Tag Archives: Sydney

NUKES AND AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

 

NUKES AND AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

Australian music and politics have been intertwined since Vietnam and its aftermath. Khe Sanh is sometimes called the alternative Australian national anthem. Only Nineteen, by Redgum, continued the tradition set by Don Walker and Cold Chisel, in the Eighties.

THE OILS IN THE EIGHTIES

The early-mid 1980s saw the rise of People for Nuclear Disarmament in Australia. Midnight Oil played strong songs that sold the anti-nuclear message and toured the country widely, educating a generation about nukes. This laminate, from the collection of Marshall Cullen, dates from that time. Hobart was a focus for the anti-nuke protests of the mid 1980’s after the controversial visit of the U.S.S. Enterprise – Peter Garrett was there.

Midnight Oil laminate: Marshall Cullen.
Midnight Oil laminate: Marshall Cullen.

 

STOP THE DROP, 1983

 

 

 

U.S. FORCES GIVE THE NOD

U.S. Forces lyrics which the crowd sing word-for-word in the Stop The Drop clip can be found at Midnight Oil’s official website . The song was written by Jim Moginie and Peter Garrett.

The anthem U.S. Forces name checks Shakespeare (‘dogs of war ‘) as well as the Wall Street TV-speak of the early Eighties (‘market movements call the shots.’)  You can see the crowd mouthing the lines “People too scared to go to prison” at Stop The Drop which was also a reflection of the times. This T-Shirt, below, is in The Powerhouse Museum collection in Sydney.

 

Stop The Drop Concert 1983 Powerhouse Museum T Shirt

Stop The Drop Concert 1983 Powerhouse Museum T Shirt

 

STOP THE DROP CONCERT POSTER - Arts Centre Melbourne
STOP THE DROP CONCERT POSTER – Arts Centre Melbourne

 

INXS, GOANNA AND  REDGUM

The Stop the Drop concert held at Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl on Sunday 13 February 1983 was attended by the T-shirt donor you see responsible for the Powerhouse Museum archive donation on this page – Kevin Fewster  – who also happened to be one of the organisers.

The 1983 concert was attended by 8000 people. In 1984 Peter Garrett was to run for the Australian Senate in NSW for the Nuclear Disarmament Party but was not elected.

Also at this concert, members of Goanna, Midnight Oil and Redgum recorded an impromptu song to protest the proposed damming of Tasmania’s Franklin River. Released as ‘Let The Franklin Flow’ by Gordon Franklin and the Wilderness Ensemble, it reached number 15 on the charts in May that year.

 
10 9 8

 

PLUTONIUM WIFE

The line “Superboy takes a plutonium wife” might just be one of the most mis-heard in Australian music, but ‘sing me songs of no denying’ is something most Australian music fans would automatically attribute to the band. The album was huge in the early 1980’s and together with Red Sails In The Sunset (which shows Sydney after the bomb) politicised part of a generation.

 THE RANGER URANIUM MINE

Between 1979 and 1984, the majority of what is now Kakadu National Park was created, surrounding but not including the Ranger uranium mine.  The two themes for the 1980 Hiroshima Day march and rally in Sydney, sponsored by the Movement Against Uranium Mining (MAUM), were: “Keep uranium in the ground” and “No to nuclear war.” Later that year, the Sydney city council officially proclaimed Sydney nuclear-free.

The Nobel-prize winning Australian novelist Patrick White led one such march, and was photographed  with Tom Uren, pictured with dark glasses, bag and stick. This is his novel The Eye of the Storm.

 

Patrick White

 

RUBBERY FIGURES, RONALD REAGAN AND MIDNIGHT OIL

By 1982, there were 350,000 Australians at anti-nuclear rallies, focussed on halting Australia’s uranium exports, removing foreign bases from Australian land and creating a nuclear-free Pacific. The visits of U.S. nuclear warships – as far as Hobart – was also a major early Eighties issue and Midnight Oil sang the soundtrack.

The comedy puppet series Rubbery Figures (ABC-TV 1984-1990) satirised U.S. President Ronald Reagan in the same period. To put Midnight Oil’s anti-nuclear albums 10, 9, 8 and Red Sails in context, it’s also important to remember that in 1984, shortly after both records (still vinyl) were released, President Reagan joked in a soundcheck on National Public Radio,  ‘My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.’

Rubbery Figures – Ronald Regan re Anzac Day


THE BOMB AND THE EIGHTIES

Writing in Meanjin, Simon Castles remembers, ‘In 1984 the Doomsday Clock kept by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was moved to three minutes to midnight, its most dire position since the invention of the hydrogen bomb. Midnight Oil released Red Sails in the Sunset the same year, an album whose cover shows Sydney after a nuclear strike.’

‘In the eighties there was a stack of pop songs about the bomb. To name just a handful of tracks on a list that ran long, as if to a mushroom cloud on the horizon: ‘Breathing’ by Kate Bush (1980), ‘1999’ by Prince (1982), ‘Seconds’ by U2 (1983), ‘99 Luftballons’ by Nena (1983), ‘Walking in Your Footsteps’ by The Police (1983), ‘Two Minute Warning’ by Depeche Mode (1983), ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville and then Laura Branigan (1984–85), ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984), ‘Russians’ by Sting (1985), ‘Guns in the Sky’ by INXS (1987) and ‘Everyday is like Sunday’ by Morrissey (1988).’

You can read more in Meanjin online

RED SAILS ART

Red Sails in the Sunset was a title more associated with Bing Crosby and Fats Domino in the Eighties – until Midnight Oil took it over with the help of a Japanese artist who was years ahead of his time. American blogger Sam Wade, writes at The Vinyl Odyssey:

“Japanese artist, Tsunehisa Kimura, created the post-apocalyptic vision of Sydney Harbor – no water only craters from nuclear bombs and a giant fireball near the bridge. It’s one of the coolest photomontages I’ve seen and it stuck with me even more because I have family in Australia. But remember, this record came out in 1984, six years before Photoshop 1.0 would ever hit the streets. In this digital age, it’s easy to forget that this type of art was much more painstaking and analog to create.”

The Vinyl Odyssey: Red Sails In The Sunset – Midnight Oil

 

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET BING CROSBY
RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET BING CROSBY

 

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET FATS DOMINO
RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET FATS DOMINO

 

MIDNIGHT OIL RED SAILS TAPE
MIDNIGHT OIL RED SAILS TAPE at WWW.EBAY.COM

 

NO DAMS

Dr Sarah Engledow, Historian and Curator at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, wrote in Portrait magazine.

“In 1983, in an international climate of increased public involvement in protest, the Australian local news was dominated by environmental demonstrations on two fronts. The first was the Tasmanian NO DAMS campaign, making highly professional and effective use of photographs by Peter Dombrovskis,a wilderness photographer mentored by Olegas Truchanas. The second was the anti-nuclear movement. In February 1983 Midnight Oil helped organise the Stop the Drop concert in Melbourne, and headlined the event. That year, Tom Uren and Peter Garrett marched together at the head of an anti-nuclear protest. In 1984, when Tom Uren and Patrick White walked side by side at the front of an Australians for Nuclear Disarmament march and Peter Garrett stood unsuccessfully for the Senate on behalf of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, Midnight Oil released the album Red Sails in the Sunset, featuring sinisterly surreal cover artwork by Tsunehisa Kimura of the Sydney Harbour Bridge spanning an expanse of cratered red dirt, a bomb-like ball glowing lava-hot beside the Opera House. The following year, the Oils’ EP Species Deceases came with album notes on the theme of Hiroshima forty years on. Including the great track ‘Hercules’, Species Deceases was an exasperated exhortation to action: ‘Come to your senses and care/16 million I can’t hear you at all’, Garrett cried.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Young – the AC/DC Map

GEORGE YOUNG

Vale George Young. The passing of the genius behind The Easybeats and a key member of the Young dynasty has generated new interest in AC/DC, the Young brothers and their huge influence on Australia.

THE AC/DC MAP

If you’re visiting Fremantle, Melbourne or Sydney and want to go on a Bon Scott and Angus Young pilgrimage, here are the sacred sites. On the AC/DC Map of Australia, Melbourne has to come first. Why? The band lived there. And Countdown made them famous there – mainly because Bon Scott put on a school uniform too.

 

Countdown (Melbourne) is big on the AC/DC Map. (ABC-TV).
Countdown (Melbourne) is big on the AC/DC Map. (ABC-TV).

AC/DC IN ELSTERNWICK, MELBOURNE

Bon Scott immortalised himself and the band filming Countdown  for ABC-TV. These images are from Twitter #ClassicCountdown.  Sarah Clarke @ACSarahAC is the source for the 1985 Countdown studio audience pass.  Sadly the famous studio has now been sold to a supermarket. And by 1985 AC/DC had become world superstars.

 

Sarah Clarke on Twitter @ACSarahAC Bon Scott on Countdown Bon Scott Countdown II

The AC/DC Map of Australia just has to include Melbourne (ABC-TV).
The AC/DC Map of Australia just has to include Melbourne (ABC-TV).

 MELBOURNE – ST KILDA

6 Lansdowne Road, East St Kilda.  Demolished and replaced (like most of Melbourne music history) but nevertheless, nominated by music magazine Mojo as a contender for music history’s “vilest den of depravity”. There is also a free app if you are interested – put together by Australian music historian Bruce Milne and Music Victoria.

The St. Kilda Kitchen

It wasn’t all depravity, though. Sometimes there was cake. Trudy Worme’s mum used to drop her off at 6 Lansdowne Road on Sunday afternoons so she could cook dinner for them. She also baked Angus his favourite chocolate cakes. That definitely puts her on the AC/DC Map.

 AC/DC Lane

The visuals in AC/DC Lane (off Flinders Lane, Melbourne and the home of the ‘musicians’ music venue’ Cherry Bar) change all the time.  Even if you’ve been here before, it won’t look the same. AC/DC Lane was the result of lobbying by Music Victoria’s Patrick Donovan (then a journalist with The Age) and James Young, who runs Cherry Bar. 

This part of Melbourne is associated with Bon Scott (far right, with hippie band Fraternity) in particular. This is where he lost his flares, found his tight jeans and discovered his voice. You can walk from AC/DC Lane to Swanston Street and see the trail Bon and the band followed for It’s A Long Way to the Top. 

 

Bon Scott with Fraternity in a Go-Set poster.
Bon Scott with Fraternity in a Go-Set poster.

The Hard Rock Cafe

The original Hard Rock Cafe was created by former AC/DC manager Michael Browning from the remains of Bertie’s, formerly Victoria and Albert. This is where AC/DC played for $1 and Angus Young fell on the floor and accidentally invented his ‘dying insect’ pose. It stood at 1 Spring Street.

The Australian Music Vault

The Hard Rock Cafe of Seventies legend at 1 Spring Street has now been swallowed up by the corporate towers of Shell (below).  If you want to get a feeling for not only AC/DC, but also Melbourne music history though – the place which formed the sound – The Australian Music Vault in The Arts Centre Melbourne (opened December 2017) is a good place to start. Bon’s leather jacket is archived there.

 

The former Hard Rock Cafe, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.
The former Hard Rock Cafe, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.
Curator at The Australian Music Vault with Bon's jacket.
Curator at The Australian Music Vault with Bon’s jacket.

 

SYDNEY – THE YOUNGS’ HOME

4 Burleigh Street, Burwood was once home to George, Malcolm and Angus Young. George went on to form The Easybeats and Malcolm and Angus went on to form AC/DC. Burwood is less well-known than AC/DC Lane in Melbourne or Bon Scott’s memorial in Fremantle, but it’s a highlight of the AC/DC Map in New South Wales.

Purchased in 1965 by the Youngs’ father, a migrant from Scotland the house at 4 Burleigh Street was home, after the family left Villawood Migrants’ Hostel. The house dates from 1906. Historian Glenn A. Baker successfully lobbied for its preservation (among with other Australian music landmarks) some years ago.

The National Trust included this house on the National Trust Register in July 2013, saving it for Australia.

FREMANTLE – BON’S GRAVE

You can pay your respects at Bon Scott’s grave in Fremantle, Western Australia. There is a walking trail with QR code available.  In 2006 the grave was listed by the National Trust and given heritage status.

On 19 February 1980 Bon tragically died outside 67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich in London. There is no plaque there, despite a petition by fans – but Bon’s memorial in Fremantle is one of the National Trust’s most visited Australian sites. There is also a  statue.

 

The AC/DC Map of Australia begins in Melbourne with the site of the old Hard Rock Cafe at 1 Spring Street (below) and stretches as far as Bon Scott’s grave in Fremantle. Images: Pinterest/Twitter

 

.ACDC 1 Spring St BON SCOTT GATE FREMANTLE 6LansdowneRdCirca75 ACDCINMELBOURNE DOT BLOGSPOT DOt COM DOt AU BON SCOTT GRAVE FREMANTLE CEMETERY BON SCOTT GATE 4 Burleigh St Pinterest Fremantle Cemetery Heritage Walk Trail PLAQUE DEMOLISHED 2001 Young House Burwood State Library NSW Stephen Thomas ACDC LANE

 

 

Midnight Oil Exhibition

Midnight Oil Exhibition

Midnight Oil went on the road in 2015 in the form of a travelling exhibition visiting Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Canberra, Riverina, Southern Queensland, and Wollongong. Ross Heathcote, Curator & Public Programs Coordinator, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, spoke to AMMP about one of the most successful mobile museums Australia has ever seen. The Midnight Oil exhibition showed everything from the famous Sydney 2000 Olympics ‘Sorry’ suits – to long-forgotten posters.

Courtesy: Newcastle Museum - Midnight Oil exhibition
Courtesy: Newcastle Museum – Midnight Oil exhibition. The Making of Midnight Oil!

The exhibition of Midnight Oil’s was a huge success at the Sydney exhibition hosted by the Manly Art Gallery and Museum – what were the final numbers?

Yes, a huge success in many ways, not only big numbers (18,000 in Manly over a short few weeks, and even more at Newcastle), but really rich visitation with great experiences and some genuine interactivity.

There were thousands of Oils fans visiting of course, but also visitors who had never heard of the Oils. At Manly there was much interstate and overseas visitation. We were thrilled. We hosted several special events include a world premiere screening of the full ‘The Making of 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1’ documentary by Robert Hambling, and some great Q&A evenings which featured Rob Hirst and Jim Moginie from the Oils.

Making of Midnight Oil - Touring in 2015

How was your Newcastle season?

We have just pulled down the The Making of Midnight Oil exhibition in Newcastle. It looked great in the old train sheds (now Newcastle Museum). Our exhibition is based around stages and risers…real ones, with the real Midnight Oil roadcases converted into showcases. Along with the graphics, a hundred or so gig posters, original lyric scrawls and many brilliant audio-visuals, the band’s instruments and other artefacts, the exhibition had a truly authentic and unique rock’n’roll look.

Newcastle was a perfect host venue for the show. The town has a fine pub rock tradition that is maintained there. One of the highlights at Newcastle was an evening event focussing on songwriting: the panel consisted of Rob Hirst, Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) and Dave Mason (The Reels). Apart from the fascinating, revealing and iconoclastic discussion, each of them also played or sang. I’ve never seen a happier museum audience.

Did you and the other exhibition organisers Rob Hirst, Virigina Buckingham and Wendy Osmond make any major changes to the Newcastle exhibition?

We worked closely with Newcastle museum staff to adapt the show to their space and add some local content. How could we go to Newcastle and not refer to the earthquake gig and the legendary Redhead Beach gig?

 Each venue on the tour is different, so Wendy and I will assess each space. Rob will inevitably tell us a ‘war story’ about the Oils and every town that the show will travel to, so we will try to include local references and stories.

In talking to host museums and galleries, I have encountered people who have their own Midnight Oil story to tell, as well. In the exhibition there is a facility to leave your Oils story on a fan wall.

Making of Midnight Oil - Touring in 2015

What’s your favourite part of the exhibition after all this time?

That’s really hard to answer. The icons in the show include the Sorry Suits worn at the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony gig, and the giant Exxon Oil spill protest banner that the band played in front of, at their guerrilla protest gig in new York City. These are great things but I also love Ray Argall’s beautiful film piece which has wonderful concert and crowd footage from the mid 1980’s. The the ’10-1’ doco is brilliant. I love the band’s gear as well – Jim’s Gretsch, Martin’s Strat, Giffo’s Bass and Peter’s skyscaper one-piece mic stand. The gig posters are also great: they are a magnificent collection that tell us about a rich  social history of accessible world class live music, lost venues, lost bands, and of course the amazing career of the Oils.

There are a couple of soundbites including an unreleased Midnight Oil track, and a recording of Jim, Rob and Bear as teenagers in their trio Schwampy Moose. Jim offered that piece saying that ‘people need to know what we sounded like when we were shit’. I’m proud of the text in the exhibition where I had the pleasure of collaborating with the band’s biographer Mark Dodshon. The hand-scrawled lyric sheets are revealing and compelling; a rare insight into the process of the band’s three main songwriters. The hitherto unseen footage of the band playing at Tanelorn in 1981 is awesome….I could go on!

What about the piece which Rob Hirst described as follows:
“The piece de resistance is a replication in a box which has sticky carpet, three screens when you walk in and a curtain you pull behind you. It has footage of the band playing at the Tanelorn Festival in 1981 and there’s two sets of headphones you can choose from – one is loud, the other is really loud – and you can stick to the carpet. There’s elbows that come out from the side of the box so that you can be elbowed in the ribs. What I was trying to do was replicate what it was like coming to see Midnight Oil back then at the Mawson Hotel, the 16 Footers or the Ambassador or whatever.”

This was Rob’s pet project! He wanted a space in the exhibition where visitors could get the feel of an early Oils gig. He suggested a bizarre kind-of ‘bush shower’ to begin- steamy, smelly, loud…as if you were at the Royal Antler Hotel in 1978. I talked him out of that, and we compromised on a portaloo. That wasn’t going to work either. Wendy Osmond (3D designer) suggested we make a big roadcase that you can walk into. It was put together by some helpers including Grant Pudig (a former tour manager for the Oils). Rob had some old pub carpet, but it just wasn’t nasty enough, so we regularly spill a middy of Toohey’s Old and some cigarette butts into the floor to give that special Sydney pub smell.

It’s cramped and heated, and you’re surrounded by three screens featuring crowd scenes from the Hordern and the Oils at Tanelorn playing Cold Cold Change. Rob’s dogged persistence made this ‘Antler Room’  happen, but we have reserved the right to tease him about and it, so it is known as Rob’s Folly. I need to add that without Rob Hirst and his remarkable energy and penchant for collecting, MoMO would never have been born.

Other efforts toward making exhibitions about rock bands have not had the privileged position of having band members at hand, supportive and involved, and yet hands-off when it comes to telling the true stories and avoiding ‘vanity pieces’. Rob, Jim, Peter, Martin, Giffo, Bear and Bones have all been really helpful and generous along with the Oils’ management. The fact that they are as fearless in telling their story as they were as a musical force has given the exhibition project particular grunt.

Making of Midnight Oil - Touring in 2015

I once would have thought of Midnight Oil as a very serious band, with their songs and stance on indigenous issues, homeless youth and the environment (many of us might have been introduced to some of these issues through their songs). These chaps turn out to be relaxed, funny, creative, witty, self-deprecating, super-literate (Rob corrected some of my text panel grammar and he’s meant to be a rock drummer!) and very easy to work with.

Given your hands-on experience with the Oils’ exhibition lately, your ideas about an Australian Music Museum – particularly the venue, format, funding, space and viability would be very interesting to a lot of people.

The interest has been enormous. It’s not just about the Oils, there is broader interest in some recent times when Australian music (rock in particular) was a massive part of our identity. The Midnight Oil story included the politics and issues that band traversed, which gave the show an added dimension. However, the great thing about exhibiting the stories of popular music is how that resonates within our memories, generates intergenerational conversations and cross-cultural conversations (and this is all beautifully documented in our visitors’ writings in MoMO).

I imagine an Australian Music museum having some of the authenticity of MoMO; a place that can feel like a pub in Adelaide, or the Sydney Stadium or Cloudlands or the Countdown set or The Palais at any given opportunity. To do this you need great designers like Wendy Osmond and Virginia Buckingham, the involvement of audience,  and willing and brave contributors like Rob.

I’d like to see the music museum go beyond one space. Perhaps a ‘mothership venue’ with pop-ups around the country. There must be capacity for performance and recording in this space and it must be alive (therefore acoustics and accessibility are important). The key space needs much flexibility. It should be built by roadies as much as by museum makers. A smart government would take on the support of such a venue. We had some good corporate support from Sony Music, perhaps it’s time the music industry to get behind the physical museum project.The benefits are great.

Legendary Australian Venues

 

Save The Palace rally, November 2014.
Save The Palace rally, November 2014. One of several legendary Australian venues

Legendary Australian Venues

The campaigns around Australia, saving Australian music venues from demolition are part of an ongoing mission to preserve ‘living museum spaces’ which once gone – are gone forever. The Palace Theatre on Bourke Street, Melbourne (above) attracted over 30,000 people to its Save the Palace Facebook page. All ages and generations turned up to chalk protests about the destruction of the venue. In its place, developers plan a high-rise hotel.
Through petitions, crowdfunded legal battles, rallies and more, Australians are pushing back against the demolition of music venues in favour of high-rise inner-city apartments where once stood a ‘local’ with its own local bands. Pictured below – Australia music fans at The Esplanade (The Espy) in St. Kilda in the summer of 2016.

The Espy (Jessica Adams)
The Espy (Jessica Adams)

IMG_1313

 

Relaunching the Espy

The Espy, or Esplanade Hotel, St. Kilda, is an Australian institution, and in Melbourne – which many argue is the musical capital of the nation – it has become a symbol of everything musicians and music fans want to save. From the ceiling down. Locals celebrated the return of this sprawling venue, ripe for recreation. Heritage issues in Australia go beyond the bricks-and-mortar historic value of a venue, many argue. We’re talking about memories. Cultural and social living history. The Espy has been a Melbourne institution for generations.

 

The Espy Ballroom Ceiling
The Espy Ballroom Ceiling – saving Australian music venues, one chandelier at a time.

 

Andrew Street and Sarah Taylor on Venue Destruction

“The march toward transforming all of our nation’s cities into a Jenga-block landscape of apartment buildings has a lot of unexpected costs. They change airflow of our streets and recirculate car exhausts. They put massive localised strain onto sewerage systems. And they destroy rock’n’roll.”
Andrew Street, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Andrew Street is just one of many writers, academics, historians and music lovers around the country who have argued for the priceless investment in people and music – as opposed to the pricey (and polluting) cost of ‘Jenga’ development. Sarah Taylor is another.

SARAH TAYLOR

In the 1990s, Sydney was entering a well-documented decennium horribilis. By the late 1990s even the unofficial home-town booster band, The Whitlams, was singing (sadly) about their hometown more than in it. Speaking on radio in 1997, lead singer Tim Freedman commented that Melbourne had ‘a bigger sense of community, in pubs and being part of a crowd’, while inner-city Sydney had been ‘scattered to the wind’ … In addition, a variety of contemporary accounts point to a negative feeling in Sydney live music in the 1990s, depicting the city as a tough place to get a gig or find a friend…”

 

The Corkman Hotel Melbourne

The Corkman pub in Carlton, Melbourne became a symbol of the battle between developers and music fans when it was turned into asbestos dust after an illegal and shameful wrecking operation.

A long-standing home for Irish music in Victoria, The Corkman was also the occasional home of Ned Kelly’s judge and the local legal community – and a classic example of a piece of Melbourne history which has been trashed for apartments.

It is hoped, as the banners around the site proclaim, that The Corkman will rise again. The pink netting over the emergency fences erected to protect the asbestos-riddled, illegally-demolished pub remains – while in Victoria, a legal battle is set to be fought that will hopefully start a serious approach to the preservation of Australian history – and the conservation of the musician and music-lover’s natural habitat; the Great Australian Pub.

The Corkman will Rise Again.
The Corkman will Rise Again.

The Corkman Brick by bloody brick 24-10-2016 at 5.45 PM #2


Saved! The Landsdowne Hotel, Sydney

After years of uncertainty, The Lansdowne Hotel – home to generations of Sydney University students and their favourite bands – is coming back. (Images: Pinterest, Twitter, Rock Brat, ABC).

The Preatures plaque. Part of the #KeepSydneyOpen campaign on Twitter.
The Preatures plaque. Part of the #KeepSydneyOpen campaign on Twitter.
The Dubrovniks poster from Rock Brat.
The Dubrovniks poster from Rock Brat.
The Landsdowne Hotel (ABC)
The Landsdowne Hotel (ABC)
Photographs at Pinterest chosen by Narelle Kempton.
Photographs at Pinterest chosen by Narelle Kempton.

 

 

Resurrecting The Lansdowne in Sydney

The Lansdowne is an Australian hotel worth preserving and resurrecting. Steve Pavlovic, a Sydney promoter who would book Nirvana for an Australian tour –  before Nevermind  hit the charts – famously began his career as manager at The Lansdowne, on Sydney’s Broadway

The Living End, Mudhoney, Hard-Ons, Died Pretty, Go-Betweens and You Am I all played the art deco Lansdowne,  built in the 1920s, designed by prominent local architect Sidney Warden. Its state heritage listing describes it as a “prominent landmark”. Other pubs around Australia have not been so lucky and have met the bulldozers, ending memories – and sometimes, musicians’ careers.

The State Heritage listed Lansdowne had a history – like the ill-fated Corkman and Palace – of being much more than a music venue.  At times it was an occasional haunt of the Sydney Push, a group of young left-wing intellectuals that began congregating in the 1940s.

Without The Lansdowne – there would have been no Half A Cow. Swirl played at an open mic night at the Lansdowne Hotel, and attracted the attention of Nic Dalton, founder of  Half a Cow label (who was mixing all the bands that night). They were part of the “new breed” of Sydney bands that came in the wake of the success of Ratcat and The Hummingbirds.

You Am I and The Landsdowne


Why did Australia have such a healthy music industry as recently as the early 1990’s? Partly because musicians and their fans could afford to rent shared houses within stumbling distance of great pubs, with empty stages.

New Zealand-born Andy Kent (You Am I) was one of them.  A short walk away in Sheppard Street, Chippendale, was Tim Rogers. They spoke about the area to Triple J.

Tim Rogers –   It was pretty fortuitous that you (Andy) just lived up the road, actually. Talking about the soundtrack to a house, Mudhoney were a massive band for us when I was in that Sheppard Street.
Andy: And Bleach was huge.
Tim: That was a big one, my brother Jaimie loved it – he used to live there, and he’d either wanna be Andy’s best mate or suddenly have a turn like us Rogers boys are known to do… it happened all the time.
Andy: I remember he chucked everyone out once! I lived up the road, about 300 metres just on the left, and there was the Lansdowne, the Phoenician… all these great venues that had music happening. Everyone was living around here then; Annandale was far out in those days. You’d go to a pub here and they’d be people you know; you’d go to the Lansdowne or the Phoenician and there’d be people you know.

You Am I released their first EP Snake Tide at the Lansdowne Hotel on 3rd June 1991.  

The Palace Theatre – It’s Not Over Yet

The Palace Theatre, Melbourne, is still boarded up, ready for demolition, years after the first protests to save her, began.  Kate Ceberano is among many performers to have headlined at the venue, who has spoken out about the loss of heritage architecture. Patricia Amphlett, whose cousin Chrissy has a lane named after her, ending at the stage doors of The Palace, has also made a public statement. What’s next? Who knows. But as the campaigners behind Save the Palace say “It’s not over yet!”

“What a tragedy to have to lose such an iconic building with memories that can never be replaced.
It’s too easy to demolish and simply put something up in its place, but you can never replace the investment that has been made in that space. Every note, every ounce of sweat produced on that stage all forgotten…. “like tears in the rain”!  I’d like to think that Melbourne is a city that knows why it invests in its arts and culture…. Why stop at its heritage architecture, especially a building steeped in so much history?”


Kate Ceberano

Kate Ceberano Kensal-Road

 

Every great city of the world has great theatres. Like the Lyceum Theatre in London, The Palace has been an opera house, and a venue for rock bands – including Divinyls, featuring my cousin Chrissy Amphlett – and some great theatre. Like the Lyceum in London, The Palace has also gone through many incarnations. Unlike the Lyceum, sadly, it is not a listed building. As a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame together with Chrissy, I would like to note the number of other ARIA inductees who have performed at The Palace. Perhaps most importantly, The Palace has always been there for the people of Melbourne and the people of Australia as an icon spanning the generations. For the sake of generations past, present and future we should preserve it for music, art and theatre – which it has housed since 1912.

Patricia Amphlett OAM:
National President of Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and former Vice President of Actors’ Equity. Member of the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Patricia Amphlett

Classic Countdown! Music Map

 

CLASSIC COUNTDOWN! MUSIC MAP

 

The Countdown Map
The Countdown Map

An interactive Australian music map, inspired by the old Classic Countdown map, is an ongoing story at AMMP where we add new map pins every month.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Aunty Jack – Wollongong. The entire town. The Aunty Jack album ‘Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong’ features a young Norman Gunston with his Gunstonettes singing ‘Wollongong the Brave.’ Aunty Jack was at the inauguration of colour television in Australia on 1 March 1975. The special beat ABC’s commercial rivals by beginning 3 minutes early, at 11:57 pm 28 March 1975 in black and white and then wiping to colour at midnight.

 

YouTube Farewell Aunty Jack (song)

 

SYDNEY

The Marble Bar at The Hilton Hotel on George Street, Sydney is where Cold Chisel were photographed for their album Breakfast at Sweethearts. Sweethearts in Kings Cross no longer exists but a brass plaque in the pavement marks its location.

Cold Chisel made Sydney their own.
Cold Chisel made Sydney their own.

THE EASYBEATS/AC/DC FAMILY HOME

This before/after shot (Twitter, Pinterest) shows the Young family at 4 Burleigh Street, Burwood.

 

4 Burleigh Street, Burwood (Twitter).
4 Burleigh Street, Burwood (Twitter).

 

THE CIVIC HOTEL, PITT STREET 
Mental as Anything featuring Greedy Smith (below, in a portrait by Paul Worstead) made The Civic Hotel on Pitt Street in the centre of Sydney their own. The old Phantom Records shop was steps away.

The Paul Worstead portrait of Greedy Smith, Mental as Anything.
The Paul Worstead portrait of Greedy Smith, Mental as Anything.

THE HOODOO GURUS
The Hoodoo Gurus are a Sydney band not identified with any one venue, but as Le Hoodoo Gurus, they played The Mosman Hotel, Mosman.

Hoodoo Gurus poster from the brilliant website 1980schild.blogspot.com.au
Hoodoo Gurus poster from the brilliant website 1980schild.blogspot.com.au
MELBOURNE
Skyhooks poster 1970s
Skyhooks poster 1970s

SKYHOOKS
Skyhooks created songs about whole suburbs in Melbourne. Carlton and Balwyn are just two of those namechecked.

HUNTERS AND COLLECTORS
Westgate after the song by Mark Seymour – but also Ormond College, University of Melbourne where John Archer, Doug Falconer and Mark Seymour first met on the way to forming Hunters and Collectors.

ST. KILDA
From St Kilda to Kings Cross by Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls  is just part of the St. Kilda story. So many bands are associated with the area and still play there – like Cold Chisel’s Don Walker – that it has a permanent pin on the Countdown Map.

Time Out

Festival Hall needs no introduction, thanks to Sherbet, Daddy Cool and unknown third support act AC/DC.

ACDC support Sherbet
THE COUNTDOWN STUDIOS, RIPPONLEA
This is where Classic Countdown was filmed and there is a fascinating story on the closure of the old ABC-TV Dream Factory here. Devoted fans including The Countdown Sisters used to make the pilgrimage. Follow them here. (Images: ABC Archives, Twitter, Instagram).

classic coutndown dsisters utndwon club

Ian Meldrum filming Countdown. ABC Archives.
Ian Meldrum filming Countdown. ABC Archives.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Arnhem Land – Yothu Yindi
Aboriginal members of Yothu Yindi came from Yolngu homelands near Yirrkala on the Gove Peninsula in Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land.

ACT

D.A.A.S. – Canberra
You could use up a lot of pins on Google Maps just trying to follow all the busking spots where the Doug Anthony Allstars put their guitar cases down. D.A.A.S. began performing as buskers on the streets of Canberra in 1984, while they were attending university.

NEW! Chrissy Amphlett Street
Melbourne has Amphlett Lane. Canberra now has Amphlett Street. Divinyls fans, start your engines. (Photograph: Twitter @AmphlettLane)

Amphlett Street Canberra named after Chrissy Amphlett.
Amphlett Street Canberra named after Chrissy Amphlett.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA

AC/DC – Largs Pier hotel, Adelaide
During the 70s and 80s Largs hosted Jimmy Barnes with Cold Chisel, AC/DC, The Little River Band and The Angels. Bon Scott, who later became the lead singer of AC/DC, met his wife at the Largs Pier Hotel after a gig in 1971.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Dave Warner From The Suburbs – The Victoria Hotel, Perth
Watch ‘Half Time at the Football’ on YouTube – Dave Warner – “Half-time at the Football” (1981)

Backstage Passes - Greg Phillips
Backstage Passes – Greg Phillips

INXS – Davidson High School, Perth. Imagine this. After recess, Andrew Farriss convincing his fellow Davidson High School classmate, Michael Hutchence, to join his band, Doctor Dolphin.The rest is history. If not actually a band called Doctor Dolphin.

TASMANIA

The Innocents with singer Charlie Tauber put Hobart on the Countdown map when they appeared on the show. Sooner or Later is a power pop classic.

QUEENSLAND

The Saints – Corinda High School.
Author and journalist Clinton Walker:  “I first became aware of the Saints in 1974, while living in Brisbane. I had transferred to a new school, Corinda High. There, in art class, I met a gaggle of antisocial young long hairs that revolved around an embryonic band called the Saints. Perhaps the strongest common bond I had initially with the guys in art was that we all hated hippies. I fell in with them, and it wasn’t long before I fell in the Saints’ thrall too.”
Read more: Raven Records – The Saints – Wild About You 1976-1978

 

RAM Magazine anniversary editions, photographed by owner Michael Witheford
RAM Magazine anniversary editions, photographed by owner Michael Witheford

 

The Go Between Bridge – The Go Betweens
The Go Between Bridge, formerly known as the Hale Street Link, is a toll bridge for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists over the Brisbane River in inner-city Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Countdown GPO Box Melbourne
Countdown GPO Box Melbourne

 

THE COUNTDOWN MAP ON TWITTER
Follow @ammptv on Twitter and send us your map suggestions.

Classic Countdown! From Twitter @ABCTV
Classic Countdown! From Twitter @ABCTV