The ‘80s isn’t such a bad place to hang out. Simon Chainsaw has been there, musically speaking, since his former band The Vanilla Chainsaws, tasted success 30-something years ago, and this is his 14th album under his own name.
That '80s reference isn't inferring Chainsaw's musically moribund. Simon rarely sits still and was already Sydney's hardest-working musician before COVID fucked without the universe. The Chainsaw sound is instantly familiar, a sweet but tough mix of melody and downstroke power, and naturally uses what was learned during a golden time of Australian music. It's translatable toi places where Real Rock and Roll survives.
EDWIN GARLAND Guitarist with Moonlight 5, Waxworks, Dwarfthrower I-94 Bar reviewer Sydney, Australia
I am sure many will say the same: This has been a shit of a year. Even so, I included much more than ten. Who cares !!
The passing of Greg Sawers One piece of news hit me in the guts: Greg Sawyers’ death. What more can be said about this real local legend and complete old school identity. He could be fit equally well at the Marrickville Bowlo or Annandale Hotel (R.I.P.) or the Wentworth Park dog track with his working -class dreams and love of supporting pure rock ‘n’ roll. Band manager Greg Sawyers took over when God got drunk. For Ian Rilen, Louis Tillet, Steve Lucasand Steve Balbi, he was their minder and advocate. He always had a couch for those in need and was willing to cook up his bacon and eggs when they woke sometime after midday. Greg was all heart and part of a Sydney music scene that is now gone.
Never became obsessed with that Oz Rock thump-clomp beat to the same extent as many, if not most, around me, but there’s no denying the global impact of the Alberts sound. This two-song CD single contains primo examples of the same, courtesy of the ubiquitous Simon Chainsaw (“SC”) and his new partner in rawk, Tony Currenti (“TC”).
For those about to confess ignorance, Tony Currenti was the session drummer on AC/DC’s seminal “High Voltage” and on hits for Stevie Wright (“Black Eyed Bruiser”) and, um, John Paul Young (“I Hate The Music”.) He would have joined Acca-Dacca fulltime, too, but for the facts he already had a band and touring on the back of his Italian citizenship would have exposed him to that country’s military draft.
Tony owns a Sydney pizza shop (Torino’s at Penshurst) and plays on occasional AC/DC tribute bills. Globe-trotting Simon Chainsaw has relocated from Brazil to Australia and roped in Currenti for recordings and live shows over a chianti and Pizza Margherita. The result is a combo of that trademark Chainsaw punk-pop roar and good ol’ fashioned Oz Rock.
Currenti’s not big on dramatic fills but drives his big Ludwig kit (the same one he played for Acca Dacca) like a reliable old bus. He fairly nails the feel to the floor on the OK rocker, “Lick My Wounds”, but the second song is where it all comes together. “Firestorm” is wall-to-wall guitars with a seriously solid beat and a rocking hook. The drums were produced by Mark Scully (ex-Ratcat, Deadly Hume) and sound ace. It's a free download here or use the link on the Bandcasmp page to ask Simon for a physical copy.
It’s the match made in Cowpunk Heaven - those hard drinkin’, Slip Slap Fishin' men, The Johnnys, going Stetson-to-Stetson with unruly, Spurs For Jesus, in an all-hitches-no-britches rock and roll rodeo deep in the heart of Sydney’s Inner Western Delta.
Saturday, August 4 pitches this mighty pair at each other in the main paddock of Marrickville Bowling Club, presented by the I-94 Bar.,
Opening the gate will be Broham, the new country band for globe-jaunting Vanilla Chainsaw frontman Simon Chainsaw and assorted reprobates, making their world debut.
The Johnnys wrote the book on Cowpunk back in the ‘80s; Spurs re-worded parts of it a decade later and Broham intend on tearing some pages out.
Who will come out on top after the hay-bales disintegrate and the rodeo clowns vacate the ring is anyone’s guess.
Wear your best Western wear (double denim is cool) and expect a few surprises along the way, as well as prizes of a Johnnys pack for the Best Dressed Cowgirl and Cowboy.
The last Johnnys show at the Bowlo sold out so get in early for this one and pre-book. You won’t see ‘em again in Sydney any time soon and the girls and guys from Spurs don't play that often, either.
It's a night of high octane rock and roll with Simon Chainsaw & The Liberators, The Dark Clouds and Toadvine at the MoshPit Bar in Sydney from 7pm (AEST) on Sunday, April 18. Catch the bands live or watch the stream by grabbiung tickets here.
The On and Ons streaming from Sydney venue The Moshpit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the music industry globally. As if the digital disruption of music sales in the post CD era wasn’t enough, the closure of venues has killed the oldest revenue stream known to musicians, the live gig.
As the first industry to close and most likely the last to re-open, the meagre incomes of musicians have collapsed and the outlet for their creativity has disappeared. But being resilient and creative thinking beasts, the music industry and has turned its hand to live streaming as a way out of this abyss.
There’s a familiar sound to all Simon Chainsaw records and it’s not going to change radically any time soon. It owes much toSydney’s mid-‘80s underground scene - Simon being the one constant member of the Vanilla Chainsaws - and adds dashes of punk, pop and hard rock from myriad other places.
So of course “Thirteen” sounds a lot like the preceding 12 Simon Chainsaw studio albums. You expected techno? Simon’s distinctive vocal rasp, chunky guitars just this side of metal, an inherent sense of melody and lyrics about girls, the road and the resilience of rock and roll are all a given.
Even so, there are stylistic departures (keys on “Cried a Million Tears”, lap steel on the anthemic “Take My Rock ’n’ Roll Back”) and the classic Oz Rock influence cuts through elsewhere, notably on “Firestorm” which features AC/DC session drummer Tony Currenti.
Simon Chainsaw with The Liberators at Frankies Pizza in Sydney. Anthony Mitchell photo.
2021 was a bit of a re-run of 2020.. lockdowns, gigs cancelled, industries decimated. While in 2020 I was inspired to create and consume, 2021 left me fatigued, lethargic and generally disinterested. Let’s hope 2022 too is not a rerun! However, there were some bright spots that come to mind.
2. Snake Pit Therapy – Sonny Vincent (Svart) New York punk’s (almost) last man standing bounces back with his best-sounding and arguable most well-rounded album ever. Sonny has been hidden in plain sight for the many for far too long.
Here’s the exclusive debut of “Cheer Squad”, a non-album digital-only single and taster on Conquest of Noise for Leadfinger’s forthcoming album “Friday Night Heroes”.
“Cheer Squad”is a high-energy bolt from the zeitgeist...it's a song about social media and not fitting in with the crowd, with an attitude that harks back to the ‘70s punk era. “Cheer Squad” is backed up by “The Man I Used to Be”, from the upcoming album. Buy and download the single over the next month and you’ll also get an amazing non-album bonus track called Three Brothers. Three great songs for $A4 and they’re all available here.
Leadfinger will play "Cheer Squad" this Friday night at an I-94 Bar show at Sydney's Marrickville Bowling Club with special guests Simon Chainsaw (with an all-star band of ex-New Christs, Hell Crab City and Filth members) and the garage groove of The Escapes.