Posts by Donald

Los Trios Ringbarkus: a tour de farce

‘Someone said we were the sickest pair of wimps they’d ever seen,’ says Steve Kearney of Los Trios Ringbarkus on British reaction to the zany duo who carried off the ultra-prestigious Perrier ‘Pick of the Fringe’ award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival (1983). ‘I think they expected a couple of sunbronzed Aussie comedians to come out telling dingo jokes. They were … stunned.’ Relaxing around their hotel rooftop pool during their recent Sydney season, Kearney

Continue reading…

WTHS 1970 Yearbook

Class of 1970 reunion dinner

Spin me back down the years and the days of my youth. Draw the lace and black curtains and shut out the whole truth. Spin me down the long ages: let them sing the song.                                    —  ‘Thick As A Brick’, Jethro Tull There was food, there was wine, there was music from the

Continue reading…

Magical Mushroom Moments

Recently I’ve been reading Stuart Coupe’s biography of Michael Gudinski. It prompted a memory of Mushroom Record’s 10th anniversary bash, on the 1982 Australia Day long weekend. Mushroom flew me over from Adelaide for the concert and quite frankly, I’d forgotten how good it was. This was my account in the February 1982 edition of Roadrunner. ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ Well folks, it was a pretty wild weekend. The Big M/3XY/Mushroom Evolution Two

Continue reading…

Doug Anthony Allstars: tick fucking tock

I first heard the Doug Anthony Allstars in my rented flat in Edinburgh during the 1988 Fringe Festival. I’d gone to Scotland to cover the Festival prior to taking up a new job and was listening to a program about the Fringe on BBC Radio Scotland. Midway through the show, the host introduced a song from a hot young Australian trio who were wowing them at the Gilded Balloon in

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Early Eighties

As the ’80s began, the Australian pub rock boom was in overdrive. The new ‘door deal’ system had increased band receipts enormously and had given the top touring bands a measure of financial independence. Many of them took the next logical step—a trip overseas to test the water. Mi-Sex, Midnight Oil and The Angels undertook largely self-financed exploratory trips to the US in 1980. On the recording front, an impressive

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Late Seventies

The rise and rise of Skyhooks in 1975 sounded the death knell for the loud progressive blues-style bands that had so dominated Australian rock in the early seventies. The contrast between the two could hardly have been more striking. In place of denim and long hair, Skyhooks wore colourful and zany stage clothes. Instead of standing in the one spot while the guitarist did a twenty minute improvised solo, Skyhooks

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Early Seventies

As the sixties drifted into the seventies, the split in the Australian music scene between ‘underground’ and ‘chart’ acts became even more pronounced. Go-Set, still the leading music publication of the day, acknowledged this fact by introducing an ‘underground’ supplement titled Core that featured long, analytical pieces about the ‘significance’ of major artists and styles. The Go-Set Awards of January 1970 saw Doug Parkinson In Focus the most popular group, Johnny

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Late Sixties

From the peak of Friday On My Mind’s world-wide success for the Easybeats in late 1966 and early 1967, the story of Australian rock’s attempts to capture a world audience in the rest of the decade is rather a sad and sorry one. Group after group rose to prominence in Australia and entered the annual Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds. Those that didn’t win either broke up or rethought their

Continue reading…

David Day

Following the news of the passing of Adelaide radio legend David Day overnight, Stuart Coupe contacted me this morning and asked if I would post the interview he did with David for Roadrunner, published in the June 1978 issue. At the time, David was music director at 5KA Adelaide, generally considered the most progressive radio station in the country for most of the 1970s, with a reputation for breaking new acts

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Early Sixties

As the sixties dawned the prospects for Australian rock seemed bright. Johnny O’Keefe, the undisputed leader of the rock pack, was hurriedly preparing for his first American promotional trip. The first crop of Australian rock singers and groups were revelling in the exposure provided by the new TV rock shows like Six O’Clock Rock and Bandstand and the newly introduced Top 40 radio was playing their records. When O’Keefe hit

Continue reading…

Australian Rock: The Fifties

‘The public for pop in the years 1954 to 1964 created a new social order which changed the fabric of life and the course of the century … ‘It was not merely a case of roll over Beethoven, more the almost entire rejection of an inheritance of style, taste, manners, behaviour and ethics in the pursuit of change.’ — Bob Rogers with Denis O’Brien, Rock ‘n’ Roll Australia — the

Continue reading…

Quietly Confident: Republic of Australia

The clip for Quietly Confident’s one and only single. Republic of Australia (1983). Featuring lead vocalist Len Lindon; vocalists Larry Buttrose and Mark Conway; Russell Handley on the ( )ASIO keyboards; and backing vocals from Mandy and Melanie Salomon.  Quietly Confident was the alternative cabaret act I managed in the period when I left Adelaide and moved to Sydney (1982-83). The track was recorded at Basilisk Studios in Hurstville, Sydney, Martin

Continue reading…

No Fixed Address: young, black and proud

At the time of this Roadrunner cover story from August 1980, I thought No Fixed Address was the most important new band in the country. A bunch of young Aboriginal musicians at the South Australian Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music, bouncing around Adelaide from gig to gig, they were about to start filming a movie, Wrong Side of the Road, loosely based on their lives and experiences and songs from

Continue reading…

Russell Handley (1953-1985)

When Russell Handley, my deputy editor at Countdown Magazine, died at Easter 1985, I wrote the following obituary. Countdown Magazine‘s publisher declined to publish it, preferring a brief notice, so here it is for the first time. Although always camera-shy while working on the magazine (he claimed he didn’t want little girls to recognise him and kick him in the shins after he made a cutting aside about Prince or Duran

Continue reading…

Hoodoo Gurus In The Land Beyond Beyond

Russell Handley always wanted to start a story with ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. At Countdown Magazine, I granted his wish. All photos by John Webber (September 1984 issue).

%d bloggers like this: