Category Music

How Roadrunner recorded our noisy history

By Nathan Davies SA Weekend magazine, The Advertiser (Adelaide), 4 October 2019 To flick through the pages of The Big Beat – a bound collection of rock magazine Roadrunner – is to be transported to an Adelaide that no longer exists. An Adelaide of smoke-filled, sticky-floored band rooms still a decade or two from being transformed into soulless pokie dens. An Adelaide of photocopied band flyers sticky taped to Stobie

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The Big Beat in St Kilda – part three

In the third and final clip from the launch of The Big Beat at Readings, St Kilda, Donald Robertson fondly remembers the Accountants, the Dagoes and the U-Bombs (the St Vitus Dance Package) as he winds up the event. And here is the Spotify playlist mentioned on the night—one song for each of the 48 issues of the magazine. Video by Di Robertson on iPhone6

The Big Beat in St Kilda – part two

In this second clip from the launch of The Big Beat at Readings, St Kilda, Guy Rundle asks the panel (left to right, John Dowler of Young Modern, author and publisher Donald Robertson, Phill Calvert, ex-Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party and Pierre Sutcliffe, ex-Models) to nominate a song or or act or band from the Roadrunner years that has been totally forgotten and that deserves to be remembered. And here

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The Big Beat in St Kilda – part one

In this first clip from the Melbourne launch of The Big Beat at Readings, St Kilda, Phill Calvert calls the book a ‘fantastic journey’, John Dowler remembers Adelaide in 1978 and Donald Robertson plugs the index. And here’s the Spotify playlist mentioned on the night – one track for each of the 48 issues of the magazine. Video by Di Robertson on iPhone6

Four dudes banging on about The Big Beat at Readings in St Kilda

There was a lot of love in the room for Roadrunner magazine and its anthology The Big Beat at Readings book store in St Kilda last night. A crowd of around fifty gathered to hear Pierre Sutcliffe (ex-Models) lead Phill Calvert (ex-Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party), John Dowler (Young Modern) and myself discuss the Australian post-punk scene and the role that Roadrunner played in it. Among the former contributors in

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The Big Beat – reviews and reactions

The reviews are coming in. And people seem to like the book. ‘The Big Beat is a heavily illustrated, beautifully presented year-by-year history of Adelaide-based punk fanzine Roadrunner, which was founded by Robertson and music-press legend Stuart Coupe, and was distributed only in South Australia. The book features a selection of more than 400 fully indexed pages from the original issues; just looking at it, you can see that it’s a labour

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The Big Beat comes back to Adelaide

Around eighty people gathered at The Howling Owl in Adelaide’s East End last night to celebrate the release of the Roadrunner magazine anthology, The Big Beat. Deftly marshalled by ABC Radio Adelaide producer Suzy Ramone, a panel of Dr Collette Snowden, singer and songwriter John Schumann and myself was invited to ruminate and reminisce about the South Australian music scene and the impact of Roadrunner magazine in the post-punk period

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The Big Beat – where can you get it?

I have just published an anthology of articles from Roadrunner. ‘The Big Beat: Rock music in Australia 1978-1983, through the pages of Roadrunner magazine’ is a 544 page, A4 size (210x297mm), hardback book with colour throughout. In the book, a year-by-year history introduces a selection of over four hundred fully indexed pages from the original magazine. Featured artists include: The Angels, Australian Crawl, Boys Next Door (and the Birthday Party), The Church, Cold Chisel,

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Still The Boss

As I stood in the foyer waiting for Calum a fragment of a lyric came into my mind—‘… thinking that maybe we’re not that young any more …’ There was a lot of grey hair, some walking sticks, and some big bellies—but, to be fair, some youngsters too. All in all a pretty representative cross section of Sydney. The tickets had been a last minute Christmas present for Calum. The

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1966 and all that

It started in the shires of the English midlands and finished in the arid saltbush of Whyalla, South Australia. It was the year my life changed. In September 1966 I turned 13. Two days after my birthday my family—my father, mother, sister and brother—and I got on a train in Kettering, Northamptonshire. It took us to London, very much still the Swinging City, where we changed trains for Southampton. There,

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The art of the Australian single 1975-80

When I returned to Adelaide in late 1977 after two and a half years away in the U.K., I brought home with me about twenty-five singles. I proceeded to do the rounds of my rather puzzled university friends to show them and play to them these artefacts from the sonic revolution I had just experienced. Most of them smiled politely and poured another cup of tea, but one old school

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Kensington Road runs straight before turning: Adelaide in 1979

As the 1970s wound to a close, the local music scene in Adelaide was struggling, although there were some new shoots starting to appear. It seemed everyone involved was either trying to get out, or just killing time, waiting for something GREAT to happen. And it did. The advent of the Progressive Music Broadcasting Associations’s community radio station 5MMM-FM in 1980 gave Adelaide music an absolute turbo-charge and helped to

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Adelaide 1981

This was my end of year round up of music in Adelaide, published as part of Roadrunner’s 1981 All State Rock Round Up. I moved to Sydney in 1982, so in a way it was my farewell to the local music scene that I had been a part of for the previous five years. Fun times.  *  *  * The year of 1981 will not go down in the pages

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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

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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

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