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THE CONCERT IN CENTRAL PARK SIMON & GARFUNKEL Simon & Garfunkel reunited in New York City's Central Park for the first time in 11 years to stage a one concert performance. GEFFEN R EC O R D S They delivered their classics to a crowd estimated at 500,000 -possibly the largest to assemble anywhere for a single act. This 2 record set is truly an historic event containing 19 songs from the concert and a 12 page booklet. LP 2GHS2012 Cass. 2GHSC2012

Available on Records and Cassettes 2

ROADRUNNER


r Rob Tillet, ex-lead singer of mid sixties Adeiaide poiiticai biues pop outfit Red Angel Panic (who numbered the Angels’ bass player Chris Baiiey among their members) is about to reiease a soio singie after a long absence from the music biz. it’s called ‘Don’t Call Me’ and was recorded in London and mixed in Sydney. There’s also an album on the way. Rob O’Connor, late of 5SSA-FM Summer Search ’81 winners Safari Set is now fronting a band called Cerebral Shake, after a very brief sojourn as bass player for the Numbers. The Numbers have just finished their second album with producer Graham ‘Buzz’ Bidstrup filling the drum stool after the departure of drummer Marty Newcombe and bassist Gary Roberts. A rhythm section is currently being sought so the band can resume live work. Cold Chisel have signed to Poiydor Records for ail territories outside Austraiia, NZ, the USA and Canada. The first reiease through Poiydor wiii be the band’s new aibum ‘Circus Animals’ which wiii be out in the US/Canada around the beginning of April. Beat Detectives, the Adelaide band that has been turning a few heads in Melbourne and landing some prestige supports with the Angels, return to Adelaide for two gigs only on 12th and 13th March. Veteran Scottish rocker Aiex Harvey died in Belgium iast month after suffering a heart attack at the start of a European tour. As ieader of the Sensationai Aiex Harvey Band he enjoyed massive British success in the mid and eariy seventies, but his career went into deciine with the arrivai of punk/new wave in 1977. He was 46. Hunters and Collectors had nice things said about them in a recent N.M.E. ‘. . the hottest combo drumming up the storm clouds over Oz’s nascent (just coming into existence — LITERARY ED.) music scene.’ said Roz Reines, under a heading, ‘Oz Goes Tribal’. Drummer Rob Whittle has left Tactics. They are currently looking for a replacement. Next David Bowie release will be an E.P. of Bertolt Brecht songs called ‘Baal’, taken from the TV play of the same name. The Police have donated the proceeds from one of their Los Angeles concerts (at the 20,000 capacity Filimore Stadium) to Sir Freddie Laker, saying that if it hadn’t been for Laker’s cutprice transatlantic fares, they would never have been able to do the budget tours that established them in the States. t h is

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Adelaide’s first Rock Against Racism concert will be held on 14th March at the Dom Polski Centre, Angas St, City. Featured bands will be Us Mob (co-stars with No Fixed Address in the movie ‘Wrong Side Of The Road’, which will open the concert around 4.30 p.m.), Kuckles, an aboriginal band from Broome W.A. and others. Also appearing will be the Mornington Island Dance Group, in Adelaide as part of the Festival of Arts and selected poets and other speakers. Funds raised at the concert will go towards further RAR concerts, the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (based in Adelaide) and the Movement to Boycott the Brisbane Commonwealth Games. Dirty Pool, in association with 3XY and Earl’s Court will be opening a large new venue in St. Kllda this month. The venue, called simply the Venue, is an old style big band dance hall which has undergone eight months of renovations, including the building of a full sized concert stage. There will also be an upstairs bar operating till 3.00 a.m. The opening line up of talent is an impressive one. The Angels kick things off on Sat. March 13th, Cold Chisel are there the following Saturday, March 20th, Split Enz play the Saturday after them, March 27th, and Mental As Anything and the Divinyls share a bill on April 3rd. Tickets for all four shows are available at BASS. Iva Davies, in London hunting for a producer for the next Icehouse album, dropped into see Simple Minds putting down their new single. It’s not known exactly how many cans of beer were drunk . . . Shock! Horror! Phil Oakey of The Human League has cut off the lop sided part of his hair. Adelaide rock’n’roll officially pronounced dead after the closure of its shrine, the Tivoli Hotel in Pirie St. to rock music last month. As the inner city venue it has played host to virtually every top level medium level and small level band to come to or live in Adelaide over the past five years. It will be fondly remembered and sadly missed. New Van Morrison album, ‘Beautiful Vision’, due mid March. Also due soon from Polygram are a ‘Best Of Siouxsie And The Banshees’ and the new Boomtown Rats album, their first as a four piece, entitied ‘V Deep’. Simple Mind’s bass player Derek Forbes (who by the way took the shot of Jim Kerr and Iva Davies that adorned our November ’81 cover) is not too happy about the disparaging

comments made by fellow Glaswegian Midge Ure of Ultravox about the Mighty Minds in Sydney recently. Forbes has publicly announced he’d like a ‘meeting’ with Ure when Ultravox return to the U.K. NME quotes Forbes as saying, ‘He’ll no look so dapper wi’ his moustache wrapped round his hooter.’

N.S.W. Tours: Troggs - M arch/April

Birthday Party bassplayer Tracey Pew was sentenced to four months jaii in Melbourne last month, after being picked up a third time for drunken driving and also being found guiity of steaiing a sewing machine and a packet of frankfurters. His arrest has caused the canceiiation of the Birthday Party’s American and German tours, but ex-Magazine bass player Barry Adamson will be filling in on the band’s UK dates.

Channel Ten has announced the commissioning of three new rock shows. Nightmoves, previously shown on Channel Seven, will start on Ten on March 8th (Sydney and Melbourne, other states later) with Lee Simon retaining his compere’s seat. The album and film review segments have been dropped and in their place will be a magazine/news segment presented by Simon, Kirstin Grant (EX 3RRR music co-ordinator) and ex-Skyhook and noted wit. Red Symons. The second program will be a monthly concert simulcast called Stereo Home Box Office, one hour specials on the last Wednesday of every month, simulcasted with local FM stations. The third show, and perhaps the most interesting, is WROK, a five nights a week, half hour pop/rock program in the 5.30-6.00p.m. timeslot Monday to Friday. This show will be simulcast with AM stations (3XY in Melbourne, 2SM in Sydney, other states to be announced). The hosts will be DJ’s from the participating AM stations, and will be rotated weekly. Mike O’Loughlin (3XY) will host the first week, then somebody from 2SM, etc. etc. The show will be set in a radio station studio equipped with television monitor and video tape machine. Most of the show will be video, but it is planned to have interview and even live performance spots. WROK will call on the services of three overseas representatives, Lindsay Scott in Los Angeles, Miranda Brown in London and ROADRUNNER’S very own New York correspondent Keri Phillips. All three shows will be produced by Wired Productions, a Michael (Mr. Mushroom) Gudinski company. Gudinski is quoted as saying, ‘This is the most important venture I’ve been totally committed to since Mushroom commenced 10 years ago.’

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Julian

An interview with The Teardrop Explodes mainman

Bang are making sound waves and a sound future. Since their inception eight months back out of Scratch Record Scratch, th ey’ve as­ sembled an engaging and ebullient collage with presence and re­ freshing efficacy. To wit their penchance for arresting visuals and hard edge disco funk coupled with their adept choice of when and where to play has them poised on the threshold of rapid suc­ cess and near cult status. (Last year they opened for Echo & the Easterbunnys and Simple Minds at the Jump Club). Of course there’s more to It than just good managerial strategy. They cer­ tainly make that point abundantly clear when you see their audi­ ences really dancing with verve and obvious enthusiasm. Like the best new dance bands 4

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Bang’s line up is Carol Hitchcock, vocalist and neo albino asthenic ec­ tomorph, Wren Walters, fender guitar and high cheekbones, Nick Seymour, bass guitar and whistle, Oleh W iter, double snare drum kit and perfect pom padour hairstyle. Laurie McRae, synthesiser and asiatic ancestors and Tim Rosewarne. Casio syn­ thesisers and vocals. Musically it’s an energetic amalgam of jazz funk and new dfsco, meticulously arranged and reflecting their astute stylistic schema. Influences come thick and fast. Miles Davis’ ‘On the Corner’, the cybernetic funk of Byrne and Eno abetted by the guitar styles of Carlos Alomar, Adrian Belew and James Blood Ulmer. These are not meant as hard and fast references, more as like minded peers and mentors. The point is that Bang’s sen­ sibilities demand such com parisons by sheer

In the past you’ve never been afraid to admit confusion. Are you stiil confused? JC: Yes, more confused than ever. Why is that? JC: At the start of last year I was aiming for commercial success, which I think we achieved, but it didn’t turn out the way I’d expected. Do you know what you do want? JC: I still want commercial success, but I want it without anything else changing. What do you feel about your second album (soon to be released in this country)? JC: It’s a lot different to the first one. The second side is quite slo w . . . it’s a more adult, more mature record I think. Who produced it? Clive Langer, altho’ Martin Rushent produced the single ‘Passionate Friend’. Who do you iike out of your contemporaries? I like the Human League. . . I like Dollar. . . I don’t like most of the top forty s tu ff. . . D.A.F. I like Alan Vega. I’ve been listening to a lot of wayout stuff recently. Do you find it hard maintaining your enthusiasm for music ? It’s increased. If you couldn’t sing what do you think you’d be doing? JC: I think I’d be writing . . . plays or something like that. So is your creative impuise very strong? Yes, very strong. I’ve always had this really strong desire to communicate. Is the single, ‘Passionate Friend’ written about anyone in particuiar? JC: Yes . . . just a girl. Have you any preconceived ideas about what Australia win be iike? JC: Big . . . hot . . . kangaroos . . . and an enthusiastic music scene. What do you like most about travelling? JC: Getting there. What about new places - do they excite you? JC: Oh yeah. The last time we were in America we got to see a lot. Do you ever feel-cornered or trapped in the public image you’ve got? JC: Hmmm, yeah, a bit — but I’m changing all the time so I feel I’m still in control of it. It doesn’t bother me that much at the moment, altho’ it did a bit last year. When Cope-mania was at its peak? JC: Yeah. That was quite frightening. It seems that Andy Warhol’s prediction that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes could quite directly be applied to the British music scene at the moment. JC: Oh yeah, definitely. But we’ll go on a lot longer than that I think. Were you pleased with the response to the ‘God Like Genius Of Scott Waiker’ album you put together? JC: Yeah. It was very well received and sold a few copies and turned out much as I’d hoped. Have you any plans to do something similar?

dint of their instrumental sophistication and m elodic / anthem atic compositions. Take for instance ‘Military Tange’ a rather sardonic little dance number which de­ scribes what happens to executive governments when an economy be­ comes strike bound. Its camouflage au go go! The other tune that will shine forth to display their eclat is ‘Bedazzled’ brimming with elegant eroticism. Essentially what dis­ tinguishes Bang from the other funk disco outfits is their consistently enter­ taining set and lack of an overburdening malevo­ lence. Added to which Carol projects a confi­ dence and warmth that involves an audience in a way that is rare in these days of cynical diffi-^ dence. Visually they have broken new ground with the use of a large maritime flag which sig­ nifies the word ‘Bang’. Carol also tends to adorn herself with an intriguing array of what could be best described as ‘art

clothes’ which she wears d Id crdold. As a machine with moving parts Bang achieves what all jazz in­ strumentalists aspire to­ wards; polyrhythm ic confluence layer upon layer with anastatic pre­ cision. The net effect is akin to simultaneous sol­ oing w ithout the shrill dissonance one might expect. The key is the fact that their playing and composition are by de­ finition an organic pro­ cess which amply facili­ tates this fecundity. Wren, ‘it’s very organic, the way it evolves is in­ credibly organic. It’s like there’s no huge precon­ ception trip. It’s like we’re doing what we do be­ cause that’s what we do.’ Entertainm ent is a strong motivating factor in Bang’s approach to perform ance. They strongly rebut the suggestion that their music is open to too deep a scrutiny in terms of serious art per-se. Alter­ nately the inference that mere dance music is an

JC: Zoo (Teardrop Explodes/Echo and the Bunnymen management company and also small record label) have got plans to release a compilation album of early Teardrops, Bunnymen, Big In Japan tracks. And they’re also going to be re-releasing Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’. What’s your greatest wish Julian? JC: (long pause) To understand. To understand what? JC: (slightly shorter pause) Me. (iaughing) Very good answer. JC: (laughing) Thank you. And what’s your greatest fear? JC: (Very long pause) Not to be in control of any particular situation I might find myself in. And do you feei you’re in control of your situation at the moment? JC: Kind of, yeah. / was reading a coupie of articies about you before caiiing and this image of a surfer came to mind, surfing on confusion. JC: Yeah, th a t’s dead right, very much iike that (animatedly). What coiour is your hair these days? JC: Er, blond. Because you did have it dark iast year, didn’t you? JC: Yeah, for a while. Blond’s better though. Do you see yourself as a ‘p o p ’ singer? JC: N o . . . I think I’m a bit too weird to be a pop singer. I like to think I’m uncategorizable. But not uncategorizable enough. I need more time. Definitely. What do you like best about playing live? JC: The whole thing. I like the idea of putting straight pop songs next to complete freak-outs. Because of the effect it has on the audience or because of the affect it has on you? JC: Both. Does anything out of the ordinary happen to you and the band on stage, any strange feelings or emotions. JC: We feel very united . . . er, quite often I’ll be looking at Dave Balfe playing keyboards and I’ll just sort of drift off into what he’s doing. Some reviewers have said I look aloof when I’m on stage, but I’m just sort of drifting . . . it’s quite hard getting up on a stage. In a recent article you said one of your aims was to be a sexual idiot. Have you come any closer to that aim? JC: Yeah. I’ve sort of become a pinup in young girls’ magazmes and that’s great, I love it. Do you think there is a typical Teardrops fan? JC: I think there is now — sort of sixteen year old girls and twenty year old boys who like the psychedelic element of it and some slightly older, 28-30 people. Do you think your music is psychedelic? JC: I think it has elements, but it’s more coherent. Do you stiii take a lot of drugs? JC: Er, yeah, I suppose so, but not when I’m writing. It’s a difficult enough process trying to say something coherent without being flipped out at the same time.

escapist concern doesn’t wash with them either. Carol — ‘I think what w e ’re trying to do is change people. It’s very trendy not to smile, it’s very trendy to go out and be cynical and be ‘cool’. T h at’s 1977 punk and Melbourne, Australia still hasn’t got out of that. It needs fun to make people smile. It’s just fun, it’s instead of people stand­ ing there criticising us. It’s to get people in­ volved. Times are bad and people say you can’t es­ cape from things, right? You can’t escape but who wants to be told about the bad day they’ve just had? People know they’ve had a bad day. They don’t want to be told about it. It’s not escapism , it’s som ething to entertain people. They want to see something to start with even though they want to worship, they want to re­ late to someone on the stage and feel involved. And not many bands these days are doing that.’ S o meone reputedly

from England’s N.M.E. going under the alias of one Danny Baker went on air on triple R to roundly disparage nearly all the Australian bands he had seen except for two which were Bang and Equal Local. He very favourably lavished praises upon them while dism issing that other funk ensemble ‘The Shunters and In­ spectors’. Given the ban’s cur­ rency in the English scene such an observa­ tion should have some credence. Bang, simply put are a defin ite ‘bang-up’. Rumbling like a Bangalore Torpedo this sextet is explosive!

Brecon Walsh N.B. ‘Bangalore Torpedo’ (from Bangalore, a city in India) in military usage, a piece of metal tubing fil­ led with high explosive, used especially to blast a path through a barbed wire entanglement or to detonate buried mines, from W ebsters 20th Century Dictionary, Un­ abridged.


YOUNG HOME BUYERS SUFFER r is in g INTEREST

“Hopefully there’s a market out there in the suburbs” says Nigel Lawrence, wistfully. There’s probably not much cause for concern. The Young Homebuyers, Lawrence, fellow songwriter Greg Williams, ex-Fabulaires Greg Champion and Mick Teakle, exDot drummer Tony Thornton and bassist Paul Zeising (all ex-Adelaide in one way or another) have great songs, a fetch-

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ingly sloppy stage act (good fun) and have absolutely no charisma at all. They’re gonna be huge. March sees the release of their first single, ‘Take One Step’ backed with ‘Polish Reggae Party’ and ‘Laughing Clown’ on ex-LRB David Briggs’ Rough Diamond label. Law­ rence and Williams, sitting in the Roadrunner office cracking bad jokes and putting on funny voices, said they saw the single as an introduction to the band. ‘It’s a very straightforward, AM oriented pop song’ said Lawrence, without a hint of a blush. ‘If it’s a hit it’ll be a bonus.’ The Young Homebuyers tale is slightly unusual, in that Lawrence and Williams actually signed to Rough Diamond before they had a band. ‘David Briggs was the only person we met who was prepared to sign us on the strength of the songs’ said Williams. ‘We had a lot of interest from other pub­ lishers, but all the record companies wanted to see a band” . That was last June. The line up stabilised about six months ago and has been quietly building its audience in Melbourne ever since. ‘We got a lot of the Fabulaires audience initially’, says Nigel, ‘because of Greg and Mick and the fact that the Fabs used to do three of our songs and we do a couple that they used to do. But I’d say we’ve got our own audience now.’ Up till now Lawrence says, the Young Homebuyers have concentrated on being a ‘credible pub rock band,’ and have avoided the comedy/parody style with which the first Young Homebuyers made their mark on Adelaide radio audiences at the beginning of last year. Their demo tape of that time, which included a hilarious Redgum pisstake, ‘Wanking’, reached the top ten on non­ commercial FM station 5MMM. ‘We don’t want to be part of the Melbourne com edy/cabaret scene’ said Lawrence firmly. ‘We wanna be a band.’ Although they are the first to admit that they’re ‘serving their apprenticeship’ as performers, there’s no doubt that Lawrence and Williams are gifted songwriters, covering a wide spectrum of styles and topics, from catchy pop to reggae to rockabilly and ‘no funk’. With David Briggs, ‘a man as big as his reputation’ according to Lawrence, behind them, and an increasingly polished live act, there’s every chance Young Homebuyers could be the next Mental as Anything.

Donald Robertson.

According to lead singer, Angry Anderson, Rose Tattoo will be doing some Australian shows before heading back to the U.K. at the end of April. Although tour plans were not TOUR DATES — 1982 finalised when I talked to him, he said they’d probably be doing a couple of JOAN ARMATRADING shows in each state. Perth (Entertainment Centre) March

Richard Clapton, almost a forgotten figure in Australian rock over the past few years, is set to bounce back in a big way. With a powerful new album,

‘The Great Escape’, new record company WEA, new agency Dirty Pool, new manager Jon Blanchfield and new band, it’s all change and full steam ahead for Australia’s most significant singer songwriter of the mid seventies. Clapton hasn’t exactly been idle over the past twelve months though. After touring with INXS early last year, he produced their single ‘The Loved One’, opened negotiations with WEA, did three months work on ‘The Great Escape’, broke off to produce the INXS album, ‘Underneath The Colours’ and then finished off his own album just after Xmas. Clapton’s involvement with INXS goes back almost two years and he put in a lot of groundwork to achieve the desired result with ‘Underneath The Colours’. ‘In order to represent the band fairly I felt I had to get into all their heads.’ he said, over the phone from Sydney. ‘I see the role of a producer as interpreting what the artist wants, no more. I knew how to make a record because I’ve had the flying time, and I felt it was important for INXS to be untainted by outside influences. Because

ultimately the artist has to wear the consequences of an album.’ Doing ‘Underneath the Colours’ resulted in what Clapton terms ‘a lot of cross-pollination of musical influences and ideas’ between himself and the members of INXS. ‘In order to do an album with them I felt I had to fully explore their musical influences’, he said. ‘And their influences are really diverse. Michael Hutchence and Andrew Farris’ tastes are very left of centre and I got into some pretty obscure stuff that I hadn’t really gotten into before.’ However if the INXS influence is anywhere to be seen on ‘The Great Escape’ it’s more in terms of attitude and approach, rather than in any direct musical sense. Although INXS skinsman John Farris features on three tracks and bassplayer Garry Gary is on one, it’s still very much a Richard Clapton album. ‘It’s not necessarily a rock’n’roll album’ he says. ‘It’s more a feels album. I think over the past couple of years I’ve just become more interested in the foundations of my music.’ Thankfully the new foundations are not so extreme as to interfere with Clapton’s lyrics. Because, as one would hope, Clapton’s ability to evoke images and situations is .still as potent as ever. ‘I Am An Island’ is a great lost-love song, ‘Best Years Of Our Lives’ is a tender slice of nostalgia, down to the

‘Goodbye Tiger’ musical style, and ‘Flow In Motion’ is descriptive ode to the joy of movement. The Bobby Fuller Four’s 7 Fought The Law’, (recently revived by the Clash, although Clapton says he was unaware of that until after the song had been recorded), is perhaps the most surprising inclusion, although Clapton and the band, do it full justice. ‘Mark Opitz (producer) asked me why I’d never done a cover version, and, well, it had just never come up.’ Clapton said. ‘I was in this record store in Sydney that only sells records from before 1970 and got into this rave with the owner who was like a \yalking rock encyclopedia. And I just got really excited, bought the single, rushed back to the studio and we recorded it virtually straight away.’ With his new band, Harvey James (gtr), Graham Thompson (bass — ex-Big Combo), Mark Meyer (drums), Cos Russo (keyboards) and Mary Bradfield (backing vocals), Clapton is nearly at the end of a six week pub tour, and after a break will be doing a series of concerts. He says he’s going to be playing a lot this year and is hoping that this current band will stick together and do the next album. ‘This album is one of transition’, Clapton admits. ‘I really did feel I was getting in a bit of a rut. But I’m excited about everything again now.’ He has every reason.

Donald Robertson.

There has been much speculation about the Tatt’s hurried return to Austraiia iate last year which saw them biow out the finai leg of a successful British tour. All Anderson would say about it was, ‘I can’t teil you’. He eiaborated: ‘It goes into the sort of area that I decided a iong time ago was not going to be touched by what I do. It’s a small area, but a private one.’ He was however more than happy to talk about Rose Tattoo’s overseas suc­ cess — somewhat surprising in view of their iess than huge Australian popuiarity. ‘I don’t know, but it seems that to become successful here there are certain things you have to do that minimize your chances overseas. I think you have to become too bland. Because all of the bands that are huge here have very little vibe overseas.’ Angry’s expianation for the Tatt’s im­ pact is simple. ‘We delivered,’ he said. ‘We are twice the band over there that we ever were here. We’re a lot more outta control now. All the things I used to get hassied for, spitting on the stage, swear­ ing, acting iike a drunken fool — they’re O.K. there, as long as you deliver. I mean you could get up and shit on the stage as iong as you did it with style. European audiences have been a major factor in the transformation of the band. ‘We’ve aiways had our own internai source of energy’, says Angry. ‘But over there we didn’t have to use it. There audiences suppiied more than we couid handie. I mean they give you so much, you can’t heip but give them anything they want.’ Angry isn’t letting the aduiation go to his head however. ‘We’re trying to take it as caimly as possibie. So that heads don’t get outta shape. There’s no room for that in the band — which is why we’ve had iine up changes in the past. To us it’s a very heartfeit thing being a Tatt. It’s a brother­ hood thing.’ , And he feels the Tatts have only half realised their potential. ‘If the States later this year goes the way everyone is predicting . . . it’s going to be right over the top.’ Somehow I think here’s more than a grain of truth in that assertion.

Donald Robertson.

15; Adelaide (Thebarton Town Hall) March 18; Auckland (Town Hall) March 20; Wellington (Town Hall) March 21; Christchurch (Town Hall) March 23; Dunedin (Town Hall) March 24; Brisbane (Festival Hall) March 26; Sydney (Capitol Theatre) March 29, 30; Melbourne (Festival Hall) April 5.

PRETENDERS Wellington (Opera House) March 13; Auckland (Logan Campbell Centre) March 14; Melbourne (Palais Theatre) March 16; Brisbane (Cloudland Ballroom) March 20; Sydney (Capitol Theatre) March 22, 23; Canberra (Canberra Theatre) March 26; Adelaide (Festival Theatre) March 28; Perth (Entertainment Centre) March 30.

SHAKIN’ STEVENS Brisbane (Festival Hall) March 13; Sydney (Capitol Theatre) March 17; Melbourne (Palais Theatre) March 19; Newcastle (Civic Theatre) March 22; Canberra (Canberra Theatre) March 25; Adelaide (Thebarton Town Hall) April 2; Perth (Entertainment Centre) April 5.

LEO KOTTKE/ LEON REDBONE Perth (Concert Hall) March 19; Adelaide (Festival Theatre) March 22; Melbourne (Dallas Brooks Hall) March 24; Sydney (Capitol Theatre) March 26; Brisbane (Her Majesty’s) March 31.

ELTON JOHN Wellington (Athletic Park) March 10; Auckland (Western Springs) March 13; Sydney (Hordern Pavilion) March 16, 17, 18; Brisbane (Festival Hall) March 23, 24; Melbourne (Festival Hall) March 29, 30; Adelaide (Memorial Drive) April 3; Perth (Entertainment Centre) April 7

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Perth (Entertainment Centre) March 20; Adelaide (Thebarton Town Hall) March 23; Melbourne (Ritchies Council Club Hotel) (Ritchies Hotel/Preston) March 26, (The Venue/St. Kilda) March 27, (The Pier Hotel/Frankston) March 28, (Mystery Gig) March 29; Sydney (Selinas, Coogee Bay) March 31, (Manly Vale Hotel) April 1, (Family Hotel) April 2; Brisbane (To be advised) April 4.

THE TEARDROP EXPLODES Gold Coast (Bombay Rock) March 18; Brisbane (4zzz Cloudland) March 19; Mooloolaba (Thompsons Hotel) March 20; Sydney (Paddington Town Hall) March 21; Sydney (Sundowner) March 22; Sydney (Family Inn) March 23; Melbourne (Jump Club) March 25; Melbourne (Chevron Hotel) March 26; Melbourne (The Ballroom, St. Kilda) March 27; Melbourne (Prospect Hill Hotel/Kew ‘‘The Warehouse” ) March 28; N.S.W. (Doyalson R.S.L.) March 30; Sydney (Tivoli) June 1; Sydney (The Vicar Of Wakefield) June 2; Sydney (The Manly Vale Hotel) June 3; Sydney (Bondi Regis/Astra) June 4; Sydney (The Bayview Tavern) June 5. ROAORUNNER

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I seem to remember it being this bad this time last year . . . Really, the music being played on the radio at the moment is a disgrace. So much rubbish. If it’s not the nausea of Jon & Vangelis it’s the musical retreads of

Have All The Luck’ languishes outside the top thirty. Ah well — no accounting for no taste, as the old saying goes. Meanwhile, The Jam come in at number one with another copy of something you’ve heard before (they’re getting good at that). No — it’s to the albums you have to turn to find anything happening, in these days of disastrous sales figures and corporate hysteria in the unending search for even a slight upturn in the number of units passing over the counter. And in the LP stakes, you find, pre-eminently, Japan, whose second LP for Virgin, “ Tin Drum’:, really is something worth the time and trouble. It clearly carries on where “ Gentlemen Take Polaroids’’ left off, and David Sylvian sounds just as much like Bryan Ferry as he ever did, but the band have progressed, the songs are more strongly focused, tighter knit, and the extra depth of interest brought about through the introduction of various synth and percussion effects is heartening. It’s a well-thought-out record with lots of things and ideas that are worth returning to. Most immediately impressive, perhaps, is the track ‘Ghosts’, which combines a generous helping of sculpted sound and effects across a very slow ballad rhythm, as well as a truly memorable chorus. It’s not wildly commercial, and could never be a single, but it stands out nonetheless. Something else I have to admit I was a bit slow to pick up on through sheer indolence, but which is worth all the rest put together, with a few notable exceptions, was the Simple Minds double LP special Virgin did late last year, “ Sons & Fascination” — both albums reveal a beautifully balanced band overflowing with strong musical and lyrical ideas, and each track was a little treat buried in it, waiting to hit the unsuspecting listener over the head. The single from the LP, ‘Love Song’, bombed, of course. Still, Simple Minds have a very solid following here, and have of course established a foothold in Oz with their tours, so it would only be a matter of time. By the way, they’ve just released another album, this time on Polydor in this country. More on that when I’ve scrounged a copy of it. / Also new is the X.T.C. double-album, “English Settle­ ment” , which shows a definite retreat from the harsh sound and farrulousness of Black Sea towards the subtlety of Drums & Wires. It’s extremely varied, rather uneven, but rewarding in its own way. Now that XTC have broken through at last as a successful singles band in the U.K., it’ll probably do very nicely for them. Certainly they can pull singles off this one till the cows come home. Colin Moulding takes a much bigger share of the composers’ credits here than on the last outing, which is probably a good thing. But Shakin’ Stevens and his ilk. And if it isn’t that, it’s The then again, there’s twice as much music, so I guess the Mobiles (perhaps the worst band of the year, and it’s only 6 balance hasn’t shifted significantly. That’s about it. Blue Rondo A La Turk have put out a weeks old) or some other bunch of hopeful no-hopers. Meanwhile, a good single (admittedly heavily played on the single, “ Klaktoveesedstien” , which happens to be the title radio for a while) like Bob Palmer’s remake of ‘Some Guys of an old Charlie Parker song from the late forties (just as the band’s name is from a Dave Brubeck track from the early 60’s), but all that past glory doesn’t make it good, or even particularly interesting. Well — there you are. The record industry flounders on; England flounders on; more people get made redundant & fewer can afford to buy food, let alone records, let alone boring records. It’sthe way of this world, at least, at present. Maybe spring will change that a bit. Let’s hope so.

Life After London by Keith Shadwick

Lurking in the depths of the Adelaide music culture lies a band that has a future. Not an Adelaide future but perhaps an Australian one. The Paramours have a long and interesting history. They first got together in late 1978 in the usual manner of most inexperienced musicians, just as friends jamming. The band then consisted of Phil Rawlins (vocals), Lloyd Campbell (guitar), Malcolm Venn (guitar), Michael Kennedy (bass) and Nigel Harrison (drums). They practised for nearly a year and held their debut at the Centralia Hotel in December 1979. Through early 1980 they played six gigs together, but eventually Malcolm Venn split through “ musical differences” followed closely by Phil Rawlins and Michael Kennedy. The next step was the three ex members getting together with Sid from Adelaide’s premier punk band the Accountants. Venn soon found he wasn’t fitting in musically with the other members and through the frustration of trying to find a drummer, he quit. The rest soon fell apart. Venn then set out to show people that he wasn’t as useless as some people regarded him. He sat in his room, practiced his singing, guitar playing and wrote some songs. In August of 1980 he went into the studio and with session musicians recorded “In my head”. After sending the tape to 5MMM and receiving much airplay, it reached No. 10 on the Top 41. This in turn created a demand for “The Blessed” , the name under which the tape was submitted, so within six weeks he had recruited Michael Kennedy on bass and Andrew Dennis on drums, to play around Adelaide. The Blessed was a vehicle for Venn’s early 70’s pop influences. It was also a place that Venn and Kennedy used to improve their musicianship, song 6 ROAbfHJklfiEtT'

writing skills and their overall attitude about playing as a band, not as individuals. As is usual with three piece bands, the sparseness of sound and restricted arrangements for the new songs prompted them to add another guitarist and Phil Rawlins on keyboards. This lineup never got out of the garage before Venn quit again because he wasn’t satisfied that it would work. The other four went on practising for a short time, but soon parted due to endless bickering. While all this was going on, Lloyd Campbell and Nigel Harrison had continued the Paramours with the addition of three new members. They practiced all through 1980 and eventually did their first gig on New Year’s Eve. All through early 1981 they played around Adelaide, trying to find some direction in their set of half originals and half covers. Eventually Tim Eaton the singer left and they held auditions. Malcolm Venn having given up “The Blessed” and being tired of playing guitar, auditioned and got the job. Things started looking brighter and after playing a few gigs, the decision was made to dispense with Tim Sibly (guitar) and Alex Kristie (bass) and bring in Michael Kennedy on bass and Venn would go back to guitar. This brought the Paramours back full circle. It was only on a trial basis, but it worked out well and after a month of practice the band made its debut at the 5MMM rock off, with the line-up of Malcolm Venn (vocals and guitar), Lloyd Campbell (guitar), Michael Kennedy (bass) and Nigel Harrison (drums). The band didn’t make the finals, perhaps due to the nerves of various members, but they put on a very good performance. A consolation prize was the success of the Campbell/Sibley composition “ Bobby’s got a gun” which

came equal firsfin the song-writing department. All the band members write, together and separately, and the 60’s sounds of Campbell, the 70’s rock of Venn, the serious thoughts of Kennedy and the added inspiration of Harrison all mould together to make an original blend of rock’n’roll. The songs are certainly in the pop mode but played in a personal style by the band. It’s in the same vein as the Sunnyboys and Church, but with a twist. They come across live as a band with guts and integrity and willing to take risks. No one smiles, its as though the world is about to end and they are trying to grab the last bit of rock’n’roll fun. Not since Young Modern and the Units has a band forgotten about “ cool” and played the music they love, in a professional manner. The Paramours have just signed to be one of the exclusive 8 bands on Adelaide’s Central Booking Agency books. This means they will not have to compete with big, interstate bands for crowds. They will either be playing with them or not at all. Gigs will be planned 4-5 weeks in advance. There will be no worries about hassling for gigs and thinking “ its four weeks since we last played” . It is an all out attack on the Adelaide public to try and gauge some reactions and following before moving interstate, if some interest is aroused. I’ll let Malcolm Venn sum up on his thoughts of the Paramours — “ I would like to think that the Paramours convey a sense of emotional desperation that seems relevant to today’s society and kids” . “ Moments of Passion Moments of Fear Moments of Tenderness They seem so near” Campbell Flaming Velvets music 1981 Internal Music 1981

Chris Dunn

PARAMOURS

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Nathan D. Brenner Presents

IN CONCERT MARCH t a

PERTH SAT. 20th

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PERTH EN TER TA IN M EN T CENTRE

A D E LA ID E TUES. 23rd

SYDNEY W E D 31st

THE BARTO N T O W N HALL

APRIL T H U R . 1st

M A N LY VALE H O TE L

M E LB FRI. 26th

RITC H IE'S N IT ^ S P O T

SAT. 27th

TH E V E N U E

SU N . 28th

PIER H O TEL FRANKSTO N

M O N .2 9 th

SELINA'S

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FRI. 2nd

FAMILY H O TEL

QUEENSLAND SAT 3R D

PLA YR O O M

SUN 4TH

FESTIVAL HALL BRISBANE

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1

Kim Wilde

Portrait Of A Pop Princess By Chris Salewicz. lexing her feet in their black Dr Martens, Kim Wilde sits in an orderly, wholesome manner at one end of a carefully battered, brown leather four-seater couch In the St John’s Wood office of Mickie Most, her manager and the boss of Rak Records for whom she records. She wears an old pair of Johnson’s black cotton pants, a black top, and a three-button, black leather jacket draped over her shoulders, into which she huddles as she clasps a mug of

tea in both hands in an attempt to keep warm in the chilly room. As she speaks through her Bardot-like Cupid lips, she snuffles through a bad head cold that doesn’t disguise the fact that her speech is as untainted by any accent as her healthy, apple­ eating skin is unblemished by any hint of excessive living. In fact, for the eldest child of one of Britain’s foremost early rock’n’rollers, Kim Wilde is almost disarmingly normal, as well-balanced as the constituent parts of organic shampoo. She

seems lotaiiy devoid of the personality detects in which many of her little rich kid counterparts in Hollywood wilfully wallow. “I think,” she considers, arching her strongly defined eyebrows and flicking her lion’s mane of hair back behind her shoulders, “that not being loved by your parents or not having a brother or not being liked at school or even wearing glasses can be a lot worse than having a famous father. “Also, although I always knew dad was famous, I grew up with him declining in fame. By the time I was about nine he was just a musical father who did gigs and made records and occasionally appeared on TV. “That’s why I wasn’t precocious or pretentious ROADRUNNER

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didn’t have anything to be precocious or pretentious about. It wasn’t like he was a big star in a big house being visited by loads of famous people. We lived in a little house in Greenwich and lived a very normal sort of life.”

M^s do all daughters who are a little bit in love with their fathers, Kim glows with adoring memories whenever is mentioned the subject of Marty Wilde — he is exactly twice the age of her tw(enty-one years. She admits to a vague regret that she is never able to say to his face the admiration and appreciation which she can express for him in the more objective atmosphere of interviews. But she can chuckle at the TV soap opera-like cliche that is the Wilde family showbiz affair: father on lyrics, younger brother Ricky on music and production, mother on occasional backing vocals, daughter sing­ ing lead. It almost appears like a propaganda exercise for the family unit. She signed with Rak Records after her brother had sought advice from Jonathan King as to which was the best label of several that had offered Kim a deal: Ricky himself prepubescently had been signed to King’s UK operation in the early 70s in an abortive attempt to become a British rival to the then hugely successful Donny Osmond/David Cassidy school of teenybop idols. And Rak too is a family business: in his role as one of the most renowned pluggers in the country, Mickie Most’s brother Dave is an essential part of the company. Behind the couch on which Kim sits is Ih e visible proof of his efforts an ostentatious wailful of silver and gold singles: in amongst the Smokie, Hot Chocolate and Suzi Quatro records, ‘Chequered Love’ and Kim’s first 45, ‘Kids In America’, are found to have earnt both first and second class awards. On the opposite wail are the silver and gold albums awarded to the shrewdly successful Rak pure pop empire. A silver disc for the Kim Wilde album is already up there. Beneath it, leaning against the wall, is the newly arrived gold LP, solid confirmation of the status of the father-and-son songwriting team. Their astute, compulsively addictive hit permuta­ tions are the ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ of the seven inch single — and like that film, their songs, which bounce and bustle with so many hooks and allusions to past hits they almost might have been compiled by K-Tel, are no less enjoyable for these reference points, which simply provide a springboard for the number’s total content.

K^bviously yours is a very close-knit family. Yeah, There don’t seem to be any major hassles when we do things together. Everything seems to fit together very well — when we’re in the studio, for example. I don’t know if it is because we’re family, but our minds always seem to be working on the same level, all looking for the same thing. Sometimes it’s all a bit too much, but then I think there’s plenty of working situations with peopleivho aren’t family where there’s a lot of tension, too. It just happens to be the situation I’m in. I still live at home with my parents. But because I’m travelling a lot of the time I no longer get into the situation where I can’t wait to leave home, like I did when I was about sixteen. Mind you, I enjoy my privacy, but I find I’m not getting enough time on my own, and I have to divide it with my friends. Has the attitude of your friends altered towards you in the past year? No, they haven’t changed towards me. I often wonder what they think. I try to put myself in their situation: I always end up thinking what a weird experience it must be for them: you’re ail sitting there together and then someone comes up and asks one of your best friends for her autograph. There’s something quite absurd about it. Did your father instil certain rules of life into you? He did. I always felt more adult than my friends. I always enjoyed their company, though. I never felt I wanted to be with older people just because I grew up a bit quicker. But I always thought I had a bit more suss. And I did have more suss. I had perceptive and intelligent parents, especially my father. Though each of my parents have their merits: my mother isn’t a great intellectual, but she knows about people and has a lot of assurance and intelligence and commonsense. They were always there telling us why things happened. They were great. They really did help me get through it. My father didn’t sit down and give me lessons. He just gave me an insight into a lot of people’s jealousies, which is basically what a lot of it came down to. If there’s anyone hurting you, it’s very often to do with that. He gave me the ability to reason things out and understand things like that. And I’ll be eternally grateful for it as well. It really helps now. So he helped you have more self-confidence. He did in that way, but not in a lot of other ways. I didn’t grow up strong, tough and resilient at ail. It was just that some things he taught me made things easier, and right up until now they’re really helping me. It’s gradually given me more confidence. It didn’t suddenly appear like magic, unfortunately. . . But fortunately as well: I wouldn’t have liked to have gone through my 10

ROADRUNNER

teens oblivious to the painful things you go through, ^ c a u s e you only learn from the horrible things. what do you remember as horrible things? I remember feeling unattractive, and feeling my personality was unattractive. Wishing I wasn’t who I was. Wishing I didn’t live in a big house. Wishing the boys fancied me instead of Susan Smart down the road . . . That kind of shit. I got plunged into it when I entered my secondary school. All through that I had a big chip, until I got to the sixth form. Then suddenly when I was about sixteen or seventeen it became okay. That was great. I was quite well liked at school, though. I had a best friend. There was a good atmosphere. In fact, I seem to have gone through my whole life with people saying to me, ‘God, you’re nothing like I expected you to be!’ And I don’t owe that to my own wonderful personal­ ity, but to the very fact that I’ve been brought up well. You were at St Albans art college. Did you finish your course? In a manner of speaking. I got a bit bored with it at the end — it was only a one-year foundation course. And everything seemed to be falling almost into some kind of plan: I left school and got accepted into St Albans quite by chance, and by the end of my time there I was doing vocal backings and had recorded ‘Kids’. Did you used to go to a lot of gigs? I was never a great gig-goer. I was more into records and music. At college I was into The Clash, and a guy called Clive Pig who made great records round St Albans like ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen’. You must have heard it — it’s really good. The only band I went to see when I was at St Albans was Madness. I loved all that ska, because I thought it was really good dance music. When I was at college PIL were quite fashionable with a lot of the punky kind of people. Every party I went to ‘Metal Box’ were always on. I even went to a dinner party once and it was on ail the way through. It made me feel really ill. I thought it was horrible. It just took me a long time to catch on, because one minute I hated it and the next I thought it was really good. But I’m glad I didn’t like it just because everyone else was liking it. I still think some of it’s a total dirge. I can’t like a band because everyone else likes them.

^ ) o how do you feel about it suddenly being hip to like Kim Wilde? I don’t know. I don’t really like to think about it too much. I’d rather they did than they didn’t. I feel maybe it’s some sort of kitsch appeal. But I think sometimes you can take too seriously the fact that they look at you like that. It’s no big deal. There’s no big problem about it. / think Bucks Fizz are pretty awful, but they have this kitsch appeal. When I’m driving my car and a Bucks Fizz song comes on the radio, I think, ‘Oh yes what a horrible record!’ But I like humming it and I like seeing that blonde girl with the long legs. I think that’s a valid reason. If you like them, you like them — it’s just gut reaction. Do you agree that people are far too concerned about what they think they ought to like? Very much so. It annoys me sometimes. Generally I either like something or I don’t. I don’t find myself liking something I think is terrible just because everyone else likes it. But obviously, if everyone’s raving about the Joy Division album you feel sympathetic towards it. So many of your good friends are into them that you think, ‘Oh, there must be something about this band: I’m not going to cut myself off from them entirely.’ Which is what I did for a long time. I just found that the fact that everyone was raving about them, and the fact that that guy had died, was so sick and pathetic that it totally turned me off them. I wasn’t going to listen to their music because I had this preconceived idea about how shit they were going to be, and that they just made it big on some poor guy’s death. So who are you listening to? I like stuff like Frank Sinatra. My dad’s got about 100 albums of his. ‘Songs For Swinging Lovers’ was the first album of his that I got into. There’s one that’s really great called ‘Only The Lonely’. It’s got a great cover. I can really admire a good design. I was hopeless myself at it at art school, but I can really appreciate good stuff. It’s something I’m not very good at that I shall endeavour to do something about. Do you think there’s a lot of good design around at the moment? I think a lot of it’s nicked from 50s designs. But I do like to see anything that is well done, even if it is a rip-off. So was your dad very into Sinantra? He must have been. He has more Sinatra albums than Elvis ones— those two are his biggest heroes, his earliest raves. He was a very romantic young man. He got married when he was twenty-one — idiot! laughs: (Tee-hee-hee) We used to see Billy Fury a lot. He’s a very private person. i remember he had a deer he’d found injured on the road, and he wanted to look after it. He brought it over to our house, because we’d got some kennels. But unfortunately it died, and I’ve never seen anyone so upset in my life. I can’t get upset about things like that, though I’m not hard, or cruel or anything . . . But I dunno, though . . . i sometimes wonder at myself: when I was on a ski-ing holiday just recently there was this little dog that everyone made friends with, and we called it Quinto. One morning one of the girls woke up and saw this alsatian eating it ouside in the snow. I thought it was hysterical at the time. But one of the girls got very upset about it. I thought she was being pretentious, though, because it was just

a dog and she didn’t even know it. But perhaps she was genuinely upset. Perhaps I was being really horrible. Maybe I’m just a hard bitch. I always thought I was as soft as shit. But when I heard that an alsatian had eaten Quinto The Dog, I came out with all these gags about Quinto pate and Quinto cutlets everytime we went to eat a meal. It was always me making the gags. I think everyone thought I was really horrible. What was the last significant dream you had? It was about Adam Ant (giggles). And I won’t tell you what happened. I think it was all about something else. It wasn’t particularly significant, actually. I have quite good dreams, in fact. The only dream I ve ever had that kept coming back — which j don’t have anyrttbre — was really horrible. I’d be lying in bed in the dark, and there’d be rats running over the bed. I could feel the bumps. So I’d just get the blankets all around me, and wait until the rats had gone away. I was about ten then. I was quite a frightened person. Like most young people. But I’m not anymore. How did you feel about your brother’s early leap for stardom? I was jealous. Especially when a film crew came round to do something on him. I remember just sitting there being totally ignored, and all these big plans were being made for Ricky. I never disliked him for it. I directed the jealously more at myself. I suffered into myself. It didn’t spoil our relationship. We’ve always had a really good one. It just hurt a bit sometimes, because even then I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be famous. I don’t know why, but I wanted it very badly. A very strange feeling. Was that because of your ego? I think it must have been, because I was very loved. Not because I wanted to be loved by the public, like some little orphan. It must have been something a bit more than that something pretty fundamental. It’s quite frightening, really. It’s been a strong force throughout my life. It was something that kept me going. I don’t know if I created it, or if it was always there. It’s uncanny, because it happened. Have you been trying to write songs yourself? No, I haven’t tried very hard at all. It’s something I desperately want to do. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t done it. Because I want to do it very, very well. I play the piano, and I can play the guitar at a push. I’m going to try and get more involved in writing with my brother and father, and see if I can build up some kind of idea of what I want my songwriting to be about. I want to write a brilliant standard with my first effort. I just have these ridiculously high standards . . . about most things, in fact, but particularly about songwriting. That’s the sort of thing that stops me — that self-destructive element that won’t let me do it unless it’s perfect. Before I became what I am now, I wanted that as badly as I wanted to songwrite now. And now[ I’m doing it. That gave me a lot of confidence, and now I have faith that perhaps the songwriting will come that way, too. It might be worth waiting for. Did you used to feel in a great rush? I did. Now I don’t. I feel a lot better about things. I feel very good.

W h.at do you think to the way the feminist movement

has gone? I don’t think women have treated it with respect. They’ve abused it, and made it into something quite laughable, and quite vulgar. They somehow come across as being so superior, and I don’t like people who think they’re superior to other people. I have strong opinions about people being themselves, and not being undermined because of their s ex . . . But I do think they’ve fucked it up. It just reeks of frustration. There’s also an uneasy line between gay women and liberated women. Why not just find yourself? You’ve got your life — you should just sort yourself out th e re .. .though I’ve given up with any illusions about changing the world. Who’s your ideal woman? Do you have any female role-models? They vary. One minute it’s Joan of Arc, the next it’s Marilyn Monroe. I’m divided between the two extremes — the heroism and power of the one, and the cuteness and beauty of the other. I’m very, very aware of women and their beauty. I’m interested in looking at beautiful women. I enjoy looking at old pictures of women because they took a lot more care in those days. I just think nowadays people waste what they have, waste what’s there, by abusing themselves and not taking enough care. People looked so much more beautiful in the 40s and 50s. That’s why people go back to that era all the time, it’ll never be like that again. For example. I’ve never met anyone who Isn’t fascinated by Marilyn Monroe. I don’t mention her much . . . I avoid talking about her, as I did about Biondie when I first started: much as I love Debbie Harry, I just kept it quiet. I thinkDebbie Harry’s magic. Marilyn took such good pictures. She was such a good model. I really admire her for that. I don’t think people respect that part of her enough. I’ve had my picture taken so many times I can really respect someone who’s still able to get it across like that. It’s not just natural. I’m only learning how to do it. What did you have for breakfast this morning? A boiled egg. What’s your favourite breakfast? A cup of tea. What’s your favourite colour? Black.


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Pic. Bob King

Don’t you feel ridiculous wearing inverted geranium pots? No. Perhaps not the best way to start. But things aren’t too rosy for Devo at the moment. It’s 1 pm on an unseasonally cold day. At least the wind’s died down though storm clouds still threaten. Monday 15th February ‘Devo Live’, outdoors, at Memorial Drive. Earlier today one gust sent the stage canopy sailing. Frantic road crews bail out conveyer belts and saturated projectors. Enthusiasm is dampened, to say the least. Worse still, less than one third of the 10,000 available tickets have sold. A tribute to the promoters. Typical of what can happen to any international act who wear out their tolerance for press in the eastern states where most concerts could sell out on a rumour. Dear old Adelaide. Dear old Devo. Dear old cannon plugs that never fit into the Superscope when they’re supposed to. Dear old elbow that keeps leaning on the pause button. Oh dear! I’m reminded of THE PHONER coming through at 1.15. Devo have relented to the demands of the press (or the

chances of a sizeable walk-up tonight). Still wrestling with technology, I ask Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale if they’d enjoyed appearing on Countdown. They say yes, as much as we enjoy people smoking. Score 1-Tourists. On the show the boys had told Molly that they’d heard strange things about Adelaide. This stirred Molly’s sense of nationalism and he cleverly replied, “There’s nothing strange about Adelaide’’. There’s probably nothing too strange about Molly either. But it’s time to blow my cover. . . I ’m not really from 5MMM-FM at all, but from the secret society of young women we have here: Jerry: Yeah, we did want to know about that. Molly didn’t seem to know anything about it but you wouldn’t expect HIM to. What have you heard about the society? Jerry: We heard that they rented three or four houses and that they lived in groups. Kinda like random bands like that one Slits video. And that they stuck together. These are women who like each other. They don’t live for men. They are not competitive. They consider their sex superior and they use men for what they’re good for. In some of your songs and some of your filmclips you seem

to have what could be interpreted as a pretty derogatory attitude towards women. Like in. . . Mark: Now, now, now there. Women don’t get singled out in our films. Men get just as bad a treatment. Our case is with the human mind or lack of it on this planet. Do you think Devo is misinterpreted too often? For instance the way ‘Whip It’ was initiaily interpreted by some as a SM song? Jerry: Oh, year, you know we kind of expect it cause everything in this society is up side down. It’s hard to explain, but what is taken to be decent and upright entertainment is in our minds soft core filth and what is taken to be obscene is usually the good stuff. So it makes sense that the same people who like to watch Rod Stewart on the ground singing from between a woman’s spread legs something about GETTIN’ IT—and they love that!—would be the same people who watch ‘Whip It’ and go, ‘Oh Devo’s whipping a woman. Why, this is derogatory toward the woman.’ They’re also the same people who like to watch Olivia Newton John do the splits with a camera coming up through a glass floor and then watch ‘Love Without Anger’ and say, ‘How can they show a man and a woman as a

rooster and hen fighting?’ It’s amazing! Everything’s upside down. We’re commenting on the nature of society the same way Fellini did with Italian society. Out films are surrealistic dips that have a definite sense of humour and satire that would only escape Philistines and cretins and THAT’S EXACTLY WHERE WE’RE AT! You were quoted in New York as saying Devo is a musicai iaxative for a constipated society. . . Jerry: Oh . . . you read that! . . . Yeah! Jerry: Well, that’s right. Listen, I’ll own up to that quote. I did say that. Do you find continuaily explaining your concepts, your ideas, frustrating? Do you get sick of it? Jerry: Well it gets frustrating, I don’t get sick of it. But it does get frustrating when you’re not absolutely lucid about the best possible way to describe things, you know, you’re not always good at it. Year, it’s kind of DEmoralising. Weil, basically, DEvolution. . . Jerry: . . . yeah . . . What’s the shortest possible way to describe it? Jerry: Ah, ha (deep breath) Man is not the centre of the universe. He’s not the highest, most evolved being on the planet. He’s losing his capacities. That

JERKIN' BACK'NTORTH Jenny Eather gets 15 minutes of Adult Education from J e rry & M ark from DEVO.

he’s less in some ways smart now than he used to be and that he is basically degenerating. Mark: (with enthusiasm that almost knocks me off the chair) Right! It’s not being the centre of the universe but thinking that you are—that’s what gets most people into trouble! Some of that sounds pessimistic, but I’ve heard you describe yourseives as optim ists.. . Jerry: We’re neither. We’re realists! Weil being realists, how much faith in human nature do you have to change all that? Jerry: (long, long pause) The human being always responds at the last possible second for his own survival and we’re merely suggesting that we’re reaching a point in history where treating things in that way isn’t sufficient. So, therefore, in order to respond at the last possible moment now, you’ve got to go a little further, cause the last possible moment is going to occur sooner than most people think it is. And what about the human race. Where does that fit into the whole overall scheme of things? Jerry: The Black Hole!—it’s going to trickle right out the bottom . . . Well, no. It’s just that it seems safe to say that the future will look more like ‘Planet of the Apes’ than it will Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’. Devo’s idea of communication. You’re interested in the dissemination of information. Jerry: That will be the thing that saves us most from the path we’re on. How do you feei about Wiiiiam S. Burroughs writing that ‘communication must become totai and conscious before we can stop it’ and that ‘modern man has iost the option of siience’? Jerry: That’s a Zen idea and William is even more Zen-like than he is aware of himself, I think. He also loves to play with other people’s ideas-ha ha—he loves to upset them, and that’s a nice upsetting thought. On a pragmatic level it’s more like Bucky Fuller’s idea to us. It’s like the planet is your vehicle, your spaceship and no one has the instructions. You should ROADRUNNEP

11


Laughing Clowns by Toby Cluechaz.

ruary 13th. I need a hill, I need a hill, to help start the crying piece of dynamic obsolescence. A city built on a coastal plain has few hills, except for those usually found in the background. Luckily the main fluorescent drag leading into Adelaide slopes; the motel where the Laughing Clowns are residing is in the immediate area. Mr Ed Kuepper has a soft voice and a dry wit, why don’t I write for Soldier Of Fortune magazine?, he says matter of factly. Oh well, one man’s meat is another’s poison. The time is 3 o’clock and life’s little luxuries are stamped with the Homestead insignia.

Adelaide’s demoralizing heatwave continues, and my car is slowly driving me mad. I can’t see the sign for the hedgerow. The date is, Saturday, FebEd Kuepper

We’re not a bunch of crusaders taking the jazz message to the world, it’s a fairly individual statement the band is trying to m^k© TC: Are you going to plod away at the rock circuit, or are you going to stretch out and play other types of venues? KUEPPER: Well, the main problem is be­ cause we’re not a serious band we can’t play in a Ibt of other places. Rock venues are, convenient but I would like to get out of them for sure, most of them are total dives. It doesn’t seem feasible for us to leave that circuit, the amount of effort that is involved in setting up alternative venues is too much for our resources. TC: Why don’t you consider the band as being serious? KUEPPER: I said that lightly. Outside of the rock situation we’re not looked upon as being serious musicians, I don’t think the conservatorium would consider us as being jazz musicians whatever their notions of a jazz musician are. TC: Who do you conceive as being part of your audience? DOYLE: It’s a fairly wide range of people I suppose. KUEPPER: Yeah, it’s a fairly reasonable cross section . . . no barriers.

TC: I agonized over whether to come here and interview you today, I don’t feel I understand your music fully enough to question you sensibly about it. Is ihat a common problem you’re faced with, that the Laughing Clowns are working in the rock’n’roil arena but are not a rock band even in the most loosest sense of the word? KUEPPER: It seems to be a problem but I don’t see why it should be. I don’t think one needs an incredible understanding of music to know what we’re doing, basically people will react on the onus of liking it or not. Hopefully as the audience becomes more understanding towards our music there will be greater enjoyment there. There is a bit of a problem . . . it’s unfortunate. PETER DOYLE: I think to understand the music tends to almost ignore the actual point of music, because it starts making it cerebral rather than just physical. I think to try to understand it to a point tends to actually miss the point. KUEPPER: It is a problem as far as people view us goes, they seem to be confused as to the level on which we should be judged. On such things I can’t really be all that helpful. TC: Could people be scared of you? KUEPPER: I don’t know. I’m not sure. I don’t feel like a particularly intimidating person. I feel we have always been a reasonably approachable band, so I don’t see how people could be scared of us. Possibly they are, possibly it’s a matter of people not being sure whether to like us or not because not enough people in the press have been able to understand it. Therefore there hasn’t been a unanimous thumbs up for the Laughing Clowns. That’s what is confusing people, we’re not really responsible for that. I don’t know what criteria people use to judge things. TC: Is the Laughing Clowns really a full blown jazz band masquerading under a thin sugar coating of rock? KUEPPER: That’s not a very apt description at all. I don’t think we’re a jazz band at all, in fact I quite object to the description. TC: How would you best describe your I music then? KUEPPER: Oh . . . I would find it really I difficult to label the band as anything, but I would certainly say we’re more of a rock band „ than a jazz band. Honestly I think we transcend the business of being labelled.

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Jeffrey Wegner 12

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TC: Last night’s audience was quite polite and attentive, is that the usual response you get? KUEPPER; No, elsewhere it’s a bit more vocal, then again we have only played here twice in the last eight months. Last night’s audience was like a lunch time university audience. TC: How is Prince Melon Records struc­ tured, are members of the band the only participants or is there some outside involvement as well? Are there moves afoot to expand operations in terms of releasing other bands on the label? KUEPPER: It is totally controlled by the band at this stage. We have released a single by a band called Hugo*Klang, which is called ‘Grand Life For Fools And Idiots’. They’re made up of a few people that formed the nucleus of Melbourne band Whirlywirld, and are now based in England with a fluctuating line-up. There’s also a single due for release in March by a band called Out Of Nowhere, which features a few people from Brisbane one of whom is in a band called The Apartments. And we basically keep our eyes and ears open for new talent, we’re a fairly small company so we’re not looking for any huge involvements with people.

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TC: So when are you going to descend on the western suburbs? KUEPPER (MORE THAN A HINT OF WRYNESS IN HIS VOICE): Umm . . . we’ve tried on a number of occasions. It’s very difficult, the main barrier is between us and promot­ ers. An audience would have to see us a couple of times before they got used to what we are doing, but promoters aren’t impres­ sed unless people are not enraptured the first time around. TC: As a band you seem to be nourished on introspection, guilt, and repression. Does gaiety ever try to feature in your scheme of things, or is the unremitting grief of the carnival too strong? Laughter and a chorus of Oh no’s. KUEPPER: I must admjt that I don’t feel incredibly guilt ridden. I’rh also a reasonably jocular fellow so I don’t see where you get that impression from. TC: From the music. KUEPPER; Really. One can be sad and happy at the same time, sometimes we all become a bit laconic. I think your description is inadequate again, the band is quite jovial and quite light-hearted and gay and carefree. Yeah, I don’t know what to say to that except deny it. TC: Are live performances an imposition for the band, is the studio your reai environment? KUEPPER: No. I think touring starts to become a strain after awhile as it does for anybody. I enjoy playing live sometimes, I don’t cherish the idea of doing it for 350 days of the year or something like that. We’re not wealthy enough to make the studio our home. I like recording but I don’t like to spend too much time in the studio, I like to do things fairly quickly. Which apart from being a financial necessity I haven’t the patience to sit in that environment for weeks on end.

TC: What’s happening as far as the Laughing Clowns’ recording career goes, is a new release iminent? KUEPPER: We’re releasing a new Laughing Clowns’ single and album in March. The album was partly engineered by Peter (Doyle) and took us about three days to complete. We’re all extremely happy with the outcome, by the way the album is titled ‘MR UDDICH SCHMUDDICH GOES TO TOWN’. TC: Has the title any significance? KUEPPER: Yes, it has some significance but I wouldn’t like to go into any detail. TC: Did Tony Cohen have anything to do with the new album? KUEPPER: No. Tony Cohen didn’t have anything to do with it. Umm .. . that’s a long story 1 won’t go into because there is a fair amount of bitterness involved. TC: Have the Laughing Clowns ever been approached to do any soundtrack work? KUEPPER: A couple of times but nothing really has become of it. That’s something I’m definitely interested in though, unfortunately the people who are interested in using us don’t have the money to follow their ideas through. TC: Is the much mooted Birthday Party, Go-Betweens, Laughing Clowns tour of England still a feasible proposition? KUEPPER: We are going to England in June, whether it’s going to be a tour of England I don’t know. If they are over there and we are over there then it will be an interesting thing to try, we basically have to get out of Australia. While we’re over there we are going to release the Prince Melon catalogue, possibly record a Laughing Clowns’ album, and play as much as we can. TC: Did you have a good chuckle over the Maudlin intellectuals ‘Diving Board’? KUEPPER (in a lackadaisical tone): Yes, Yes, we laughed ourselves silly over that one. Some how Ed, I just about believe you.


THEATRE OF HATE explore it and look at it as if you were on the outside of it and then the big picture becomes easy. Too many people aren’t doing that. What are they doing instead? Jerry: (with much amusement) They are a closed system. They’ve got their Walkman on and they’re walking around. Little men, walking. Mark: Right! Conspicuous consumers who are trying to take up as much space on the planet as they can! Jerry: It’s like (grabbing goodies from the air) I want this. I need this. Now I need this. Oh, I got that. Now I want this. . . On that level of consumerism, isn’t contradictory to sing about ‘Freedom of Choice’ and yet you invite all your devotees, or whatever, to wear your uniform right down to your hairstyle? Isn’t there a contradiction in that, your whole merchandising line? Mark: I promise you there’s more people that dress like AC/DC and Van Halen than dress like Devo! But is that a conscious thing? It seems like a very conscious thing to dress like Devo. Jerry: Well we’re bringing it up! That’s right, conscious. You hit it. But saying that you’ve made the point actually. That’s that those people who think they’re free, millions of them who dress in the T-shirts and the blue jeans and follow mainstream trends are doing it unconsciously. They actually think that they are being individuals. What we are doing is bringing up that contradiction and making a point of it, making a satire on it and inviting people on a much more fun level to do things on purpose. Mark: Right! To choose our mutations rather than let it just happen! Jerry: So I mean if you want to dress alike, let’s dress alike on purpose and let’s make it something worth dressing for. It’s a costume. THEY are wearing a costume and don’t know it. WE’RE saying it’s all costume. How reflective is the New Traditionalist’s concept of the US at the moment with the Reagan Administration in power. Where does that conservatism come into Devo? Jerry: Devo are conservative radicals, (choke!) We’re tired of the old traditions and the people who promote them. All that stuff with Reagan, all those right-wing people, all the evangelical Christians are promoting the same old tripe that is designed to confuse people and keep them down. They’re promoting nostalgia and reverence for the past in a way that it never even existed. They’re peddling old traditions and nostalgia to fool people and keep them down. What we’re doing is saying let’s throw them away. That’s the irony of New Traditionalists. It cojuldn’t even be a tradition if it’s new, it can only be a tradition in time. But the idea is to look for something that could be a new basis for something rather than the old ones. Do you ever feel that the philosophical side, or the merchandising side of Devo, overshadows your music? Jerry: No, I don’t think so. It’s just that when people ask us questions we have somethmg to say and in most cases with other bands when they’re asked questions they have nothing to say. So their music is their only aspect. In our case, there are other aspects that reinforce the music. So just the fact that that exists at all kinda amazes, threatens or pisses off certain people. But unless there was a music going on that people were interested in, nobody would be coming around to us and asking us about our views, our ideas on life or anything else. If Mark and I created things like various

stage clothing, or objects, or paraphernalia and there was no Devo music to support it it wouldn’t happen. They’re all, what would you say, ANCILLARY to the music. Your music. Who would you name as your first musical influences? Jerry: That’s hard. . . Mark: It was everything! It was probably less musicians that it was TV and radio, newspapers and world events. And humans! Jerry: Yeah, right. If you grow up in mass culture, which we did, with everybody else, you hear it all, everyday. All the jingles, all the Top 40 hits, all the old movie soundtracks. It kinda like drifts into your brain and in Devo’s case we let it sit for a while and stir it up and mutate it through our imaginations. So we misuse it, we use it for a new purpose. It’s there. There’s no such thing as originality on that level. It’s how you put things together, it’s all selection. Devo is an aesthetic of selection. ‘Satisfaction’ was the first Devo track I heard-taking that structure. . . Jerry: That’s true. Mutating a familiar form. In that case with lyrics that are fairly timeless and deal with the whole malaise of the twentieth century. Since it’s still true, that song is timeless. Listening to the original Stiff recording of ‘Satisfaction’ then the version which appeared on ‘Are We Not Men?’ leads to me asking how much influence did Brian Eno have on shaping the sound of the band? Has he had any long range influence on Devo? Jerry: No, I don’t think so. Mark: Right! You can see it obviously wasn’t one of song arrangement or lyrical content or melody lines. It was on a technical level! Jerry: I think what had more influence was that. . . Mark: We were celibate for four weeks! Jerry: Yeah, forced celibacy for four weeks which never happened to us before. We were sent to an unfamiliar country, Germany—out in the country with a twenty four track recording studio which we’d never seen before. THOSE things really influenced the sound more than anything else and Brian helped to bring it back to some form of sanity. It. was just an unnerving experience. You’ve gone through a few producers since then but now you’re on your own. Jerry: We actually produced ‘Freedom Of Choice’ ourselves but Bob Margouleff did receive an ‘in association with’ credit in deference to his past performances with Stevie Wonder and then on the last one we totally produced it ourselves. We did so because we thought we know what Devo should sound like better than anybody else and especially after two experiences with producers, we were convinced of that. TIME’S UP! THE PHONER is through—New York? London? Paris? NO! The line is direct from 121 King William Street, Adelaide. SAD. Almost one kilometre away! Mark strides to the phone, officially adjusts the official hairpiece, rigid-backed sits, concentrates, then in a voice that would make any spud proud yells, “ HELLO! THIS IS MARK FROM DEVO! . . . FINE THANKS! . . . WHAT? . . . What would I like to request on the Hitline? (desperate glance around the room. All present feign renewed interest in their scotch) . . . WELL STEVE . . . HOW ABOUT JERKIN’ BACK’N’FORTH?!’’ Ah, the whackers!

Jenny Eather

SEARCH O F THE NEW WORLD b y K e ith

S h a d iv ic k

Som etim e in the not too distant future^ Australia w ill be in trod u ced to the sou nd o f Theatre o f Hate via their first single on Stiff, Do You Believe in The U^estworld? T h is isnT their first p iece o f vin yl by any m eans, but iTs the first to receive d ecen t distribution, after about five singles and o n e o fficia l LP o n their ow n B urning R om e R ecord s. T h e LP, ca lled 'W e s t w o r l d w i ll in du e tim e be released by S tiff as well. Theatre o f Hate are an odd combination o f old and new ideas. Their music is modernsounding, with plenty o f drums and loping rhythm, the singing suitably arch" and passionate, and a preponderance o f guitar rhythm and ecboey production. The music is by no means ‘catchy’ , or ‘pop’, but then the band aren't looking for that sort o f thing. It’s when you start to understand what they are look­ ing for that the fun begins. But before we start on that. I’ll give you a brief run-down on their ress so far. e group was started in mid ’80 by Kirk Brandon and Stan Stammers after they met up at a concert, and they played a wide range o f gigs before moving on to supports for tours by Classix Nouveaux and The Clash, where a productive relationship with Mick Jones was struck up. Jones was to become the producer o f all Theatre’ s vinyl releases, in­ cluding the latest single & LP. Within a relatively short space o f time, the band was doing its own headline tours through Britain and most o f the E.E.C. cou n tries, as well as Scandanavia. At an early stage, Terry Razor came in as the band’s manager and he was the man who set up Burning Rome Re­ cords, the label which Stiff has now distributed after a period which, according to Terry was largely unsatisfactory, when the label W nt through the standard small national distributors in the C.K. After ail, being top o f the Independant Charts is small beer compared with the sorts o f unit sales needed to make a real impact in the BMRB lists. Hence

stih

So, that’s the biog. What about

the band? Well, they’ ve got some pretty definite views on the world and their place in it. They come from that long tradition o f English rock where an indi­ vidual decides that one o f the best platforms in existence to change the world infrastructure is a rock group. You see, for Kirk, the music is basically a means to an end — it’s o f secondary importance to the message it’s carrying for the kids v ^ o listen to it. Kirk feels that his ideas and attitude ha­ ven’t changed since the band was started. His theory is that the last 30 years have produced a middle-class youth culture that has a completely different con­ sciousness from the generations which came before. ’You see, the general consciousness is moved forward at specific flashpoints over the years, and Kirk feels that there "have been quite a few o f these since the second world war, including such th in p as Martin Luther King and the feeling o f ’ 76. He sees it in terms o f a battle against the forces which have ruled life in Western Culture since time immemorial — vested financial interests, the bankers, financiers, politicians and so on. He believes he can mobilise the youth o f today to effectively overthrow all this, and bring real equality and opportunity to the youth o f today. All" the old farts who always have run our lives should be discarded, and a new, aware, accom m odating, enlightened hegemony o f youth should pre­ vail. Kirk feels that the present education system and its ideals are a perfect example o f some­ thing that should be destroyed and rebuilt. So, what’s to replace all this? Apparently, Kirk feels that the takeover sh ould be a cco m ­ panied by a commitment to ideals — people doin^ what they genuinely believe. Kirk’s man­ ager, Terry, agreed with me that this had b ^ n one o f the basic assumptions behind the hippy movement o f the 60's. Kirk wasn’t so sure about that. After all, that lot are now today’s bright young City businessmen — take young Richard Branson for an example (my example, by the way). Ah well, the way o f all Oesh, you might say. But Kirk is determined that things this time

are going to be different. He’s sure that he’s already got the ball rolling, and that things have already begun to shift, as young people start to respond to Theatre o f HateWell, I guess we can all wait and see. Kirk, by the way, is also determined to undermine the importance o f 1984. He wants to “ defuse” it. He feels that 1^ then, youth will be taking over, and the 1984 apocalypse will be redundant. I’m not too sure whether he’s referring to the popu lar con cep tion o f what 1984 entails (some sort o f year when the world will come to an end) or to what Orwell was actually writing about, which was a type o f wortd-wide version o f totalitarianism which he’s already identified as being in existence in 1948 in specific countries, or the popular con­ cept (alternative version) o f 1984 as a situation which we ail anticipate will come about just because it was predicted by a novelist that it would and there­ fore has become some sort o f surrogate fact. X mean, a lot o f people — an awful lot o f people, including a lot o f hippies, took (and still take) Nostradamus seriously. I remain unconvinced that there’ s anything really about 1984 as a year we’ll ail live through when rt finally arrives that we’ll need to defuse. Anyway, o f necessity, I’ve wandered quite a long way from the music o f this band. And, initially, that’s what’s going to create a platform for Kirk to spread his ideas. (He is in­ terested in using ail branches o f media to get his message across to the kids o f today as his projects pick op speed). The music is not immediately com­ pelling — at least not to me. The lyrics are rather obscure, rather allegorical; it’s alright to have them explained to you by the writer in plain spoken English, but how many people have that sort o f opportunity? The actual music is quite powerful in a way, with lots o f beat and ail that. Oh — I don’t know. AH 1 can say is that I remain u n con vin ced. You’ll all have to listen for you rselves, make your ow n minds up. I’m sure that’s what Kirk Brandon would want. After all, he’s pretty confident you’ll come round in the end. ROADRUNNER

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W B W

Y O R lc ^ ^

by K eri Phillips

Madison Square Garden is New York’s biggest venue. It’s a gigantic stadium, ugly and impersonal as all such spaces must be. Major sporting events like ice hockey and boxing take place there. So do such down-market forms of entertainment as the Ice Capades and the Ringling Brothers Circus. Because Of its size (it holds twenty thousand) it’s become a sort of gauge of success. If a hand can play the Garden, it’s made it. The Rolling Stones (needless to say) did two shows there on their recent tour (with the tightest security seen since the Springsteen show: even so, one fan boasted that he had managed to bribe or fluke his way through the fifteen check points and still pay less than the cost of a legitimate ticket). About a year ago, the Police, who must have some sort of patent on making it in America, booked Madison Square Garden for a show. There was much laughing behind hands in the New York record company crowd. Ho, ho, this band will never fill the Garden, etc, etc. The concert was, of course, sold out and there was not even a smirk this time around when the Police checked into the Garden for the New York set of their Ghosts In The Machine tour. Support band for this show was the Go Go’s, who emerged in a veritable blaze of glory from the ios Angeles punk scene last year. The Go Go’s and another group called X are the only bands from this particular melting pot to have made much national impact. Strangely enough, neither the Go Go’s nor X play punk music. X sound rather like Jefferson Airplane, and the Go Go’s . . . well, chances are you won’t have been able to avoid hearing their three minutes of greatness, a truly wonderful pop song called Our Lips Are Sealed. It did pretty well here, too. So well in fact, that their album of similar but less memorable songs was the surprise smash hit of ’81. Even as I write. Beauty And The Beat is holding its own up there in the Billboard top ten, along with Foreigner and Hooked On Classics, making the Go Go’s the first ever all-female rock group to snag a top ten LP, and the first act in the last twenty months to make the top ten with a debut album. I suppose some of their thanks must go to Miles Copeland, who wooed and won them for his I.R.S. record label last year. The Copeland Connection (he manages the Police as well as being big brother to drummer Stewart) is why these five girls, veterans of three years on the boards, are squeezed in among the Police’s gear on the stage at the Garden. And they don’t do too bad. It’s hard for any band to “ fill” a hall that big. As with any large venue, it’s only the people sitting in the 2,000 closest seats that actually get to “ experience” the band. The others have to make the event for themselves, stitch it together with drugs, enthusiasm and opera glasses. Anyway, the Go Go’s provide plenty of colour and movement, and some pretty lively pop music. Their set encompasses the Beauty And The Beat material, building up to The Big Hit and what they hope will be The Next Big Hit, We Got The Beat. They include Fading Fast, introduced by singer Belinda Carlisle as “ a song about those creeps in your life you just can’t get rid of” . The music is played competently enough, but is so limited in scope that you almost wish they’d be a bit bolder and go where they didn’t feel quite so confident. Within their self-imposed boundaries, though, they are impressive, guitarist Charlotte Caffey even essaying some surf-style licks (with great hbmour in the case of the encore, a mostly instrumental work out called Surfing and Spying that recalls the best, and the worst, of the surf music era). The Go Go’s are sixties throw-backs in ways other than their charming almost-competent playing. Their image is squeaky-clean — not for nothing are they in the bath on the cover of their LP. These girls are definitely the sort you could take home to mother. Bright and shiny with enthusiasm, they present none of the sluttish surliness or sleazy sophistication of that other all-girl band of recent years — the ill-starred Runaways. Why, rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin even plays with her shoes off, just like Sandy Shaw. Like many sixties pop stars, their lack of expertise appears uncalculated and endearing. One nagging thought did strike, though. Would this band be up there if it were not made up of five cute girls? There is some irony in their rise and rise. What about the dB’s, pop paragons who can run rings round this lot in every category except. . . well, beauty is such a subjective thing anyway. And I do think, the magical middle eight of Our Ups Are Sealed notwithstanding, they would not have been on that stage if they had been five guys. Such questions are, of course, much too late. I should be asking you which \syokr favourite Go Go.

What about the Police? They’re pretty cute, too, with their bleached blonde hair and Sting’s cheek-bones. Although their visual image hasn’t done them any harm either, there’s no question that they have redefined, and made their mark on, popular music. Their phenomenal success is a result of a combination of extremely sensible business practices being applied in a medium in which

good sense makes an appearance but rarely, with a willingness on the part of the band to treat their fans as human beings and themselves as workers. Although clever marketing has been essential, this trio has slogged its guts out ever since Roxanne allowed them to get their foot in the door. 14

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Before the release of their latest (and excellent) album, Ghost In The Machine, their existence had been justified not only by such classics as Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You and Walking On The Moon, but also by the fact that they had managed to trick a white rock audience into buying reggae music. Not even Bob Marley managed to sell reggae like the Police did. With the exception of the woeful Zenyatta Mondatta, the Police have provided musical value for money. These guys are no spring chickens, and the jazz roots of Sting and Summers have made for something all to rare these days — great pop music that is also great music. With their latest LP comes a new twist — the Police go political — and it seems to have worked pretty well. Mind you. Sting’s not about to start any Bolshie revolution, but within the songs on Ghost In The Machine he does espouse a humanist philosophy and an optimistic attitude to the possibilities for a reasonable life on the planet — as well as getting stuck into Britain’s racist National Front. For a multi-millionaire, he’s not a bad bloke! The Police are also one of the few bands with a real world consciousness. Their tours recognise the existence of the Third World. Although you can’t actually see the arteries hardening right there on the stage, these days the band does seem a little tired — not surprising after their ceaseless touring, I guess. This does not mean they don’t give it their all, just that they don’t have so much to give. Sting and Summers are less lively on stage, but the music, on this occasion, was particularly intriguing. Now that they have won their audience, the Police can afford to stretch out a bit more — incorporate a jazzier feel. Three horn players from New Jersey, calling themselves the Chops Horns, gave the band a more rhythmic, soulful sound — as well as a few problems with the mix, which got a bit murky at times, depressing when it drowns the sublime voice of Sting. Their set incorporated most of the new material, plus old faves like The Bed’s Too Big Without You, Message In A Bottle and Bring On The Night. As their repertoire has built up over the years, they have been able to drop the show-stretching instrumental work-outs that formed the bulk of their sets in the early days. Some numbers seemed to go on forever back then, but now (most) songs are given a tight, pithy treatment. Very few melodies stand up to more than three minutes exposition (even the best), and what can sound perfect over three minutes often becomes dead boring when extended. Twenty thousand sets of vocal chords seemed to find satisfaction with the band. There was more singing along than you would find even at a Bruce Springsteen show. Sting prefaced Walking On The Moon with: “ Sing in the middle, otherwise my disappointment will be unbounded” . Everyone obliged to such an extent, I hoped to never hear another“ oyoyoyo” — EVER! One girl even threw her bra (with telephone number attached, of course) onto the stage. What I want to know is, now that Debbie Harry has let her hair go back to its normal brown colour, will the Police follow suit?

Joan A rm atrading Walking Tall

Chances are that, as you read these words, Joan Armatrading is on the Australian leg of her Walk Under Ladders tour. Now Joan Armatrading is rather like an exotic foodstuff. Once tasted, initiates tend to become fanatics, ranting and raving at their bemused friends, foaming at the mouth when they meet a stubborn non-believer. For better or worse, this woman has little to recommend her to the punter seeking out the flavour of the month in trendy music. Indeed, such is her appeal, that even John Laws, synonym for scabrosity in Sydney radio, has been known to play her stuff. Enough to make even the most broadminded suspicious. She is also treated with almost mystical reverence by her followers, her shows being talked of as deeply meaningful experiences. You can almost see the emotion washing back and forth between stage and hail. (At her recent N.Y. show, during a moment of silence, a man called out: “ We love you Joan” , and the place exploded into applause for five minutes.) Don’t let yourself be put off by all the worshipful seriousness surrounding Joan Armatrading, because she really has a lot to offer. A couple of rather folksy albums released at the beginning of her career only hinted at her power as a song-writer. Not until she joined forces with producer Glynn Johns for Joan Armatrading and Show Some Emotion, did she reveal herself to be a subtle and eclectic musician. With these two discs, Armatrading established herself as a writer of quality — up there with the big boys — Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell — someone who drew very much on personal experience for lyrics, but whose treatment of matters sexual and romantic was capable of touching many. Like Bruce Springsteen, she writes about “ real life” , but can do it without resorting to cliches about cars and little girlies. Her adventurous and evocative lyrics are matched by her overall attitude to recording and performing. Not content to slide into a winning formula with Glynn Johns’ production, she recorded Me Myseif I with Richard Gottehrer (producer of sixties girl groups, the first Biondie LP and, more recently, the Go Go’s) in an attempt to incorporate more rock into the jazz/blues/reggae tinged material she had been writing. While that album may not have been entirely successful, the latest effort. Walk Under Ladders, is simply superb. Employing “ new wave” producer, Steve Lillywhite (XTC, the Members, 02 and many more), she has slipped majestically into the musical waters of the eighties without sacrificing diversity, lyrics or heart. It is a stunning album and its reproduction on stage is equally impressive. One of the attractions of Joan Armatrading is that, unlike many performers, she can cut it on both disc and stage. Her current band, featuring only a couple of players from the LP, is the best I’ve seen her with. Youthful and vigorous, they keep her up to the mark in a way that former bands of relaxed studio musicians didn’t seem to do. Armatrading herself is much more at ease on stage, dancing around, almost cheeky; and she really “ rocks out” (as they say here) as well. If you haven’t heard her records before. Walk Under Ladders is a good place to start. Have a listen to it betore she plays your town. You won’t regret it.

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“This album was really hard work” said Cold Chisel piano man Don Walker over dinner at his Adelaide motel, just before heading for Thebarton Concert Hall for the third of three sold out nights by Adelaide’s favourite sons. The album he was talking about Is ‘Circus Animals’, Chisel’s fifth and perhaps their most important, in a global sense, to date. Although ‘East’ clocked four times platinum and the double live ‘Swingshift’ consolidated their position at the top of the Australian rock tree, ‘Circus Animals’ is the first aibum that has been made with a financiai commitment from their A m erican record com pany, E iektra. One of the reason’s offered for the failure of ‘East’ in America was that the American company had no money to recoup from it and therefore didn’t give it the sort of promotional push required. But things shouid be different this time round. Aiso ‘Circus Animals’ wili be released in the UK and Europe through Poiydor. ‘East’ was never reieased through a European company. Prior to talking to Don i’d had a few listens to the finai mixes (the album is out on March 8th) ahd seen the band perform twice at Thebarton. On the first night, Thursday, the band iooked tired and the sound was a mess (it was the first night with the sound system). The ciarity and iight and shade that is so necessary for Chisel’s songs to be effective was sadiy iacking. I ieft before the end. I couldn’t believe Chisei wouid piay two bad ones in a row and happily the Friday night show was much better, in fact it was Chisel at close to their storming best, with iarrikin Jimmy Barnes bending aimost double as he emptied his lungs into the mike, Ian Moss, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Bruce Springsteen, letting rip with some beautifuily economical guitar breaks, Don Waiker, up the back in shadow his hair bobbing iike an excited schoolboy, Phil Small compact and solid on the bass and ‘Shuffling’ Steve Prestwich drumming with precision and relaxed style. And as an added bonus harmonica piayer Dave Blight blew some tasty harp, fitting in so well that it was hard to beiieve that he hadn’t played with Chisei or even been on a stage for eighteen months. They boomed out a superb ‘Khe Shan’ to maximum, ecstatic response, the new, extremely catchy ‘Forever Now ’ (next single?), ‘Houndog’, ‘Standing On The Outside’, the big and beaty ‘Numbers Fall’, ‘Don’t Let G o’ complete with Jerry Lee piano from Don, the steamy ‘Taipan’, ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘You Got Nothing i Want’, which had the crowd on their feet, ian’s newie ‘Bow River’ and finaliy ‘Goodbye Astrid’. For encores a long version of ‘One Long Day’, then singaiong time with ‘Cheap Wine’, a beautifui version of the old Sam and Dave number, ‘Something Is Wrong With My Baby’, that for white boys singing soui was just superb. Not content with that and with the crowd thundering and baying for more we got ‘Rising Son’, the Equais’ ‘Baby Come Back’ and to take things right over the top a king hit so-tight version o t,‘Twist And Shout’. Audience capitulation was total. Early the next afternoon I called into the motel where the band were staying, to pick up a tape of ‘Circus Animals’ from Don. Lean and rangy as ever, and fresh despite late night carousing at the inn On The Park with Chisel’s original bass piayer, we arranged to meet again after the band’s afternoon soundcheck. ‘Circus Animals’ is, in my view, a successful attempt to avoid the stagnation often associated with large scale success. As Walker explained later, he didn’t want to fail into the trap of producing a ‘Son Of East’ packed with tight catchy pop songs. Walker’s songs are rhythm based rather than melody based, but that’s no cause for commercial concern as Steve Prestwich has come up with a couple of corking tunes, particularly the aforementioned ‘Forever Now’, a bouncy, infectious, semi-reggae/soul number one single if I ever heard one. Ian Moss’s ‘Bow River’ is another immediate stand out, with echoes of The Band in their heyday. It’s not a complete turnaround from ‘East’ — the links are there. But the guts of the album are Walker’s rhythm songs, ‘Taipan’, ‘Numbers Fall’, ‘Wild Coioniai Boy’ and ‘Houndog’. It’s hard for a band like Chisel, a roots band with a history, to find new pastures to explore. But with the emphasis on rhythm Walker and the band seem to have done it. It may have been hard work, but ‘Circus Animals’ is very definitely a step forward for Cold Chisel. What follows is a transcript of the over-dinner interview, conducted to the backing of Beaties muzak in the model dining room, and in the company of lensperson Eric Algra.

What is ‘Letter to Alan’ about? DW: There’s a few mates of ours who haven’t survived the last few years. It’s just a song I tried to put together in a style that a couple of thenri in particular would have got off on. A certain style of music the band play that they were quite fond of. The songs that you’ve written yourself, seem more rhythm based than the ones on ‘East’ - ‘Choir Girl’ and ‘Cheap Wine’ for example. Whereas both Steve (Prestwich)’s songs are very catchy, very melodic. DW: Yeah. It’s strange for the piano piayer to be into rhythms and the drummer to be into melodies. There’s two reasons why mine are the way they are. We got to a point— this is just pure musical arrangement I guess — in the studio with ‘East’ where we perfected — well, we didn’t perfect it, a series of bands perfected this four on the floor straight ahead rhythm. Just constant bass drum and share every third beat, played very fast and . . . it’s evolved to be the unbeatable rhythm for a pub, y’know? It doesn’t matter what the band before or after you is doing — you come on and you’re that band doing the rhythm — Goodnight everybody else. We used that rhythm on quite a few tracks on ‘East’, but there’s really nowhere to go . . . it’s not the sort of rh^hm you can develop. That’s it. All you can do is lay down that rhythm and put melodies and chord changes and lyrics over the top. It sort of worried me going into a new album and doing another set of songs on that same rhythm. I didn’t really want to do that. Also I saw a few bands in America who . . . just watching them really, taught me a few hard lessons about rhythm. There’s a lot of bad bands in America, but the good ones . . . when you come across a good one, all you

can do is stand there and learn. A few bands we saw in Texas, an inspired night playing the Tornado Jam in Texas with the Joe Ely Band and Delbert McClinton and the Fabulous Thunderbirds and all those bands. The things they were doing to these 7,000 Texans in the open air, which were pure rhythm things. I’d never seen a band do before. I felt it was something Australian bands. . . I mean there are Australian bands around that swing a bit — English bands tend to miss the point of that whole thing a bit, getting a dancefloor swing going, they’re more into frenetic pogoing .. . and a lot of Australian bands don’t seem to swing. And I always thought, ‘Yeah, we swing’, until I saw a few bands that do. Seeing the Fabulous Thunderbirds in particular was just . . . I mean they’re basically a ‘white boys playing blues’ type of band, but the way they were playing and the effect they were having on the crowd was just unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It was just a good hour long lesson in how to do it. And the rhythms on ‘Circus Animals’ that I was fooling around with don’t really have too much relation to what they were doing but it’s just that they gave me a kick in the bum to start thinking about some things that I felt we’d missed. ‘Taipan’ seems to have a real swamp beat to it - a tropical sultry f e e l . . . DW: Yeah. Steve and I were doing a lot of experimenting in the studio with rhythms based on toms — just big tom sounds repeated over and over again. So that turned up on ‘Taipan’, ‘Numbers Fall’ and ‘Wild Colonial Boy’. The other two are a little straighter. ‘Taipan’ is a bit of a North Queensland childhood sort of song. It’s a fairly swampy landscape up there.

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Jso with Steve demoing such melodic songs — it didn’t ter what we did to them, they were going to be emely melodic, accessible songs — I felt no pressure to and write commercial. I didn’t try to write singles, tight ingements or anything. I had a bit of an indulge. « a bit surprised when i first heard ‘H o u n d o g - that ’d do a highway biuesiroad song. Because you’ve le so many. ; I think we’ve done one. jping Steei? : Yeah. O.K. (Laughs) : Aiqra: Northbound Train? : Wnoops. laughs). ‘Home and Broken Hearted’ was Dne I was thinking of. Yeah, I guess there’s been afew. he line ‘Houndog sitting on the side of the highway js’ was written by Steve’s brother Laurie. He had a iS song with that line in it. And I’d been saying for a few rs now that I’d really like to use that line in a song. And cept saying things like, ‘I’ve got it as a line in my song’ ow? (laughs) So in the end I rang him before this album, ause I wrote ‘Houndog’ around that, and said, ‘Do you d?’ and he said, ‘No, go ahead’ and er, we actually ed out a deal on the whole thing last night. So he’s really py . . . d Coioniai Boy’ seems to be, after three iistens, the it poiiticai in tone of the songs. : Yeah, probably, and it’s pretty safe, ugh.) In’t want to go too much into politics.

New Rhythm Kings.

r?

: I sort of trust my own understanding of politics enough be to chew the fat with friends and have raves and stuff

M

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17


©PE© like that, but as for getting out there and belting out some half baked political views to thousands of people . . . it makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I’m as into politics as anyone can be who’s in a band travelling all the time. I’d probably feel comfortable if I was a political journalist living in Canberra and knew what was going on . . . . The song makes a few good points nonetheless. ‘The country’s run by Anglophiles’. DW: That’s probably the most political line on the whole album, (laughs). One of the things that happens when you travel overseas, especially if you’re working and not doing it as a tourist, is that you’re just about forced to try to work out who the hell you are. All those things you take for granted like ‘I’m an Australian’ and everything . . . when you find yourself in a country, or a series of countries, which have been near the centre of your consciousness for all your life — you know so much about America before you get there — and there’s this underlying assumption that they’re going to know the same things about where you come from. Suddenly the place you love and where you’ve spent your whole life, to everybody around you is not only insignificant, but they’re not even interested in finding out. It’s like, suddenly, the first thirty years of your life is insignificant, because they’ve been spent in what is seen over there as a backwater. You go through a bit of a self-respect crisis. Well, no, not so much self respect . . . Identity? DW: No, that’s more a personal thing. Confidence? DW: Mmmmm. How did you react to that? Did you find yourself becoming more Australian or did you try and play it down? DW: Aw, definitely not trying to play it down. Probably becoming more consciously Australian . . . So what was the general feeling in the band when you came back from America? Because you laid pretty low, didn’t you. DW: We had a mixture of successes and disappointments over there, that can be loosely divided into success live, disappointment with record sales, and radio airplay. As far as laying low goes, we, Rod (Willis — manager) and I sat down before we left America and sort of, . . . because we were expecting especially the Australian music press to do the normal trick of, when you don’t wipe out this whole vast country in two months you’re washed up. I put in the line that the only way to handle this, or to get round this, is just to be completely upfront about what happened. Because the way the press usually damage you is if you come back making claims that just don’t stick. Because the truth about what successes and failures you’ve had is going to come out sooner or later. So what we did was put out a two page press release which said, ‘These good things happened,4hese bad things happened’. Simple as that. We didn’t do interviews because there was nothing to talk about. Those two pages set it out. We could have done interviews and gone into, ‘What we felt about Detroit’ and all t h a t . . . but who’s really interested? And of course about two weeks after we got back we got locked in the studio for four months, trying to get this album together. There was so much to digest from the American thing that we were a little disoriented when we went into the studio. We didn’t really know which way to go or what to do, on top of having to follow up ‘East’. So everyone spent the first six weeks or so in the studio in a daze. America, fortunately, didn’t produce stress within the band, which quite often happens. Where long simmering feuds come to a head — it didn’t happen with us. It was just an unaccustomed feeling of uncertainty. We’re normally a very arrogant, confident band, within ourselves, even though we might seem to put a fairly modest front outside. That got staggered slightly. Do you plan to go back to America this year. DW: Yeah. We’re going back in May. We’ll keep going back there for as long as it takes. We made as much headway as any band could expect to make on its first trip to America — as much headway as any Australian band ever has probably. And the next time we’ll make a little bit more . . . and after about four trips we’ll be somewhere. Jimmy’s been quoted as saying ‘You’ve Got Nothing I Want’ is dedicated to someone in the American record company. DW: (much mirth) U rn. . . yeah. . . urn. . . you’ll have to ask him I think. There did come to be, during the Amercian trip, this token villian. A poor hapless guy, who didn’t deserve to hold that position at all, but he’d be in the wrong place and say the wrong things at the wrong time. And he earned everyone’s immediate hatred — across the board. He was like a lightning rod f o r . . . any flak that we wanted to aim at ‘them out there’. Where’s Bow River (title to one of the songs on ‘Circus Animals’)? DW: (laughs) It’s a cattle station up in the north-west somewhere. A good way along the coast from Darwin. Ian’s brother, Peter, used to be our roadie, and has actually worked there — we didn’t find this out-until after the song was written. His only comment was, ‘Great song mate, but I can tell you this — there ain’t no water there’, (laughs) There’s a couple of really nice Hammond-organ type runs in that song, that you don’t use on stage. DW: It’s not Hammond organ — it’s synthesizer through some Leslie speakers. On the album I could get to do two overdubs, whereas onstage I can only play two keyboards at the same time. I haven’t gotten into the synthesizer much as a synthesizer, I can’t seem to do all those synthesizer things that younger keyboard players are getting into. I think it’s because when you come from being a piano player your mind’s locked into your fingers, and what your fingers are doing, all the time. Whereas the younger keyboard players don’t get into it from that angle at all. They get into it from a completely differerit angle — the angle of sounds. So they’ve come up with all the great sounds. I’m only using the synthesizer to get string sounds and organ sounds basically. 18

ROADRUNNER

There were a couple of interesting moments over the last two nights - Thursday somebody handed Jimmy a headband from the crowd - which he wore and last night somebody threw you a hat. The bowler hat used to be your trademark and the headband Jimmy’s but these days there’s no . . . you don’t project or use any image DW: As far as costumes go, no. It’s probably our least costumed phase for quite a few years. We just couldn’t think up any. (in a woeful tone) Eric Algra: You used to wear all white at one stage too. DW: That was because we’re a bit of an endangered species, we were doing a tour with the Angels and they all wore black (laughs). / thought it was interesting that the crowd brought along the props for you. DW: Yeah. There were people in America arriving at gigs with headbands on, just cult fans who’d found the album. It’s really nice when strong images like that fall into place accidently. The headband on ‘East’ was just a complete accident. It was hung over a light while we were doing the film clip. To give a bit of shading. I just grabbed it and tied it round Jim’s head at a gig, at the Manly Vale. And then you look at it and it starts to add up — this can do this and this. But nothing like that happened this time. And I can never dream up things like that from scratch. Coming up to this album I was wracking my brains over things like (exaggerated stage voice) ‘Well what is this album going to be about?’ And what images are we going to use this time? And in the end we just ended up saying well, let’s just put all these songs on and see how it looks. Because if there is any kind of theme in there, it’ll just come out. What about the album cover? DW: I wanted something that was Australian and couldn’t be mistaken for anywhere else. And that people overseas might ask some questions about. And there’s nothing really like Lake Eyre over there. I just wanted a wide flat space with a caravan in it, and with the band sitting out front. I was thinking of doing it at Mascot airport, because that was the only wide flat space nearby and Rod said, ‘Well, dammit, let’s find the widest, flattest space around and do it properly.’ Peter Leavey shot it. He’s a cinematographer who’s done our last couple of film clips. What about the title of the album, ‘Circus Animals’? DW: I guess that one’s mine too. I was trying to talk everyone into calling it ‘Taipan’, but no-one else would come at it. We had pages and pages of possible titles, . pages and pages of really bad ones. Everyone that’d come into the studio would add a couple of names to these pages that were on top of the desk. And that was just a couple of words. There’s no hidden meaning about people putting you through hoops? DW: (emphatically) No. Someone came to review a gig a few weeks ago and hit me with some John Lennon quote. And I said, ‘No, I’ve never heard this quote. The album, categorically has got nothing to do with this John Lennon quote. Nothing to do with us being animals being put through hoops or any of that.’ But she put the quote in anyway. Do you see the rock business as being a bit of a circus? DW: I dunno. I think so many things about the rock business, nice things and bad things. It’s a bit hard for someone immersed in it to get any outside perspective on itNo, I’ve just always liked sawdust and shows and, you know when the agricultural show comes to town — sideshow alley and all that. So that and the cover is sort of a half hearted attempt to evoke that sort of atmosphere. We’re doing some shows with some circus acts, if it comes together, on the Anzac Day weekend in Sydney. Two nights. Bullens eight pole tent, which is gi-gantic. They’re organising about five or six of the best circus acts from around Australia. A lion act, we’re going to try to get the Globe Of Death, a few things like that. And us on afterwards to do a real showcase sort of show. And hopefully we’re going to dig up all these old sideshow people who you used to see at the show, maybe fifteen, twenty years ago. Freak shows, strips shows, Jim Sharman’s Boxing Tent (?) — try and contact all those people and have them around. Bullens seem to love the idea. Wasn’t the album supposed to be released to co-incide with this current tour? DW: Yeah. We’ll have been on the road two months and one week when it eventually comes out. Fortunately it hasn’t affected the crowds at all. But this album has been really hard work. It hasn’t just fallen together at all. Especially when I came along with a few of those rhythms which didn’t fit the normal ‘East’ rules for pop arrangement. Like, one of the many things Mark Opitz is a real expert at is — he’s an excellent arranger. Not to say he arranges everything, everyone does, but he’s got a very good ear for what’s a good arrangement and what’s not. By the end of ‘East’ we almost had a set of rules — we could take a song in a very rough form, and within an hour chop it down into a streamlined pop arrangement. But those sort of rules and approaches didn’t apply with a lot of the songs that are on this album. So we had to wrestle with them for a long time. The first month in the studio was spent just trying to work out how to arrange the stuff. Eric Algra: Did you feel the pressure of having to follow up ‘East’? DW: No. I think we all just dismissed it. I, personally, don’t think this is nearly as commercial or catchy an album as ‘East’. It could self really well, but if the band hadn’t got into a certain position with ‘East’ it probably wouldn’t sell very well. It doesn’t have that big blockbuster sort of feel about it. The material is a lot more designed for opening the band out on stage. We can extend them, have fun with them, manipulate them whereas the stuff on ‘East’ was so tightly arranged you couldn’t really tamper with it without mucking up the song. It kinda harks back to some of your earlier material. DW: Yeah, definitely.


IN THE JUMBLED confines of my friend’s living room, between the potted palms, tatty art deco memorabilia, a bookcase stuffed with Hardy Boys’ mysteries, an astounding collection of Enid Blyton epics and three huge piles of Archie Comics, I meet, on three pieces of fading red furniture, four members of the by now famous M Squared touring entourage, the hottest thing to come out of Sydney since the Grand Hotel. The loungeroom, as well as offering all that was mentioned before, Hardy and Joyce, the Bible and Chekov, as well as Orton and Heller, seems a fairly complimentary, though rude, metaphor for the mixed up world of M Squared. M Squared, where ideas and humour and intelligence and honest artistic expression all clash and coincide in the same melting pots, is a new and proven force on the world music scene. M Squared has released material from about twenty different combos since the first in October 1980, a now sold out 12" EP by The Systematics called ‘Rural’. Music has come in the form of singles and albums, 7 and 12" EP’s, and cassettes — featuring an even greater variety of music. You might think, from what someone has told you, that M Squared is one of those wet, artee labels. Not so. I happen to think, and this is based purely on what I’ve heard, that they are an ART label. M Squared’s music is as accessible as that which you hear in elevators and hotel lobbys. The difference is M Squared generally stimulates the senses instead of sending them off into a stupor. Mostly M Squared music can be either a soundtrack for an everyday set of habits and movements, not noticed but still embellishing, or it can be a smart path on which to walk towards the realization that existence does have benefits and can, most probably in moments of ignored beauty and simple subtleties, be construed as having periods of poetry that lighten the heart, touch the soul and revitalize the mind. The Makers of The Dead Travel Fast (DTFast henceforward in this piece) are masters in this method and whether taking on the delicious tunes of a ballerina twirling out of a jewellery box or spicing modern urban ethnic atmospheres together with a simple sax, a vague synth, gentle piano and other additives they always seem to harmonize the imagination or the dreams of humanity perfectly with the reality of it. DTFast are one of the few groups going who almost circumvent the implications of their sound. It’s a sound that wafts in and out of the conscious and the unconscious membranes of the mind, at once soothing then pricking points of attention — distracting then attracting. The undeniable warmth and humanity in DTFast’s tremulous little ditties is a force that draws you towards it, like an open fire on a cold winter’s night. One of the most important achievements of DTFast as well as other M Squared acts such as the now defunct Systematics is the fact that they have found a source of energy which is obviously a modern urban phenomena and have manifested it, in songs which contain, the real soul sound of the eighties. Forget Soft Cell with their tainted mirror images of Tamla triumphs and The Bureau’s haemophilliac homages to the collective angst of all the horn sections of the world. M Squared contains the newest and the brightest and the most honest hybrid of soul since the sixties, not because it has altered the form a little, but because it understands the essence of soul and then reels off sounds that are planted firmly in the consciousness and technology of today. Heart is what counts — not deep love torn voices or sublime falsetto harmonies — and heart is something M Squared has more of than most. Not that this is their intention nor their infatuation — just their accidental explanation. As much as anyone involved at all with M Squared would hate to admit it, there is a vague sound that one associates rather directly with the label. Not quite as stringent as the more stylized sounds of English labels such as Factory or Postcard but still definite enough for one to be able to mention. M Squared is probably the first Australian label to attract such a variety of acts who release sounds that often seem to employ similar structures and ideas though not necessarily results. The Able label did it but with only a fraction of the resources, releases and bands on its books and both Phantom and Missing Link (though Phantom does seem to attract those monstrous guitar pop bands) have released a much more eclectic variety of groups’ material. M Squared aren’t too happy with the way both the media and potential M Squared artists (and possibly even the public) categorize them into the contrived, electronic vein, as Michael Tee, joint owner and benefactor of the label with Mitch Jones as well as being both a member of Ya Ya Choral and Scattered Order, later explained. Accompanying Michael in our conversation were Scott Holmes from The Same, and Tim Shultz and Steve Courri from The DTFast. M Squared will probably never be a company with world wide hits under its belt but that doesn’t lessen its value. M Squared offers insights and totally new themes for us to toy with, think about, and occasionally even dance to — though happily always providing some sort of soundtrack for our behavioural tendencies.

LETS CRACK THE kernel of the myth, open it up for all to see. Surely the first question must be how did the label begin, why did it do so, who did it all, and on what lines is the label based. Surely? Michael; “ Well . . . there was a band in Sydney called The Barons which contained Mitch and myself who released a record on Doublethink — probably the worst record ever made. It was recorded on cassette one night when we were very drunk and had just listened to The Residents’ ‘Duck Stab’. \n the process of doing that we acquired a Revox and a mixing desk and built a studio up and gradually updated the studio. “ We were recording our own stuff and then other people approached us about using the studio and we thought, ‘why don’t we form a label and release all this music being sent to us?’ — so it evolved. Also, at the same time, Doublethink collapsed so people that would have normally gone there came instead to us — and in their dying throes they were sending people over to us anvwav, such as The Systematics.

‘SOUL OF THE CITY’ Come Out From Hiding.

by Craig N. Pearce.

‘‘Generally, decisions’made by the label are consulted by everybody. All the bands are taken into consideration and if they’ve an idea they’ll say we want to do this and then everyone will discuss it. “ It’s not so much the musical direction but its presentation and the label’s organization — such as whether to release albums or singles and their album covers. The music obviously has to be left up to the members of the bands. “You see what we’d been doing for years in our bedrooms with tape recorders was making music and thinking no-one would listen to this. Then we’d play it to someone and they would like it and suggest that we get it released. So we thought if we’re doing this maybe there’s all these other people in Australia or overseas that are doing the same thing and want to get their music released — and maybe we’d like it. “ If we didn’t like it then we wouldn’t release it. That was the original manifesto but I think it’s kind of changed since then. Because you get people sending in tapes that are Kraftwerk clones so you have to have censorship” . Was it peer groups or music which drew the M Squared groups together? “ Well that’s the interesting thing. All these people from different parts of Sydney came together and you’d have the situation where The Systematics and The DTFast were playing together and inevitably they’d get to know each other and Mitch and I would encourage everyone to participate in the label as much as they could. Not everyone puts in a hundred per cent. It balances out” . I’ve found a noticeable likeness between San Francisco band Tuxedomoon’s album ‘Desire’ and the DTFast’s album, ‘Vessels’. A likeness that is a lot less obvious on their new four track single, ‘Why Won’t We Wake’, which is a stunning piece of moving bravura, a cry into the darkness of a society bereft of soul. The single is fibrous and enchanting, rhythmic and propulsive — you’d be a fool not to attain it. So far it’s my single of the year, coupling sensibility with sensitivity so that the dance is in the feet and in the head. Is there anything that inspires the DTFast or that they aspire to? Tim: “ I think that we’re five people who have quite diverse tastes which overlap in some areas. I suppose Brian Eno is the most common interest. I think the fact that our tastes are so diverse means we don’t have any singular aspiration or particular musical direction. Our basic strength is trying to do as much as we can” . Do you begin playing with ideas of what you want to sound like or is it basically a jamming process? “ Well we jam quite frequently, both onstage and in rehearsal — that’s how a lot of our songs come about. Songs are built up from a very visual image as well; often our music becomes very atmospheric and descriptive” . Do you see it as being a soundtrack to anything in particular? “ Often, yeah” . Asking Scott how The Same were formed took him off on a wayward journey relating contacts through friends’ of next door neighbours’ sisters and so on, finally explaining that the band consists of a quite standard, for M Squared, lineup that includes bass, guitar, sax some percussion and, of all things, a drummer that is actually alive and one doesn’t have to set the dials for. Their songs have come from the occupants of two houses jamming to form The Same; and the same sound. How would you describe your music? Scott: “ I try not to. There’s too many people tagging things already. I don’t see our music relating to any specific part of my life. Whatever happens, happens. And \ just enjoy it. There’s a lot of improvisation live but when we go into the studio it’s a different thing altogether” .

DO YOU OFTEN find yourselves being compared to the Clifton Hill Music Centre? Michael: “ No, not at all really. They’re a lot more serious than us” .

It seems as though M Squared material is a lot easier to listen to, to relate to, to accept and utilize than music which is produced by the Clifton Hill collective. Possibly because a lot of M Squared material is more fundamental, more steeped in simple human issues. They (the M Squared groups) have apparently a much stronger grass roots fervour and fascination that allows ’ for acceptance whilst still making just as many musical inroads as the CHMC — though not achieving their innovation in conceptualization and displays of intellectual refinement which is perhaps the most important asset of the CHMC. There is a lot of self-deprecating humour in a number of M Squared acts, specifically The Systematics and the new Denial, and I find the element to be a rather definite strand running throughout the whole label. It’s a pleasure to find, in any art form, people who are willing to laugh at themselves and play down the significance of what they do. Steve: “We’ve found that in reviews, especially overseas, that they’ve reacted by saying, hey these guys are human, and I think that’s a really important quality in the music — a sense of humour or passion about something. Take the negativism of The Birthday ' Party. That’s a passion and it’s good. But when it’s just cold intellectualism or something that’s very smug I turn off.” Humour works against DTFast too, as Steve explains .. . “ People come along expecting a slick experimental show and when that doesn’t happen they get turned right off” . How commercially viable do you see yourselves as being? Tim: “We never really worry that much about it. Ideally we should remain pretty moderate, I think. We’re going to change enough, and we’ll never settle down to anything in particular so that, knowing the normal commercial climate, we won’t fit in — or I doubt whether we would” . Steve: “You can still work in a commercial framework” . Tim: “ Hmmm, that’s true” . ' M Squkred arrange distribution by themselves with help from Missing Link — and garner mainly alternative airplay. One never knows (and one certainly won’t stop hoping) 2JJJ and 3RRR have helped break more than one non-mainstream artist into the Top 40. Tim: “The DTFast would like to be in the position where we could sell ten thousand albums. Even in just purely artistic terms it means you can generate enough money doing what you really enjoy doing to keep on doing it” . What ties the M Squared bands together? Scott: “ I suppose it’s because we’re all struggling. There’s safety in numbers” . What is it that attracts potential artists to M Squared? Michael: “ Now, I guess, probably that we’ve survived. We’ve been going for a year and a naif. And, I think, the centralization. The fact that even though the DTFast and The Systematics come from different areas we can still generate enough strength to at least get reviews” . M Squared’s infrastructure is sort of republican in nature, I guess. Everyone contributes to the decision making but when it gets to the bottom line it’s Michael and Mitch who say yea or nay, simply because it’s their money. Have you ever noticed how M Squared has a lot of musicians that play in more than one group? Michael: “ It’s the only way of keeping your interest. If you devote your music to one way of thinking it becomes really bland and you end up thinking why did we even do this. I think it’s healthier for your mentality. “Like I don’t want to be solely concerned with music. M Squared is working on a movie at the moment. It’s our next big venture. We’ve going to try and document our environment around us and feature the music as well. Myself, Mitch Jones and Mark Pollack are directing it — plus ideas from other people of course. We’d like to do a tour where we’d play six nights in each place and show the film with a different band eaph qight,” . , , , ROADRUNNER

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Clash [Capitol Theatre, [Sydney The opening night of The Clash’s ‘Magnificent I Seven Tour’ of Sydney starts with lead singer, guitarist and writer, Joe Strummer, politely thanking the support act. No Fixed Address, for their work . . . and in the same breath ‘London \ Calling’ bursts onto the packed house, scoring a success first up. Two thousand happy punks getting just what they came for, screaming, “i iive by the river. . . coo coo coooo!” and The Ciash wipe out any chance of being a studio fake band. A great start to the show quickiy Ifollowed by another favourite, ‘Career Opportunities’. I Strummer announces that he’s going to kili Mickey [Mouse and Snoopy for being Yankee pigs and a slide [show lights the backdrop for ‘Washington Bullets’.

20 fioadfUriner

A Bo Diddley-beat version of ‘Guns of Brixton sung I by bassist, Paul Simonon, opens in front of a cyclone wire fence, newspaper headlines of riots and shots of Iviotent street fighting. The punk professionals have [not only done a lot of homework and careful planning but they also leave no question as to whose side we’re on. Multiply that by 2,000 fans a night for seven nights and you could start your own riot. The tension is [relieved, slightly, with an up-tempo Stand By M e”. For tour-title-track, ‘The Magnificent Seven’, we are [shown what looks like New York’s skyline at night, alternating with Amerikana — Holiday Inn, Neon lights, fast food and street scenes. “Weatherman and the crazy chief/ One says sun and one says sleet/ A.M. the [F.M. the P.M. tool Churning out that boogaloo.’’ Joe Strummer leads his raspy voice into ‘Wrong ’Em \Boyo’, with back-up from Mick Jones’ smoother [support vocals. They ask for electric fans, but instead get a dead fox and a note about mandies and brandies. Strummer takes the opportunity to advertise the Civic Hotel and an offer from 2/56 somewhere in King’s


Cross, before drummer, Topper Headon takes a strap-on vocal mike for the ‘Sandinista’ song, ‘Ivan meets G.l. Joe’. The slides return featuring hammer-and-sickle al­ ternating with the American eagle either side of a soldier In helmet and gas mask. Men and tanks (both Soviet and U.S.) swap with cartoons of President Jelly Bean and the Politburo sans two heads. A brawl starts In the front row as the band introduce ‘Brand New Cadillac’. Strummer kneels on the stage and motions Jones to cut. Silence. “You guys in the orange shirts, get over ’ere. There’s no hurry . . . we can sort this out (without having to involve the police) . . . we don’t want anyone getting themselves killed, alright? Can we work out a peace settlement?’’ The Capitol collectively cranes its neck to have a look at the free entertainment and photographers jump on chairs to click shots. It’s all over with screaming guitars and Headon’s machine-gunning drumming

bitting out, his wiry street-kid arms pounding witn Simonon’s bass, for ‘Somebody Got Murdered’. Clash run through ‘Koka Kola’, ‘I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)’ and Into a wild cry, “What are we going to do, nowwwww? . . . Working for the clampdown. ” Orange flashing lights add a bit of panic to Headon’s rim shots. All stops are out and with a giant crash the Clash unplug and depart the stage. The bloke behind me, Chris, says that they’re the only contemporary rock band in the world and he’s bigger than me. But he’s almost right. (Never forget Ian Dury.) The Clash do the audience titiliation segment, running out the back for a pee and a quick drink whilst we stamp our feet, clap hands and scream for an encore. They’ve only done a bit over an hour so far and when they return under a barrage of streamers they fire through a new song, then the very popular ‘Tommy Gun ’ and ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’, backed by nasty slides of U.S. Marines and soldiers with tortured prisoners and a

lot worse. A tense reggae beat leads to a bass solo. Strummer slides in whilst Jones sets the scene with background guitar and into ‘Garageland’ knocking everyone off their feet. Clash leave the stage again, but return for the second bracket in their encore, with ‘Safe European Home’, followed by ‘Armagideon Time’ with slides of starvation and deprivation. The Clash compromise nothing. The Clash have a very heavy message and they make it painfully clear. Amnesty International would be proud of The Clash, as should every thinking human. In these days of showmen and pretty entertainers some people can remember their souls. They also remember their art. ‘London’s Burning!” they scream and fire. Strummer falls to the floor as the rest of the band powerhouse their way into ‘White Riot’ and then back off for a long instrumental opening to ‘JJ J Jimmy Jazz’. Again they unplug and bow to the crowd. Cheering, chanting, hooting and screaching into the stage microphones, the Capitol’s patrons start to leave, via the bar at the back of the house. Until the punk professionals return for their fourth and final encore. ‘Police On My Back’ and absolutely the last number for the two-hour show is ‘I ’m So Bored With U.S.A.’.

David Langsam. ROADRUNNER

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SYNTH HEAVEN? Tangerine Dream Thebarton Town Hall, Adelaide The first time Tangerine Dream played in Adelaide (1975), many people came away from their concert at Festival Theatre expressing the general idea that it was a brilliant show, but what had actually happened? No one could really remember very much except that it took them completely out of their heads and seemed endlessly fascinating at the time. What can you write about such an event?

Ultravox, Machinations Palais, Melbourne This was a night of many richly comic moments, but the most hilarious of them was when Billy Currie began his first new romantic elephant dance behind his synthesiser bank. Imagine; a double chinned vision of a depression-era Englishman in a salesman/clerk’s uniform (greased hair, white shirt, tie and braces) pumping a squat body back and forth to the droning rhythm, just as if he was a teenage idol from Duran Duran! Irresistibly, I thought of Bob Hoskins in the “Pennies From Heaven” TV series, a sheet music salesman translated to the Dionysiac heaven of his dreams, and then finding he doesn’t much like it after all. You just had to laugh. Unfortunately, this was a night when such entertainment in a musical sense, was harder to come by. Ultravox presented, (as we knew all along they would) a portentous lightshow and a soggy refurbishing of dim technoflash memories, bereft of even the tinny energy an ELO or a Supertramp would bring to such an occasion. What we had to be satisfied with was the thinnest veneer of professional­ ism, and credit must be given where it’s due. Midge Ure is nothing if not an old pro (in every sense of the word), and it’s gratifying to see him making, at last, an impact in the colonies. Slik deserved a hit in Australia with Forever and Ever

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but were swamped by the Bay City Rollers, and the Rich Kids did have one great single. {Marching Men b/w Here Come The Nice, available at a bargain bin near your home.) And Midge learned one of life’s hard lessons — how to thrust from the hips with a Fender and not look like a clown — during his Thin Lizzy stint. These days, he’s lapping up the rewards of all that hard graft — and where are Les McKeown, Glen Matlock, Phil Lynott today? Not poncing efficiently on stage at the Palais under circular light banks and never approaching the metaphorical edge of things, that’s for sure. One could go on and on about this band being just an REO Speedwagon for a Countdown-trained audience who sneer at Yankee pomp-rockers because they don’t rip-off tatty Expressionist themes for their video clips, but that really isn’t necessary. What we were here for after all was that excellent song Vienna, a radio artifact that’s up there with the best British ballads, as good as anything by Procul Harum, the Moody Blues, or the Walker Brothers in one of their more sulky moods. But before Vienna’s longed-for arrival, we had to sit through forty minutes (I was looking at my watch) of comatose pretension. The most sleep-making moments were the awful Accent On Youth and a fuzzy instrumental accompanied by chemical smoke and muted disco lighting. (Another vision rose here; four honest toilers captured by some cruel electronics tycoon, imprisoned in a dungeon and ordered to produce a new synthesiser

sound, the punishment for failure being an eternity spent listening to the entire Ralph Records catalogue.) Another riveting interlude was Your Name Has Siipped My Mind, during which a light with ancient lampshade was lowered to shine on Midge (seated on a canvas chair) and his jaundiced complexion; a coup de theatre corny enough even for Tom Waits. But then came Vienna, reverently delivered to sighs of relief, and afterwards, if you wanted, you could stay to listen to various slices of lukewarm suburban disco wrapped up in watery textures from the factories of Kprg and Yamaha. Or alternatively, you could go home. I made the latter choice, and there was some pleasant Japanese koto music playing on the radio as I walked through the door. P.S.: The Machinations were crammed on to a fraction of the stage, and at the Sydney Ultravox concert apparently had the power pulled on them by the headliner’s road crew. They deserved better, for their light-heartedness if not their music. Their drum machine patterns are well-planned, their energetic singer extremely limited in range, and most of their songs hover fairly witlessly between doom and dance. There’s one shining exception; Average inadequacy from their Lobby Loyd-produced EP. It hums in the brain and should be a single; the Machinations have at least as rhuch right as anyone else in the world to be one-hit wonders.

Adrian Ryan.

The phenomenon was basically similar this time around, but with a few notable differences. First difference, of course, is the venue. There’s no point in presenting a contrast between Thebarton and the Festival Theatre. They have nothing in common beyond shelter from the elements. Another difference is the lack of fancy video effects. T. Dream used only the humblest and most basic lighting, through necessity apparently rather than choice, though it did not detract from their music. Simply, the cherry was missing. The final major difference is musical structure. In 1975 they were still into going on stage with little more than a few vague ideas and relying on their abilities to improvise. In Adelaide, then, it worked, a little too well perhaps. In the intervening time they have gone more for frameworks and preconceived ideas. Does it hinder or hurt? Frankly, it was often a hindrance. Part of this is due to the truly atrocious acoustic properties of Thebarton Town Hall. Many of their more cultured lines depended on either subtlety or clarity which was hammered remorselessly into noise by overamplification. I’m sick of going to concerts and losing my hearing, but it’s the fashion to be deaf. It took a while for the band to warm up, and during this period (fifteen minutes or so) they relied on cliches and safe sequencer rhythms to maintain a musical flow. There was no disputing the musicianship involved, but something was missing. With reservations, this applied to much of the concert.

Somehow, somewhere, they resolved their scattered inspirations into a riveting cauldron, an overwhelming vortex which grabbed your ears by the throat and hauled your guts into a manic invocation. Under the blue lights and filmy webbing they worked away, while we waited to see what strange denizen of the sonic dimensions would materialise. With an air of cautious modesty, Edgar Froese picked up a guitar and advanced to the forefront. Although basically simple in his approach, Froese can play a guitar. He continued playing through to the interval, at which time the collective work of the band had reached that point of total musical abandon which is where (in this reviewer’s opinion) a good concert starts. Interval break? You must be kidding. But that’s what they (and we all) did: stopped. Somehow the same peak was never quite reached after interval. The opening sequence, with intriguing subterranean bangings and clangings, established a promise which was never really fulfilled. Towards the end it became a little soggy, though they marshalled their resources quite admirably for a five minute encore, and left eveiyone with a slightly more up feeling. In general, T. Dream lean heavily on a sense of drama to make their music work. It was achieved at odd times during the concert at the expense of much work, but at other times the effort involved was too apparent, or the mix of sound too blurred, indistinct or just plain loud to be comprehensible. Nevertheless, there is no other band which handles the particular energies T. Dream attempt to work with in anything like a successful manner. I doubt that anyone was disappointed. It is worth mentioning also that they were supported by half an hour’s music from a fourpiece percussion group whose name I never learned. Working with drums, glockenspiel’s and some vocals, they operate in similar realms to T. Dream and if anyone answering the vague description I have given seems to be performing anywhere near you it might be worth your while having a look.

—Span


The Teardrop Explodes : Passionate Friend (Mercury) The Teardrop Explodes : Colours Fly Away (Mercury) Passionate Friend is pure psychedelic pop in the vein of Jeff Beck’s ‘Hi-Ho Silver Lining’ (1967). Exhuberent and exhilarating. ‘Colours Fly Away’ is more psychedelic Byrds and brass. Both authentic recreations and rather nice. Bob Dylan : The Groom’s Still Waitinq At The Altar (CBS) Far and away his best born-again song, a little wild and reckless, no heavy sermonizing and a sort of ‘Rainy Day Women’ confusion permeating the whole thing. I think I prefer the Sports’ version though.

Madness : It Must Be Love (Stiff) They keep coming, these nutty boys. This is slow, a little sentimental but immensely likeable. Look, it’s no use ignoring them — they just ain’t gunna go away. Bill Wyman : Come Back Suzanne (A&M) Living proof that life do6s begin at forty Mr. Wyhian usually bassplayer for someone or another, unleashes another novelty’ itern on a suspecting world. He must enjoy it cos he doesn’t need the money. Skids : Iona (Virgin) In which Richard Jobson discovers his Celtic roots and comes over as some sort of mutant offspring of Rabbie Burns and Rob Roy McGregor. Absolutely fantastic (especially the synthesized bagpipes.)

The Orphans : Hop Skip Jump (Rough Diamond) Disco for mental defectives. Horrible. Jo Kennedy : Body and Soul / Paul Kelly and the Dots : Rocking Institution (Mushroom) Snippets from ‘Starstuck’. Jo Kennedy ruins quite a nice Splitz Enz song while Paul Kelly does a fairly innocuous rockabilly workout on the flip. These don’t bode well for the musical component of the movie.

Rose Tattoo : Out Of This Place (Alberts) Cheetah : Bang Bang (Alberts) AC/DC : Let’s Get It Up (Alberts) From the Vanda and Young School Of Heavy Beat come the latest three assaults on this nation’s sensibilities. They’re all from albums, but if you prefer headbanging in small doses (like me) then there’s nothing better around. Play the Cheetah and the AC/DC back to back for maximum braincell damage.

The Clash : This Is Radio Clash (Epic) The Clash brutalise each style of music they tackle and this hacked up piece of New York rap is no exception. But, dammit, I just know their hearts are in the right place, and that counts for a lot these days. If you’ve made that leap of faith, you’ll know what I’m on about. Toyah : Thunder In The Mountains (Safari) How someone who can’t sing has made such a career out of music is beyond me. This leaves me bewildered. What’s the point?

Billy Bremner : Loud Music In Cars (Stiff) / Pretty pedestrian workout from the ex-Leeds United captain.

Rod Stewart : Young Turks (WEA) Stewart goes Springsteen and fuck me if the old groaner doesn’t sound better than he has done for years. I’m probably just an old softie at heart because I reckon this is the best single around at the moment.

The Comsat Angels : Eye Of The Lens (Polydor) A very good single. Tense and ominous atrnosphere is created by the repeating guitar arid thudding rhythm and the words are semi-incanted giving a semi-hypnotic quality. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking over your shoulder after listening to this.

The Go-Go’s : I Am The Beat (Illegal) Not a patch on the superb ‘Our Lips . . . ’ — too much garage and not enough beach scenes. Monotonous. Prince : Controversy (WEA) Chic-like funk with a slow burn. Eminently danceable and hummable. Check it out. Synthetic Dream : Fee-Fy (Was A Rich Man) (Innocent) Ambient rhythms for design studios and art colleges. Fred Cass and the Cassette : Xmas In America (Australian Branch) (Fred Cassette Co.) Either Fred’s starting his run early or I’ve left mine a bit late. Terrible recording quality, but quite amusing in an inner-city Melbourne sort of way. For friends and kitsch-ophiles only.

Cnr. Frome St & Rundle St Adelaide

Phone 223 7363

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m u /K Japan : Visions Of China (Virgin) A simply stunning, slightly slinky Sino — Nipponese concoction this one. Funk for opium smokers or ethnomusicology for the smart set? Whatever your bent, this’ll bend it further. Shake ail round! The Church : Almost With You (Pariophone) In a way unrepresentative of the album, which is a lot more atmospheric and (dare I say it?) psychedelic, but more in keeping with the established Church style of ‘typically ringing Byrds style guitar’ (J. Doe). Irresistible after four listens, after which it gets even better. Is this the taste of victory?

USED RECORDS BOUGHT & SOLD In stock New Order ‘Movement’ New Order Single, T and 12”. Cramps ‘Crusher’ 12”. Of singles and albums. And many more. DEFINITELY THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE RANGE OF INDEPENDENT RELEASES IN ADELAIDE ENGLISH & AMERICAN IMPORT SERVICE. ROADRUNNER

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Redgum Brown Rice and Kerosine (Epic) Simon and Garfunkel The Central Park Concert (Geffen) “ Brown Rice an(j Kerosine” is the thir(j album from Redgum, and, I’m very sad to say, it is the most disappointing. The reason for this is that it trivialises issues, to repetitive, unimaginative arrangements, in the name of Popularisation of the Word. It is not a fitting heir to “If You Don’t Fight You Lose’’, and “ Virgin Ground”. With “ Virgin Ground” , this one time group of philosophy students built on the ideological foundation they’d laid in their folk debut “If You Don't Fight You Lose”. “ Virgin Ground” had a wonderful balance of light and darkness, toughness and wit, poetry and doggerel. But the balance, even on that album, was a fine one. The problem with this latest album is that, for the most part, those values have all been confused, and that fine balance has been upset. This is not to say that the album does not have anything worthwhile for the listener. On the contrary, “ 100 Years On” is an emotive, tightly-written reworking of the song which should be our national anthem, “ Waltzing Matilda”. That braying voice of John Schumann is controlled in this song, and the pathos of the words is translateci into an emotive piece. It is as good as anything they have written, and recorded. So too are the other two songs Schumann has contributed to this album; — “ The Last Frontier” , about the Australia we thought we had and which is disappearing before our eyes, and “ Where Ya Gonna Run To” , which is a gritty, worthwhile song, the rough equivalent to “ The Money's No Good” from “ Virgin Ground”. Like many of the tracks from this album, “ Where Ya Gonna Run To” deals in part with mining. One verse foresees the likely consequences for Adelaide and Port Pirie of a uranium operation in the north (Adelaide by the way has already had its share of nuclear waste, from the British atomic tests at Maralinga in the 50’s) . . . “Enrich the oxide out of Port Pirie And the toxic gases they won’t even see But where ya gonna go When the north wind blows Where ya gonna run to now . . . ” There are several other good songs, too, notably the Verity Truman-Michael Atkinson piece “Parramatta Gaol 1843”. Verity’s unusual voice (some people say it’s off key) gets right inside the song, and if given half a chance by the musical instruments that accompany her, she would have brought off a potent modern folk song of rebellion. But she’s not given half a chance; not even a chance at all, in fact, because of a booming bass guitar and a tempo that barely lets her gasp out the words. The result is a song which could have been very powerful reduced to a mindless dance tune. The same criticism of arrangements applies to many songs on the album. In trying to reach a bigger audience with their political message, they have substituted standard, stupid arrangements for honest music. Does every track have to have bass and drums? Does the listener’s head have to be nodding madly before they might enjoy the music, listen to the words? Some other tracks do work reasonably well with a “ rhythm section” arrangement, however. “ Lear Jets Over Kulgera” , for instance, about the nice kinds of mining company officials one might bump into in the outback; and the comic “ The Federal Two Ring Circus” , which allows Chris Timms and Verity Truman to do imitations of John Kerr, and, I believe, Dame Maggy. But both of these are Michael Atkinson songs, and it’s the songwriting of Atkinson that seems to have suffered most from Redgum’s new role as a commercial touring band. There is no grit, no analysis, no guts in these songs. There is nothing of the quality of “Killing Floor” , and “ Ted”. In place of incisive, thoughtful writing, we have the same old figures being made the butt of the same old jokes. It might get them laughing at Narrabeen, but they’ll forget what you’ve said in the time it takes to order another beer: So what was once poetry has become gags, entertainment. “ Yarralumla Wine” is just another “It Doesn’t Matter To Me”. On a different level, “ Brown Rice and Kerosine” the title track, is too pat, too cute, too easy. Lines like “people before machines” do nothing

to alleviate the confusion, do nothing to help interpret, the second industrial revolution. The thing about computers is to use them wisely, not write silly songs about Molotov Cocktails. After all, isn’t accommodation what Redgum have tried to do with the rock music business? Michael Atkinson is also responsible for the worst track on the album, the unforgiveable “ Your OS Trip” . The song sounds terrible, Michael’s voice is simply not up to singing it, and the words are very annoying. The song is addressed to a Christian Dior female Australian touring Europe. It contains self righteous criticism of her fucking a boy in Milan; of her staying in the Hilton in Athens and being unmoved by a demonstration; of her not seeing the “ blood between the stones” in Berlin. Michael, people like that A) aren’t worth knowing; B) are certainly not worth wasting one’s time over by writing a song about them. With such a stupid model for a song, any generalisation of “ message” becomes impossible, and the song remains an uninteresting portrait of a nouveau rich bitch. There are two other criticisms I have to make. “ Caught in the Act” is an infectious little piece in which Chris Timms (I think) takes the vocal lead and handles it well. The song is about how it’s good to rip off Social Security, A.M.P., A.N.Z., Myers and others. Yet in the next song, “ Yarralumla Wine” we are told that, surprise surprise, “ a tax dodge accountant is a businessman’s best friend” . Where, one asks, is the line to be drawn? Would it be alright for a, say, poorish shopkeeper to rip off Bankcard? Is it alright for struggling rock bands to draw social security, and have a tax dodge accountant? The problem with Australia is that there are no neat lines like that to be drawn. The blurring of class and income in Australia makes moral judgements like that both moralistic, and open to charges of hypocrisy. The other criticism relates to this. I’m sick of such targets as silver Commodores being chosen as a butt of Redgum humour. A Commodore is an ordinary Australian car, like the sacred FB Holden immortalised in “One More Boring Thursday Night in Adelaide”. Plenty of Australian workers own Commodores.

Plenty of others make a living out of building them. And if the reply is that then we’re building useless machines for multinational corporations, a songwriter should find a way to write about that process. The Commodore itself is innocent. I suspect it’s satirised because of style. A worn cuffs attack on a very easy victim. I like Redgum. I like what they’ve tried to do over the years. But from this album I think they’ve started doing something else. Funny how the years pass. One night you go to bed a political performer. You wake up next morning as another limp social satirist. Do better.

While Redgum might be the old folks, the limousines belong to Simon and Garfunkel. They sold middle class angst to middle class yanks, and made a whopping profit out of it. The thing that one finds amazing is that this sixties stuff is still popular enough in America for half a ' million Yanks to show up on a cold day in Central Park, New York, to hear the same old songs. Only now the songs that might have come from the heart come from the mouths of two polished performers with extremely unconvincing smiles. They looked so good in the sixties, as serious young men and then as slightly woosy hippies. The photographs'that come with this double album, “Live in Central Park” , make them look like nothing more than actors. There are some good songs to be recalled, nonetheless: ’“ The Boxer” always was an exceptional song, and for an

anthem for a befuddled brain, nothing beats the whimsy of “ The 59th Bridge Street Song (Feeling Groovy)”. Paul Simon could write good songs, and often did. But those words relate to a different world now; one in which people were self consciously rocks and islands; didn’t feel right about graduating to a “job in plastics” ; one in which we could be moved by lines such as “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls . . .” It’s luxury angst. It’s cute observation of the America mum and dad built and believed in. Now, of course, everyone in America believes in that America, and these impish glances are just quaint relics of basement folk. It’s good that record companies bring out albums like these. It gives one a chance to remember how things felt, way back then, and to assess the true importance of something that, at the time, seemed so important. The half-remembered lines can be dusted off for one more recall, a half-mumbled sing-along, before final consignment. The closet can be properly cleared out. Sluiced. Perhaps the most important song for those half million Americans at that concert, clutching at the warm past with cloying emotions, is the one about death, and renewal. It applies to love; it also applies to ideas, life, and folk singers. Lay then to rest, you sentimental Yanks. “August, die she must The autumn winds blow chilly and cold; . September I’ll remember A love once new has now grown old.”

Larry Buttrose

Old Folks And Limousines

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Godfey & Creme Ismism (Polydor) There’s plenty of fun for the footlights on Godfey and Creme’s latest disc; monologues that turn a wicked phrase and spin a merry mile. The progenitors of the Gizmo device have certainly spared nothing on the production of this album, effect and smoothness rolled into one. Words make Ismism, in the shaded background the electronic music is left to stretch interestingly but never over­ bearingly. In format and context Ismism bears a resemblance to John CooperClarke’s work minus that gentleman’s famous Manchester phlegm, though a variety of equally odd voices more than substitute. Ismism was recorded and spliced together at Godley and Creme’s Lymehouse Studios. They play all of the instruments on the nine tracks, except when joined by guest musician Bimbo Acock on saxophone. Side one opens with something of a naked lunch, ‘Snack Attack’. A hilarious spoof on the trials and frustrations of being a diet crazed Am erican, wired jaws and all. Memorable lines abound . . . “ I can’t eat no more, I gotta use a straw. How do you take an overdose or even pretend to do it, when the last straw is the one in your mouth and you can’t suck sleepers through it.” Way back in the mix synthesizers generally clock around, while Bimbo Acock adds some fine bursts of saxophone. Once again the absurd gets pushed a fraction further on the song ‘Joey’s Camel’, a not so modern tale about the re-discovery of the Ten Commandments and the resulting situation comedy built up around their inevitable loss . . . “ Dear Mother, I’m lying on a white hot blanket, wish you were here, we’re a thousand miles from Cairo and it’s taken us a year to get this far.” Ah, the base material of biblical epics. And onwards we go to a Saturday afternoon waste land puzzle ‘The Problem’, guaranteed to exasperate in the first instance. On side two the hee-hawing continues in the best 10cc tongue in cheek tradition, welcome to ‘Wedding Bells’ and the sounds of the islands. Remember, no ring no naughties type of moralizing? The laminex/ lurex ode ‘Sale Of The Century’, just has to be the piece de tinsel of the whole album. A 1950’s big doo-wop production number spilling the sugar like some deranged ‘Wan­ derer’, and what a first line to dwell on . . . ‘‘If they auctioned my heart on The Sale Of The Century, would it still be there at the end of the show?” Everything comes to an end, and what better way to end than with ‘The Party’. A Zappaesque sounding array of bitchy and bumptious conversational snippets done in the appropriate voices, to thp sounds of slapped up funk and weirdo effects. The sincerity of it a ll. . . ‘‘Who do you have to fuck to get a drink around here?” Godley and Creme have satirized to their hearts content on this project, and you’ll definitely find yourself accompanying them with laughter. No way can this be considered as a straight comedy album that will diminish with time. The music and production devishly give it many facets and an assured long life.

Toby Cluechaz

Was (Not Was) Was (Not Was) (Ze)

Frank Zappa Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar (CBS)

It’s a fact of life that funk is splintering right, left and centre. The Funkadelicattessen is still selling it spice, the New York kitchens (you don’t really believe it’s from the streets do you?) spits up a rap a minute whilst the Hollywood Motown tinsel is getting meatier. The pale flounders in England have even pitched in, not to mention the Chicsters whose particular fairy floss has already lost its sting. There’s a Prince on my left, a whole bunch of Queens, and of course a King buried in his legend over yonder. Yes, it’s still a happy family this little tribe on the dancefloor.

For me, the best album the Mothers of Invention ever released was Weasels Ripped My Flesh. It was the first of their albums I bought (after hearing the Mothermania sampler) and was as far removed from my expectations as I could then imagine. It took a while to hunt up the early, satirical records on import, and in the meantime I came across Hot Rats, Chunga’s Revenge, and the live spinoffs from 200 Motels which were then starting to appear.

And Was (Not Was) register their vote somewhere to the left of the Clinton delegation (if that’s at all possible.) Their music weighs in like a heavyweight on the way up, fast footwork, a flurry of punches. Was (Not Was) is that joke someone told you last time you were dancing. Was (Not Was) sound like a drugged beast, drugged up that is. Their funk is cement layers of instruments and voices. Dig in. And who would have thought ZE, that label of pale suits and cocktail samba, would have snared them? Well, me for one. ZE market commercial oddities, ambiguous product, usually from New York. But Was (Not Was) are from Detroit, that dirty city responsible for a crop of diverse musicians, both good and horrendous. Detroit isn’t Edinburgh, Manchester or Memphis, Tennessee. Who’d care. Starting with their splendid debut Wheel Me Out, that absurd artefact of funk meets Beckett, the Wases have followed that rainbow that led out of the Mothership and into the sea (or was it the desert?) Their music is thigh slapping crunch funk, a soup of overdubs, a mulch of influences fighting it out. The album is patchy, simultaneously nerve wracking and pudgy. It’s overdone, overindulged, overcooked: just my kind of meal sometimes. I’d recommend it if I had the inclination for that sort of thing. So what do you get? I’m not saying. Just expect the largest ensemble ever gathered on a record untouched by George and Bootsie (well maybe untouched, but I wouldn’t bet on it.) The songs scrape the bones of black music till they scratch like the sound of chalk on a blackboard. But more pleasurably. The 12" mixes of a couple of the songs are best, but the album is more convenient. Was (Not Was) fit in a box on the side of the record pile, a large one. They have all sorts of attachments, all brands of gimmicks. They’re great (not great.) Everyone says things like that when they write about them. What would you do? Was (Not Was)’s appeal to the masses may well be limited by their creepiness, their smell of middle age, but they’ll be welcome on the dancefloor for some time to come. Out Come The Freaks, Tell Me That Tm Dreaming and Go . . . Now! flex leg muscles, whistle and thump very convincingly. The rest is a psychedelic haze; I’ll tell you how good it is when I remember. Have fun.

_________

Tim McGee

IMPACT RECORDS Mail Ord^r Service

While appreciating the diversity of his work from 1967 to 1973, the Zappa I truly appreciated belonged to the midperiod stuff in which he flirted with jazz-rock line pure music. His 1973 concert at Apollo Stadium largely pursued this style and affirmed those impressions. When he eventually returned to lyrical stuff and overdone, repetitious, stale jokes, I went off him completely. Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar is the album I have subconsciously awaited ever since. The boxed set of three albums consists entirely of guitar solos from live recordings dating from 1979. Given that solos are usually a climatic point in rock and roll, it makes a considerably intense offering. Many of the themes and motifs around which Zappa works here are necessarily similar and repetitive. He knows about half a dozen genuinely unique tunes and exploits them in appropriate contexts. Listening to the whole album can be a strain, but also surprisingly interesting. Because Zappa is a good guitarist, if a somewhat technically obsessed one, and exciting to listen to. And after all, this is the album I wanted to hear for eight or nine years. If the album seems to be a compilation of highlights, that is because that is what it is. If it lacks a sense of deliberate construction (a guitar album conceived and composed as such from the word go), that is because he has yet to do that. If he does. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for it. As it stands, this compilation is a welcome change from his general output. The second and third albums of the set impress me the most. The first two sides tend to be a bit clattery. Zappa has probably done his best to insure that the arrangement of cuts is the best possible with available material, although a definite lack of continuity remains. Nevertheless, more of the same would be welcome. It probably annoys Zappa, but his true strength is here rather than in his pretentious and often mealymouthed attempts at social criticism.

Span

B-52’s Mesopotamia (Warner Bros.) The B-52’s aim is, and has been, to produce ‘trash with flash’, as they say; the sort of thuddingly insistent trash of the least admirable disco, with all the artistic trimmings of a post-Warhol America, thrown in — or so it would seem. Warhol gave birth to Jonathon Richman’s songs about icecream men and shopping plazas. Talking Heads tunes about apartment buildings, and the B-52’s melodies on beach parties. Here the themes, whether lofty, routine or insignificant, are reduced in context with modern, ‘permissive’ America. ‘Cake’, for instance, deals with the baking of an, as yet, undetermined brand of, (you guessed it), cake. However the repartee between the two girls indicates a bit more than just a culinary decision: ‘. . . it takes a long time to rise’, ‘let’s get this thing in the oven’, ‘I can’t wait to put the icing on this cake’, and so on. ‘Mesopotamia’, natters on inanely how ‘6 to 8000 years ago, they laid down the law in Mesopotamia’, and leaves it at that. Since the music is fairly evocative though, it would seem that the songs mood dictates the subject matter; the lyrics are totally secondary. This is the theme music to all those 40's and 50’s Bagdhad epics. Better still, to ‘Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy’. That David Byrne produced this is markedly obvious. His tribal city synth sounds pervade this EP like the proverbial Egyptian plague. Especially notable is ‘Deep Sleep’, with an introduction that could have been lifted from ‘Remain in Light’, except that the track is even more

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dreamlike, and even more African (notably in terms of those modern-day Desert Sands sounds, that go hand in hand with most Western ideas of the romantic, dark continent). Bring on the Nubians! The B-52’s fiddle while incense Byrne’s! BUT where does that leave us? I said that the B-52’s made Trash with flash, and so they do. This may be a wonderful, sometimes even interesting, collection of B-grade sounds but it’s still forgettable, perhaps disposable. For all this band’s claims towards danceability, one soon loses interest in it, as one is apt to do with music which, in repeating itself over any length of time, eventually offers no surprises, but rather lulls the listener into ‘deep sleep’. OF course music like this can work; the most successful track on ‘Remain in Light’, was ‘Listening Wind’, as much because of a real sympathy and intelligence in the lyrics, as the fact that the Heads do have the ability to sustain interest. As for this, I don’t think so . . . Boring fun. Is it possible?

Earl Grey

Blam Biam Blam Blam Blam Blam (Propeller) You’ve probably heard one of this band’s songs {There is No Depression in New Zealand) on the wireless. It (and the following cut. Got to be Guilty) are the first two tracks on this 2T 51" mini-album, and as it happens, the tightest and strongest songs. Blam Blam Blam are a very casual group whose songs have a string and cellotape sound to them. They throw their collective energy into the maintenance of a steady, jarring beat, full of deliberately slipped discs and sharp edges thrown in like knives. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they miss, sometimes they just nick the corner of your earlobes and make yotr swear. Live on a stage or in a pub they would probably overamplify their music (like most other bands) if they could afford to. Overall I find their music tends to grate on my nerves a bit but the subject matter of the songs (groaning under the economic/political burden) appeals to my sense of humour and fair play. It’s impossible to judge the band on the basis of this — mini-album or long EP? Well, who knows. It’s a bit slapdash and I’ll wait until I hear more from them.

___ ____________________

Span

Rod Esther Back to Earth (Larrikin) Rod Father, whether consciously or unconsciously or a mixture of the two, seems to be attempting a couple of difficult coups. First of all, this album is attempting to transmit a message of urgency to all concerned about our divorce from the Earth and all creative pursuits. The album has a sort of ‘‘rock opera” style, with Eather’s songs sandwiched between an opening and closing instrumental piece {Epilogue Starts a n d . . . Ends), composed by Eric Zarrella and producer Chris Eggleton. Second, Eather is trying to make it as a singer/songwriter in a way to fit the ’80’s. Further, he is possibly trying to get something off his chest or is simply distilling the results of a few years of wandering and occasional, hobbyist songwriting. No. I don’t believe that. The songs sound far too constructed for that, not only in their format, but Eather’s voice gives the impression of someone who is unrelaxed as far as singing goes. He intones, incants, almost sermonizes his lyrics in a nasally tone that makes them hard to concentrate on for too long at a time. The songs have a Nimbinish, Down-To-Earther feel about them. Eather’s style reminds me of Mike Quarmby (probably still alive on the folk circuits) except that Quarmby was a better songwriter. I could never quite handle Quarmby either. The feeling of the album is desperation. The desperation has a saddening effect in that what Eather is trying so hard to do — confront us with reality — he has not fully achieved himself. The album is pretentious, not in an extraverted sense, but in that other, “ innocent” sense, where an individual is trying so hard that it shows, and shows as a serious flaw. I would genuinely like to like this album and say it’s a good one. I can’t.

Span


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Dave Edmunds Best of (Swansong) Hey you! Yeah you reading this. You got any Dave Edmunds albums. No?? You ought to be taken out and shot. And that goes for all your mates and everybody else who hasn’t supported this Welsh wizard who has perhaps more than any other person kept the true and pure flame of original rock and roll burning sweetly through the waves of aural pollution that assault our ears daily. Well now you’ve got your big chance you wombats. If you can put the bloody ‘Best of Blondie’ at the top of the chartmosphere there’s NO BLOODY EXCUSE why you can’t do exactly the same for this tasty little licorice pizza. This is IT, you dumbos. The best. Beats to dance to, melodies to hum, choruses to sing, and arrangements to marvel at. All the ingredients perfectly proportioned and of unsurpassed quality. Songs—some old, some new, lots borrowed and (almost) blue—from ‘Get It’, ‘Track On Wax 4’, ‘Repeat When Necessary’ and ‘Twangin’! So what are you waiting for schmuck?

Donald Robertson

Booker T I Want You (Festival)

Steeleye Span Recollections (Chrysalis)

A fairly straightforward collection of discoey soul. Booker T has been around too long to make mistakes and probably too long to bother about taking chances either, but if you live in a tenth-storey town house it should match the wallpaper or the living room carpet.

This band (no relation) seem to be making a comeback, and despite all the predictable cynicism from some quarters are likely to do it without any trouble.

The funkier stuff is on side one. The other side tends to get more laidback and smoochy. One exception is Electric Lady, the instrumental which opens side two. It’s cocktail bar soul, dancing into idiosyncrasy in places, and clears the nasal passages.

Span

Johnny Guitar Watson The Very Best O f . . . (Festival) Watson was apparently one of Jimi Hendrix’s major influences. He plays, sings and talks up-tempo blues with talent and a vengeance. This record has spent a lot of time on my turntable over the last week or so. It will probably continue to do so. I will probably even investigate other records by this individual whose name is so familiar but whose music has so far been unheard. Watson’s voice and guitar both have a lilting, sharp-tongued, swaggering walk to them. On almost every track he captures the attention, nails you down and insists you listen to him bitching out all his problems, real or imagined though they may be. He declares himself like a drunken war veteran and, in the appropriate lingo, “ lays it on you” . Gangster offlc Love and Booty Ooty (on side one) have that irresistible quality of good classic blues. It’s All About the $ Bill and Strung Out present other facets of the same gem. A couple of tracks (like Love Jones) are a little too slow, Watson is at his best when he’s got a gripe. He doesn’t write his own songs, but he makes other people’s his own with supreme confidence. And you really can see where Hendrix got some of it from.

Span

The album is a mixture of tracks covering the period from 1972 to 1980. Some have previously been recorded as singles, some are from live concerts, others probably come from former albums but there is insufficient information on the cover to allow more details. It’s a very long record — running to nearly an hour — and includes scattered spoken introductions where necessary. Although it’s tempting to suggest this album as an introduction to the speculative Steeleye fan of the future, in my opinion the one fault of the album is that it is too cluttered, and lacks the consistency of generally released albums. However, with a range of material that embraces traditional folk, Xmas carols, and such off the beaten track possibilities as Camptown Races, it remains a tightly packed nutshell of this band’s varying talents. And Maddy Prior’s voice is a virtue in itself.

Span

Garland Jeffreys Rock’N’Roll Adult (Epic) Mark Gillespie Sweet Nothing (Wheatley/EMI) Garland Jeffreys is one of those American entertainers that right-thinking Australians love to hate; the kind who sweat ambition, worship success, and wrap up all their neuroses and multi-media backgrounds into a package that’s suitable for any market from rock’n’rawl to chat shows. Representatives of this race of bland monsters include Billy Joel, Ellen Foley, and lots of others hanging out in the middle ground between Barry Manilow and Bruce Springsteen (and that’s a gap that’s not as wide as one might think.) Jeffreys has been trying hard for years now, but has fallen steadily behind in the great race since the initial impact of his “ Ghost Writer” debut, itself a highly listenable if facile blend of cooled-out reggae, polished “ street talk” , and melodies that were quite fetching in a meandering kind of way. “Rock’N’Roll Adult” is a live album, a predictable last grasp at the big time, and it contains all the standard moves. There are a clutch of hits-that-missed {Ghost Writer, the Stones-chorded Wild In The Streets) and exhumed sixties standard (96 Tears) and a calculated audience-connection ploy with R.O.C.K. You have to hand it to this ageing boy; he knows how to spell out his cliches. For rock fans, there’s an added attraction in the presence of the Rumour, who’ve signed on as Garland’s backing band for the money and discipline involved. Here they play with more force and tightness than they ever managed with Graham Parker, and the whole package is wrapped up by producer-of-the-year Bob Clearmountain in a sound that cracks and jolts in all the right places. But even though every slice of emotion here is so carefully calculated, there’s

Sally Oldfield Playing in the Flame (Bronze) Apparently Sally Oldfield is very happy with her musical style as it is evidenced on this album, and intends to proceed in a similar manner with a more or less permanent group. There is no doubt that she is a remarkable vocalist and a mature constructor of songs. Her supporting musicians on this album are more than capable of fleshing them out with colour and texture, but there is a schmaltzy tendency that at times becomes a little too syrupy. You need a pair of reliable stilts in places. Her concerns are romantic in the extreme, using love and relationships with an unsparing dash of spiritual feeling to explore one’s destined path and karmic habits. The cover depicts her in Oriental dress, absorbed in playing her bongos and heedless of the threats of tiger or dragon. The album is easily listenable, although the schmaltz and the spirituality (which so often seem to run together in this sort of music) seem highly artificial a lot of the time. I prefer her relatively more casual, earlier work.

Span

something slightly endearing about Garland Jeffreys. He may never scale the pop heights of a Billy Joel but he can still write a tune like Matador that slinks along attractively within its dream-world parameters. And in the final analysis the muddled way in which he sets out to present an image of a half-caste street rebel and ends up revealing himself as just another confused New Yorfc pseudo intellectual may be deserving of sympathy rather than scorn. Meanwhile, this album makes for more pleasant listening than each and every piece of vinyl effrontery by Meatloaf, Lou Reed, Billy Joel or Melissa Manchester, but is no substitute for the still awaited live or greatest hits set from the once and future underground king of the whole genre, the wonderful Johnny Couger, a young man who deserves to be richer than all his tribe but still remains obscure. Mark Gillespie is a member of a much rarer breed than the professional New York egotist, the Australian singer-songwriter. His 1980 debut, “ Only Human” , was a moody, well-balanced blend of melody, husky singing and superb playing from Melbourne’s finest rock guitarist, Ross Hannaford. On “ Sweet Nothing”-, Hannaford is missing and so are all the virtues of the previous outing. The only track on which even a modicum of energy is displayed is on the opening Nothing Special, and then it’s downhill all the way. Gillespie’s listless vocals are backed by his own tinkling keyboards and guitars and loungeoom funk rhythm tracks that are as about as exciting as watching toothpaste being squeezed out o f a tube. The only imaginative moment here is Pileup, a song which used to be given a tense live treatment by Gillespie’s live band but is here reduced to the comatose level of its surroundings. What makes this half-hearted project more curious is that the lyrics are uniformly apocalyptic in their im a ^ ry , abounding in references to “ rivers of blood” , “tongues of fire” and “ strange things happening” (maybe the born-again Dylan has found an antipodean disciple) but the strangest thing happening here is the fact that this unnecessary album was ever issued.

Adrain Ryan

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Fast Forward 008/009 (Cassette Magazine) To celebrate their first full year of commercial semiviability, the compilers of Fast Forward have released a double issue of this unusual magazine. An attractive vinyl wallet contains two c-90 cassettes (the magazine proper) and a thick booklet entitled “Annual Report” , which contemplates the present and future of Fast Forward, offers inforniation on current local music history, and data on some of the people who appear within the magazine itself.

The Triffids (Last Gasp C assette^

(Available through Resonant Rcecords: P.O. Box 301, Subiaco, W.A. 6008)

At last something to be genuinely interested in, The Triffids. A Perth band now residing and playing in Sydney who comprise of: David McComb on vocals and guitar, Robert McComb on guitar, violin, and vocals, Alsy MacDonald on drums. Will Akers on bass and vocals, and Margaret Gillard on organ, piano, and vocals. After listening to The Triffids I find myself confused by infatuation and trepidation. I have to become a miser with words tp talk about their purity, I am sure my time would be more wisely spent if I just listened or danced to their music rather than write about it. Self protection on my part maybe, but some people deserve a wider audience and I have to remember that I am in a position to write about them. So buy The Triffids. Why should you buy The Triffids? Because the pop they play is not only infectious it’s unusually smart; read as sweetness and a thumping rhythm section, lyrics as empathic as they are insidious, harmonies and other idiosyncrasies, h umour . . . a skin of dark shadow. And quavering emotion, David McComb’s voice is the rich centrepiece. Side A of the cassette contains four songs that appeared

on the band’s EP, together with a running interview between tracks (The Fast Forward shuffle). One very noticeable thing about these four songs is, they uncannily retain the band’s distinctive sound even though they play a diverse range of styles. From the deterministic pop of ‘Reverie’ to ‘Joan of A rc’ a very tongue in cheek hybrid of a country song, to the sardonic ‘This Boy’. Side B features a beautifully crafted song called ‘Spanish Blue’, a song that could and should be on the play-list of the most conservative and progressive radio stations in this country. The song is about Perth and the lifestyle formed around the Mediterranean Climate they experience, guitars and castanets enact a latin f e e l . . . “ Nothing happens here, nothing gets done but you get to like it.” One sometimes wonders how bands of great feeling like The Triffids and Go-Betweens could ever form in Perth and Brisbane, amid all the reactionary cant and grubby money. But somehow they do, the resoluteness gained from such an environment and the continuing will to play innovative music is enough to heave any band to the top of the scrap heap; if not, we the audience are to blame. Resonant Records have housed the cassette in an eye catching vinyl pouch so you won’t miss it, plus an information sheet and sticker are provided as well. Please don’t be misled by my stylistic doodling; this is fantastic pop.

If the standard of this issue is a fair criterion, one can only hope that its producers find enough subscribers or distributors to assure Fast Forward’s future. The material is chosen with good discrimination, showing no signs of artificial padding to flesh out the issue. It is a feat no less remarkable for the apparent simplicity and commonsense of issuing a music magazine in audible format.

Further, the arrangement of material is sensible and well considered. It cannot be a mistake that all interview material is to be found on cassette one, sides a and b, while cassette two contains only a selection of music without interruption or discontinuity. I find this extremely sensible. Cassette one becomes an occasional sampler, whereas cassette two is a double album in its own right, marred only by the listener’s musical preferences. Sides a and b contain interviews with Ian Dury, Kraftwerk, and the Cure, including a live cut {100 Years) by the latter. There is also an interview with interstate band Machinations, with samples of their work, and a handful of tracks breaking up the wall of spoken word. The music itself is wide ranging. Fast Forward features a mixture of Australian bands (such as Sardine v and People With Chairs Up Their Noses) and overseas music, ranging from the curiously Faustian Dutch band O.R.D.U.C. to artists from the American Dub Communique sampler. Some are not to my taste; others have caused me to make copious notes concerning contact addresses for bands such as Guilded Youth, Dead Can Dance, and The Invisible College. Finding the tracks you want on successive listenings, of course, remains a problem, and for this a listing of exact time per track might be helpful, but this is a minor gripe, like the booklet which accompanies the magazine. It has no arrangement corresponding to the cassettes themselves, and is so packed with bits and pieces of scattered information that it probably requires a month’s reading to assimilate. I still don’t know whether it has any information concerning The Invisible College (but at least it has their address). From its greetings-from-space opening to the edited PiL riot at the New York Ritz which closes the magazine. Fast Fon^/ard is a superb production, and one which I would be happy to support if I had the money. Prices are irrelevant for this article as the Annual Report contains a baleful suggestion that prices will rise after February. If you’re interested, write to them and find out what’s happening. Send for an issue. You won’t be disappointed.

Span

Toby Cluechaz.

Contact P.O. Box 251, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065

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ROADRUNNER

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Dear ‘Sir Donny’, What happens when you put one tall, fair-haired, sometimes described handsome man, once imitating everyone from Johnny Rotten to Kamahl, slightly schizophrenic not knowing whether his surname is Wells or Hart, accomplished as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and having an affiliation with cats; especially the blonde, modelling sorts called Gloria, with one again tall, fair and questionably good-looking gentleman, respected bass guitarist and harmoniser, with steadily growing acceptance as singer/songwriter, whose security blanket lay withih the frames of a red, inconspicuous object, and whose previous careers extend from being an uncle to joining the police force? If you were then to add to this combination one comparatively small, dark-haired, some say cute; some say not-looking man, whose keyboard excellence more than speaks for itself, and who’s also accomplished in harmonies and small screams and comments, and who is rarely seen without a thin black tie, a hat, and jumpers with salt-patches; we would have a trio on our hands — what sort of trio I couldn’t really say. And adding the finishing touch with another tall, arguably handsome, dark-haired man, who has come a long way from seeing Gary Glitter on stage at Festival Hall to playing it himself, and whose respect as a drummer grows by the week, forgetting his past as a lover and earning a cleaner reputation, and who’s about to conquer the world with Clutch Enterprises, may just leave us with a group of men hard to explain. Maybe it all results in a band described as slightly courageous, heroism only in small doses though, whose name seems remotely tied with the study of numerology. What to call themselves; stuffed if I can work it out!!?!! ‘Those Girls’ don’t mind if a band goes off the road for a few months, no not at all (get the T)lade away from your wrist Jacko, it’s blunt. I’ve already tried that.) And of course they don’t begin to miss all the brilliant live new material that isn’t on the worn out album (pull the rope tighter or your feet might touch the ground.) Would we ever feel like that? (Lay off the kitchen knife, that’s mine to use). (Pleeeeze print this letter. After your great article on the band last issue, it’ll be easy for everyone to guess who it’s about. Thanks a lot.)

Dear Roadrunner, Boy, have you rushed to the top of my list of favourite Australian Rock Magazines. That two page article on THE LITTLE HEROES really did you credit. It seems uncanny that it takes a S.A. magazine to do a great story on a Melbourne band. I can’t congratulate you enough for covering the band in such a brilliant manner. Being from Melbourne myself, I’ve had quite a few opportunities to catch the band live. Never have I seen their crowds leave disappointed. Their catchy tunes are often well-known, so their following is obviously growing, even without much media support. By what you wrote in the interview, it sounds like ’82 may be the year for the band, when finally their musical talent will be recognised. I’m sure R.R. will fill us in on The Little Heroes progression, and hopefully the rest of Australian media will follow suit. The ‘Snobbed One’ (Were you there????)

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Roadrunner, I’ve got to hand it to you, your publication is without doubt the best, most interesting music rag in Australia. But look at your competition — JUKE for the young pubescent AM top 40 set, and they seem to get most of their “current” news from your back issues anyway — and RAM that meanders around current fads, with sickly sweet “arty interpretation” with every comment made by a band being deep and meaningful and just right to start getting artificially excited about. Your February issue was great, with a great review on the Girlfriends/Reels Gig by Dave Miller — but Dave you may have not noticed or may have forgotten one other good song the Girlfriends did; “ Gone With The Wind” — it’s great stuff, but the big problem with most of their other music is the super boring repetitive guitar rhythms and identical melodies, but what a great sax player they have. The Reels really are “ it” the perfect marriage of beautiful bop and bad taste. The clash interview was also tops, reaffirming that they still are a garage band and can still hit hard, their tour was a 2 V2 hour knockout! Run out of things to say, except keep on feeling the pulse of Aussie music. Philip Jenkinson, lead singer of the soon to be mega-successful “ Proverbial Verbs” . When an Editor at the end of a ‘Letters’ column writes “ more, more, more” that’s exactly what he’s gonna get. How refreshing it was to see in your last issue 3 letters concerning The Little Heroes’, instead of reading about the usual hype. It’s great to see a magazine like R.R. giving space to up-and-coming bands. And to complete it with a 2 page interview with the lead singer was a great finishing touch. Great to see you print material on bands your readers obviously wanna hear about. I personally would have liked to have seen that whole edition filled with news on the band, but greed refined, 2 pages was an excellent start. Maybe next time you may decide to fill every inch of space with info on, and drawings by, the band. Once Clutch and the boys get going. I’m sure you’d find them capable of filling every page of issues lasting the whole year. (With ample space provided to advertise ‘Clutch Enterprises’ of course — Business must come first!) Seriously, thanks heaps R.R., and keep up the excellent standard. By the way Taylor, I’ve been waitin’ for hours; so where’s the bloody flowers???

Dear Roadrunner, It’s a fuckin’ miracle!!! The Illustrious One has sent forth an angel, by the name of Jenny Eather, to grace the pages of Roadrunner with a 2-page no-bullshit story on a no-bullshit band. And what a superb story it was. It’s about bloody time Roadrunner had an article on The Little Heroes, but don’t stop now. We want more of The Little Heroes in your mag. and less crap. These guys are bloody brilliant, but don’t take my word for it. Get off your arses, all you roadrunners, and see these guys live, or get your grubby paws on one of their licorice pizzas and hear their amazing talents on vinyl. This is THE YEAR of The Little Heroes. You have been warned. from “ no speeka da english” . Victoria.

Dear Don, Jenny Eather sure is a lucky girl. And R.R. readers aren’t doing badly for themselves, either. The article “ Of Hart and Heroes” has most certainly helped fill in the gaps of info, missing on such an increasingly good band. It was fabulous hearing all of Mr Harts views on the band and its music. Yet it makes one wonder what the other members of the band have to say. Jenny E. has assured us how talented Mr Hart really is, be it in the rock band or with a pencil and paper. If one member has so many talents to his credit, it becomes astounding to think what the other three have to offer. Just catching the band live once reinforces that multi-talented facet. Maybe Jenny E. will get sent out on another mission to catch up with the other three, so R.R. readers will know the band complete. Thanks again to all those concerned with the 2 page article on the Little Heroes, and I’ll look forward to more in the future. Look into Sarah's crystal ball; She predicts ’82 as the year for the Little Heroes. I think, I might, I must, I know I’m happy if that’s the case!

Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part Unemployment, Rising Prices, Political upheaval — Oh what a grand land we live in. Thank God our bands are top quality and far from being stuffed, as the same cannot be said for much else. While so many of our giants like Chisel, Enz, Angels etc. . . were off overseas, abundant time was on our hands to catch some of the not so well known bands. It’s fabulous to see so many Australasian bands making a name for themselves, and being supported solidly all around the country, especially at a time when strikes and conflict seem continuously apparent. While Men-At-Work, INXS, and many other bands broke through the charts with good AM support, many other bands struggled through, gaining a multitude of respect with only FM exposure. Let’s hope they all too get a chance of joining the AM play lists, before the government decides to ban music. One band to gain in popularity, especially going by their increasing dedicated following, was Little Heroes. Their music is both extremely well played, and always enjoyable. Rogert Hart’s talents seem endless, as each song they expertly play seems destined to be a classic. And John’s singing/songwriting is of equal quality. Add David and Alan’s brilliant musicianship and you really have one of the best rising bands in the country. Congratulations Little Heroes . . . maybe you should run the country. Love ‘The Illegal One’

Dear Craig N. Pearce, Thankyou so much. I feel immense sympathy that the whole Birthday Party set-up had to be explained word for word to the baffled morons in the end, but you did it so well. Congratulations. As far as I recall you didn’t use the words “ manic” or “ primitive” once. I’ve alwayspreferred the Birthday Party method of violent repetition to get their songs across to those trying to get their dance worths out of an evening, but if it had to be spelled out, you did it more than adequately.

It was truly heartbreaking to see the crowds turn out for this year’s party “ shows” . Yes that’s right — to see the performing animals go through the motions, exactly you quick-minded people — just like the seals at the zoo. “ . . . AND FOR HIS NEXT TRICK, NICK WILL JUMP FROM THE MONITOR INTO THE CROWD” , cue for much kicking into personage on the floor. That’s why the Newcastle gig was so good. They refused to perform the tricks, and Nick sat down as did Tracy, hence the malevolent, spiteful cries “We want the real Birthday Party” , “ You didn’t pay to see us” , (oh but it’s much more fun to see you react than for you to see us perform) and from the girls next to me “ Newcastle lures ya” ! — wrong band girls, Australian Crawl were down the road. I preferred Nick’s classic “ Look I know we’re boring, but we’ve all got headaches tonight, no one is allowed to touch the singer.” Cheeky boy. I’m sorry things turned out this way. The Birthday Party do not deserve the same trendstoppers as the ones who think Hunters & Collectors are the BIG THING (for this month). I must not bitch, but the hitting of empty gas cylinders does not turn me on. I’ve said my piece, Thankyou Birthday Party, thankyou Craig, thankyou for the space. Anna. P.S. Please readers no more of this “thanx” bit. It stinks. P.P.S. Anybody who had a letter published last issue (Feb), slash. your wrists now you total morons. Lisa Bayo, what would RAM know of talent? Dearest Ed, Oh, thank goodness you’ve informed us, for a moment there I was beginning to think maybe . . . no I must erase such awful thoughts from my mind immediately. But after a band dominates the gig guide through ’81, and appears as a must for any music-loving rager, and then cannot be found anywhere for the first six weeks of ’82, and, as usual, is not mentioned by any magazines, one begins to conjure up in the mind disastrous thoughts of the band no longer being toge . . . no, I cannot let myself think this way. 1should have guessed it would take a great paper like Roadrunner to come out with a 2 page article on the band just when one might think they may have quietly disb . . . trust D. Robertson & the boys to have saved the day. Why if I would have to live my life from day to day, never seeing the Little Heroes live again it would inevitably lead to my pushing the button on my self-constructed atomic bomb, so as the world could avoid such depression (Amazing what they teach in schools these days.) Great to see you heading back for the Road again boys. And thank goodness Roadrunner had the sense to write about the band, before the world resulted in a huge explosion; incredible how advance physics and chem. are in schools today. You may have thought Landscape Gardening and Ceramic arts were all that were needed in the Rock bus, but I tell you. Physics & chem. classes sure come in handy!

ED ITO R & PU B LISH ER Donald R obertson A D V E R T IS IN G Lyn S au n ders (0 2 ) 331 6 6 2 2 SY D N E Y EDITOR: G iles B arrow M ELBOURNE EDITOR: A drian Ryan (0 3 ) 3 4 7 3991 BRISBANE: David P estorius PERTH: M ich a el M ullan e LONDON: Chris S a ie w ic z NEW YO RK K eri Phillips C O N TR IB U TO R S: S tu a rt C oupe, Toby C lu e c h a z, Jen n y E a th e r, Earl G rey, T yron e F lex, Span H an n a, D avid L angsam , A drian M ille r, R uthven M artin u s, C raig N. P e a rc e , B recon Walsh D ESIGN & LAYOUT: And Productions — R ichard T u rn er, K a te M onger, (0 8 1 2 2 3 4 2 0 6 .T V P E S E T T IN G : SA T y p e c e n tre 211 8811 D IS T R IB U T IO N : Gordon & G otch for A u s tra lia and N e w Z ea la n d PR IN TER : B ridge Press, S e ve n th S t., M urray B ridge, S.A. 5 2 5 3 Ph: (0 8 5 ) 3 2 1 74 4. RO A D RU N N ER is re g is te re d fo r posting as P u b lica tio n No. SBF 1 8 1 3 R eco m m end ed re ta il p ric e

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Free with alt new subscriptions this issue w ill come w ith a copy o f the Church’s brilliant new album ,‘The Blurred Crusade’. Just cut out the form below or send your name and address to WADRUNNEB SUBSCRIPTIONS, P.O. BOX 90, EASTWOOD, S.A. 5063 with a chepue/mohey order for $15.00 and you w ill receive the next twelve issues delivered to your home. And a Church album . Go on. Have a little faith.

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Roadrunner 5(2) March 1982  

Roadrunner 5(2) March 1982  

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