Rocked up to the Palace in time to see The Stems. Dom, Ash et al nailed it, with just the right mixture of volume, stage presence, and of course, great songs. They make it look easy, but that's due to starting a long time ago, and continuing to keep us happy, due to the "lerv" of the music they play, and those pesky bills. Spied Compleat Angler shop owner Chris Baty in the crowd next to me, without his customary fishing tackle in- hand - so I knew I was close to the bar.
Look. There are two kinds of people hanging around at the I:94 Bar this week. There are Flamin’ Groovies people and Blue Oyster Cult people. Now, as Quentin Tarantino has famously explained it, you can like both but you have to like one more than the other. Do you come down on the side of Teutonic precision or do you let your dancing shoes do the talkin’.
As they were in 1981. Catherine Croll photo
In 2012, a reformed Sunnyboys delivered arguably the most emotional comeback of any Australian band in living memory. More on that soon. Three years later, they’ve given us the most unlikely of resurrected albums, with a stunning re-issue of their second record, “Individuals”.
Originally released in May 1982 when the band was poised to take the Australian charts by the throat, it sold respectably but ultimately foundered under the weight of massive expectations and a curiously subdued mix.
The discovery of a previously lost rough mix among the estate of their late producer and manager (as well as legendary guitarist), Lobby Loyde, cast a new light on a largely overlooked record. The new version sounds as lively and dynamic as the band’s “Sunnyboys” debut from 1980.
Aztec Music once again has done a brilliant job with great remastering, a massive booklet with liner notes, band interviews and tons of photos. Plus 2 rare bonus tracks (a 7” edit/mix of "What’s Going On" and a live GTK recording of "United Nations"). Aztec have done such a good job that the bootleggers have actually had the nerve and audacity to cry unfair...Ha! Maybe the bootleggers should pay the band some royalties first, before complaining too much.
There are obvious life lessons in the saga of the Sunnyboys and they’ve been related so many times that they probably don’t bear repetition here. If you’re a fan, you’ll know them all anyway (the results of crashing and burning, the enduring nature of brotherly bonds, the power of redemptive love.) If you’re not, you can wise up, musically speaking, with this collection.
It used to be an annual event and the Pete Wells' Anniversay Memorial Gig is back, in time for the 10th year of his passing. Presented by Lucy Desoto with her band The Handsome Devils, this year’s guests will include Wellsy’s Rose Tattoo brother-in-arms Angy Anderson, Black Label and Black Aces.
Venue is The Bridge Hotel in Rozelle, Sydney, on the long weekend Monday, June 13 The gig runs from 3pm “til we're done and dusted”. Wells was the founder of Rose Tattoo and a long-time member of hard-rock pathfinders Buffalo.Lucy Desoto was his long-time partner and musical collaborator in many of his solo bands.
The Handsome Devils are one of Sydney’s best-kept hard rock secrets featuring Desoto on vocals and keys, Mighty Mick O'Shea on drums, Steve “The King” King on bass and Magic Mick Arnold on slide guitar.
Without resorting to hyperbole, the definitive version of the debut album for Sydney’s esteemed Sunnyboys sounds fresher than the day it came out. The original 12 songs are coupled with seven early B-sides and live cuts but the revelation is in the bonus disc of 17 sparkling demo tracks, many of them previously unissued.
And so the return, and rise, of the Sunnyboys continues. If you said they could top this one, you’d need to back it up.
They billed themselves as Kids in Dust when they stepped back onto a stage for the first time in 21 years at the Dig It Up festival in Sydney on April 24, 2012. The nom de plume was supposedly to avoid performance anxiety or to ramp down expectations, maybe both. It didn’t matter; any tentativeness was swamped by a roomful of love.
Nor were there any misgivings in evidence at the same packed venue, the Enmore Theatre, last Saturday night. Just an irresistible king-tide of energy and good spirit.
Well, there are a lot of crappy rock books. This is brilliant, however.
We could start with the book’s blurb:
“‘The One & Only’ is a roller-coaster ride through one of rock’s wildest, most unpredictable careers. Granted full access to the reclusive Perrett and everyone who matters in his story, Antonia unflinchingly traces his path from privileged childhood to drug dealer; from musical obscurity to decadent rock icon submerged in narcotic slumbers in an antique-filled mansion... before the dream spectacularly fell apart. The story of The Only Ones became an industry by-word for how not to succeed in the record business; yet the music, along with the allure of Perrett’s mysterious persona, has endured… Despite the casualties that careen through these pages, including Johnny Thunders and Sid Vicious - Perrett played with both - this is ultimately a story of redemption and rebirth.”
And, frankly, that lot should be reasons sufficient for any self-respecting rock’n’roller to pick this one up, pay at the counter, and scurry home, nose and eyes down. Apart from that, if you own the Johnny Thunders’ album, "So Alone", but no Only Ones, you have a little Perrett in your collection.
Photos by Emmy Etie
Enmore Theatre - March 29, 2014
Richard Burgman was adamant when he bounced up to the microphone before a note was played and declared that the Sydney show would be the Sunnyboys' last. Who could blame him if he meant their final gig ever rather than the end of the tour. Informed sources say it's not the case and that the Sunnyboys will live on.