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).
Brian Johnstone, one of my oldest and dearest friends, passed away in Adelaide in January after a long battle with cancer. We met in Adelaide in the late 70s, in the early days of Roadrunner, were housemates for awhile and he wrote a few pieces for the mag, including this entertaining account of the media shenanigans surrounding the Stranglers tour which was the cover story in the March 1979 edition.
Goodness me—can it really be JJJ’s 40th birthday this coming weekend? And even more incredibly—is it really 30 years since its legendary 10th birthday concert on Sydney Harbour featuring the mighty Midnight Oil? I was there for Countdown Magazine and this was my report in the March 1985 edition. When Jay Jay Jay-FM turned ten on the nineteenth of January it was most appropriate that the focus of the celebrations
Just before I left the U.K. to return to Australia after two and a half years away, I was fortunate to catch this remarkable concert. The venue was Bath University, the date 7 October 1977 and it was the third date on the Stiffs Greatest Stiffs Live tour. This review was my second ever published article, in the Adelaide punk fanzine Street Fever (December 1977). Nick Lowe bounds on stage and
My first published article. From Street Fever, the punk fanzine produced by Stuart Coupe and myself in Adelaide in December 1977. I was on a train from Darlington to Bath in 1976 when I first heard of the Sex Pistols. I had been away from England for six weeks working in Libya for a surveying company. I was on my way home after delivering some maps to head office. I
The first interview I ever did was with Tim Finn of Split Enz, in Bath, England in October 1976. I sent the piece to Nation Review, but never heard back. Thus it is published here for the first time. ‘Split Enz are on the road becoz travel broadens the mind’ blared the full-page ad in Sounds last week. ‘Surreal Maoris’ Hair Raising Tale’ ran the headline in New Musical Express.
School reunions can be awkward at the best of times. Imagine if at your reunion, the yearbook had been repackaged by a multi-national and was selling online and at retail, the public were invited, the venue was an iconic Carlton wine-bar and the prefects were up on stage being interviewed by a lanky, blonde-curled faux-hip DJ about schooldays—’Ring, ring goes the bell/The cook’s in the lunchroom ready to sell’ and
Around three years ago, David Nichols, a former writer at Australian Smash Hits, interviewed me on the phone for a book he was doing on that magazine. He asked about the rock mags I used to read growing up, how I got into the game and my impressions of Smash Hits. He was kind enough to send me a transcript to check, but ended up only using a small part. The
Australia has always been an accurate mirror of the world’s music scene, reflecting and balancing US and UK trends and styles. As the most typical Australian city, Adelaide going into the 1970s provided a fascinating microcosm of the state of play in world music. The emergence of the rock album as an artform in its own right, a process started by the Beatles with Revolver and Rubber Soul in the
The sonic boom that was the Beatles reverberated around the world and perhaps nowhere was the effect more apparent than in Adelaide. Over 300,000 people, about one-third of the city’s population, lined the streets when the Fab Three plus Jimmy Nicol (standing in for the tonsilitis-stricken Ringo) arrived on 12 June 1964 for the first concerts of their three and a half week down under tour. As Beatles’ publicist Derek Taylor
Many years ago, I watched a documentary on Foxtel’s Arena channel called ‘Beautiful Losers’. Made in 1997, it was about Leonard Cohen, Marianne Faithfull and Willie de Ville, in which the three songwriters and performers were interviewed about their lives and careers. Willie de Ville, who I recall as a sharply dressed, late 70s, new wave one-hit wonder from New York (the hit being the latino flavoured ‘Spanish Stroll’) was moderately
We’re on the sidewalk at the west end of Waller St, a stone’s throw from Golden Gate Park and the final stop of our two-hour walking tour of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Our genial tour guide Kurt, a chubby, moustachioed, local comedian and film maker points out a converted firehouse across the road at number 1575 where in April 1967, representatives of the local alternative community held a press conference
Roll up, roll up for a London rock’n’roll magical mystery tour ‘See the window on the first floor – on the left – that’s the bathroom. There’s a drainpipe on the side wall – you can’t quite see it from here—but two girls climbed up there and got in. They took two of Paul’s shirts which he was a bit annoyed about. And that’s what gave him the inspiration to
Ever since white hillbilly music got together with black rhythm and blues to spawn that wayward child by the name of rock’n’roll, there’s always been someone, somewhere, trying to get ‘back to the roots’. Whether it’s Daddy Cool, Sha Na Na, the Stray Cats or Shakin’ Stevens, the door to the rich vault of early rock’n’roll seems to be perpetually open and inside there’s some young bucks happily plundering the