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The Big Beat—ask a librarian

The Big Beat is on track to sell out. If you haven't got a copy yet, there are still a few in store at these…

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The Big Beat—reviews and reactions

The reviews are coming in. And people seem to like the book. Print reviews 'Roadrunner was the Chrysler of the Big 3 R rock magazines in…

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The Big Beat—where can you get it?

UPDATE: 30 June 2020. Fewer than thirty-five copies left in stores. In October 2019, I published The Big Beat: Rock music in Australia 1978-1983, through…

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Articles and posts

A selection of published and previously unpublished works

Sex Pistols at the Stowaway Club, Newport

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

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Walking down the Road; Split Enz in the U.K. 1976

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.

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Exile on Lygon Street

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

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Roadrunner once

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

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Seasons of change: the Adelaide music scene in the 70s

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

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Reeling and a-rocking: the Adelaide music scene in the 60s

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

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Laughing Lennie

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

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If you’re going to San Francisco …

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

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She came in through the bathroom window

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

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