With an absolute plethora of internet radio stations out there, one could say that the choice of stations open to the listener are infinite. Plenty of options yes, but more often than not the options presented are not offering anything new in terms of playlists. How does one differentiate the cream from the crap? Listen to TuneIn Radio or any number of similar sites – throw a dart and you will more often than not land on a “station” that is airing classic rock / AOR that is akin to AM radio. That’s fine every now and then, but sometimes I want to hear new bands, and guitar rock I haven’t heard before – or, deep cuts from classic artists. How about something from Ronnie Lane I haven’t heard in a long while,  a new Chuck Berry cut I haven’t heard, or something off the new Alice Cooper album? How about some new Americana/ classic rock / Alt county from Whiskey Myers or Tom Petty or Steve Earle? Borstal Boys from The Faces maybe? If the answer to this is yes, like me, you need to be tuning in to “From The Underworld”, (named after The Herd tune) one of the best radio shows out there, which is aired every Saturday night on Phoenix FM from out of Brentwood, Essex in the UK.  (By the way, the aforementioned tunes were just a few of the songs aired on the last couple of episodes). From The Underworld is kind of like the radio equivalent of Classic Rock Magazine for your ears – except better. I used to use that magazine as a source to discover new bands, now I rely on DJ Brian Ager to hip me to the latest sounds. Living in Australia, how else would I have discovered the great new album by Magpie Salute (ex-Black Crowes) or Fireroad, one of the UK’s best bands? Brian has his finger on the pulse and knows what’s cool – and so should you. You don’t have to listen live, as each show is available for free streaming/download, which means you can listen anytime. I get to work on a Monday morning, and diligently listen to Brian’s current show –and so should you. It’s the best out there. And while you are there, check out some of the other cool shows on Phoenix FM – there’s plenty to dive into. Recommended. Check out the current From The Underworld show here.

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484724d3d8927e1a593fda4ef95aa433595d95a2.jpgThe Undermines from Canberra have been at it for a couple of years now – shaping and  sharpening their sound and have just released a killer debut album in TENZEROEIGHT. With a sound that fits effortlessly between Radio Birdman and the New Christs, these guys are the real deal who unashamedly wear their influences on their sleeve – yet don’t for a second think that these guys are carbon copying the Ashton/Tek blueprint. Far from it. Points of reference are important, yet they only paint half the picture, or sound for that matter. For the Undermines have their own hi-energy sound that owes as much to the distinctive vocals of front man Mick Preiss and the melodic twin guitar attack of Jason Sharples/Dylan Webster as anything else. All guys who paid their dues and have a pedigree that extend back to some of Oz rock’s lesser known yet no less significant outfits (including Hell Yes, The Fools, Maui Waui Cowboys amongst others).

In today’s day and age, it’s harder than ever for original Oz guitar rock to get a fair hearing ( I wrote a recent article that broached upon that subject here), less so for those playing Detroit-inspired garage rock. Yet cop the tip from me. The Undermines play unpretentious rock n roll the way it was meant to played – full tilt and in your face, not unlike way the Lazy Cowgirls used to ply it, albeit with a little more finesse that the Cowgirls. The band’s press blurb is also pretty accurate when describing TENZEROEIGHT. “The album offers a melodic, hard edged guitar driven collection of rock ‘n’ roll tracks underscored by a heavy rhythm section with vocals and lyrics inspired by dejection, betrayal, and vindication. TENZEROEIGHT is influenced by the angst and revolutionary attitude of 1970s US Garage Rock with the power and edge unique to an Australian guitar band. All true. TENZEROEIGHT has been quietly released without much fanfare, but I’m here to tell you this is a MONSTER album, with all 12 tracks scoring big points for sheer power, melody and intensity.

From an album chock o block with strong tunes, it’s hard to pin point favourites. The album opens with ‘Get Down Or Lay Down’, foot to the floor garage rock intensity that does not forsake the melody.  ‘Self-Sabotage’ is pure hi-energy, highlighted by some splintering lead guitar work an catchy chorus. Top shelf. There’s the hi- energy action of ‘Shake It’, and ‘Long Gone’ stands out due to its super catchy chorus and melodic lines. Total New Christs – and that is a good thing. Vocalist Mick Preiss has a strong voice, and he sounds great up front and centre in the mix, as he does on ‘Ghost’. Harmony vocals abound and that only adds further value to these tunes. Many other great tunes on display. There’s the brooding ‘Prey’, and ‘Caged And ‘Broken’ probably the album’s plumb for mine. This is garage rock supreme. This tune, like others on the album is highlighted by some searing lead guitar, neat time changes and a memorable vocal delivery. It ain’t ‘Born Out Of Time’ or ‘Face Of  A New God’ , but its heading down that highway – and that is not a comparison I make lightly. High praise but justified. ‘Caged And Broken’ is one hell of a song.

There’s a few key elements that make this is quality album. I have never heard Mick Preiss sound better. His vocal delivery is strong and distinctive.  I must also mention the guitar interplay between Dylan Webster and Jason Sharples. These guys are both ripping players who built a chemistry when they played together back in 1990’s Newcastle outfit The Fools and their fretwork on this record is killer. There are some truly blistering riffs and solos on display. TENZEROEIGHT has great songs, and by that I mean tunes that are catchy, memorable and have melodic lines. Plenty of bands have great riffs, power or intensity – but no hook. No hook, no song if you get my point. Melody is just as significant – and this album has it in spades. Whilst the Undermines clearly know where Birdmen flew, there’s also an originality to the material that makes it distinct.

Any rejuvenated interest generated as a result of the recent Radio Birdman documentary and current tour should justly point those fans towards the Undermines –a band who should be on your rock radar if not already. TENZEROEIGHT is a good starting point, and scored 9 out of 10 from Cowboy Col. You can buy CD copies of the album via the band’s website for $15 or digital copies for $9.99. Money well spent.  For more information head to www.undermines.net

Take a listen to the tune ‘Transcontinental’ below.

143814-L-LO.jpgFestival Records thankfully continue to reissue/repackage and reinvigorate great Australian rock ‘n’ roll that would otherwise be lost to time. ‘When Sharpies Ruled’ is a 23 track compilation CD with exhaustive liners notes, a superb photo book and a wealth of first hand insight – not just into the music – but the whole Sharpie sub-culture as well. Vicious Sloth Collectables from Melbourne ably assisted in this compilation – with head Sloth Glen Terry providing insightful liner notes. Sharpies, or Sharps, were members of suburban youth gangs in Australia, most significantly from the 1960s and 1970s who were particularly prominent in Melbourne, but were also found in Sydney and Perth to lesser extents. The name comes from their focus on looking and dressing “sharp”. Sharpies would often congregate in large numbers, regularly attending live bands at town hall and high school dances and early discos. They were identified by their distinctive close cropped haircuts and attire of Lee or Levi jeans, cardigans, jumpers, and T-shirts.

The most well-known of all ‘Sharp’ bands— were the Coloured Balls, and they are well represented here with three songs, ‘Time Shapes,’ ‘Flash’ and ‘Love You Babe’.  The Coloured Balls had the ‘sharp’ look, right down to the haircuts, and were the most identifiable of all sharp bands – and arguably the sub-cultures musical embodiment. Their hard rocking boogie sound was due to the distinctive guitar of Lobby Loyde, a player who still hasn’t got his dues for pioneering influence on Oz guitar rock.  From the Brisbane days of Purple Hearts right though to Rose Tattoo and even latter day material he recorded with Fish Tree Mother – his impact cannot be overstated. And let’s not forget the hand he played as a producer on many of Australia’s punk and post punk bands including X and the Sunnyboys.  Dig deep into his musical history – the Coloured Balls is a good place to start, and on this comp you get 3 top notch Balls tunes. Dig the solo on ‘Time Shapes’ and you will get a glimpse of why he is revered by so many – but not enough in my books.

Thorpie is also included here with ‘Let’s Have A Party’, a deep live cut from Sunbury ’74, as are Buster Brown with ‘Roll Over Beethoven. If you have never heard Angry pre-Rose Tattoo, this is a good starting point. As is well known, Buster Brown included future members of AC/DC and Tattoo in their ranks. The inclusion of Skyhooks, another of Melbourne’s early 70’s cutting edge outfits is noteworthy, as Greg Macainsh, as an art student, had put together a film on the Sharps called ‘Sharpies’ in 1974. Macainsh’s liner notes and photo stills from his film add greater authenticity to the CD as a whole. One of, if not the, song writer of his generation.

Finch are remembered most for having hot shot young guitar player Bob Spencer in their ranks, yet one listen to ‘Out Of Control’ or the glam punk hit ‘Hey Spunky’ reminds the listener that charismatic front man Owen Orford had a great set of pipes and were a great band who wrote great hard rock hits with melody aplenty. Yet its Orford’s stout vocal delivery that lifted the Finch material. I still think that ‘Hey Spunky’ sounds like ‘Bad Boy For Love’, at least on the verses. Hey Spunky sounds great given the digital treatment.  Finch were killer, as were there reincarnation, Contraband.

Rose Tattoo’s blistering ‘Remedy’ fits with the album’s theme, and sounds superb. The song belongs to Mick Cocks, the man with the fastest right hand. The precision, the guitar tone – it never sounded better than on ‘Remedy’. A song that almost 40 odd years later would still blow most others away for sheer power and intensity.

Timeline is important. Whilst sharps weren’t purely a Melbourne based sub-culture, this is where they were most prominent.  In today’s homogenised society, people forget that their once existed a Sydney Melbourne rivalry. The whole Speedwell Malvern Star thing. Melbourne had trams, they played VFL, Sydney was a rugby league town where Tooths or Reschs were the brewers of choice.  You remember the scene in ‘They’re A Weird Mob’ where the Sydney cab driver tells Graham Kennedy to get back to Melbourne? Lines were drawn –and this also extended, to a lesser extent, to rock n roll. Whilst bands like Hush, TMG and Newcastle’s Rabbit never sported any crew cuts, musically, they had broad appeal that attracted the sharp crowd – in the same way that a band like Slade did, with their infectious glam boogie stomp. The great blues player Kevin Borich also gets a couple of tunes on the CD, one with the La De Das and also with the KB Express. ‘I’m Goin’ Somewhere’ in particular is a lesser known Oz hard rock/blues classic and reason enough for you to buy this CD. Great tune.

Other prominent Melbourne bands to get a guernsey on the CD are Taste with ‘Tickle Your Fancy’, the title track from their debut album – and also La Femme, with the ’79 punk classic ‘Chelsea Kids’. La Femme may have sounded like they came out of Bromley, but they in fact had Sharp bloodlines, and included ex Sharpie gang members in their ranks. ‘Chelsea Kids’ is a classic. Fact. If you thought the Sharpie influence on music/fashion/culture had died out by the late 70s, you were mistaken. Some may recall Tracy Mann’s character ‘Samantha’ in the 1980 movie ‘Hard Knocks’. I digress.

As a fan of Oz rock, what makes this an essential purchase is the inclusion of three songs by Fat Daddy, Bullet and Fatty Lumpkin. The singles by these three bands are near impossible to find, yet have been dusted off, digitalised and made available to all – and this is where Festival Records excel. No other Australian label has the dedication, devotion nor commitment to long lost Oz rock quite like the good folk at Festival – and they do it very well.

Fat Daddy released a great slice of boogie back in ’76 with their single, ‘Roll Daddy Roll’ on Brian Cadd’s Bootleg label. Its inclusion here is important as Fat Daddy were popular with the sharps. On a side note, Fat Daddy morphed into another great Melbourne hard rock band called Texas. (I interviewed Ken Murdoch of Taste/Texas a couple of years back and we talked about these bands and this time period in Melbourne rock. Listen to that interview free here). Perth’s Fatty Lumpkin released four singles in their four year existence yet never an album. ‘Movin’ from 1976  is great, original hard rock with John Meyer’s distinctive fret work prominent. Meyer later turned up in Perth HM band Saracen and then Rose Tattoo. The inclusion of ‘Movin’ on this CD is gold – a nugget that deserves to be heard.

The inclusion of the glam-edged ‘Rock My Lady’ from long forgotten mid 70’s Sydney hard rockers Bullet is further reason to pick up the album. Bullet only released one single on the Atlantics label, Chicago Records. Man this rocker has groove with a capital G and sounds revitalized given the digital treatment. Festival could also have gone with ‘Mover’ the equally rockin B side, and lost no slack. 23 tracks in total – and no filler in sight. I must also mention the artwork and packaging that accompanies this CD. Festival have really gone to town with this one. Nice slip case and two booklets laden with information, reminiscences, facts, musings and a stack more. One booklet is 28 pages, the other a whopping 60 page photo book stacked with original images provided by sharpies from the period. All in all – a no risk ten out of ten from Cowboy Col. Available where all good CD’s are sold, including here. Thoroughly recommended.  

For over ten years Gigi Hangach fronted Los Angeles outfit Phantom Blue. Both Phantom Blue’s debut album from 1989 and their second major label release – 1994’s ‘Built to Perform’ have long been favourite albums of Mr Rockbrat. Tune in to hear an interview which Denis Gray conducted with Gigi in Las Vegas on 22 December, 2010 – where she discusses her life in rock n roll, Phantom Blue and much, much more ! This interview originally aired on the Rockbrat Radio podcast (now defunct) at 10PM on 24 December 2010.

Tod Howarth first surfaced on our rock n roll radar in the mid-80’s, as a member of Frehley’s Comet. Yet Howarth’s time spent working with Ace Frehley is only one chapter – in a lifetime spent producing catchy and memorable rock tunage. Currently with Four By Fate (who recently did some Australian dates) – he has also done time in 707, Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent among others. On show #73 of The Australian Rock Show – we caught up with Tod after a recent gig for a chat – and looked over some of his many career highlights. If there’s a message in the rock and roll you’re gonna find it here ! Play loud.

Check out this episode!

Episode 72 – Dave Tice Interview

Posted: May 25, 2017 by rockbrat in Uncategorized

On episode 72 of the Australian Rock Show, Steven Danno sits down with Dave Tice, front man for Australia’s heavy rock pioneers Buffalo. In an exhaustive interview, Dave digs deep into his rock history and details the stories behind some of the most iconic Buffalo songs. Influential, iconic and rightly revered as one of Australian rock n roll’s greatest vocalists, this is an interview you don’t wanna miss. Play loud !

Music by: Buffalo

Check out this episode!

ARS71.jpgTranscript of interview conducted by the Australian Rock Show podcast (interview conducted 18 May 2017)

Since uploading her first video to YouTube, Juliette Jade (formerly Valduriez) has attracted a huge supporter base online – with 100’000 subscribers and millions of fans viewing her clips. Her covers of Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Metallica, Jimi Hendrix and Ozzy have been widely acclaimed, helping to launch the career of this gifted French guitarist. After an extended break, Juliette re-appeared late last year with the release of her debut album ‘Terrarium’. Her unique style has generated much excitement amongst guitar players and rock fans the world over – and on show #71, in her first ever interview,  Juliette talks exclusively to The Australian Rock Show about her new album, her amazing musical journey and much more.


Australian Rock Show: Juliette, it’s wonderful to talk with you – welcome to the Australian Rock Show….

Juliette Jade: Thankyou for inviting me

ARS: Firstly, I know that there are many many people who are interested in learning more about you, so thankyou very much for taking time to chat with me…..

JJ: You’re welcome

ARS: Now I must start this interview by congratulating you on the release of ‘Terrarium’ – your debut album which was released late last year. It’s a very impressive debut. How do you feel to have finally released an album’s worth of your original songs ?

JJ: I feel relieved. It was a very ambitious project since from composition to production I did it all by myself in a Do It Yourself kind of way. I also feel relieved because people seem to like my work.

ARS: They do, many people like your work so from start to finish, how long did it take you to write and record the album ?

JJ: Over two years

ARS: We’ll look over the album later – but I do want to start by asking you about your amazing journey which began seven years ago…. you uploaded your first video onto YouTube in 2010, which attracted a huge response online – you now currently have over 100’000 YouTube subscribers – your videos have been viewed by millions – I can only imagine you were astonished by the response you received after uploading those first couple of videos ?

JJ: Yes it’s been quite amazing I didn’t expect that. To me, uploading videos on YouTube was the best way to present my work as a guitarist and as a composer (with ‘Lost Paradise’ and the solo’s I wrote)

ARS:and then there was a long four year period commencing in 2012 – where you seemingly vanished from the world of YouTube and social media. Many of your fans would like to know why you took such a long break ?

JJ: Well I didn’t feel like doing more covers and I needed to start working on my own material – not only guitar solo’s on to well known songs. Plus I didn’t want to be known as a YouTube phenomenon, but as a good musician, that’s all.

ARS: Okay let’s go back a bit – an obvious question is how did your love affair with the guitar begin and how old were you ?

JJ: As a child the music I listened to was centred on the guitar. I always loved the instrument itself and I loved the fact that you can take it everywhere with you. I got my first acoustic guitar when I was about 12, but in the beginning I only played a few chords by myself. I started learning seriously how to play when I was about 14 I guess…

ARS: So 12 years old was when you got your first guitar – I have read comments describing you as a musical prodigy – did you take guitar lessons as a child or are you self-taught ?

JJ: Well that’s a nice comment but I consider myself very far from being a guitar prodigy. I’ve had a few teachers but honestly I mostly learned alone by playing over my CD’s, with my books, videos and with my metronome.

ARS: Are you from a musical family ?

JJ: There are no musicians, although there was always music around. My mother listened to a lot of very cool stuff I must say.

ARS: What kind of artists was she playing ? What French artists ?

JJ: French ? Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy – stuff like that

ARS: Were you in any bands growing up ?

JJ: No unfortunately.

ARS: If you had to choose one or two of your guitar heroes, who would they be and why ?

JJ: Can I choose three ? That would be Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde and James Williamson because I love their sound and their energy, I love them.

ARS: What do you like about Randy Rhoads’ style ?

JJ: Everything, everything. I’m very moved by his playing.

ARS: Are there any French guitar players who influenced you ?

JJ: No, not yet.

ARS: I note that there is a keyboard and also a bass guitar in a couple of your videos – I am assuming you can play those instruments too – besides the guitar ?

JJ: I play the keyboard – mostly in my own compositions, but rarely. In my music I prefer working with the synthesizer and I do play the bass and also the drums. It’s actually my favourite instrument to play besides the guitar.

ARS: Wow, okay the drums.

JJ: Yeah I wish I could practice more, it’s one of my favourite instruments.

ARS: Now in your videos you are playing mostly Gibson guitars (an SG, a Melody Maker) yet also a stunning looking Parker Fly (Deluxe) – do you have a personal favourite ?

JJ: Well, I sold them all along the way, so my favorite guitar is the one I have left and it’s the 1962 Gibson Melody Maker. It’s the one I play on my recent YouTube videos. It’s also the only guitar I used for the recording of ‘Terrarium’ – I really love it. I recently got a Fender that I really like.

ARS: Those Parker Fly’s are very light aren’t they – what do you look for in a guitar when you are buying one ?

JJ: The lightness is definitely something I look for in a guitar, I need to feel comfortable playing it y’know ? and about the Fender, it’s one I really like because it has a short scale with twenty two frets, so it’s really comfortable and I don’t make my fingers bleed anymore so that’s definitely a plus.

ARS: With regards to your YouTube clips – why did you select those particular tracks to cover on guitar – ? (for example Pink Floyd, Stones, Beatles, Hendrix, Ozzy etc)

JJ: They inspire me – they gave me the opportunity to present my guitar work in different ways.

ARS: One thing I learned from your YouTube video’s is that you have a wide taste and good knowledge of music – stuff like Hendrix and the Stones are obvious covers – but taking on songs by The Exploited, Motorhead and The  Stooges – that to me shows you have good taste in rock n roll….

JJ: Thankyou

ARS: The one video of yours which has attracted the most attention is the cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – and I believe it is because in only two short minutes – you manage to play with so much feel – putting your own touch to a very famous solo – and in some way, you make it your own. I am sure even David Gilmour would appreciate it…

JJ: Thankyou very much. I play this solo with respect but definitely my own way – so I understand why some hardcore David Gilmour fans hate it but that’s okay

ARS: Juliette, let’s look over the album if we may – where was ‘Terrarium’ recorded ? A home studio ?

JJ: Yes, it was recorded at home.

ARS: All of the music – eleven songs – was composed and performed by yourself – which is an amazing achievement – and the reviews and comments online have mostly all been positive. A big endorsement right there, that your hard work and effort in cutting (recording) an album has paid off….

JJ: Thankyou. I’m very grateful for the support of the people who bought my album. If some of them are listening I want to thank them again – and I want to thank you as well for the review of ‘Terrarium’ I really appreciated it.

ARS: I want to touch on the lyrics if I can… they’re wonderful, thought provoking lyrics on Terrarium – some dark and brooding (displayed on the song ‘Killer) – yet the lyrical content overall is very poetic. And these are lyrics that weave themselves around your guitar work so well. Now all lyrics were written by ‘Cati’ – is that your song-writing partner ?

JJ: Yes Cati is my lyricist. She wrote all the lyrics on the album. Except for the lyrics of the song ‘Room 7’ which I wrote myself.

ARS: OK I do want to highlight a couple of these lyrics if I may…..firstly from the song ‘Room 7’: “My limbs are attached, Somehow they do not match. My heart is racing in the chest of another being”. Amazing – can you please explain what the song Room 7 is about ?

JJ: There are several readings I guess, I would rather prefer to let everyone free to find the meaning that the lyrics suggest to them

ARS: ‘Ashes Of Light’ is another stunning tune with some cutting and powerful lyrics – “Night arises In your eyes, Ashes of light Spread over My life, As my heart Falls apart Endlessly” – Wow, that’s impressive stuff, can you tell me the meaning of that particular song ?

JJ: It’s about the dawn of a tremendous sorrow. Everybody can relate to this song because sooner or later we will be confronted by the death of those we love. I think her lyrics are beautiful.

ARS: They are, they’re very very beautiful – Juliette being a rock n roll guy – one of my favourite tracks on the album is the straight forward and infectious song Hellicoptre – one which contains some of your most potent guitar work by the way – it’s sung in french, so I am hoping you can give me the background to that song Hellicoptre please….

JJ: It’s the story of some serialistic and apocalyptic journey on earth and around. it’s a play on rhymes – a play on words

ARS: I love it, one of my favourite tracks on the album – so, having a record contract in today’s modern age is not as crucial as in past years, but I would like to know if any record label have shown interest in you ?

JJ: Not yet.

ARS: Your vocals on Hellicoptre – actually the whole album are easy on the ear and very pleasant – at times a little haunting – but they suit the material on the album so well….. Is singing something you’ve always done or is it new to you ?

JJ: Yeah it’s pretty new – it’s pretty new

ARS: How would you judge your own voice ? You have a good rock voice ?

JJ: Well, I think it’s a good contrast with my guitar playing

ARS: Agreed they work very well together. Now the song that initially got me interested in you online is one called ‘Lost Paradise’ – it clocks in at under two minutes, but displays so much of your style and natural flair so well. Were there any plans to include ‘Lost Paradise’ on the album ?

JJ: Well not really, but maybe in the future I will turn it into a real song I don’t know.

ARS: Please do, I think a lot of people would like to hear that in recorded form

ARS: Are you currently working on new material ?

JJ: Yes, yes I am, I have lots of ideas.

ARS: Personally one aspect I really enjoyed about Terrarium, is that it is not just 11 songs of loud, guitar-shred rock n roll. Yes – the shredding and stunning guitar work – that signature sound of yours is indeed all throughout the album, but that is only one component. And to be honest, I think many people who also bought this album would’ve discovered that fact as well, and if you’ve read the many positive comments online – are enjoying it as much as I am – so again, congratulations.

JJ: Thankyou so much

ARS: Juliette, we should wind this interview up – what are your plans for the remainder of 2017 ? are there any live shows planned ?

JJ: Well not yet, I will do my best to find a record label to work with – unfortunately it’s the only way to produce a decently recorded album – to promote it and then to go on tour – to give live shows..

ARS: If people wish to buy your album and also contact you – juliettejade.bandcamp.com is that the best place they should visit ?

JJ: Yes

ARS: Before you go I want to say congratulations once again on releasing your album and I sincerely hope that your career in music continues to grow – your unique style of guitar playing – the flair, feel and emotion you have – creates a sound which is truly all your own…you’ve managed to captivate and generate much excitement among guitar players and music fans the world over. So please continue to do what you do – because it provides many of us with much enjoyment….

JJ: Thankyou for your kind words, for your support and for inviting me to do this interview.

Purchase Terrarium by Juliette Jade at: https://juliettejade.bandcamp.com