Growing up in Sydney in the ‘80s, we were spoiled. The amorphous thing called Pub Rock spawned an explosion of live music and it was literally everywhere. The one thing all those bands had in common is still hard to put your finger on but you could term it The Pub Contract.
From the audience side, the Contract read like this: “Don’t give us any airs and graces. If you aren’t any good, we’re going to put shit on you. Due to us consuming social lubricants in prodigious proportions, you need to play hard to get our attention.”
Those days are gone and only a few people care anymore. The ones who might be keen are buried deep under mortgages, families and adulthood.
Maybe it was the lack of a crowd, skewed expectations or the fact that The Runaways were never mandated high rotation listening in my own world, but Friday night’s Cherie Currie show at the Manning Bar in Sydney fell flatter than a soufflé in a bricklayers’ pie oven.
It wasn’t entirely the fault of the headliner.
The Runaways’ place in history is notable if slightly perverse. On one hand, as an all-girl band in a man’s world, they provided inspiration for a later generation of Riot Grrrls and (Punk Rock) Sisters Doing It For Themselves. On the other hand, they were shamelessly objectified, used and abused and have become a cautionary object lesson in exploitation.
The voice of The Runaways, Cherie Curie, is heading to Australia and New Zealand in May and June for her first Antipodean tour.The Runaways burst onto the LA scene in 1975 with a 15-year-old Currie out front screaming the instant classic “Cherry Bomb!” The Runaways created a sensation wherever they appeared and quickly catapulted from playing small clubs to selling out major stadiums—headlining shows with opening acts like the Ramones, Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Blondie.
Joanne Bennett photo
I missed Babes Are Wolves but caught The Babes (two men, two women), who did a good strong metallish rock set - both bands had people dancing and paying attention despite only using about a quarter of the stage. No mean feat. Both are Adelaide acts and I can see I’ll have to investigate properly.
One of the most enduring memories I will carry away with me from tonight’s show is that this 5’1” thin scrap of a person, Cherie Currie, demonstrated sensibility, strength and love without any of the usual r’n’r proclamatory chest-beating. She still looks gorgeous (her genes should be investigated and the rights procured) with her boyish figure and sexy smirk …
But that’s the last time you’ll see me use the term “sex”. It’s essential to mention, of course, but whereas most of us, at 56, have begun to look like Santa (and the ladies begin to resemble the Family Guy dog’s lost teenage love.. I don’t know if you know the episode, Brian turns up at a shack where some ghastly bovine opens the door and…) Cherie looks good in a way most of us would kill to look like when we were 32.
The Runaways. That's Cherie on the left.
It has taken some time but I have finally found my inner klutz. Fortunately, Cherie Currie is a wise and generous woman. So, if my tale lacks substance, the blame is on me. On Saturday morning, lacking even the first sip of caffeine, I received an e-mail. Robert Brokenmouth couldn’t do the Cherrie Currie interview. Could I step into the breach? Grown up me was fine with this. I’ve done phone interviews before. I just ring the number and try to build a narrative that gets you, the reader, so excited that you’ll hand over your hard-earned dollars for tickets or discs or downloads or whatever. I know the job. The trouble is, grown up me is suddenly no longer in charge. Fifteen-year-old me is essentially melting down and demanding attention. Fifteen-year-old me is terrified. Grown up me is trying to explain how things that terrify you can also be fun and exciting. Fifteen-year-old me remains unconvinced.
Black Leather Soul - Angus Khan (Nickel and Dime Records)
Hello from the Farmhouse, Barflies. This is one from the archives, originally issued in 2009, but this most rocking album has been re-released in July and is already on all good music streaming services with a extra track, "Silver and Green" (acoustic.) I, for one, love this tune and the album. Angus Khan was formed in the summer of 2006 by three Streetwalkin' Cheetahs and two B Movie Rats in sunny California. They were Frank Meyer and Bruce Duff on guitars, Dino Everrett on bass, Derek Christenson (vocals) and Andy Baker of the B Movie Rats on drums. What a cracking line-up.
That's some pedigree and they didn't disappoint. This is a hard rock album that just kicks from the first track, the wonderful "Midnight Moses".
These tunes are a must for any Barfly who loves Rock 'n' Roll played hard with witty lyrics. "Call Me Motherfucker", "Hot Pants", "Bop City", "Chainsaw Betty" and "Scene Bitch" are perfect examples of what I love in a rock band: Don't take yourself too seriously and have some fun. Angus Khan most certainly does both in abundance.
"Black Leather Soul" takes listeners on a journey of stomping riffs. Oh, those guitars just blast out of the speakers. No bullshit here. It's a must have album.
I was lucky enough yesterday to have a conversation with Frank Myer about why he decided to branch out from the Cheatahs and form Angus Khan. Just quickly before I let Frank loose on the public, you should know that they derived their name from Angus of AC/DC and Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire. So name alone, you know this album ain't for pussies.
So I'll let Frank explain the origins of the band and I'm most grateful for the time he took to speak to a dirt farmer from Dimboola, Victoria
When the Cheetahs and the Rats both broke up, Derek and I had been plotting on doing a heavier band for some time. We wanted to do something kinda like Zodiac Mindwarp meets Turbonegro - a really dirty sleazy biker metal music with dashes of punk and glam.
At the time I was also writing for Cherie Currie of the Runaways on a solo album that would return her to her Runaways roots. Unfortunately that album never ended up getting done so a bunch of the songs like "Scene Bitch" and "Big Balls" we just took and continued that direction, making it more extreme and as we continued writing new songs.
When we were writing songs for Angus Khan we where listening to a lot of music likeAlice Cooper, Aerosmith, Nashville Pussy, ZZ Top and evenMegadeth andMetallica. We wanted a sound to be steeped in '70s hard rock but with a metal twist.
There's a lot of fun and cheap humour in the lyrics; We wanted the music to be fun and funny, with lyrics that were cool yet ridiculously over the top.
Each member of the band had a character. I dressed like a Army guy and went by the name Sgt Rock. Our biker singer went by Dirty D, our bass player was Droogie from the movie "Clockwork Orange', the drummer was Tarzan and the other guitarist was a '70s rock god. We all dressed the part and kept the whole thing as over the top as possible.
So Barflies, this is a must for lovers of hard-riffing, good time, over-the-top rock 'n' roll. Download or stream this most wonderful album on Spotify, Apple or Amazon music, and if you're not familiar with The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, give them a listen also. They just kick fucking arse.
Six Beers Please Barman AND keep them coming
From The Farmhouse, enjoy your week and don't run out of bog rolls.
If medals were given out to musicians who’d somehow survived to succeed in the face of horror, The Runaways would be instant recipients. Cherie Currie’s book is a damn fine read. It’s worth four out of three McGilvrays or whatever iconic ‘70s TV star The Barman uses to denote: cracking r’n’r book. Four out of three: you with me so far?
First, let it be known that we have too many books on ’60s rockers who turn out the same old wan sludge with a smirk and a wink. There are plenty of ’70s and ‘80s rockers who’ve done the same. Once you reach a certain level, you can wet-fart in your audience’s face with impunity and thousands will pay for the privilege.
Step forward and take the bouquets of flowers, Cherie Currie. Tony O’Neill has probably done the horrible typing, editing and transcribing, but Cherie’s story is told with verve, honesty and … yes, more than a tinge of bitterness. Although bitterness is not the prevailing theme; the themes are abuse, self-abuse, self-awareness and basic morality.
For all those who think The Runaways had it sweet, “Neon Angel” will disabuse you of that notion. Cherie’s story is unpleasant and horrific in many ways; and as members of the Blank Generation we can all make a few guesses. But the truth is vile (there were moments where I found myself pointlessly looking away from the page), and beneath all the glam rollercoaster of success was the greedy, ugly industry (personified by Kim Fowley, whose depiction will turn everyone’s stomach. Picture a moist tall slug in a dirty orange jumpsuit, that’s how I’ll always remember him).
Five Things - Smalltown Tigers (Area Pirata Records)
There’s nothing new in rock and roll. The same goes for punk rock. So get over it. Reinvention has always been a constant and the trick to being good at the caper is adding as your own unique ingredient.
“Five Things” is eight songs from three Italian girls calling themselves Smalltown Tigers. They come from Romagna in the country's north-east, cut their teeth playing Ramones songs at squats and beach parties and went into a studio in 2019, under the production hand of Stiv Cantarelli.
They're only been around a couple of years but you wouldn't know it. With a single in the racks before this, "Five Things" swaggers with confidence and loads of energy. It would be politically incorrect to say the girls have good looks on their side as well, so we won't. Image counts for much in rock and roll.