Starting to sound very similar. You can plot exactly what they’re going to sound like in a couple of weeks time.”

Iva asks me what’s been happening down here while he’s been away. I tell him about Hunters and Collectors, the Sunny Boys’ rapid rise to prominence. Tactics (‘They were always a potentially excellent band’ muses Iva). But not much has really changed I conclude. And I guess that’s almost inevitable in a country where a band builds up its following through live performances. Going to a concert/gig is liable to leave a much more lasting impression than hearing a song on the radio — and it’s much easier to fluke a record than to put in consistently high quality perfor­ mances. “ Simple Minds don’t tour very often at all, which is quite common here,” states Iva. “They haven’t been on tour, until now, for over a year. This is basically because it is so depressed that no-one can even think about making money. Simple Minds got the crowds they expected to and they’re still going to §nd up losing a few thousand pounds. They knew that before they started the tour and that’s the way it goes here. Just seven dates to promote their album. It’s a really peculiar set up. Bands like Spandau Ballet hardly ever appear in public.” Quite different in Australia, I comment. “The exact opposite in fact. Our thing is dominated by the live thing which is a lot more healthy.” It’ll be interesting to see you treading the boards again. “ Yeah — even though we’ve been playing all those same songs again we’ve been doing lots of new ones live. I reckon we’ve improved out of sight. It’s quite unbelievable Changed a lot of our gear and really tidied things up a lot. In fact a lot of the reviews have put our sound way above Simple Minds. Even in Glasgow, which is their home town.” So, all in all it’s been a worthwhile experience? “ The good thing about it is, I dunno why, I’ve really felt like writing a lot of songs, although I haven’t actually had the time to do that, when I get back I’ll be getting straight into it. If I’d’ve been hanging round at home I probably would have got stuck.” ROADFtUNNEFi

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SIM PLE MINDS TRAVELS AND FASCINATION by Ruthven Martinus

In what so far seems to be an intelligently planned reciprocal ar­ rangement, British unit Simple Minds and home-grown boys Icehouse are appearing as ‘guests’ on each other’s tours, first in Britain and then over here in November.^ Guess who’s headlining where?

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Though not widely known in Australia, Simple Minds are veterans of four albums, only , the last two of which — the jarring ‘Empires and Dance' and their latest ‘Sons and Fascination/Sister Feeiings Cali’ — are readily available here, due to various label shuffles. Originally signed to slick Arista in Britain, Simple Minds are now with some­ what trendier Virgin, and ‘Sons and Fascina­ tion’ (with its bonus LP ‘Sister Feelings Call’) is their first release to get the big push in Australia. The following is the result of a conversation that I had with singer/lyricist Jirri Kerr. He was in London, I was in Adelaide, and only the names and accents (Scottish and Australian) have been changed to protect the innocent . . . R.M:: I was reading some interviews and articles in recent editions of N.M.E. and Melody Maker and noticed that you’ve just turned 21. Are all the other members of the band as young as you? J.K.: Yeah, I would say that’s about a kind of average age. 21-22. R.M.: How long have you all been playing? J.K.: Well, as a band we’ve been playing together for just less than three years but individual members have been playing their instruments since they were 13 or 14. R.M.: You’ve done four albums in about two years. J.K.; Yeah. I remember one of the bands that I liked from the mid-seventies was the New •York Doils, and I remember that the guitarist of the band, Johnny Thunders, made that album when he was 19 and I thought, “ Well you know, it would be great to make an album when you were as young as that,’’ but when we were 19 we’d made two albums and a few singles. R:M.: The second one (-‘Real To Real Cacophony’) didn’t get released over here. J.K.: '\Nas ‘Empires and Dance’ put out? R.M.: Yeah. I’ve heard the first one (‘Life in a Day’) but I want to hear the second ’cos it seems that it would fill in the stylistic gap between numbers one and three. J.K.: You’re right, that’s exactly how it is. There’s a real big difference between the first, second and third albums, and ‘Real To Real’ is the kind of bridging gap. For lots of people — obviously it pisses us off when we hear it — but quite a few people tend to think there’s something we achieved on ‘Real To Real’ that we won’t be able to get again. So listen to it if you get the chance. We’ll maybe even bring a few copies out with us. R.M.: Good. I’ve read that you’d got a lot of flak for that first album. It was put down for being too derivative, but as far as I’m concerned it seems to be a fairly well done, Magazine-style pop album. J.K.: I think it’s true, we did get a bit submerged in our influences, but we still stick by that album. That’s exactly what it was, a pop album. We were trying to get some kind of edge to it, the kind of atmosphere that bands like Magazine were getting. R.M.: There’s a couple of songs on it that have links through to what you did on ‘Empires and Dance’. The beginning of that sparser style. J.K.: It’s hard for us as a band to look at our own stuff and see it. I don’t know what it is but there’s something there. Because we’re so close to the albums it’s difficult to see from the outside but what you’re saying is probably true. R.M.: Going on to the line-up of the band. I’ve seen that you’ve had a change of drummers. Brian McGee’s gone, why is that? J.K.: He just decided to leave. It’s hard because Charlie (Burchill — guitar and sax.) Brian and myself had been in the same class at school since we were fourteen. Charlie and I had never played with anyone else on drums before, so it was a bit of a set back at first, but we’ve got a new guy in now. We’ve

just done eight dates in Britain and it’s working very well, but I think Brian was special to the band. The guy we’ve got now I wouldn’t say is better or worse. I think we’ve got a slightly different sound now. R.M.: How has his introduction affected the live sound? Have you recorded with him yet? J.K.: Well, no and yes. We recorded two of the gigs, and two of the songs from those gigs will be a live B-side on the next single. It was interesting to sit back and listen to the recordings with the new drummer. Where as Brian used to play sort of sparse, this guy — Kenny Heslop’s his name — is a bit more busy. It’s not really the same as we’ve had before. I don’t know if he’ll actually join. I don’t know if any drummer will join. We’ll just leave the seat open I think, and when we come to tour or record we’ll ask different people each time. R.M.: if that works out it’ll be interesting to hear the results. If you and some of the others have been playing together since school, when did the concept of Simple Minds originate? J.K.; We were all interested in music in the early ’70’s because we had older brothers or friends who were listening to things and who played us anything from Peter Gabriel to Peter Hammill and early Roxy Music and early Bowie. By the mid-seventies it had got really stale and we got bored. At that time we all got interested in theatre, films and books and things. Even with the Punk/New Wave thing, although it was good to feel the atmosphere and enthusiasm and energy, not much .of the music did much for me personally. But then in ’78 Magazine came to Glasgow. That opened up interest in music again for us, and we decided to get a band together to play some gigs as opposed to just practising for fun. R.M.: Why did you spend so much of last year in Europe? J.K.; We first appeared in Britain in ’78 and over the next year things got bad over here for some bands and we happened to be one of them. There wasn’t any room for the kind of band we were because it was like a new fashion every week. There were the mods, ska, the whole thing. We felt really out of sync, so we went across to Europe, mainly France and Germany, playing the clubs there. Since then we’ve been there about 4 or 5 times. We spent most of last year there which culminated in us doing the support spot for Peter Gabriel all through Europe, playing in these massive Halls. As a result we’ve got a strong interest going in most of the European countries and it’s a good compliment for us, becoming a kind of international band. It’s better than staying in just Britain. The attitude of a lot of British bands is that this is the only place that matters. It’s the same with the press, they think that the only bands that are worthwhile are British bands, and that really kills me, it’s just so bad. It’s great for us now because we get the chance to go out and play in Europe, the States and in Canada, and now at last Australia. We take pride in going and playing different places, and seeing ourselves as a kind of, I don’t know, international band really. R.M.: The insular attitude of the English press seems really restrictive to me. Fairly daft, actually. J.K.: It’s terrible. Icehouse played with us on tour here, and the audiences liked them but the press, especially in London, said, “ Oh, they’re Australian, they can’t play worthwhile music.” Actually, it tends to verge on the racist. That’s probably a bit heavy, but it really absolutely pisses me off. R.M.: Yeah, I agree. How are Icehouse going down over there? J.K.; They’ve done really well. They’ve been first on and it wasn’t as if they were just the support band. They had their full production and it’s been very entertaining for the audience to have the two bands. In general in Britain a support band gets on for about 15 minutes and no-one really cares, but it was different this time. People got into Icehouse and the reaction was quite strong on a few

think it’s done them a lot of good. It’s just the press over here, they’re gonna resent Icehouse because they never discovered them, also because they’re having a bit of success in the States. That really rubs salt in the wounds. R. M.: You said that you can now go and tour the States and Canada on a decent level. How often do you tour there? J.K.iThiswill be the third time. We were there last in the Spring. We haven’t got a deal in the States with any of the major companies, so it’s sort of an import buzz. Big discos are playing bands like us. Human League and Heaven 17, and this has caused the sort of buzz that paves the way for bands like us to go and tour there, so it’s very good. R.M.: Are you looking for a deal with a large company? J.K.: We’re not really worried about it. Most record company people from the States that I’ve spoken to haven’t got a clue anyway, do you know what I mean? R.M.: I know just what you mean. J.K.iThey’re usually very very bombed out. I wouldn't like to sell our stuff to a company that doesn’t understand it. I think it’s going to take a few years for the States to learn, but they will. I think we’ll just hang back for a year or two yet. R.M.: So you’re quite comfortable with the situation as it stands. J.K.; Yeah. Also Canada’s very good. Our records are out there and there’s a good buzz. We’re playing twice as many gigs in Canada as we are in the States. The people, the press and even the radio seem that bit more in touch with what’s new. R.M.: Simple Minds don’t really get played much over here, so it’ll be interesting to see how you go down with Icehouse’s audience. The situation will be reversed: J.K.; We’re very very interested to see what happens because we’ve a different live sound, it’s so much more intense. R.M.: Your recorded sound has changed since ‘Empires’. You’ve got ‘S.A.F/S.F.C.’ out now with Steve Hillage (ex-cosmic guitarist) doing the production. J.K.; The live sound has more reality. Sometimes in the studio it becomes more polished and cleaner, but playing live for me is like a kind of exorcism. When I’m on stage it’s the only time I don’t feel shy. On stage I think we take on a lot stronger, more rounded personality than the records have shown. R.M.: The English press seems uncomfort­ able with you. J.K. They like tahave a niche to stand bands in so they can understand them and we’ve always seemed to evade that. They’ve never been able to'directly slot us in somewhere, which is great. Actually the press doesn’t matter that much to us in Britain. It seemed that ‘Empires and Dance’ gave us a strong audience that has sort of stuck with us, but the way we’ve been represented in the press — I think a lot of people have confused the honesty and, in general, enthusiasm with aggression and big-headedness, but that’s not really the case at all. I think that now in Britain you either like or hate us, there's no inbe tween. R. M.: How did the change from John Leckie (producer of the first three S. M. albums and the late BeBop Deluxe, among others) to Hillage come about? J.K.: We’d done those three albums with John and simply wanted a change. For changes sake, I suppose. The other names suggested seemed fairly obvious, you know, the trendy young producers. We were in Virgin and we heard some tapes, just backing tracks. We didn’t know who it was but the sound really impressed us, and it turned out to be Steve who did the produc­ tion. And the press even hated that, because they wanted to know what a young band like us was doing with an old hippie like him. But Steve’s not like that at all; he’s very interested in younger bands like ourselves and Joy Division and Psychedelic Furs. So we just had a chat and decided to try something. R.M.: Does he play guitar on ‘The Ameri­ can’? (There’s a VERY Hillage-like solo on

this particular track from ‘S.F.C.’) J.K.: No, unless he did it secretly when I wasn’t there, (pause for thought. . .) As far as I know he doesn’t play any guitar on the album. I think he was itching to, but we wouldn’t let him. We kept him at the desk. R.M.: Do you think that you’ll continue to work with him for a while? J.K.: It’s hard to say just now, to tell the truth. There’s been a few producers around the band recently. Tony Visconti (T.REX, Bowie) and Steve Lillywhite (X.T.C., Peter Gabriel, Psychedelic Furs) were at the London shows. Some of the other guys spoke to them but I personally didn’t. I don’t know what will happen as yet; I’d just like to sit back and see. People are getting interested in us now. When we’re not playing or doing business we stay in Glasgow, out of the mainstream, you know. So when we go down to London, people seem to come and see us, not the other way around — producers, the press or who-ever. R.M.: It must be good for the ego. J.K.; Yeah, it is. But we have to control that, or I do any-way. R.M.: You’re doing six shows over here, aren’t you? J.K.: We’re doing six with Icehouse, then we’re gonna do some on our own as well. I think that’s what’s happening. It’s being arranged now. I’m not sure but I think we’ll play for about 35 minutes with Icehouse, and double that by ourselves. R.M.: Oh, that’s a pity. I though you’d get longer. J.K.: Yeah? (According to promoters Dirty Pool, Simple Minds will actually be doing a 60 min. set — ED) R.M.: It’s not easy to categorise your music or image, unlike some of the bands who get publicity over here. People like Classix Nouveaux or Duran Duran just leave me cold. J.K.: Me Too. R. M.: They seem uninvolved and not particu­ larly convincing, but they still get the exposure. This tour should raise your low profile somewhat. J.K.; At any rate, even after this tour, I still think that we’ll be back in Australia within the next six months. I’d like to do just like we’ve done in Britain, Europe and the States; you know, go out and begin with the ‘grass roots’. It’s a much more genuine thing to do than to just.stick to massive halls. Apart from that, I reaily like to play live. Some bands just hate the touring, and they’ve got a reaily one­ sided, clichd view of the whole thing, but I love to play and to meet people who are interested in what we’re doing. That’s actu­ ally a large part of the motivation for the band. R.M.: In your lyrics you’ve got strong visual, personal images and impressions of what a place or situation has done to you. Do you travel much apart from the normal touring? J.K.: Yeah, whenever I can. The whole thing started when we left school. Instead of going to college, Charles and I hitched around Europe. I’m tempted, when we finish the shows, to attempt to hitch-hike across Australia, believe it or not. R.M.: Great! Australia’s a safer place to do that sort of thing than say, America. What impressions of the country have you got so far, if any? J.K.; I’ve got no preconceptions of what the place will be like, but the people I’ve met from there — members of Icehouse and others —have been great, very warm. I’m looking forward to coming over. From there the conversation took a rather undefined ramble through various subjects. We chatted about the drinking habits of members of a certain well known Australian band, the fondness of alcohol felt by Scottish persons in general (hi. Boss), and the current success of ‘S.A.F./S.F.C.’ in the British charts. As a band. Simple Minds (which also contains bassist Derek Forbes and Michael MacNeil on keyboards) have achieved much commercially and artistically, even considercng their relative youth; and their forthcoming — or ongoing, depending when you read this — visit to these climes should prove illuminating to observers on both sides of the fence. ROADRUNNER

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O Z TOUR DATES; SYDNEY - Nov. 21-22 NEWCASTLE - Nov. 25 BRISBANE - Nov. 27 CANBERRA- Dec.8 MELBOURNE - Dec. 10 A DELAIDE-D ec .12 PERTH - Dec. 16 22

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TALKING HEADS AND BLONDIE. N Y OLD’SCHOOL TAKE PARAT.TFT. LINES IN SEPARATE DIRECTIONS. Nineteen seventy-seven was a hot year for New York. Blondie, Television and Talking Heads emerged from such flea-pit venues as C.B.G.B.’s and Max’s Kan­ sas City and, for the first time in a long while, the eyes of the musical world were focused on the Big Apple. In 1981, Television has long gone and major changes of the de-evolutionary sort seemed to be afoot within both Blondie and Talking Heads. Although the future now looks a little more solid for the last-named bands, luminaries from all three outfits have been very busy on solo projects.

nipresent Brian Eno. Byrne is currently producing the new B52’s LP and Talking Heads will be releasing another album — of live material re­ corded on the Remain in Light tour — in December. It is hoped that work on this record will lead to new studio recordings for the band, who have scrap­ ped tracks they had laid down last autumn (your time). This will come as some relief to fans worried by the apparent disin­ tegration of the band after the last tour — what with Tina W eym outh’s bad-m outhing Byrne for his dictatorial preten­ sions (who can blame her? He made her re-c'udition for the band when they got their re­ cording contract) and the fact that she and drummer husband Chris Frantz seem to have de­ voted most of the last six months to recording in the Bahamas as the Tom Tom Club. Their first single. Wordy Rappinghood, was a hit in the U.K. (although it has yet to be re­ leased here) and a Tom Tom Club LP has just appeared. Jerry Harrison, meanwhile, has been busy on a solo album. Called The Red and the Biack, it should be available by the time you are reading this.

David Byrne of Talking Heads has most recently made a bit of a splash in the ‘real’ art world by providing the music for a lengthy dance piece choreog­ raphed by N.Y. modern dance practitioner Twyla Tharp. Like many latter day choreog­ raphers, Tharp aims to express her views of the society around her through her dances, and the connection here with Byrne and his preoccupations is most opposite. The dance is called The Catherine Wheei and deals Blondie have also been giv­ with the problems of family life. Unfortunately, like most ing out the appearance of being dances of this sort, it is predi­ in disarray, with members in­ cated on rather obvious and volved in such a variety of banal ideas (although the danc­ time-consuming projects that ing itself was astounding). Still, at times it seemed unlikely that it gives Byrne a chance to write they would ever get together and sing the sort of lyrics in again. Koo Koo, the Debbie which he specialises. A sam­ Harry-Chris Stein collaboration ple: “A great big house - with with Chicmeisters Bernard Ed­ nothing in itlHe comes home wards and Nile Rogers, has and says ‘Now wait a minute’I been something of a stiff, mov­ H e ’s cornin’ in S h e ’s going ing sluggishly on the charts outIHe turns round and says, and not exactly exciting rave ‘W hat’s that a b o u t? ’ ” The reviews. Although it’s probably music is continuous but di­ not prompted by reflection on vided up into 23 short move­ these sobering facts, there are ments and although it is, as you rumours that the band has or­ would expect, very similar to ganised a show for New Year’s the most recent Talking Heads’ Eve at N.Y.’s swish Radio City m aterial, it has an even Music Hall. And, just in time for stronger and funkier beat. Christmas comes the record Byrne was assisted in record­ we’ve all been waiting for — ing the music by John Cher- Biondie’s Greatest Hits - with a noff, and on some tracks by fel­ photo on the cover apparently low Head Jerry Harrison and taken at the session for the occasional Heads Bernie Wor­ cover of Paraiiei Lines. rell, Adrian Belew and Dolette McDonald — as well as the om­

TOM VERLAINE — TELEVISION PERSONALITY. While both Talking Heads and Blondie seem to have drawn back from the sort of limbo into which they’d drifted, there is, of course, no possibil­ ity of the resurrection of Televi­ sion, although the leader of that band, Tom Verlaine (real name: Tom Miller), has just released a new LP (Dream tim e) and is touring to promote it. Verlaine has, believe it or not, been at it for a decade. He has, as he readily admits, been pursuing much the same musical goals, both with Television and since. His three albums for Elektra (Marquee Moon, Adventure and his self-titled first solo effort) share the same flat,'* hard but slyly emotional vocals (similar to both Patti Smith and David Byrne in style) and extended, ringing, clever guitar work. In fact, he’s the closest thing ‘new wave’ ever had to a guitar hero. In concert at the Ritz in New York, he and his band (exTelevision bass player Fred Smith — who looks like a character from a Raymond Chandler novel — drummer Jay Dee Daugherty — ex-Patti Smith band — and guitarist Johnny Ripp) recreate the Television ‘sound’. They do songs from both the new album and the last one — throwing in Giory from Adventure — and manage to avoid doing Littie Johnny Jewei (Television’s first single, recorded for an inde­ pendent label) in spite of end­ less calls for it from the audience. It is painful, loud, metallic music and even though Ver­ laine is an imaginative and dis­ tinctive guitarist and song­ writer, jafter a while the lengthy guitar work-outs do pail. In the end, unfortunately, a good long guitar solo becomes awfully much like a bad long guitar solo — long! At least Verlaine just gets on and does it, though. Al­ though the English more or less invented the guitar hero (Clapton, Page, B eck. . . even Hendrix was successful there first), the Americans took to the idea in a big way and enshrined the guitar player as the sacred centre of the band. The moves, and the music that accom ­ panied them have become ritualised to such an extent, that a guitarist these days can­ not play a solo without a fear­ some grim ace on his face (English writer Charles Sharr Murray describes this look most graphically — ‘looking like he’s having an extremely difficult shit’). Tom Verlaine

does not do that. The support band for Ver­ laine was Marshall Crenshaw, a three piece that has been work­ ing around New York for the last year. I saw them shortly after they started appearing here, on a bill with Robert Gor­ don (who recorded several of Crenshaw’s songs on his most recent LP. One of these was the successful single Some Day, Some Way, which gave a con­ siderable lift to G ordon’s career, here, at least). A year ago, the band looked rather colourless, but their support spot at the Ritz allowed them to show just how far th e y ’ve come. The three play what you would call these days ‘powerpop’. But really it’s very much more a straight re-creation of the sixties pop music, leaning heavily on Buddy Holly and the British bands he inspired (the Hollies — ever wonder where they got their name? — the Searchers — who took their name from the John Wayne movie where he says ‘That’ll be the day’ a lot, inspiring Holly to write the song of the same name — and even the Beatles — who thought to call them­ selves after insects, like Holly’s band the Crickets). All three players sing well. When Marshall Crenshaw sings alone, he sounds like Buddy Holly, when he and the drum­ mer (his brother) sing together, they sound like the Everly Brothers, and when all three sing, they sound like the Hol­ lies, the Searchers and Freddie and the Dreamers. They would not be able to get away with it except for three facts. One: the songs Crenshaw writes are really terrific. Two: they all play and sing superbly (the drum­ mer plays the kit with his whole body — not literally — his body is like an extension of the drums — a human rhythm machine). Three: Most of the people at the Ritz have prob­ ably never heard any of the above mentioned sixties per­ formers. Marshall Crenshaw has a single out on Shake Records (run by Alan Betrock a Big Figure on the NY scene — he started the city’s best music paper, the NY Rocker, and pro­ duced the first recordings by Blondie). The band has since been signed to a major record label and should have an LP of the aforem entioned terrific songs out soon.

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LAURIE ANDERSON’S O SUPERMAN’ LEAPING TO THE TOP OF THE UK CHARTS IN A SINGLE ROUND.

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Oh, and keep an eye out for the local release of a song cal­ led O Superman by Laurie An­ derson. She is a Chicago-born performance artist who has been living in New York for sev­ eral years. I mentioned her a couple of columns ago. When she outshone some fierce competition at a benefit show for a Downtown art estabiishment called the Kitchen. Her ‘performance’ happens to be musical, using synthesisers and ‘vocoderised’ vocals. There is a small record label in New York called 110 Re­ cords, run by music enthusiast Bob George. He is also the compiler of a book called Vol­ ume (which, like O Superman, you probably can’t get in Au­ stralia). This catalogue is a reai labour of love, documenting what Bob refers to as the ‘fringe’ areas of music — in par­ ticular electronic music — al­ though you’ll find Melbourne’s Missing Link Records, for example, listed there. It joins together experimental music of all kinds from both the avant garde art scene and ‘new wave’ of the last five or six years — everything that has managed to get itself onto vinyl in spite of complete lack of interest from the major record companies, it’s fascinating!

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But back to Laurie Anderson. O Superman is part of a seven hour mixed media project cal­ led United States, which should be revealed to public gaze in about a year’s time. She re­ corded O Superman in her home studio with the help of a couple of friends and gave the tapes to Bob George who pres­ sed 5,000 copies for 110 Re­ cords. This original pressing was as an ordinary 7 inch sing­ le. It was supposed to be for art/‘serious’ music lovers. La­ ter, they thought, they might re­ lease it as a 12 inch single. Rough Trade (an indepen­ dent record shop with its own label in London) was keen to handle the single in Britain. With Anderson’s approval, 110 Records pressed a further 5,000 copies which were sent to Rough Trade, who distributed the single as an import. Then BBC Radio One started to play the sin gle-o ften -g en eratin g strong listener response. Rough Trade, sensing that a kiliing could be made on O Superman, tried to arrange with Laurie Anderson to press a iarge quantity of the singie, and drew up a contract that they sent to her lawyers in New York. The contract, which was to press 100,000 copies, the sales of which would be guaranteed to put the song in the British top

twenty, was initially accepted by Laurie Anderson. Rough Trade said they would be ready to go within seven days of the contract being signed; they even had the labels printed. However W arner Brothers Records had beaten them to the punch. Rough Trade wiil never be able to release O Superman. Anderson obviously received a bigger offer, and signed a worldwide deal with Warners. The company quickly released the single in Britain where it rocketed up the charts to No. One. Ironically the single was catalogued as a Rough Trade single when it first appeared in the N.ME. Top Thirty. Scott Piering of Rough Trade laughed ruefully when Tasked him on the phone how this had happened. “I guess they just forgot to look at the label,” he said. The 110 pressings have alm ost become collectors items, and Piering described the way to tell the editions apart. The first 110 pressing has an inner sleeve featuring a repeating dog graphic. The second pressing (distributed exclusively by Rough Trade) has a plain white inner sleeve. And the Warners pressing? ‘W eir Piering said, ‘It’s got shoddy graphics.” [ED’S NOTE: O Superman will be released by WEA Australia this month and is alm ost guaranteed a strong sales re­ sponse as 2JJJ-FM in Sydney have been flogging an Ameri­ can copy (sent over by none other ohan Keri Phillips herself) solidly for the past month.] I’m rather curious about why Anderson signed to a major labei (I know they gave her large sums of money, but she is re­ puted to be not short of a quid herself). And even more curi­ ous about what Warners think they are going to do with her. O Superman notw ithstanding, Anderson wili probably con­ tinue to appeal only to those interested in avant garde art and experimental music, plus the small but more adventurous part of the pop/rock market. I can’t exactly see her crashing

into the U.S. charts in a big way — what will Styx and Manilow fans make of Anderson? Any­ way, I imagine the single will probably be locally available soon, and it is worth investing in. ALTERNATIVE ROCK TV. It looks as though bands that may have found it difficult to ‘crack’ the American market because they were too ‘left field’ to fit the demands the rigidly ‘form atted’ American radio, may have a second chance. It is MTV, a twenty four hour stereo music channel pumped into your home on cable TV, owned by Warners and Am erican Express. A l­ though the music channel, as it’s known, has not yet made its debut in the two most important U.S. cities. New York and Los Angeles, in areas where it has started, sales of the oddest acts are booming. MTV runs just like a radio station but with announcers on the screen and all the music in the form of film and video clips and concert footage — some­ thing like 24 hour a day Countdown, I suppose. The video clip as ari accompani­ ment to a single has been much more a British phenomenon than an American one. Just compare the quality and in­ genuity of the Brit clips (Cos­ tello, Madness, the Banshees, M) with most of their U.S. counterparts (generaliy just straight, boring live or psuedo-live stage p erfo r­ mances) that have appeared over the last few years on Countdown. So while MTV is just stretch­ ing its wings, there s really pre­ cious littie stuff for them to be showing in the 24 hours they’re on air. They’re frantically film­ ing concerts at the moment — they were in N.Y. last week to tape a Mink de Viile show — but the reserve of clips they have to draw on includes some fairly ancient stuff. And record shops are getting requests for records they stopped stocking years ago. The Buggies’ Video Killed

the Radio Star clip created a rush in one store in Tulsa (where MTV is available). The owner said he had 15 copies of the Buggies LP sitting in a bin months, he’s had to for eight m < order more in. And there has been increased demand for old albums by Robert Palmer, Split Enz, Squeeze, Iron Maiden, Costello, the Tubes, the Shoes and Rod Stewart — an odd col­ lection if ever there was one — which tends to suggest that, in these early days at least, almost anything MTV shows will sell — old or new, mainstream or a lit­ tle different. Record shop deal­ ers are, needless to say, instal­ ling television monitors in their shops in the hopes of even more sales. The head of MTV says his service currently reaches two and a half million homes but hopes to quadrupie that figure by the end o f next year. Man­ hattan Cable, the company that services the area where I live, say they have MTV ‘‘under con­ sideration” but do not know when, or even if, it will be avail­ able to their subscribers. It’s hard to imagine, without having actually seen it, what MTV is like right now. While its operators are feeling their way and need to incorporate almost any footage just to make up the air time, some really good (as well as some really diabolical) stuff must be getting shown. But once the big American re­ cording corporations really get into the act and start putting out decent clips for all the yawnable acts they own, MTV could becom e as boring and re­ stricted as most U.S. radio is today— a mere video version of the churning biandness that infests the transistor dial here. You might think that the ciips would have to be unusual and-**^ im aginative merely to make them stand out from the rest of the sound and vision (and hence sell the music). But, of course, this can hardly be said to have happened in radio. lt|,««Q^ will be depressing if everything gets dragged down to the same level. . . again.


DIFFERENT VIEWS

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Wednesday, October 28th, I am in attendance at Roadrunner’s office for the purpose of interviewing John Schumann of Redgum. I observe with keen but petty interest the one, two, three teaspoons full of CSR sugar disappearing into Mr. Schumann’s coffee. The Red Light Is About To Flash. Uncon­ sciousness so they keep saying, can besot the most faithful amongst us in our world of infrastructure and superstructure. And how are we going to study society today? Should we ask what people think or imagine, or are the goods we produce in our life the real testimonial of that life? The Red Light Is Flashing, release the hounds. Hurdles, dunkings, and donkeys can be expected. T.C.: Redgum recently completed an album at the Dream Factory, commonly referred to as The Music Farm. Has this retreat into arcadia produced another chronical for the working man, are there any noticeable musical departures from the Redgum sound as we know it? Schumann: Ahh umm, with reference to The Music Farm, we originally wanted to do the album in Adelaide. However, when we experimented with the facilities there it quickly became apparent that we wouldn’t achieve the sound we wanted. So we desperately had to look around for another studio that was free, it so happened that The Music Farm Vi/as free. When we got to The Music Farm I was a bit apprehensive, you know it’s a fairly plush joint, rurally opulent and a technically superb place. The engineer/producer John French was already up there as it happened, finishing off Mark Gillespie’s album. So it was sort of convenient to do it there. When I first got there I looked around at the ceramic taps and the hanging pot plants in the garden and the rock-set bath, and just thought that this band should not be here. But when we started to work, and make no mistake whether you’re at the The Music Farm or Allan Eaton’s or wherever, making an album is bloody hard work. I just wish people who review albums would live that four or five weeks in the studio with the band, then they wouldn’t say so much bullshit about people’s hard work. Then the problems started happening for us, basically because we had never worked with a producer before and as a consequence found it very difficult to hand over that degree of control. Though we recognised that we had to have somebody to listen to the stuff ovjectively, and who could stick it into some kind of shape. Umm . . . you know as far as being another chronicle for the working man I don’t know. (In a tone of annoyance.) That question implies that you perhaps don’t take what we do seriously, you’re at liberty to hold that opinion but we’re fucking serious about it believe it or not. We have all given up safe, secure lifestyles to do this, and we enjoy playing music and sure, we enjoy performing and recording, but in the middle of a nine week tour you don’t or half way through an album you don’t. We stick it out mainly because we’re one of the few bands in this country saying something, we’re not the only one but we are the most visible one. What we have recorded this time around is a group of songs we have written over the past year, some have been performed and others haven’t. Using a producer and a very good engineer in the guise of John French, has enabled us to get some of the sounds we have been looking for for a long time. We’ll be able to play the new stuff live, needless to say we aren’t going to have all the effects and things but I don’t think that

makes much difference. The songs stand on their own. It was a pretty hard time for us because we had to come to the realisation that an album is an album . . . something that captures you at a particular time and you needn’t be necessarily frightened of production techniques. What we have done is probably made our first studio album. We’re also very conscious of the fact that records are very expensive, if somebody is going to spend ten bucks on a Redgum album then we want to give them something more than what they hear at one of our shows. T.C. Are you becoming burgeoning technocrats? I hear you have to sell 35,000 albums before you break even on this latest recorded venture. Can a band like Redgum justify such a cost, will unsavoury com­ promises be called on if the release does not move well In the market place? Schumann: Ah look, fuck all that basically. Okay, it costs us a lot to do this album and we pay for it ourselves. Every hour we were in that studio over time, as bands do, we were very aware of the fact we were paying for it. The album might be a normal selling Redgum album of 15-20,000 copies, but that’s not important. We decided to make the best album we could, if it cost us $35,000 in our innocence and naivety than that’s it. As far as compromising and all that sort of stuff is concerned, well I don’t think we’ll have to do anything more than tour to support the album. CBS will do some posters and there will be ads in music papers and that will be about it. T.C.: Is Redgum firmly stuck on the rock merry-goround, record-tour-record? Schumann: Not necessarily, it’s only our first year professionally. And it has been hard work, we had to make the pretty horrific leap from a part-time hobby band to a professional outfit. We try to be as professional as we can because our material is iniportant. We don’t believe there’s any point in a band running around Australia singing about other people not having their act together if we haven’t got our own act together. There was a quote from a guy called Peter Mudd in Afterwork about Tanelorn, he said that Redgum came on to raptuous applause blah-blah, but they disappointed me because they’ve gone into the rock ’n’ roll market and denied the creativity of their first album. We get that sort of thing a fair bit, I just want to say once and for all that that kind of thinking is a lorry load of bullshit. If you’re going to get important songs across to people albeit slowly, albeit insignificantly, for a general improvement in the conditions of people in South Australia, Australia, the world, then there’s no point in staying at home and becoming a rumour as Mudd would want us to do. That kind of rock ’n’ roll naivety just shits me. Because we are doing something different we expect to receive a lot of flak, and we can laugh about it or if there is some truth in the criticism we examine our responses to it in case we have made a mistake or tactical error. To Mr. Mudd who can throw shit on bands from his comfy chair I say, get out on the road with a band for six months and pay the bills, and pay the road cred, and pay the accommodation and make sure the band gets something to eat etc. Then he can start carrying on about $4.50 or $5 admission prices. T.C. Has the album a title or projected release date? Schumann: The last week in November or perhaps the first week in December, there’s a bit of trouble with our comrades in the printing union at the moment (a wry expression comes over his face). But that’s okay, we have to wear that like everybody else. It is the wrong time to

release it because the market will be flooded for Christmas. People think that if you release an album at Christmas you’re being cynical and are hoping to cash in on that market, when in fact you would be more smart and cynical if you held back the release date to February. We figure we have done it so here it is for better or worse. The title will be ‘Brown Rice and Kerosene.’ T.C. Do any guest musicians appear on the album? Schumann: A session musician called Trevor Courtney played drums and percussion, he came down from Brisbane very excited about the project and stayed for longer than we paid him. Mark Gillespie played high strung guitar on a track called ‘Last Frontier’. Steve Ball, an Adelaide piano player who was touring with Marcia Hines at the time, he dropped in to see Trevor and ended up playing on ‘Caught In The Act. ’ T.C.: I detect a bit of synthesiser on a couple of tracks? Schumann: Yeah, we used synthesizer on a couple of tracks, umm . . . there were big dramas about that. When John French said he wanted to use a bit of synthesiser to thicken the sound up we all screamed like hell, there were big fights and we walked out saying that we didn’t want to know about synthesiser. We went away and talked about it, after about a week in the studio with John French it was quite obvious that we were new to the studio, so we said are we going to open our minds or close them? We said that we would be open, so we mucked around with synthesiser to thicken up a few guitar parts and it worked. So we ended up eating humble pie for a while. There will no doubt be some fans and supporters of Redgum who will be disappointed at our use of synthesiser, but once again we decided we were going to make the best album we could. It was going to be an album people could buy and hang onto for a long time, one that they could enjoy time after time. We had written the songs and they said what we wanted to say, we just had to sit down and think niore about arrangement and produc­ tion, and synthesiser came into that. It’s unlikely that we will have a synthesiser on stage. . . on record it’s used in a subliminal way, you can’t really hear it but it’s there. T.C.: I presume that many of the issues that appeared on the first two aibums rear their heads once again. Aithough they may be undoubtediy important issues, how does your creativity fare as a musician if you are continuaiiy iooking for something to rhyme with uranium? Schumann: (Laughter) Ah yeah, that’s a fair enough question. I think there is enough things to write about besides uranium to keep Redgum going for quite some time. Though we believe uranium is a very important issue that should be continually aired, we think the international uranium market is fucked and has proven itself a disaster at this point in history, so it should be left in the ground for the sake of future generations. On this album we have a song called ‘Hundred Years On’ which has nothing to do with uranium mining. It’s a 1981 version of the swaggy who camped by the billabong, I suppose it’s just making the statement that the notion of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is still very alive in this country. And Michael slags off the multi­ nationals in ‘Lear Jets Over Kulgera.’ I think that’s great. U m m . . . ‘Caught In The A ct’ is a celebration of penalty theft, we’re saying that we get ripped off all the time so don’t be naive about ripping certain people off yourselves, you’re only stealing from thieves anyway. ‘Yarralumbe Wine’ is a jazz swing vocal thing, it’s just about what a load of bullshit government is. ‘Where You Gonna Run To’ is a song people haven’t heard yet, that was born out of people coming up to me and saying why don’t you write something happy. So I said Oh Yeah, so I wrote this one that’s guaranteed to sent you to the bathroom with a pair of razor blades. ‘Brown Rice and Kerosene’ is pertaining to unemployment but in a whimsical kind of way. It makes certain observations about technology and humanity and where they both sit. Ahh .. . ‘A Federal Touring Circus’ is us pulling the piss out of the parliamentary system, and god knows it needs the piss pulled out of it. ‘O.S. Trip’ is another one that’s not about uranium, it’s about a woman Michael knows who went overseas and wrote to him from where she was and spoke to him when she came back. And he just knew, having been to the same places himself and having a different perception, that she didn’t have a clue what was going on. Umm . . . like most people who go overseas, some of the lines . . . “ You marched up to the Reichstag in.chiffon and Christian Dior. Gazing at the debris through the electrified barbed wire so gray what a dreadful bore. You thought all the honour guards parading looked so picturesque and their goose-stepping looked so surreal. Did you have any conception of the blood between the stones, did you notice that their guns were real?” ‘Lost Frontier’ is the country one that Mark Gillespie played on. That’s about going to Alice Springs with a couple of mates, when we were driving there I was thinking all the time this is my country, bloody fantastic. The wide plains and the river beds and the heat and the flies, just the buzz of the bush and drinking beer at night and ail that stuff. We looked at the country around Alice Springs and we noticed all these places we couldn’t go, and there was uniformed Americans walking around the streets there like they owned the place. I got so pissed off because it was like being in an occupied country, and the more I read about these military installations the angrier and angrier I became. I wanted to do a country song other than the old gum tree variety, so ‘Last Frontier’ was born out of that anger. And there’s Verity’s song ‘Parramatta Jail,’ she wrote the words and Mick wrote the music. It’s about a riot and escape attempt from Parramatta Women’s Prison late last century. So I suppose there isn’t a lot of stuff about uranium on the album, basically it’s about Australian issues because that’s what we know about. T.C.: Would you consider that Redgum can be a bit over sentimentai when deaiing with the workers, are you faliing into the myth buiiding trap? Schumann: It’s possible, that’s another interesting question. No I don’t . . . we want to play meaningful music for working people anthough we didn’t come from the working class as such ourselves. I don’t think we have got a sentimental view of it, all of us have worked in factories for long periods and made lots of mates in that time. Because we have been privy to education and ideas that they weren’t we could more easily see where they were being fucked over. I think we have a fair understanding of where people are at in Australia at the moment. T.C.: How can you possibly hope to write a love song with all the restraints of ideology hanging around your neck? Schumann: I think Redgum will write a love song or two when we feel that it is time, and I don’t necessarily think ROADRUNNER

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F that’s going to be a disgrace or a cop-out. I think one of the mistakes that we might have made and what a number of people on the left have made, is to ignore the whole emotional side of things. T.C.: Do you see the apparent contradiction in your work, Australian lyrical themes supported by music from the British Isles? Is that your inherent col­ onialism? Schumann: I don’t think the music we use to underpin our lyrics can really be described as British or American or Anglo-Irish or whatever. T.C.: To me it has got that folk tinge. Schumann: Yeah I suppose, that may very well be our colonial heritage. However, it has a lot to do with the instruments we began to play and still play, they were the ones lying around when we couldn’t afford any others. Who knows, had my grangmother left me a synthesiser Redgum could have been Nuvo Bloc (laughter). I think we just play the style of music we play most competently. If that means four or five chords strung together in a melodic fashion then that’s what we do, if it appears to sound like a jig or an Irish reel then stiff shit! But then again it isn’t a conscious thing . . . we draw influences from all over the place. We’ve even listened to a lot of Manhattan Transfer for Godsakes, more so for their vocal harmonies than the songs themselves. I listen to rock ’n’ roll and country, acoustic folk bushwackers. Midnight Oil and all those guys. Michael listens to a lot of modern classical stuff, Chris listens to violin works and Verity to flute and wind music in general, while Dave listens to a lot of Jazz. So everybody has their influences and dislikes and likes, we just pull them together and see what we come up with. T.C.: Because Australia is an intensely multi-racial society, a prison house of nationalities if you like, could there ever by anything approaching a cohesive republic? When an Australian Republic is declared. Isn’t that just another phase of capitalism under the notion of nationalism? Schumann: Yeah, it could be said. Let us say that the construction of a Republic would be another phase of capitalism, however it would be one step closer to a society built on the needs of people rather than the wants of a minority. I’m tremendously excited by the fact that Australia is becoming more and more a multi-cultural society, it’s fantastic to go to Melbourne and see all the cultural influ­ ences that are happening there. I don’t expect by any stretch of the imagination that an Australian Republic will come about in the next few years. I met a guy on the road who was heartened by Redgum and followed us around from gig to gig, he expected the revolution to happen tomor­ row so if he had a shit he kept the door open in case the barricades were suddenly flung up. I was at great pains to point out to him that what we were doing was working with the view that within 50-100 years there could be some significant change. You can’t expect if Redgum does a national tour that everybody is going to take to the streets within a half an hour, and overthrow the government and create a People’s Republic, that’s just naive. What is likely to happen is that people will listen to us and read the works of concerned journalists, they’ll open their eyes and per­ ceive the world in other terms than the status quo would like them to. People’s consciousness has to change before you

can have any real or meaningful change. A republic would be one step towards that consciousness, a Federal ALP Government would be one step towards that conscious­ ness. There are a lot of people around who are in the business of consciously exploiting the people’s anger about the multi-nationals in this country. They set up schemes like Advance Australia that syphon off all that genuine national pride into slogans, stickers, clothing, and God knows what. T.C.: Let’s move to world views, your thoughts on the Polish Crisis? Schumann: I’m no expert on world affairs. T.C.: is your view essentially confined to Australia then? Schumann: No. Obviously people need to take into acr count what’s going on overseas, but what do we get? We get filtered news accounts through the bourgeois press, you never know what’s really going on. It seems to me that the people in Poland generally speaking have had enough. I get the feeling that they would be happy with some sort of National Socialism, they don’t want to be bullied around by the Russian Bear any longer which is fair enough. They deserve all the support they can get. Before we have any hope of establishing an international community our own backyards have to be tidied up, that’s what nationalism is all about. T.C.: The Reagan-Mitterand pact for increasing arms to N.A.T.O.? Schumann: Basically that’s the geriatric cowboy still thinking he’s in a western. If I was in Europe I would be pissed off to death by the arrogance of the Americans, they’re just creating a battlefield in Europe so as to protect their own bloody precious continent. T.C.: The new Socialist regime in Greece? Schumann: Has its problems cut for it, then again I wish it all the best. Once again you don’t change things in three years, 1972-75 taught us that. Just because you elect a vaguely progressive government doesn’t necessarily mean the war is won, the battle is just beginning because the forces of reaction will gather and raise their heads in Greece. T.C.: The Blue Maoists? Schumann: Oh God, I haven’t heard that term for ages. When we first went to Melbourne we were sponsored by 3CR and the Movement Against Uranium Mining and vari­ ous other organisations concerned with progressive politics.One of them was the Eureka Blue movement which was supposedly Maoist, and there was also the Eureka Red movement which was concerned with what was hap­ pening in Albania. These two groups used to do clever things like bash each other up in alleys. Anyway we wrote a little song that summed up our attitude on the whole thing, it’s played to the tune of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ . . . “ One step forward two steps back, three to the left and you re on the right track. Don’t you step on my new made views, you can do anything but lay off of my new made views. Eureka Red, Eureka Blue, show me your badge which one of you, either one I don’t mind to tell you the truth I’m colour blind’’. If people need to align themselves with a particular interna­ tional socialist movement, I guess that’s up to them. It is good to learn from those experiences, but I don’t think it’s particularly useful to take a line from an overseas socialist group and apply it to Australia all the way down the line.

T.C.: Are any of the band members engaged in any projects outside of Redgum? Schumann: Ahh, Michael is desperately trying to finish off his music degree. Everybody has their own little hob­ byhorses which they pursue. T.C.: As far as you know will you be still attending the International Song Festival In Cologne? Schumann: Yeah, it’s looking more and more hopeful now. We still haven’t heard anything from the Music Board, that information doesn’t come out till November sometime. I think our application is a good one, once again we decided if we were going to apply we would do it properly. There is some doubt there though, will a Music Board funded by the Federal Government give money to Redgum to go to Col­ ogne to sing about the Australia we know? We’ve also had quite an exciting offer from Mike Batt, the bloke who pro­ duced and wrote ‘Bright Eyes.’ He has indicated that he would like to have a crack at producing Redgum, so whether that comes off remains to be seen. However, it is quite interesting to note that a producer of his standing and experience has heard about Redgum and even wants to produce us. T.C. Is Redgum working to any timetable in regards to some set life expectancy? Schumann: Oh no, not really. We will work at Redgum as long as Australian people want to hear our stuff, without being vain, attendances at our performances are growing all the time. We’re not naive enough to presume that Redgum will last forever, we would like it to last as long as it is useful to people. This isn’t meant to be arrogant but I do feel Redgum is an important band. There is some obligation for us to continue. T.C.: I think you have covered it all, is there anything else you would like to say? Schumann: Yeah, ask me about the Mercedes Benz’s at the Vicar Of Wakefield? T.C.: Well, what about the Mercedes Benz’s at the Vicar Of Wakefield? Schumann: We had to do two gigs in Sydney one night, one was at the Vicar Of Wakefield and the other was at Sylvania’s. That’s like playing in the north and south of Sydney. So Chris Gunn our manager told the promoter at the Vicar Of Wakefield that he had to supply two cars and two drivers who could get us between gigs on time. The promoter agreed to take care of that. We did the gig at the Vicar Of Wakefield which is one of our favourite gigs in Sydney, and left with everybody else through the front door and into the car park. Then we saw these two fucking chauffeur driven Mercedes Benz’s waiting for us (laughter), so you can imagine how that went down with the people. I fully understood their response and some of it was pretty hostile and agro, and we were pretty hostile and agro about the whole thing too. All we wanted was two cars with seats and a driver to navigate each one. It turned out that when I tackled the promotor in my typical friendly manner like, what the fuck are you doing? It turned out that he could do little else except get those cars, taxis are notoriously unreli­ able in Sydney and to have gotten two there at the same time would have been quite impossible. We had no time to muck around, so there were piling into the Mercedes Benz’s amongst the boos and hisses, it was quite upsetting and annoying at the time but it was funny too, we can’t afford to take ourselves too damn seriously either.

The new album from X L CAPRIS - “Weeds

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AXLF (Of 26

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ROADRUNNER


WRONG SIDE OF THE R

w Port Adelaide Town Hall 1979. It’s a siege. The police outside and us inside. The doors are all locked and we've got a wanted man. The mostly black crowd is here for a dance organised by the Austraiian Cultural Association, a Maoist activist group. The bands are stopping and starting. Whiist people stand on tables to make speeches calling alternativeiy for order or action. The crowd had eariier ejected two policemen who grabbed Barry, a friend of mine, on the way out. Handcuffed, he escaped from the paddy wagon and came back into the hail. The' police reacted by calling reinforcements and surrounding the hali. Inside, pan­ demonium reigned. There were confiicts between different fac­ tions of the biack peopie and tension over whether the white M aoists had a cted as p ro ­ vocateurs. It was uncertain whether we should hand over Barry to the cops and get on with the entertainment or whether we should hold out. Barry was su rrou nd ed by drunks trying to get his cuffs off. They succeeded in breaking the chain that held the two halves together. Unfortunately, in doing so, they dosed the ratchet iock ciose r together, ca using his hands to sweli up and go blue. It was decided that he should be smuggled out with one of the bands through the lig h tly guarded side door. Barry casuaily got in the back seat of the car, wearing a heavy overcoat to cover his wrists and carrying a bass. He sat playing the bass in the back, obviousiy not handcuffed to the several idle policemen about. Billy, a guitarid from an early band, grabbed me and said “ You do the taiking". The drive­ way was blocked with two or three poiice cars, their lights flashing. Biliy brazenly blew the horn and after a cursory glance at our faces and “ We’re with the band, we want to move our stuff’’, the police cars moved. As we drove out down Port Road we cheered and yelled. We took Barry to Billy’s cousin’s place nearby and

hid him in the shed. Two years iater, I was sitting in the front seat of a poiice car outside Port Adelaide Town Hall. It’s the loca tion for the fiim “ Wrong side o f the ro a d ” I was wearing a fake poiice uniform and had a real policeman next to me. We were reshooting the scene where the police reinforcements arrive. “ You know, it’s strange,’’ said the poiiceman, “I was here two years ago and this is exactiy how it was - aii the cars in the right pieces and all. You’d think they’d peen here when it happened. ’’ We all know about Aborigines but how many Aboriginal people do you know — on a social level?' The original inhabitants of this land appear to most peopie on the television as protestors over land rights. Or rtiaybe making token appearances in shallow new Aus­ tralian films. We see them as we go to and from work, sad eyed drinkers in a park. It’s now more or less accepted that the Aboriginal people pos­ sessed a unique and mysterious culture. This romanticised culture is inaccessible to white people, partly because it is based on different concepts of family, land and material ownership. But the majority of Black Australians live in the cities and towns, quite divorced from the environment that give birth and sustenance to past Aboriginal culture. They’ve been forced to the bottom of the pile in modern Australia, now a mine for overseas investors where the work ethic with its rewards and drawbacks domi­ nate. Australia for the Aboriginal is a lonely land, not reaping the rewards of Capitalism, but still living in the eaten-out husk of a former land. To many people, music is es­ sential to survival, serving as a crutch in hard times and as celebration in good times. Ancient aboriginal music was used in this way and others; in a ceremonial and ritual manner as well as a means of oral history. This music is so different from W estern harmonic-based music that it’s almost impossible to integrate the two styles credibly. What attempts

are made are usually crass and gimmicky — didgeridoo introduc­ tions to pop tunes and so on.The most popular music for aboriginal people is Country and Western. Popularised in the 30’s and 40’s by radio, performers like Slim Dusty, Tex Morton and so on have developed C & W into a distinc­ tively Australian style. It’s a strange transition from the ancient Aboriginal music to C & W with its often m elancholy lyrics, straightforward structure and nar­ rative style. It’s even odder to think of it in terms of its American origins — the white, right wing, cowboy/redneck connotations. However, Rock’n’roll is nearly three decades old now so it’s not surprising that it’s presence is being felt more strongly.

It’s in this background that “ Wrong Side of the Road” is set. The film follows two black rock bands — No Fixed Address and Us Mob — through two days on the road. The hassles of finding work, the run-ins with white offi­ cials and petty bureaucrats and the individual concerns of band members go together to form an interesting collage. Through the lives of each member and in the story is a fairly thorough documentation of modern Aborig­ inal society — lack of secure employment, police harassment, bureaucratic interference in dayto-day life, the harsh reality of jail, the adoption problems and so on. The cast, who more or less play their own parts, helped write the script. To white audiences, some scenes may appear overblown and unreal but the players insist that such events are typical for Black Australians. The bitterness and anger of the black people comes through strongly, but it is also quite an entertaining film. They stand up to the trials and tribulations of a racist society with conviction and humour: some of the flashes of dry humour are so fast, they’re easy to miss. “ Wrong side of the Road” was produced in a relaxed alm ost docum entary fashion, which, coupled with excellent

photography, draws in the viewer completely. It’s a “ road movie’’ in the best sense. The possibilities of the new Black Music became evident to me when some friends started teaching music at McNally Train­ ing Centre, a kids prison at the base of the Adelaide Foothills a few years back. Stories started drifting through about some really great black talent, especially guitarists and drummers, that was in McNally’s. When some of these inmates were released they went to the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music in North Adelaide. CASM, as the centre is known, is remark­ able. Started five years ago, the Centre acts as a sort of musical sponge, drawing Black musical talent from all over Australia. It’s run by Ben Yengi, a Nigerian musician, as part of the Adelaide University. It also serves a very important role in the Black com­ munity. At CASM, students are trained in classical W estern m usic-orchestral instrum ental music, choir singing, as well as tribal music. It’s also important that the popular music groups keep working too. Coming straight from the bush, the groups usually played Country & Western 12 bar and country blues. At about this time Graeme Isaac ex-Captain Matchbox and co-producer of the film started working for CASM. He encour­ aged originality and songwriting as well as introducing the stu­ dents to a wider range of music. Reggae, with its proclaiming of black cultural pride, was adopted as a vehicle for the messages of Black struggle. Songs of great directness and strength started to emerge from CASM. The Black community was inspired and en­ couraged by this new music, seeing young Black people on stage, playing and singing about their lives in a positive and direct way. In fact, the black community has placed a certain amount of responsibility on the bounds, to be successful and articulate on be­ half of their people. It’s not easy to live up to. In a country as racist as Aus­ tralia, it’s often difficult for black

and white to work together. White people have been involved in this regrowth of Black culture, supply­ ing managerial and financial skills whilst the musical/cultural sidecame from the bands. Why are there many com m itted white people in this, a black peoples’ struggle? Is it absolving collective white guilt? Is it the new glamour of Black culture? A voyeuristic fascination with other peoples lives? As a white middle class Australian, I find it difficult to answer when asked that question by a black person. Black people have every reason to question white motives, especially when given the history of white exploita­ tion of black music. Part of the answer lies in being involved with a movement that is growing, in an exciting and passionate way. Nevertheless, the voyeuristic as­ pect remains. The urban Black experience is so completely dif­ ferent, to that of most white Australians it is fascinating yet sad and hard to understand. For many white people it’s always possible to return to the secure background that most Australians come from. There is no such alternative to the people in this film; it’s only life they have. We were sitting in the car about 6 or 7 of us, trying to work out what to do about Barry’s hand­ cuffs: He was a hero. We decided to go into town and borrow a hacksaw from a friend. Their taik turned to the events o f the n ig h t. . . “ Geez, when I bounced that beer can off the cops’ h e a d . . . ” “ The bastard punched me in the guts . . . ” “ Haven’t seen a fight iike that for ages . . . ” “Last week they punched up Aunty May in the cells . . . ” “ The bastards”. . . “ He hit me with a phone book." The casuai violence in these conversations surprised me. That peopie could live in such oppression in a city as “quiet” as Adelaide was quite a shock. But we had freed a man and that made the night a victory. Liberation from oppression was what that night was about; it’s also what “ Wong side o f the Road ” is about. ^ ^ *m A i>P fU N M F r ' 27


SIMPLE MINDS SO N S AND FA S C IN A TIO N

NOW TOURING NOVEMBER 17 Festival Hall, Melbourne 20 Apollo Stadium, Adelaide 24 Canberra Theatre 25 Canberra Theatre 27 Playroom, Gold Coast DECEMBER 1 Ambassador, Newcastle 3 Musicians Club, Sydney 4 Manly Vale Hotel, Sydney 5 Sylvania Hotel, Sydney 6 Civic Hotel, Canberra 8 Prospect Hill, Melbourne 9 Jump Club, Melbourne 11 Adelaide 12 Adelaide FIRST 3,000 ALBUMS CONTAIN BONUS LP SISTER FEELINGS CALL COLLECTORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ITEM

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ROADRUNNER

Records and Tapes


Simple Minds : Love Song (Virgin) This sound surrounds! Large, hypnotic, a rhythm delight, electro pop with menace, message and magnificence. Jim Kerr has a keen eye and an effectively oblique lyrical bent. Fellow minds lock into rhythm communion behind him. Hear them out! The Bureau : Sweet Revenge (WEA) A more than worthy follow up to ‘Sheep’, bristling with brass yet again and Archie Brown giving his tonsils a good going over. Galvanizing in its punch and impact, real get up and go stuff — this sound a-bounds! Midnight Oil : Don’t Wanna Be The One (Sprint) Galloping Garrett and crew present their most accessible offering to date, without sacrificing any of the spirit, energy and commitment that has had them pulverising the beer barns of the land for the past three years. Keyboards dominate over a highly propulsive beat; G arrett , is clear and confident in the vocal area and the lyrics bear attention. Very satisfactory (P.S. see if you can pick the snippet of Antmusic). Divinyls : Boys In Town’(WEA) I’d just like to go on record as to what a pleasure it is to have a credible female rock singer in this , country agajn. After the succession of A&R men fantasy fodder candy floss that Countdown et al force feed the public. Chriss Amphong is a breath of fresh air. ‘Boys In Town’ rocks along with feeling. Good musicianship, great production and a super single. This sound astounds! Department S : Is Vic There (remix) (Stiff) Potent stuff! Brimful of power and passion, atmosphere and amphetamine cool. There’s very little to criticize — melody, lyric, production are all first class and there’s definite sparks of excitement all over the place. Human League : Love Action (Virgin) Human League present the human side of futurism. A happy sound, optimistic in the

face of adversity ‘You may as well resign yourself/to what you’re going though’. This isn’t so much escapist as hopeful and the cheery synth pattern ^ is an uplifting experience. Number one for sure. Bow Wow Wow : Prince of Darkness (RCA) Bow Wow Wow have started singing sounds about themselves. Narcissism rules OK. Actually this is quite amusing in a very harmless sort of way. Icehouse : Love In Motion (Regular) David Essex meets Ringo Starr (courtesy of Marc Bolan). Young Iva wears his influences very much up front on this early ■seventies sounding slow funky groove thang. It does smoulder in all the right places though and should slink up the charts and stay there all summer.

Marie Curmtngham : Proud (Cunningfox) Great dollops of soul & feeling in this lady’s voice in this slow but punchy independent release. A most impressive effort. Queen/David Bowie : Under Pressure (Elektra) Well, it’s just Queen with Bowie singing. I thought David had a bit more taste, but maybe Swiss afternoons are more boring than I thought. NZ Pop : The Ritz (CBS) Awkward — like the Boomtown Rats on an off day. U2 : Fire (Island) Carefully constructed chaos with some showy guitar — and that’s the good bits.

Modern Romance : Everybody Salsa (WEA) Compulsory listening while practising your funky chicken in front of the mirror prior to making your dancefloor debut at your local palais de danse. Once you’ve assimilated this, go get Kid Creole & the Coconuts.

John Foxx : Europe After The Rain (MetalBeat) Nothing that has come out under the ‘New Romantic’ banner has really justified the label — until now. The Crown Prince has come up with a wistful, ethereal gem with this. Warmth where there once was cold and feeling where there was only thought.

Altered Images : Happy Birthday (Epic) Bulleting up the UK charts this happy go lucky fun chune reminds me of nothing less than Lulu singing out front of the Equals. Great pop with swing and a ringing guitar line that gives the song its chirpy thread. Watch it go!

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark : Souvenirs (Virgin) Electropop, but slow & atmospheric — other w orldly even. C om pelling and insidiously attractive.

Men At Work : Down Under (CBS) It’s Jethro Marley! Brings to mind lOCC’s ‘Dreadlock Holiday’, in both style (reggae) and theme (stranger in a strange land). Very catchy, I suppose and quite amusing (the first couple of times) but breaks no new ground at all. A hit. Sweet Jayne : Icarus (Cleopatra) More Melbournian flutes, but this time with a medium-fast rocky backdrop. Vocalist Chris Scheri handles her task competently, but there’s really nothing terribly remarkable about this.

Spencer Spencer : I Think It’s Raining (Cleopatra) Excellent moody broody synth rocker. Positive Noise : Positive Negative (Statik) Pretty Pedestrian. The Particles : Colour In/Advanced Colouring (Certain Music) Neo minimalism for inner city moderns! The two greatest events in Australian history! A blood curdling scream for social revolution! The end of the world! Actually, not quite that good but still utterly fantastic!

Vertical Hold : My Imagination (R C A) Cello adds a nice touch to this attempt at a bouncy pop song, but the beat is repetitive & • monotonous in the extreme. Ginger : Blind Date (Eagle import) Now this is more like it. A bouncy beat propels this catchy pop outing from ex-Adelaide boy, Vic Young and band. A top ten hit in Germany and could very well do the same here. Moodists : When The Trees Walk Downhill (AuGoGo) Would be interesting to hear this band under optimum recording conditions as there’s more than a hint of promise displayed on this jangling item of Victorian neo-psychedelia. Agents : Merciless Cinema (Indep. pressing) More of James Griffin’s poetry to music. Actually the backing is sparsely effective, a la Dire Straits, carrying the story/poem/lyrics along very comfortably. The most fully realized thing Griffin has done and well worth investigating. Rachel Sweet : Then He Kissed Me/Be My Baby (CBS) So close to the originals (Crystals/Spector and Ronnettes/Spector) that you wonder why she bothered. Still most of the magic moments are recaptured so if you missed it first time round . . . Huang Chung : Hold Back The Tears (Arista) Not bad at all. Drama, a hint of passion in the vocals, variety of sounds, guitar dominant but some soulful sax in the middle, meaty rhythm. An outfit to watch. The A.D.’s : Living Downtown (Blue Lunch) — US import From Albany, New York State, the A.D.’s play rock’n’roll with exuberance and verve. Nothing terribly new, but then not much is these days. Simple unpretentious beat music that is as pleasant a way to spend a couple of m inutes as any I can think of. Very collectable.

^ROACmUNNER 29


James Taylor —

Festival Theatre, Adelaide. Surprise, surprise!! James T a ylo r’s third and final Adelaide show proved to be a pleasantly enjoyable affair — not at all the soporific experi­ ence I had imagined it would be. So much for pre-conceived ideas about slick West Coast American cabaret, it was by turns warm, funny, homey and intimate. And even quite pow­ erful — musically and emo­ tionally — in places. Indeed, the concert succeded on so many levels, that your enjoy­ ment of it depended almost en­ tirely on your particular opinion of Taylor’s music.

The Laughing Clowns The Gobetweens Wildlife Documentaries Sydney Trade Union Club There’s a big crowd tonight, and it’s shaping like some sort of expatriot Brisbane people’s reunion. Fam iliar faces everywhere, a chance to find out who’s been married and what part of Graceville they’re living in these days. We could all be at the Shetyvood RSL 4 or 5 years ago. In fact we’re at the Sydney Trade Union Club in 1981 and most of these people are the survivors. Some have come via the other side of the world. Others of us have come via the New Eng­ land Highway.

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The jungle rhythms and the hot looking backdrop set the scene for W ildlife Documentaries. Even from behind a drum kit, original Saint Ivor Hay manages to domi­ nate proceedings. He rides taller in his drum saddle than any drummer I have ever seen, and these days even handles some vocal duties. Which is not to say he does everything. Chores are shared around between guitar and bass and sax. Roughly in the same camp as the Laughing Clowns, if somewhat less adven­ turous, they’ll become pretty in­ teresting when the other band members realize their own stage personalities a little more. The Gobetweens have plotted a strange course from that time almost 4 years ago when 2 young men in flannelette shirts and a Byrds fixation got up on stage at Caxton Street Hal! in Brisbane, to their current status as darlings of the Australian avante garde, (not to mention the NME singles page.) They’ve ingested a lot of funk since those folk rock begin­ nings, although Robert Forster’s Bob Dylan angle is still in evi­ dence at times. It always seemed to me he was striving to rhyme words which had never been rhymed before. At times he may have even succeeded. These

For this tour Taylor has col­ lected the cream of the West Coast’s session players, and they handled his music with consider­ able aplomb and feeling; whether soft and laid-back (but not bor­ ingly so), or stretched out on the surprisingly frequent doses of meaty rock and roll. There was the near-legendary Bill Payne on all sorts of keyboards, gangly Waddy Watchel (frizzy curtains of blonde hair and large hoop earring) and Dan Dugmore thrashing and twanging guitars, percussionist Rick Marotta, Leland Sklar (long hair and beard, high domed forehead, plastic overalls — wierd!) plucking some mean bass, and two male vocalists whose harmony singing was a joy to lis­ ten to. The most impressive per­ formances came courtesy Bill Payne, whose playing was all that I expected from a player of his days though, the verbosity has ■'been pared down to a far more acceptable level. Melody for the most part, has gone out the window and in its place has emerged a delight in rhythms. They’re very funky in an undanceabie sort of way. Robert is no more communicative on stage now than he ever was, but Grant McClennan on bass, has as­ sumed a far more visual role. He stalks the stage continuously as some sort of counter to Rob’s aloofness. But the overriding im­ pression I have always gained from the Gobetweens is that they are incom plete. Ideas never realize their full potential with this band. Perhaps they are too active to steer any new theme to conclu­ sion. In contrast, at any particular time, Ed Kuepper’s ideas seem fully realized. And tonight, the Laughing Clowns were the best I’ve ever seen them. The Laugh­ ing Clowns line up has always been fairly fluid, but this present one is the tightest they’ve had. A lot of the improvisation I often foun^d tedious to the point of boredom has gone. The current brass section’ is very tight, they play like nothing less than an old Motown brass section. From a listening point of view, this shift in emphasis from a jazz leaning to a more soully feel has proved tre­ mendously successful, r always believed the band’s self in­ dulgence was th eir biggest enemy. The Laughing Clowns are currently recording another al­ bum. I hope this new found soul makes its presence felt in the studio. Vocally, Ed Kuepper has im­ proved out of sight. And by virtue of this fact, his influence on stage has increased. At times his vocals show real character and emotion, rather than just being strained. On “ Collapse Board’’, for mine the high point of the set, his singing is eerie and the song becomes truly haunting, almost like a Last Post. Oh, and I must make mention of the light show which is quite splendid. It’s that difference bet­ ween the Gobetweens and the Laughing Clowns. W hile the Gobetweens seem incomplete, the Laughing Clowns are totally together. And much the richer, artistically at least, for it.

Scott Matheson

ANGflS D l i a x r f t f t e U N IT S

A D g lk lM u N l

B A I^ n iT H lAWNS off Victoria Dr NO DRINKS THROUGH GATE

a p n S A T 5 th D E 6 ^ K E T Srs: : 1BASS OUTLETS NEW ALBUM: NIGHT ATTACK

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ROWnONNER

calibre and reputation. Also noteworthy was the last encore, which featured Taylor and his backing vocalists singing an un­ accompanied gospel flavoured number that set my spine tingling. James Taylor himself posses­ ses the sort of earthy ‘everyman’ voice used by Jackson Browne; in fact, some of Taylor’s uptempo material was not too many miles away from the sort of stuff that Browne peddles so successfully. The only irritating thing I can re­ member was Waddy Watchel’s constant swapping of guitars at every opportunity. He not only did it between songs but during songs, as well; Most distracting. On the whole though, it was a pleasurable change to attend a concert that was as comfortable and enjoyable for audience and band alike.

RUTHVEN MARTINUS.

Tom Waits —

Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne. Tom W aits’ style is his number one asset. Out of his repartee oozes a natural lava flow of rapipr sharp wit and homely charism atic sweet­ ness. The form of music he in­ dulges in allows and benefits from his loose lipped chicaneiy so that his subtle blend of nightclub humour, beat poetry and safely Accessible though emotionally exploratory jazz becomes such an alarmingly promiscuous fashion setting mixture that one can only revel in the atmospheres created by it. Waits’ number two asset is his public. He plays to people unfamil­ iar with his musical and social breeding ground. At one he fulfils their dreams and at two he colours in their realities. All in all a learning experience. Breaking down pre­ judices against his music that rock audiences would normally have had charming them into his way of thinking. , All other assets get lost in the maze of virtues wich abound in the man. By naming a few faults (A few! There was only one,) in the performance one can possibly scrape closer to the bone. His most famous characteristic, and his most controversial, in his voice. A gravelly, rough hewn . crooning sort of a sound which is invariably the perfect accompan­ iment to his lyrics. It always has been in the past anyway. At this, Waits second Melbourne concert, it was at least half way into the show before his voice began to pick up the nuance and depth which it normally carries. In the softer songs his delivery was fine and, for him, well defined but in the heavier(l) songs it all became too much of a drag racer exhaust sound for it to add much to the music. Happily, this was the only fault in the show and one which only really affected one third of the songs anyway. On double bass and tenor saxwere, respectively, Greg Cohen and Teddy Edwards. Throughout the evening both were a constant delight, each fleshing out rare moments of succulent melodies and subtle harmonies. Edwards sax was, for me at least, the star of the show. He’s a gently relaxed player, obviously a reflection of his nature, and his coolly re­ strained though red hot breaks on the sax earned him constant ap­ proval from an audience that, ad­ mittedly, would have given their consent to anyone that graced a stage with Tom Waits. W a its’ piano hit the most raggedy contrasts during the night. Once, under Waits’ sufferage, it played tango to limpid fin­ gers and size ten shoes. Twice it romanticised about junkies, pros­ titutes, and other various down and outers. Thrice it humped some self cast boogie and blackjack New Orleans rhythms that very nearly had the audience in the aisles and me prancing in my head. You know. I’d like to shake Tom’s hand and let him buy me a beer. He seems that sort of guy. Tom Waits’ played for hippies, jazzers, new wavers (hi Mum!),

Ian Gillan Band, Selina’s, Sydney I arrived in Sydney on the Thursday, safe but thoroughly inebriated; very much the worse for wear after a pro­ longed and much awaited farewell to Adelaide. Over a hair of the dog at the Astra on Friday night, an old friend and fellow exile persuaded me that it would be a good idea to see Ian Gillan at Selinas the following night. Not that I needed much wheedling, mind you. It’s been a hard fight to develop a “ finely tuned pop sensibility’’ (Thanks, Elijah) and I’m still susceptible to cravings for the occasional heavy dose. Besides, the thought of seeing an international act of such stature (one of my old heroes, to boot) in a pub appealed to me. It’d give me something to write home about. A fter overcom ing my initial small town awe at the size of both venue and crowd, I stood in pre­ paredness to witness the pro­ ceedings. I couldn’t exactly settle back, but the discom fort and crowding was not overwhelming. The relative ease with which drink-getting and subsequent ablutions was performed provided a very pleasant suprise to one used to battling for both on such occasions. However, the culture shock was reduced to a great de­ gree by the presence of large numbers of The Adelaide Musical Mafia, both on stage and off. Heaven provided the warm up, and although hampered by a mix that improved from absolutely at­ rocious to merely bad as the set neared its end, played tightly and with gusto, enthusiasm and lots of very traditional heavy rock and roll flair. They perform with all the subtlety of a smack in the face; a little heavy, ponderous and theat­ rical for some, perhaps, but I en­ joyed it and look forward to hear­ ing the recorded product. They judged the crowd well, finished with Zeppelin’s “ Rock’n’Roll” , and received the subsequent ac­ colade. Kevin Borich took the stage and delivered his usual competent performance. He is one of Aus­ tralia’s guitar greats, and plays an enjoyable brand of blues edged rock. His vocals have never done much for me, though, so I was pleased to see him joined by Swanee for a few numbers. An extended version of “Downtown” dragged on a little, but really got the crowd in the mood for more. A good set, just what you’d expect from experienced and talented masters of the art. After a little lighthearted byplay with compere Danny and the en­ thusiastic reception of news that they’d broken the house record, the three thousand-odd strong crowd gave a roar of welcome and prestam ped approval to The Hero. The lights went down, and a

bank clerks and to 50 year old couples. To each of them he earned a place in their respective hearts. People have searched out and found something within them

roaring, crunching, numbing wave of pre-taped sound beat about my brains like a jumbo landing in the living room. I was impressed by the sheer monstrous power of it, and the same goes for the Gillan Band. They played a set of clas­ sic, vintage era rock in the style we all loved in 1973. Judging by the reception and the vibes, a lot of us still love it. The mix was immediately im­ pressive. Although loud, it was by no means pain inducing. All in­ struments were distinct and well separated, while the tones, the clarity and the guts were well bal­ anced, with none being sacrificed for the sake of the others. The lighting was adequate and well managed, and, mercy of mercies, no strobe reared its ugly head. One has to admire Gillan - still torturing the vocal chords after all these years. His voice is perhaps a little thicker and his range a little less extended than at his prime but he is still singing very, very well. He knew what the punters wanted, and proceeded to give it to them without relying on old numbers to do it. With the aid of his impressive, tight and powerful rhythm section, a near-virtuoso guitarist and a very good keyboards man especially adept at chunky rock’n’roll piano, he ran through a set of post-Deep Purple material with ease and aplomb The songs were received very well, with hardly a single yahoo screaming for “ Smoke on the Water” or “ Child in Time". The old rocker “ If You’re Looking For Trouble” was particularly impres­ sive. It came eventually, of course so much the better because the new material stood up so well After a guitar solo that employed just about every trick from the “ How to Impress People and Win Heavy Metal Friends” manual written by Page, Blackmore, Hen drix and Co. (including throwing the poor guitar to the floor and stom ping on it) came those chords. A C D A C D sharp D, and we all look at each other and grin Some sim ply go wild. Yes “Smoke on The Water” ; definitely a classic, and bugger the pop purists. From there, “ O rlea ns” and “Lucille” killed it. An appreciative audience witnessed a great dis play of powerful Rock’n’Roll deli vered by a great band. They looked good, they sounded great and they delivered the goods in no uncertain manner. Six bucks ad­ mission was money well spent and a great night was had by all Except when it came to getting a cab home. Two hours spent standing in Coogee in the freezing wind and rain was a real pisser for the couple of hundred buggers who had to endure it. Leaving a gig at 2 a.m. and getting a cab at four fifteen a.m. is just not on, cab companies. Please rectify the situation.

STAN COULTER

that identifies with Tom Waits. His universality is indeed his prime vir­ tue.

CRAIG N. PEARCE


I

Thursday 20th through to Sunday 23rd August The Angels perform ed four of the hottest shows to be seen in Sydney this year.

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SPRING IN -i,, “I..-

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And now for the Weather. Well it’s Spring and a man’s fancy turns to thoughts of girls in summer fashions. A new air of optimism seems to be sweeping Perth, such a con­ trast to the dreary Winter blues we all had a few months back. Still, all is not well in the State of Excitement. Rockist bands like the Bargains, the Frames, the Eurogliders, the Essen­ tials, the Riffs, the Rockets, the Manikins Doris Day and so on and so on still dominate the city’s civil servant and secret­ ary scene. These bands are now really big at Adrians, a

venue now totally out of hand. It seems they’ve finally got rid of all “those horrible noisy nasty punks and skinheads” or the ones without any money anyway. Adrians is now totally bland and without any worth­ while character. It needs to be firebombed and the sooner the better. Problem is. Sir Charles will probably blame it on those unemployed, pinko, militant type radical dropouts, just like Hitler did with the Communists in 1934. And no, revamping won’t help.

It was a semi-pleasure to see the Rhythm Methods’ last gig at this horrible scumpit the other

night. Semi-pleasure because ver indulge themselves in their cynical convic­ tionless crap ever again. Unfortu­ nately, the band will probably go down as legendary, if all those who love folkie type “ rack’n’rawl” jam sessions have their miserable way — coz that’s what we got. Nobody in W.A. deserves more contem pt than the Rhythm Method — a band who pretended to be “ arty” , pretended not to sell out, encouraged people to wear fashion mindlessly instead of ac­ tively thinking about style, and who, worst of all, actually had a brain between them they refused to use. How dare they come on as earnest young men when they thoughtlessly regurgitated “ rack’n’rawl” myths that need to be put down now if our generation is to have anything to be credible about in the future. Nobody could be proud of the Rhythm Method — George B. Loud indeed!! Worst of all, the mixers, always renowned for stuffing up even the lousiest of bands, could be seen gradually increasing the volume so that all were flattened by the Titanic surge of putrid polyphony this band are so much loved for. Sure, nobody else in Perth played ska and soul, but Rhythm Method weren’t the answer. If you guys really want to do constructive music, go listen to the Lounge Lizards, Kid Creole and the Raybeats, learn to play some good sax and come back for summer. It’s depressing to be so nega­ tive about Perth bands so here’s news about four good ones — Silent Type, the Real Dreamers, the Bopcats and the marvellous Triffids. Silent Type are pretty good, playing up tempo, Cure/

Icehouse pop songs without any of these bands’ pretensions. Lyri­ cally they’re not to imaginative; I suppose they think of themselves as a good-time pop band. Nothing wrong with that either, but it’s nice to have some words you can sincerely believe in instead of simply nodding your head to. Also, their association with Paul Gadenne is somewhat dubious. Playing support to silly Adam and his ridiculous Ants will probably swell their heads and ruin them for good — I hope and pray not. The Real Dreamers are their an­ tithesis — three ex-Triffids who play and more to the point sing slow Lou R eed/Velvets/O nly Ones type songs, not proficiently but with incredible vitalily and youthful enthusiasm. These two bands are really great to watch and it’s good to see bands smile at each other on stage again in a way that makes you believe they’re having fun playing music they love. The Bopcats as reported a while back play rockabilly. It’s good and very danceable, espe­ cially on a Monday night at Des­ perado’s Tavern, but to me their guitars are a little bit too seventies “ rack’n’rawl” sounding. Sure, it’s not necessary to go the whole way with acoustic bass etc, but some trebly, tremelo Gibson Marauder or Maton guitar and Cramps sounding buzzsaw guitar would be an improvement. Still, a lot of fun, and well worth your attention — for the moment. I’ve extolled the virtues of the Triffids on many occasions; to me they are what music should be — clever, earnest, non-professional, innovative, original and enjoy­

able. I heir original drummer, Alsy McDonald, is back with them sounding as good as ever and there are rumours of an Eastern States tour over Christmas. One hopes they can get a gig with another of A u stralia ’s better bands — Go Betweens, Birthday Party, Laughing Clowns, Riptides, Tchtchtch or even Hoodoo Gurus. Little is known about this band of ex-Victims James and Flick and ex-Rocket Roddy here in their home state, apart from their ap­ pearance on Simon Townsend’s W onder World (dishwashed single and all) and I only hope they are getting some of the recogni­ tion they so badly desire and deserve over there. Stop Press: A band worthier of Rockabilly Lovers’ attention has recently been brought to my attention (by a Triffid actually) and this band is The Rising Suns. They play a more anarchically authentic ver­ sion of bluegrass/country rocka­ billy with the use of Ground Zero’s (again, the all-pervasive Freo connection!) tenor sax player. I saw them at the Seaview, and was impressed by their refresh­ ingly uncool hairlength and audi­ ence. Didn’t hear many originals, but that is not unlike the Bopcats — give them time and they could be a great alternative. And speak­ ing of alternatives, the Kissinger Company, a drama troupe, are a great one to musical entertain­ ment and could quite easily ap­ peal to non-rockist rock fans (if there are such things) sick of insipid moronic “ entertainment” of the type dished out by the Helicopters and the Stray Cats on a certain Saturday Night — new fever for new Disco Junkies. Yeah they were great to dance to and yeah Seltzer is a great guitarist, but don’t you feel you’re entitled to ask more from bands that charge $10.50 for their tickets? Some­ thing to think about when you’re forking out for the next single, coz it’s just not the same dancing to records is it kids? Why oh why did the Specials break up?? Goodbye for now from Sunshine City — peace and love.

C. C. Mitchell

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Tom Verlaine —

Swingers:

Dreamtime (Warner Bros.) I wonder if Tom Verlaine saw Woody Allen’s film

“Manhattan.” Being a New Yorker himself it’s not difficult to imagine that Verlaine would share similar feelings towards the city so often dubbed the Big Apple. The artwork on this, Verlaine’s second solo album also happens to share the same overall artistic concept that pervades Allen’s 1980 cause cdidbre. For those unfortunate not to have seen “Manhattan” it is dominated by contrasty black and white photo­ graphy. Now that may not be all that much of a coincidence you might say, but the photograph of the Manhattan skyline on the back cover of “Dreamtime” is all but a giveaway. It could very well have been a ‘still’ from the film.

The Bureau

Only For Sheep (WEA) I should be transfixed, after all, I listened to ‘Only For Sheep’ and ‘Sweet Revenge’ again and again. There’s great lines and sounds through the rest, but I always end up reading something, or making coffee. I’ve heard it suggested that it sounds rushed, so I’ll stand by that for safety.

& '

Rl-'.

The brass arrangements are said to be tame (they say), but the novelty hasn’t worn off for me. I do consider this in the light of Dexy’s ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’, which was clearly tem­ porary. Enjoyable it undeniably was, but it wasn’t hard to tell that there really wasn’t much left af­ terward. They’d recycled every­ thing useful, and a dilem m a awaited. Solution? It was built in: They “ promised” never to stand still and repeat themselves (them­ selves! they said). Night, Night Dexy’s. I feel that The Bureau have the capacity to endure/survive some­ what more ably. They bring D exy’s a little beyond pure novelty/revival. T h e y’re more relevant/to date if you like. With a [vengeance (schizophrenic? ' Me!?). Let’s hope they keep mov­ ing. After all, they are committed. The Bureau begin v^ith advan­ tages. They have Archie Brown, who matches his visual strength with a vocal surety and quality. They work at their sound, unafraid of odd mixtures (as the purists head for the door). And there’s strength gained from their ‘experi­ ences’. Each side begins with the familiar, ‘Only For Sheep’ on one, and ‘Let Him Have It (Sweet I Revenge)’ on two, and that could explain why much of the rest goes unnoticed. Familiar songs require less concentration . . . But if it requires concentration?. . . Before these musings become too misleading, I should make it very clear that when the sounds of this album have soaked in, they’re very hard to remove. Catchy, strong and interesting. Intense. Side one begins with one of the year’s most bouncing babies. ‘Only For Sheep’ and its single

flipside. ‘The First One’. Follow­ ing, ‘Sentim ental A ttachm ent’ continues the brass dominated, well paced social comments of the: “ . . . a sentimental attach­ ment, It is love without intelli­ gence” variety. ‘Got To Be Now’ is one of the more instantly memorable, for its chorus, and the song as a whole swells with conviction well ex­ pressed: “ You said to me that every chance is mine to take Or else I’ll miss my opportunity No hesitation now It never comes a second time And if it does, then it comes suddenly And it has got to be now It’s got to be now It has gotta be so strong It’s what’s expected of me. So then what am I waiting here for ’cause I feel a rhythm drum is calling to me And Tm going There’s nothing here to hold me now Tm turning my back on all advice That could be wrong or could be right But Tm already burning. ” The pace picks up again to finish the side with the enthusias­ tic ‘Looking For E xcite m en t’, which is big and brassy, with more organ than guitar in the back and a pounding rhythm. Side two begins with the latest single ‘Let Him Have It (Sweet Revenge)’, which is much like Dexy’s, but with a more powerful singer, and a great song. ‘Find A Way’ is dramatic, slower, with subtle organ/guitar/brass interac­ tion, as Archie Brpwn ‘testifies’ that “ There’s only one way out of here” , with, for want of a better word, soul. A great deal of soul. Brown reveals once again his ability as a storyteller in ‘Bigger Prize', which is quite gripping. This is followed by an inspired arrangement of ‘The Carpetbag­ gers’, which I assume to be the theme from the movie of the same name. This album, whilst not actually breaking new ground (uncom­ promising?), is solid and vividly colourful. It is rhythmic and vari­ ous, but you’ve got to like the sound of a brass section which deviates very little from the tradi­ tional, despite its musical sur­ roundings.

Harold Holt

Doll by Doll

Doll By Doll Doll By Doll appeared during the Punk/New Wave explosion a few years ago. One heard stories that the extremity of their musical vision had been known to drive people literally crazy. You d have to be extremely paranoid to freak out at this. I don’t know what chages the band may have gone through in three years, but what we have here is a likely candidate for the position now vacated by Talking Heads. There is a rhythmic ease and instrumental palatability about this album which will ensure its success if enough people listen to it. The predominant sound is reminiscent of some Ameri­ can country music. There are similarities to the Grateful Dead, in particular, but isolating the band’s possible influences is not easy. Although the style and spirit of the album has a ring of familiarity, this could simply be because it fits comfortably into that small zone of rock and roll which one can call significant. Many of the tracks dance giddily on the edge of dreamscapes, the production tempting one to dismiss them as good dance music. Listening to the album again and again, layers peel off and expose something fresher, previously unseen. Basically the music regenerates itself, by means of its highly competent arrangements and confident, sensible lyrics. Doll By Doll should appeal to anyone with an interest in rock and roll. You don’t have to be too dedicated to get into it.

— Span

“ Practical Jokers” (Mushroom) Every now and then an album comes along that is the proverbial bastard to review — just my luck to get landed with one... Phil Judd used to be in a band called Split Enz, a band that, despite varied and some­ times obvious influences, produced intrigu­ ing and adventurous music; songs which hit upon the sinister notes that seemed to echo down from my childhood, or sounded so goddam awesome that you wanted to wor­ ship your stereo. We all know what Split Enz are like today. They are like a different entity, the art-school experimentation refined down to a smooth, sensible pop sound, I sometimes feel that the progression hasn’t been so much of an ad­ vancement of ideas, as an attempt to be­ come commercial and, thereby successful. So now they’ve got their own pop formula and they are sticking to i t . . . A lot of people who felt similarly disil­ lusioned about Split Enz, looked forward to whatever Phil Judd was going to do, ’cos, like, he was the weirdo one who left before they became famous. When “ Counting the Beat” came out, it did nothing to dispel these hopes, and, then again, nothing to confirm them. It had a lot of hints that this band could be good — the rather unusual production (a kind of wall of sound), those weedy, sparse vocals, why it seemed that the Swingers could be on to something! “It ain’t what you dance - it’s the way you dance it”, followed and was something of an improvement; that rumbling, earthquake sound got under my feet like white ants. Dig those pseudo-brass guitar sounds and those T-Rexish(!?) high-rise vocals. But two singles don’t make the band. Hav­ ing seen them live once, long ago, I was annoyed by the persistency of the same song construction, and treatment, even though I noted a few interesting sounds and ideas that stumbled their way out of what was also a bad mix. Being sometime after I was hoping that their debut album might show advance­ ment or ironing out of ideas. But, oh no. This album would just be a blur if it wasn’t for the immediate familiarity of the singles, which breaks up the two sides. The vocals are monotonous; in the same, whiney regis­ ter and sounding like new wave Bee-Gees. Dave Tickle has given very little variety of production, which would have helped, but as it is the songs lack distinction. Come to think of it, it’s probably those vocals that let it all down — underneath are songs which often seem to have .possibilities. They could “be accused of flippancy or shallowness in their lyrics. When, in a song about a W.W.2 beach battle ( “ H it the Beach”), they sing “ La de da da. La da d-dday” , alongside “ men I know got their stomachs in their mouths,” you could possi­ bly forgive them this Hans Poulsen touch if there was something that gave it some artis­ tic licence to be there, but the fact that they do this in just about every damn song, makes this a pretty lame excuse. The bastard comes when you realise that there really are moments when slivers of im­ agination manage to poke their welcome little faces through the general mire of this album, when you say to yourself “ hmmm, that sounds interesting,” only to have your hopes dashed by a myriad of things you’d think this band would be wise enough to avoid. This album could be a whole lot better than it is and, w e ll. . . I dunno, fellas, but if this is some sort of practical joke . . .

Having listened to this album at least a couple of dozen times now there seems to be little, if any, overt lyrical connection with the cover art. It’s more the romance usually associated with New York that sticks out like a sore thumb. Like Woody Allen is to film, Tom Verlaine is one of the few truly talented romantics surviving in rock music today. On initial hearings “ Dreamtime” didn’t quite measure up with Verlaine’s superb debut album. It would have been easy to dismiss it as “Adventure” was to “ Marquee Moon” with Verlaine’s old band Television. Further plays proved that while Verlaine may not be flogging too many new ideas (his fascination with dreams is quite apparent on his earlier recordings) he has undeniably produced a record that is an uncompromising follow-up to one of the most complete debut albums ever delivered. . In 1979, when Verlaine was questioned by New York Rocker’s Roy Trakin as to the inspiration he received from dreams for his songs, he replied “This may sound like a bad answer. The (the songs) might come from dreams. I don’t know if they do. I don’t see that I describe a dream in a song. But they might come as a dream.” Confusing, huh? A lot of dreams are, and Verlaine would be foolish to suggest otherwise. While the singer Tom Verlaine has come to the fore again on this album he has always enunciated lyrics as though he was reciting'poetry. Don’t be misled, Verlaine is a singer, unlike John Cooper Clark, and if anything his vocals have improved on this album. There is always a degree of emotion, but at the same time never giving too much away. Similarly, the lyrics often display an element of disclosure but before the story is unravelled we are led back into mystery. This can usually be found in the songs tinged with Verlaine’s peculiar brand of humour where he will start.off on a line of thought but fail to complete it. Again like Woody Allen, Verlaine uses humour in such a way that it often has deeper overtones. About the humour in his music Verlaine simply proffers.. .“ it’s as serious as the person listening to it.” This album, more than any of Ver­ laine’s past recordings, displays this form of disguised humour. Nevertheless, Verlaine does from time to time have a propensity for frivolity. The song “ Yonki Time” from the debut solo album was a good example, and this leaning is also evident on “ Dreamtime-.” It’s found over and over again in such unlikely titles as “ Mr Blur” and “A Future In Noise,” but it’s- in the more melodic “ serious” songs that Verlaine really excels. The lyrics to these songs are heavily reliant on metaphors, in the main, deep rooted in themes of vulnerability and ro­ mance. “ One by one the lights are going out Names are forgotten, there’s darkness in the house . .. There's a coolness to the palm of her hand As she watches the lillies blooming in the sand.” Without A Word Verlaine has always sought to express an element of sexuality in his work (again like Woody Allen, No?), al­ though it has never before been quite so flagrant as on the cut “ Penetration. ” One of the few songs on the album that harks back to the early Television feel, the title leaves very little to the imagination. Verlaine has certainly done his homework here. He has composed some unusual guitar and bass parts that express magnificently the awkward­ ness and idiosyncrasies of sex. Verlaine’s distinctive voc­ als complement the song’s earthy implications as only he knows how, and Bruce Brody’s swirling keyboard cres­ cendo in the closing bars of the song makes for a fitting climax (!) to the whole affair. Verlaine’s guitar playing has taken a notable backseat on this album. It was apparent on the last album that he had cut down on the number of solos, and anyone familiar with Television will be aware that he had cut down on the number of solos, and anyone familiar with Television will be aware of how important the guitars were on the two albums released in America on Electra. But “ Dreamtime” confirms that the guitarist Verlaine is being surpassed by the songwriter Verlaine, and to aid him in this pursuit he has enlisted the aid of several more than capable musicians. Longtime friend and Television bass player Fred Smith helps out. So does Jay Dee Daugherty (ex-Patti Smith Band). Latterday Dictators’ drummer Rich Teeter contri­ butes to a few tracks, as does the aforementioned keyboardist (who also played on the first Verlaine album) Bruce Brody. Verlaine’s choice of a second guitarist in the relatively unknown Richie Fliegler was probably his most difficult. No one could replace Television’s Richard Lloyd, and to his credit Fliegler doesn’t really try. His role as a rhythm guitarist is mandatory but of no great consequence. Then again, with such an all round talent in Verlaine he is in a very difficult position. The song in which Fliegler makes his most significant contribution just so happens to be the finest track on the album. Entitled Mary Marie it is the culmination of everything one could ask for in a song. A pumping rhythm (courtesy of Fleigler), supurb multitracked lead guitars, sympathetic keyboards, but most of all timeless lyrical imagery. “ Last night so foggy. Today the rain I saw the hand come down on the flame But the light goes on I still hear your voice and how the burning remains Mary Marie, taking leave turning mirrors to the wall” If you can’t afford to buy this album (and honestly, it’s wortli every cent), have a listen to it even if you have to beg, borrow or steal a copy. I’m sure Tom Verlaine would approve.

Who are The Dance you may well ask!? Although the cover notes are sparse, this group hail from the Big Apple, recorded in England and were produced in France, (un­ der the Statik label?) Even John Walker (en­ gineering) fails to lift Eugenie Diserios’ strong, seductive, thought-provoking lyrics from the vinyl spinning aimlessly on the turntable. I liked or disliked nothing on this album; nothing stands out, nothing hides behind closed doors locked with secret keys — it’s smoother than smooth, down to the nice glossy cover. What is there to say about no­ thing, except take out the grooves between each track and — WHOOPEE — an ex­ tended version. The Dance produce funky disco music. Music to listen to when absently discussing the weather to a stranger. The album’s well produced, tight and full soundwise. A must for any obscure record collection. However, I didn’t feel inspired to bop till I dropped, and the animal in this here body wasn’t stimu­ lated.

David Pestorius

Liezza

EARL GREY.

________________

The Dance

“ In Lust” (Statik) New York, New York - Alas, the pen­ dulum swings away from you. This must be the last polished outpouring of this moment’s vogue. This is a smooth, slick funk at its Manhattan best. The tracks entwine themselves around your mind until you’re asphyxiated by the repetiti­ ous drone in the background.

ROADRUNNER

33


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Give your ears a listen music will do the rest.

The Tigers

The Tigers (E.M.I.)

Donald Robertson

Not since the golden days of Dragon has pure Kiwi pop sensibility been so winningly captured by Australian re­ cording facilities. Many cross-Tasman outfits, through lack of live experience and/or good record makers, never fully realise their sound. That criticism cannot be levelled at the Tigers. The sound on their debut album is deep, and richly mature. Although ‘D on’t Wanna Go Home’ is a superb single it’s not the only track here that could grace an A.M. playlist. All the songs are cunningly constructed with embedded melody hooks for maximum memory retention. The sort of stuff you find yourself humming, and can’t quite re­ member what it is. This is straightforward rock-pop — no quirkiness, no doom laden pronouncements, no definitive statements on the human condi­ tion — just a high quality bunch of songs, varying from reflective (‘Don’t Wanna Go Home’) to driv­ ing {‘T on y’), sym pathetically coaxed onto vinyl. The Tigers should be well pleased with their debut album.

The Dictators

Fuck ’Em If They Can’t Take A Joke (Cassette: Reachout In­ ternational Records Inc. 611 Broadway, Suite 214, NYC, NY, 10012 U.S.A.) Hey, dy’know Fraser uses toilet cleaner for mouthwash? Nyuk. Actually, that’s quite the opposite from being correct. After all, with people like him around, the Australian public should be using toilet cleaner in their ears. Anyway I think I know what Big Mai’s favourite saying might be. But this is neither here nor there, for I have no intention to parody or belittle The Dictators, who could well be a little cynical, considering the treatment that their past efforts have been af­ forded. But then again, The Dic­ tators style of parody (e.g. Rock And Roll Made A Man Out Of Me) virtua lly assured conspiracy against them. Richard M eltzer’s wise (but

The Residents

Mark of the Mole (Ralph) This new offering by the higher priests of weird music is a concept album based on the ideas of subterranean existence. Everything you have come to expect from The Residents is here: unfam iliar, heterogeneous instrumentation, warped, ambiguous vocals which are not always intellegible, and an overriding scenario which

Simple Minds

“ Sons and Fascination/Sistep Feelings Call’’ (Virgin) Come and travel. Come and explore frag­ mented, vivid images of an on-going trek. Come and dance. Since last year’s “ Em­ pires and Dance’’, Simple Minds have travelled and felt and grown, and though this double serving of their own particular vision is less gritty and not quite as dazzl­ ing as that pinnacle, it’s no less sensuous or hypnotic. The songs may be longer and the arrangements ful­ ler, but they haven’t turned to flab yet, and the signs are that they won’t. Well, at least not yet. In some ways this effort is a disappoint­ ment but th e re ’s still enough on “ Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call” that provides the Sim­ ple Mind reputation with a healthy boost, and gives my ears (and dancing tootsies)

babbling) liner notes for this col­ lection stress that what The Dic­ tators had most of all was AT­ TITUDE (personally, I don’t think they are exactly slob musicians either), and that attitude is evident on the first couple of albums at least. They were recorded toward the middle of last decade. Nowadays The Dictators get together occasionally to have a bit of fun, and this tape is a ‘record’ of one such occasion, Feb. 11th of this year. The songs contained are mostly material from the three albums, plus ‘Moon Upstairs’, an Ian Hunter/Mick Ralph’s song, Lou Reed’s ‘What Goes On’, and The Stooges ‘Search And De­ stroy’. The music is frenetic and pow­ erful heavy rock/pop. Wild guitar music. Handsome Dick M an­ itoba’s vocals aren’t exactly finely tuned, and some of the between song patter sounds a little forced (although introducing ‘Rock and Roll Made a Man Out of Me’ as Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony goes close). Bassist Adny Shernoff’s compositions are still some thing very unusual for the style (? their own), and lead guitarist ‘Ross The Boss’ Funicello knows his way around a hard rock fretboard. And the whole thing hangs vitally on the blessed sense of humour which The Dictators possess. Not a lot of bands will calmly turn ‘Search And Destroy’

hangs it all together. A Residents album takes a few listenings to become fully comprehensible, although this one has the immediate appeal of Not Available and the same accessibility. The dark and subterranean sound is maintained efficiently throughout. Most of the vocals are treated with a piping effect so that even in broad daylight it is easy to believe you are somewhere in the depths of the earth watch­ ing a curiously twisted race attempt to sur­ vive.

a tasty treat. If comparisons with contemporaries must be made, then suffice to say that “ S.A.F./S.F.C.’’ can hold its own with, and pos­ sibly thumb its nose at, many releases from Britain so far this year. The change of producers from John Leckie to Steve Hillage has resulted in a change of aural perspec­ tives, but the basic ap­ proach remains the same: sharp focus on drums and voice: guitars and keyboards sharing the shift­ ing space to the rear, with occasional forays to the front to grab the spotlight. The over-all sound retains a distinctive hom ogeneity; whether delivered as a thick wash, as in the opener ‘In Trance As Mission’, or di­ rected in a muscular stab like ‘The American’. It’s been said that singer Jim Kerr’s current lyrics are the sort of thing that could have appeared on Bowie’s under-rated ‘L o d g e r’, if Bowie had been a younger man at the time. I’d tend to agree, but Kerr’s vision is his own; and while he still shows his vocal influences

prominently, his growing individuality is more appa­ rent this time around. His voice is a deep, resonant tool which he wields effec­ tively and with surprising emotion. Best bits are the hushed restraint of ‘This Earth That You Walk Upon’, and once again, full tilt on the m agnificent ‘The American’. This song actu­ ally appears on the second LP ‘Sister Feeiings Caii’, which is only available to the first 3,000 souls to front with the asking price; quite a bargain considering the quality of the contents. If you miss out, there’s a 12 inch single version of ‘The American’ floating around the shops that’s somewhat longerthan the album track. As I said previously, some aspects of this album are a disappointm ent, mainly the lack of strong development from the ex­ cellent ‘Em pires and Dance’. However, don’t let that deter you from inves­ tigating what is still a strong, original statement from a bunch of minds that are anything but simple.

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into a “folk song’’ with a cute swing introduction before the inevitable explosion. Production on this tape is less rare than medium to well done, but it’s all there in its powerhouse glory. I wish a little that it was recorded way back then, but don’t get me wrong. I’m damn glad it’s around. You’ll probably have to write to America for this one, but then, to a Dictators fan . . . It is a collectors Item.

Jimmy Hoffa

Pat Benetar

Precious Time (Chrysalis) Well what can I say about Pat Benetar? As the blurb says she is explosive and full of energy. She’s a powerhouse. She won last year’s Grammy award for best female vocalist and you either love her or you don’t. I’m one of those who are lukewarm about the whole gambit. Yes I admit she has an excel­ lent rock voice but she uses the rasp to overkill, especially in the first two offerings on her latest album “ Precious Time’’. This is not to say “Promises in the Dark’’ and “ Tire and Ice’’ are not exciting

The extended work is divided into two main acts, each of which has three movements. In the first, we see the Hole-workers struggling against natural catastrophes. In the second, they are pitted against Man & Machine. The resultant mythos is interpretable in a variety of ways. It remains unclear at this stage whether the Hole-workers are humanity, living on under the earth in the wake of a natural catas­ trophe, or a former race which has survived into the present day, now threatened by human mining operations. Given the current influence of insect life on human conscious­ ness, dating back to at least 1963, it is pos­ sible that the Hole-workers are simply ants. Mark of the Moie is brilliantly constructed from an inspired sequence of idiosyncrasies and sonic mechanisms, a-convincingly alien vision which manages successfully to avoid the theatrically sinister or neurotically tor­ mented.

— Span

Moving Pictures

“ Days of Innocence’’ (E.M.I.) Stop me if you’ve heard this one be­ fore— You have! The Sports, Long John Baldry, Tom Jones, or was it Rick Springfield; slipping his way around the vinyl? Well, well, look again, and you’ll find a tightly packaged offering released just in time for the Christmas season. Another debut album riding on the success of the debut single — (“ Busting Loose” ) — and they all lived happily ever after bribing the tax man. Admittedly, this album is destined to be thrashed at every plastic, hip-swinging party for the under 25’s. You too can acheive in­ stant puberty Chic; Baby. But the story’s the same; boy meets girl, and naughties are im­ plied for the rest of the album. Alex Smith means very little, says very little, and does even less lyrically. This is meaningless music at its best; purist pop makes a stand. “ What about me It Isn’t fair I’ve had enough now I want my share” Criticisms aside, temporarily, this album’s engineered, (Steve (Stig) Bywaters), and produced (Charles Fisher), with finesse.The music is sharp, catchy, wonderfully commer­ cial and obviously accessible. Gently, this album moves lyrically from sweet melodies of forbidden, pubescent love in “ Wings”, to the punchy rock-n-roll beat of “ Busf/n Loose” — to a cynical approach to .........in the back of “Jacko’s” Sandman. Andrew Thompson on sax, and Charlie Cole playing trumpet are terrific, on “ Sweet Cherie” and “ Streetheart”, bringing relief to the listener by adding a dash of spice to these otherwise mediocre melodies. Unfortunate­ ly, the other members of this Sydney band — Alex Smith — vocals, Garry Frost — guitar and backing vocals, with Charlie Cole also backing vocals and playing keyboards, Ian Lees — bass, and Paul Freeland — drums are all forgettably unrememberable! Well done boys! “Days of Innocence” may not be a tour de force musically, or Moving Pictures the future star crazed ensemble to drift overseas to seek fame and fortune, but you’ve got to hand it to the P.R. men — neat stuff! This is contrived, commercial, gift-wrapped plastic — but maybe the boys should continue play­ ing at school socials.

Liezza 34. ROADRUNNER HI

and not fine songs. But she makes me wish she could have one song where she didn’t build it up to ‘full bore’. No doubt you’re saying some people are never satisfied and perhaps you’re right but I can’t help thinking there are a number of exciting female singers who are more adventurous with their voices and writing. Pat Benetar follows a well worn path — a path carved by males and while her scream in Helter Skelter shows she can compete with the best of them I’d still rather have the original M cCartney scream — it’s got more colour. Believe it or not I really do like a number of songs on this album especially the starter to side 2 “It’s a tuff life” , the title track “Precious Time” and “Evil Genius” and there’s not one song I can’t tolerate. The writing, done by either Benetar or the guys in the band is O.K., but throughout the album there are no twists or quirks. If you like your rock and roll straight and hard you’ll no doubt love this album, but to me it’s not the great white hope.

Beryl Lapthorne

Next issue we will be announcing details of a special ROADRUNNER reggae album, ‘Reggae N ow ’. The album is a sampler from the PRE label, and features Gregory Isaacs, Congo Ashanti Roy and Prince Far I. It comprises ten tracks and will be available, on record and cassette, for the special low price of *$7.99. Make sure you don’t miss out on this and all the other wonderful items in the bumper end of year ROADRUNNER. Reserve a copy at your newsagents today! (Or even better check out the dream subscription offer elsewhere in the magazine.)


speed. If you ain’t — I don’t really think it’ll change your mind.

The Angels

Never So Live (Epic mini album)

Donald Robertson

More or less a thank you to the band’s faithful live follow­ ing who have sustained the Angels through thick and thin and who turned out in their thousands to be present at the Sydney dates at which these songs were recorded, ‘Never So Live’ captures the Angels in full flight. Four previously unrecorded songs, at least one, ‘Fashion and Fame’ which will be on the soon to be released ‘Night Attack’ studio album. And it’s ‘Fashion and Fame’ that is the clear standout here. Big beefy chording (the band’s tradem ark) impressive dynamics and a full throated vocal from Doc Neeson. Chris Bailey sings lead on ‘Bad Dream’, but ‘Talk About You’ and ‘Angel’ are not terribly riveting. If you’re a live Angels fan it’s a nice memento — proceed with all

Sharon O’Neill

Maybe (CBS) There’s no denying Sharon O’Neill has an excellent voice but this record tends to lean too dangerously on the pretty side. I suspect that part of the problem is the toppiness of the mix, as the whole album needs more punch. The first single from this album “ Waiting for you" is one of the better songs. Unlike the 2nd single “ Maybe” it is bright with a bit of an edge to it. “ Maybe” is a very pretty, run of the mill ballad with a touch of Olivia Newton John sweetness to the vocals. “ Betcha” is a reasonable song but ‘Long Distance From Singapore’ is a much more interesting and

stronger effort displaying Sha­ ron’s vocal potential. “Street Soys” opens side 2 and like “For all the Tea in China” lacks real bite. The lyrics are quite nasty and all that, but the vocals needed to be spat out to make this a good song. “Anytime you want” and “Hold me Again” are pretty and well executed but nothing to get excited about. “ I don’t want to touch you” moves along and there is a nice hint of rawness in Sharon’s voice making it one of my favourites. As a songwriter she shows promise but at times there is a tendency towards inanity and she makes no attem pt to break through any barriers of under­ standing or musical style. But all the songs work. Overall there is a safeness about the Sharon O’Neill being presented on this album. This record shows she has a lot of potential but there is a feeling of control stamped on it which places it in the good/not yet great categ­ ory.

Beryl Lapthorne

What did you think of the year of music about to end? As well a printing the results of our readers poll next issue, w e’d like to hear from you about what moved you, what made you think, what

happened to you during and after gigs anything in fact that goes to make up rock’s rich tapestry. We’ll print a selection of ‘Rock Experiences’ in the bumper end of year issue.

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35


Matt Finish

Fade Away Giant Records .'■•>

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With this ‘mini-album’ Matt Finish continue to heroically trailblaze the arduous path of gaining critical acceptance through honest effort and populist support. ‘Short Note’ recently having achieved gold status amply demonstrates that stars are born, not hyped. It would be more than odd to see this quartet miming their composition on Countdown, totally out of character and compromising their splenetic approach to performance. Anyway these guys don’t muck about and live perfor­ mance-is where the Finish start to lay down the law. No amount of arty video featurism could adequately convey Matt Finish live — hence this re­ cord. In January this year I de­ spatched a letter and a cassette copy of ‘Short Note’ to Pete Townshend in the ardent hope that he would enjoy it and maybe feel motivated to even tour the Who here again. More than any­ thing to let him hear a fresh and truly exceptional group in whom I felt Townshend would find a sym­ pathetic set of sensibilities and approach to guitar. Well, a good five months transpired during which we had all but given up hope of any reply. Then in early June I received a hand written reply from Pete wherein he refer­ red to Matt Finish in capital letters as ‘(GREAT!)’. This of course sent both myself (an arch Who fan) and Rick Grossman (another) into paroxysms of delight. Rick con­ tinued the correspondence and duly received a reply ending with ‘you’re a handsome bunch of bastards aren’t you?’. He later played selected tracks from the cassette on John Peel’s Radio One show. But let’s face it Britain is hardly the place for an aspiring outfit these days what with all those pedantic romantics scarp­

ing hither and thither in their synthetic kilts and psychedelic ballet shoes. Not to mention the prevailing squalour and faltering record industry. Britain appears to be fading away in to a deepening morass of social and political quicksand. These performances were put down in two days at the Pact Theatre in Paddington. The qual­ ity of recording on this live perfor­ mance is one of genuine pre­ sence without any of the rough edges usually associated with live recording. In fact its almost indis­ tinguishable from the depth and clarity a studio can furnish. Colin Lee Hong, Matt Finish’s sound mixer deserves great credit for this his first record. ‘Fade Away’ is replete with Matt Finish’s dextrous and jazz-tinged playing. The quar­ tet just swings into top gear with Matt Moffit’s expressive swathes of chords on lead/rhythm, while Jeff Clayton’s back up rhythm adds texture and harm onics especially on ‘Eat Your Lips O ff where he does some extraordi­ nary things with his Telecaster. Between them there’s an amazing interplay that creates a tension and precision which just glows. Matt balances his own dramatic chording with a luminous and ethereal fingerstyle, an inventive and deft contrast that is rarely executed with this much ele­ gance. Rick Grossman and John Prior’s rhythm section is taut yet highly responsive, embellished by -John’s fluid playing. ‘Ifs On My Way’ gets off to a vigorous start and proceeds to a kinetic conclusion; silicon chip reggae synchronised in ‘Real Time’. This being followed by a turgid and crashing ‘Eat Your Lips O ff, a toon about the dubious merit of ingesting copious quan­ tities of various and nefarious pharmacology; ad nauseum. Eat Your Lips Off ends up sounding like ‘Elliot Ness and his untoucha­ ble buddies in the twilight zone’. Sting and co, watch out. ‘Calls’ doesn’t fare as well as the more tried and tested although it adds that touch of Grahame Greene and other ambivalent scenarios. ‘Introductions’ is a pointed politi­ cal diatribe against the demented

autocrat which acknowledges that democracy is non-existent in real terms. The title track is a gallant stab at the impermanence of relation­ ships and our uncritical attach­ ment to externals in continual flux and deterioration. Drawing our attention to the insidious results of compromising and abandoning integral ideals. Matt’s exultant and galvanic wave of chording enunciates the start and plows headlong into the melee the composition becomes. The tumult is unrelenting, sounding like the inexorable procession of the Juggernaut (Jaganath) — compelling one to engage in this duty dance with death. It is here that M att’s vocals project an intensity that is riveting and you can certainly feel that this is no joking matter for him. Also it carries his own obtuse and reasoned cynicism. ‘Fade Away' is yet another indelible and rust proof top coat that glistens like Saturn’s rings.

Brecon Walsh

The Kinks

“Give the People what they want” (Arista) With the track record that the Kinks have for poor record sales, particularly in Australia, the title of their latest release initially conjures up thoughts of a sudden lapse of integrity (ie sellout) or else som eone’s idea of a cruel joke. But it turns out to be just the title of one of the tracks, a cynical little piece about how difficult it is to keep pleasing the public:

“Blow out your brains, but do it right, Make sure it’s on prime time, and on a Saturday night Gotta give the people what they w ant . . . ” No need for concern — long­ time social critic Ray Davies is in no immediate danger of be­ coming a darling of the mas­ ses.

So what will the small band of dedicated followers get this time when they part with their money for their annual boost? For star­ ters, it’s probably the Kinks’ most consistent release for a long time. The format for most Kinks’ albums has been a handful of great songs with the rest ranging from ordinary to embarrassing. This time at least there are no real bummers. Also the sound is much tougher. From the live album of last year, and Dave Davies’ new-found interest in releasing solo albums, it was becoming abvious that Dave’s blistering guitar was going to take a much more dominant role in the Kinks’ sound. If the Kinks do ex­ perience a re-em ergence in popularity this will probably be the main cause. This is not to say that everyone will be pleased with the shifting direction — Ray’s subtlety and Dave’s lack of it have always been one of the curious m is­ matches of this band: give either of them the upper hand and the band suffers. Fortunately, despite the music becoming less subtle, Ray’s lyrics are strorrg as ever. The standard self-parody songs are there again — ‘Predictable’ and ‘Destroyer’ display the usual wit, with ‘Des­ troyer’ (a song about paranoia) being particularly humorous in the way it ‘borrows’ very heavily from Kinks’ standards — ‘Girl — I want you here with me’, he sings to this bird called Lola. This song raises another point very relevant to this album — it’s obviously not the most original thing they’ve done, but it’s designed to work well in a live situation. With the exception of one, possibly two, this also applies to the rest of the album. Even quieter songs like ‘Killer’s Eyes’ and ‘Yo-Yo’ have a very solid drum beat and seem to be written with the road in mind. The more ‘serious’ songs also work well this time around. ‘A Little Bit of Abuse’ is a most compas­ sionate look at woman as victim — in this case of a wife-beating hus­ band; ‘Yo-Yo’ a study of incom­ patibility; ‘Killer’s Eyes’ sees the writer wrestling with, but not giving into sympathy for a cold-blooded killer ‘Art Lover’ is a cutesy little number that would have done Ian

Dury proud — at first glance a lecherous little song about admir­ ing young girls in the park that turns out to be a separated father’s yearning for his lost chil­ dren. The album finishes on an optim istic note with the single ‘Better Things’, a bright ballad which disappoints at first, but emerges a strong favourite after repeated listening. ’Tis perhaps a pity that this album doesn’t break more new ground m usically, but it does contain some strong songs and i hopefully this time around will give radio stations something other than ‘Lola’ to remind us of the im­ portance of this band.

Adrian Miller

Greg Kihn Band

Rockihnroll (Liberation) I guess as a starting point I could compare Kihn to some­ body and we could go from there. It’s an American album, vaguely in the same mould as Tom Petty; at least the guy’s voice is remarkably similar, and they seem to have similar ideas about musical taste, al­ though Kihn’s music does not yet have the distinctive stamp of Petty’s. All tracks are self-penned with the exception o f‘She/7a’, aTommy Roe hit from well before my time. Although one or two tracks do stand out, generally the quality is very even throughout. Nice clean production, well temepered songs — though not so respectable that you don’t get some spirited play­ ing from the band, particularly from guitarist Dave Carpenter. Line-up is the fairly standard drums, bass, keyboards and lead guitar, with Kihn on rhythm guitar and vocals. All in all this is quite a refreshing album which deserves to bring Kihn a little more recognition. I just thought I’d bring it to your atten­ tion.

Mosko Serkas

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36

ROADRUNNER


for instance. Set over some very powerful intro chords is the most beautiful, plaintive guitar I have heard since Eric Clap­ ton played lead on “ W h ile M y G u ita r G e n tly W e e p s . ” Lofgren has a very unique style that makes great use of overtones, and it is used to perfection here. It sounds very sweet and round and powerful and incisive all together. Most guitarists would sell their souls to sound like that. Another example is the sound of the synthesiser as it ripples along with the bass in “E m p ty H e a r t .” Or listen to Elliot Randall’s tasteful, clean work in “S a ilo r B o y .” Not only are the sounds great, the playing is impeccable, and has moments of magnifi­ cence. Nicky Hopkins provides quite a few moments of delight with his chunky piano playing, which seems to have developed a new smoothness and ease. As usual, Ritchie Hayward impresses as much with what he doesn’t play as with what he does. But the highlight of the album is a momentous trum­ pet solo from Chuck Findley on “In M o tio n ”. I’m no expert on brass instruments, but if speed and a total disregard for high C count for anything, then this guy is good. He really makes his instrument speak. (Well it’s more of a wail, I guess). This is the best example of music in the old style that I have heard for a long, long time. Sure, it doesn’t break any new ground, and neither does it admit that any new ground has been broken, but that’s okay. Ultravox do what they do exceedingly well. So does Nils Lofgren, and I like what he does very much.

A w a y ,”

Nils Lofgren

“ Night Fades Away” (Backstreet) We first heard of Nils Lofgren when, as a precocious seventeen year old, he played the piano on Neil Young’s “After The Goldrush.” Since that time he has released a number of solo efforts, the most notable of which to my mind was the magnificent “Cry Tough”, released here in 1977. He has not changed his style to any significant degree since, apart from shifting away from including the occasional acoustic based song on his albums. “Night Fades Away” is a more up-tempo album, less moody and introspective. A glance at the back sleeve credits gives an indication of what to expect. The calibre of the backing musos suggests that the music will be professional, slick and magnificently played. Jeff Baxter produced the album as well as sharing guitar credits with Nils and Elliot Randall. Nicky Hopkins takes the piano, while drums are shared between Ed Greene, Jeff Pocaro and Ritchie Hayward. Phew!! And the list goes on. Of the ten tracks, eight were written by Lofgren, either alone or in collaboration with Jeff Baxter. The other two tracks are the old Del Shannon song “I G o to P ie c e s " and an old Beatles track “A n y tim e a t A ll”. Nils sticks pretty close to the original versions; so close, in fact, that Del Shannon sings backing voc­ als on “I G o to P ie c e s ." Both tracks are very well arranged, being somewhat slower and more complex instrumentally than the origi­ nals, and are very good versions. Great songs, both of them, and they are handled very well. The original material is of a consistently high standard. Nils displays his usual ambi­ valent attitude to women on a couple of tracks, mainly “E m p ty H e a r t ” and “ D o n ’t T o u c h M e . ” If we were to take some of Nils songs too seriously, we would say he has a problem. He seems to expect to get betrayed and hurt by every woman he meets, and if he’s not getting betrayed, he’s out for re­ venge on the bad woman who abused his unfulfilled and lost love. Apart from the occasional bit of psychoanalytical interest, the songs are well-crafted, beautifully arranged and played with tons of style. The production is beautiful. The sound is very thick without being over­ cluttered, and some of the individual instru­ ment sounds reduce me to a quivering heap of jelly. Take the opening track, “N ig h t F a d e s

Stan Coulter

Joe Cocker “Live in New York” (Liberation) This album was recorded before Joe’s recent tour of Australia, and includes some of the classic songs. Joe sounds pretty good, despite a reduced range, and one gets the impression that he was relatively sober at the time. The band is tight and professional, and does adequate justice to the songs pre­ sented, which include “H itc h c o c k R a ilw a y ," “ Y ou a r e S o B e a u tifu l,” “ T h e L e tte r ” and, of course, “A Little H e lp F ro m M y F rie n d s ." No doubt every Joe Cocker fan will have all the songs on this album in some form or other, but for those who have always liked Joe but never bought anything, this is a reasonably good buy. It’s a satisfying and enjoyable effort, and these songs don’t pale easily.

Stan Coulter

John Foxx

Mental as Anything:

“Cats and Dogs” : (Regular Records) If I were to say this isn’t a regular record, you would probably groan at the dragging out of an al­ ready tried and true joke. But this really is not your run-of-the-mill, average locally realised product, to be sure. You’ve probably already heard the singles, and all the tracks are as good if not better. The ideas ‘stated’ on these tracks are enhanced and improved upon. Songs like the m arvellous ‘C a t a lin a s R e w a r d , ” and the equally as good “B e s e rk W a r r io r s ” (about ABBA, I gather), show that this band are capable of writing magical pop tunes outside of the bouncy, bluesy music that has be­ come their trademark. This is not an album to be analysed track by track, be­ cause that would be to ap­ proach this album from the wrong angle. To do it the honour it so richly deserves, you just got to dance to it, tap your feet and listen to it, or whatever else you do when you play really, really good pop music. Listen to Martin Plaza’s singing — surely one of the “ state of the arts” in pop voices — and Reg Mombassa’s and Greedy Smith’s, with their own unique styles are pretty hep too. Reg’s guitar play­ ing takes whammy bar and slide to its legal limits and the whole thing fair pumps along. Yes sir, when it comes to the chuggy, dance stuff that the Mentals play, no attack of pins and needles that the world could come up with, could stop my feet, and probably yours, from jiving. Let’s cook? Thanks for the invitation, I’ll be right over

Earl Grey

John Martyn

“Glorious Fool” (WEA)

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Frankly, this record is boring. Not specific enough for you? Well then, let me elaborate. . .

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This is the second John Martyn album to feature the ubiquitous Phil Collins and it sees him moving further away from his (rather eclec­ tic) folkie past and deeper into the blandly predictable English MOR soft rock arena, currently dominated by Collins’ ‘parent’ group, Genesis. I had more time for Martyn when he was basically an acoustic guitarist. Mind you, even in those days he put his guitar through so many effects, it wasn’t identifiable as such half the time, anyway. On this record though, his guitar playing is incon­ sequential, his voice an unintelligable squawk and his songs monotonic. Collins supplies drums, vocals, vocoder and production, but his usually interesting contributions fail to lift this effort above the mediocre. How he can go from his in­ spired playing on Peter Gabriel’s triumphant third album (and even his forays into jazz with Brand X) to this sort of soupy crud is beyond me. Being a work­ aholic with broad tastes is fine, but one must draw the line (between what, you ask?) somewhere if one doesn’t wish to appear a dilettante. I used to respect John Martyn’s work once, and still hold some hope for Col­ lins, but this album does neither of their reputations any good at all.

Ruthven Martinus

The Garden (Virgin) Peter Baumann

Repeat Repeat (Virgin)

It can be argued that John Foxx was out of sight for too long after leaving Ultravox, and his particular music concept was usurped and accelerated by people like the Human League and Gary Numan. It can also be argued that he has wilfully chosen to take an unobtrusive path, and has allowed synthpop to happen the way it has. What still is clear is that he has a clear vision of what he wants to do. How successfully he achieves that vision is not so clear. While his lyrical formulae are still remarkably healthy, his tune is still basically the same. This is particularly evident on side two, where almost every track sounds familiar, with the song W a lk A w a y almost a clone o f N o O n e D riv in g . The same applies on side one, but to a lesser extent, as the songs on this side are tighter, fresher ones. Still, John Foxx’s concern is not so much with musical horizons as horizons of mood, and in this respect the record has at least the quality of M e ta m a tic . It works best as easy listening after a heavy session. The narcotic quality of Foxx’s panoramic synthesiser dreams and the futuristic urgency of his voice can cancel out almost any signals. The album is accompanied by a glossy colour booklet called C h u rc h , which includes some great photographs and pieces of descriptive writing. Peter Baumann seems to have made his record as a joke. . ^ „ Using a popular formula of synthesised rock, Baumann has assembled a collection of simple, almost mindless songs. The sparse, predigested pop arrangements show no trace of his experience with Tangerine Dream. The quality Is more reminiscent of the Human League except that the lyrics generally make more sense. Half of the songs don’t seem to have been worth writing. Others, however, appeal because of their cynical straight­ forwardness. R e a ltim e s , D a y tim e L o g ic and W h a t is Y o u r U s e work because of this. “ I like the Smalltalk,” Baumann sings, “ It makes me feel so real” . The album is essentially Smalltalk. Nor can Baumann sing a note. However, he sends himself up well. The record does not allow itself to be taken seriously, and this is established with the title track.

We h a v e h e a r d th is s o n g b e fo r e D id n ’t w e , d id n ’t w e ? T h e re is n o th in g n e w a t a ll Is n ’t th e re , is n ’t th e re ?

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This track is brilliant and has enough hooks to make a good single if properly marketed and promoted.

— Span

Def Leppard

“ High ’n’ Dry” (Vertigo) This is Def Leppard’s second album, so far as I know, and it represents a considerable improve­ ment from “On Through The N ight.” It’s still heavy metal, but it’s not so derivative of early seventies monsters like Purple, Led Zeppelin, U.F.O. and the ilk. That Def Leppard toured with AC/DC not so long ago is patently obvious. They’ve picked up a few lessons and sound much better for it. Basically, they have pared everything back to the bone. The songs are much more simple, and rely heavily on AC /D C /style power chords, simple three or four chord progressions and much less convoluted riffs. Musical pretensions are dropped, and the em­ phasis is on straight forward rock rather than attempts to impress listeners with their cleverness. Gone are the acoustic intro’s, the spacy mystical lyrics and the at­ tempts to emulate “ C h ild in T im e .” Instead, we have honest workmanship and a more enjoyable form of eighties heavy rock. They do fall back to their old habits occasionally, but for the most part they follow the AC/DC beacon pretty closely. It gets to be a bit of a laugh at times, especially during some of the lead breaks. You’d swear that Angus Young’s name should appear in the cre­ dits. Just listen to the title track if you think I’m exaggerating. Anyway, this is a vast im­ provement for these young lads. If they keep paring it down to the basics and work at keeping the tempo

up and unrelieved, they could produce a monster one day. This album doesn’t guite make it, but it’s a reasonable effort. If you like AC/DC style rock, have a listen.

Stan Coulter

Jimmy and the Boys:

“Teddy Boys Picnic” (Avenue Records) It’s rumoured that this band have a sense of humour, and I gue- | | anybody who calrJ' Donald Sutherland seductive must have one somewhere. If they do, it’s their saving grace. Their stage show is (or was I’m not too sure), a rather tired mixture of supposedly shocking theatrics and, in their ear­ lier days, served as an effective cover-up for their pseudo-funk jazz new wave (or whatever you’d like to call it — it was terrible anyway). Nowadays their tunes are more “ s tra ig h t” (ahem) pop, but the quality hasn’t improved any. Not a smid­ geon. The only good song on the album is, dare I say it, “ They W o n ’t Let G irlfrie n d T a lk to M e ,

My

” and even with that I can’t help feeling that Ignatius Jones’ vocals are too weak or breathless to give the song true justice, so th e y ’ve added a few tons of vocal overdubs to compensate. I guess there must be a market for this sort of thing somewhere (Kings Cross?), but, as my mother Mrs. Grey, would say, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all — good advice in this instance I th ink. . .

Earl Grey


AT lATT THE WHO WHAT WHEH WHERE WHT OF AUSTRAEIAH MUSK f 'w

Never before have so many of Australia’s top music writers been assembled in the one publication to cover the most important aspects of Australian music today. And never before has so much information, so many photographs, stories, biographies, facts and statistics about the Australian music industry been concentrated in the one place The Australian Music Directory , is an indispensible handbook detailing every important facet of Australian music. Essential information for anyone interested in, dealing with or working in Australian music.

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30 Years of Australian Music 200 pages on major aspects of Australian music illustrated with over 1000 photographs, many previously unpublished — the story of Australian rock from Johnny O’Keefe to Split Enz and beyond; music and the media, from Stan the Man to FM simulcasts, from Kommotion to Countdown; country music, Australian music overseas, the new music technology, and much more.

Australian Music on Record

The first ever comprehensive cata­ logue of Australian artists and Composers on record — classical, brass bands, children, country, ethnic, folk, humor, jazz, pop, rock, sacred, soundtracks. 52 pages, over 3500 entries.

The Yellow Pages of Australian Music

The most detailed listing of services and facilities relevant to the _______ music business ever compiled, including: managers, promoters, record companies, intruments, lighting, studios. transport, promotions, photographers, live music venues, campuses, record shops, media . . . more than 60 categories, with over 10,000 entries.

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Roadrunner 4(10) November 1981  

Roadrunner 4(10) November 1981  

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