Australian Made – The Models
Australian Made is the legendary Eighties national tour (including Hobart, even) which took Countdown faces into different spaces. Fronted by The Models, Divinyls, INXS and Jimmy Barnes, it also introduced The Saints to crowds who’d never seen them before.
I Hear Motion
INXS, Divinyls, Models, The Triffids, The Saints, I’m Talking, Jimmy Barnes and Mental As Anything dominated a line-up with two famous female singers (Chrissy Amphlett and Kate Ceberano) and both R.M. Williams boots and cowboy boots.
Australian pub rock with its impatient crowds, close singer-fan contact, rising summer temperatures and big beer supply – made for charismatic frontmen like Michael Hutchence, Jimmy Barnes, Sean Kelly and James Freud.
Spotlight on The Models
The Summer of 1983 Soundtrack
Programmed on Rage by Toby Cresswell, Craig Mathieson and John O’Donnell as an Australian classic, extended to nearly seven minutes since it first appeared in 1983, I Hear Motion is now over 35 years old.
From the Top 20 album, The Pleasure of Your Company, produced by the soon-to-be-famous Nick Launay, the single reached number 16 in the Australian charts. Andrew Duffield, James Freud, Sean Kelly and Barton Price found themselves adopted by Countdown and appeared in this film clip on 25th September, 1983, just as the song became an unforgettable Australian summer soundtrack.
The Melbourne Art-Rock Experiment
The most subversively odd pop group in Oz musical history, Models have had more line-up changes than recipe ideas in Nigella Lawson’s head, but Sean Kelly has remained steadfast front and centre stabbing at his stuttering staccato guitar. Originally an art-rock experiment, Models moved into commercial territory without selling out. I suppose they did eventually but that was a few years after this single.
Andrew Duffield has always been my personal favourite amongst keyboardists and the sequenced opening riff to I Feel Motion, nodding in appreciation to Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, is some of his finest work. Kelly’s voice is strangled and bursts out after what seems like an argument in his mouth. The chorus is Ebola catchy, the verses peculiar as always.
One of the tracks on the sublime The Pleasure Of Your Company LP, this was Models at their best appealing to pop and rock fans alike. It was a memorable time for Melbourne bands. Hunters and Collectors, Australian Crawl, the list is long.
The band still plays. And you’ll see your friends there. Or mine at least. Michael Witheford.
The Models in Roadrunner
The November 1980 edition of Roadrunner is now available to read online. It came with a free copy of Models’ classic record AlphaBravoCharlieDeltaEchoFoxtrotGolf for subscribers and was priced at 60 cents.
Buy Models Books, Music and Sheet Music
Buy James Freud’s autobiography here.
Buy I Hear Motion here.
Buy sheet music here.
The Nick Launay website is here.
Michael Witheford is a freelance writer and author. He has been published by RAM, Juke Magazine, On The Street, Beat, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Launceston Examiner, The Melbourne Sunday Sun, Melbourne Times and various periodicals. His novel Buzzed was published by Penguin in 2002.
He wrote songs, played bass guitar and sang in the Fish John West Reject and ARIA nominated Lust In Space, among many bands.
He now lives in Tasmania and is working on a memoir and personal account of the Tasmanian and Melbourne Music scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
3 Replies to “Australian Made – The Models”
Models were a band I loved operating the lighting for . ALL their songs were so good and I used alot of projection and animation back in 1984 – 85 .I told the storie of each song and the band hired me a a walk in lighting operater .It was the ” Out of mind out of sight tour” Tthey were rocking .I hear motion was such a great song for the lights as James did a nice lead brake in it .. I used Cartoon cogs in opterconetic projectors on a chase ,,White lighting blue stobes and the first robotic par 64 moving lights which I used raylite kites in them .They were sitting at no 1 . Great times in my life ..I still watch all my lighting that m.t.v shot for Oz for Africa Models . And Cold fever . R.I.P JAMES , MY OLD FRIEND. .Chris Simmons Concert Lighting .
Great to hear from you, thank you.