The Prettiest Star. Whatever Happened to Brett Smiley? By Nina Antonia (SAF)

prettiest starThis book completely beggars belief. Top marks and way, way beyond. It’s also utterly brilliant as well as being compelling reading. It’ll have you ranging your emotions from laughter to sorrow and is so well researched (Nina doesn’t bother much with academic references as her books come mostly from her own interviews and experience) and put together … words completely fail me.

If you’ve read any of Antonia’s other books (on the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and The Only Ones) and enjoyed her style and intelligence … The Prettiest Star is so far ahead that it may as well be the best fiction you’ve ever read, except it’s all true.

I can’t believe that you’ll recall Brett Smiley. He had one hit, “Va Va Va Voom”, in the UK in 1974, at the height of that bizarre post-6ts glam and pop period where decent songs were generally in short supply in the charts. Oh dear, much like now? Really? I’m shocked.

New book lifts the lid on the art of Aussie punk and post-punk 45s

45 psychosurgeons

Pressed for a Xmas gift for that special Rock Action person in your life? Worry no more. “Product 45” has landed.

“Product 45” is a lavish book released this week that focuses on the years 1976-1980 and showcases single cover art from the Australian punk/post punk era. This is the first book in a series of three that looks at the art of packaging Australian music as told by the musicians, the artists and the fans.  

This lavish coffee table masterpiece has been lovingly compiled by Sydneysider Murray Bennett who has carved a career packaging records for Australian independent and major labels.

Richie to fly Ramones flag in Australia

The legend of the Ramones lives on in Australia this May, when Richie Ramone hits Australian shores.

Richie is bringing that blistering backbeat to venues in Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, playing the tracks he wrote and recorded with Da Bruddas as well as new material that rocks like leather jackets, ripped knee jeans and battered Converse sneakers.

Looking out for Johnny: Author Nina Antonia on Thunders, the Dolls and The Only Ones

johnny thunders nina antonia closeupJohnny Thunders and his biographer Nina Antonia.

Recently, I was obliged to dig through about 30 of my 100 boxes from storage and came across Greil Marcus' philosophical punk book “Lipstick Traces”. Highly regarded around the world, I recall reading it with irritation at the time, feeling that ... there was a distance to his writing. He just didn't seem excited.

I suppose it was that the man was a music journo, and obliged to listen to so much pap that after a while ... everything is part of the same thing. I liked how he got the world-wide impact of what punk did, but I really don't think he came close to nailing his topic.

When I had the opportunity to conduct an e-mail interview with UK author Nina Antonia, I grabbed it with both hands. Nina Antonia is the author of biographies on Johnny Thunders, the New York Dolls and Peter Perrett (The Only Ones) and has a knack of always nailing her topic. She's a delight to read. A quick scamper through bookdepository.com - armed with her name - is always exci

Adelaide's Captain Spud inspires no fear or loathing but brings lots of weird

chris spud

It is my great privilege to interview the elusive Chris Spud at his home. Who? You may ask. Among other things he’s a member of Fear and Loathing, who might just be Adelaide’s most seminal band of the last 30 years. He’s also a solo artist in his own right with persona like Captain Spud producing quirky music that spans the genres of exotica, punk and electronica.

Chris Spud’s home: It’s the kind of neat and tidy which frankly gives me a headache, yet is essential for Chris and Mrs Spud to live an orderly life while creating … a certain kind of chaos. A sheep’s skull peers in through the window…a pricey artwork leers down like the bottom of Poseidon’s trunks…

Voodoo Lust turns back the clock as Sydney sizzles

Gary topGary Slater of Voodoo Lust.    Shona Ross photo

One of the hottest Sydney days of the year translated to one of the coolest gigs in almost as long when Voodoo Lust made their first appearance for five years in the Harbour City last Friday night.

With the mercury clocking 42 degrees Celsius (nearly 103 on the old scale) on this fine Friday it was no time for sitting out in the sun (setting or otherwise) and the appointed venue, Marrickville’s Factory Floor, was accommodatingly air-conditioned.

Remember Voodoo Lust? You would if you set foot in an Australian East Coast rock and roll venue in the late ‘80s. The Voodoos toured the shit out of this place and were a powerpop-punk outfit extraordinaire.

Birdman re-issues on CD announced

radio birdman paddoMiss out on the Radio Birdman box set? After unveiling vinyl versions of the re-issues, Citadel has now announced individual double-CD packs, including one for the killer and highly sought-after “Live at Paddington Town Hall” album.

Each package is loaded with the extras that came in the box set. Go to Citadel Mail Order and get clicking in time for Xmas. 

They Shoot To Thrill and We Salute Them: AC/DC in Adelaide

brian hands

We three ladies - my daughter, sister and I - got into town, parked in the nearby parklands and hurried to the Cathedral Hotel. There was no sign of religion in the Cathedral, so we sculled a wine each and hurried across the park through the crowds to the Oval.

What was it like? It was six hours on my feet. Occasional whiffs of dope smoke. Beer spilled over me from all sides and from above. The odd three, four or five angry altercations, quickly stifled before the bouncers could arrive.

Dr S and Mr P- Urban Junior (Voodoo Rhythm)

urban junior mrMr Junior has a hell of a quirky appetite, ranging from dirty ultra-hawkwindish rawk to a dirtier electro punch in the head (‘Jetzt’ is killer) some sort of hip-hoppy thing. He’s a former boyband member (!) from Switzerland who plays everything himself.

This is a man who covers a lot of ground in a very short space of time, forcing your feet onto the floor at the same time. If you bought “Max Q”, get “Dr S and Mr P” right the hell now. If you like Ollie Oleson, Culturcide, SPK, Iggy and the Stooges, nasty soundtracks…

(ED: Urban Junior has shared stages with John Spencer Blues Explosion, Bob Log III, John Schooley, Jack Oblivian, Iggy Pop, G. Love & sSpecialSauce, Thee Oh Sees, King Khan, the Pussywarmers and Reverend Beat-Man. That might give you some more clues.)

This is dead dirty rock’n’roll and it’s like being seduced by an oil-stained camel in Doc Martin’s boots (not the star of the TV show Doc Martin, tho, …)

Three-and-a-half bottles. Oh, fuck it, four bottles.

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