The Rockbrat Blog

rollercoasterWell, I’m gonna go out on a limb here – but I’m confident. We are only a quarter into the year – and already, the albums of the year have arrived. Makes little difference what comes out in the next 8 months, I’m here to tell you that nothing released this year will surpass the two new albums from Georgia’s finest – the great Dan Baird. For Dan Baird fans – Christmas has indeed come early. He has released not one – but TWO new albums, and both are exceptional.

Baird has released many albums since the Satellites demise, commencing with his first album in 1992, ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. ‘Buffalo Nickel’ was good, (LOVE ‘Cumberland River’), as was ‘Out Of Mothballs’, and the material he released with Yayhoos is also exceptional, yet the albums he has released with Homemade Sin have taken him to a whole new…

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wells_iafWells has worked tirelessly to earn the position he now holds as one of Australia’s premier bluesman, with minimal industry and public support. Yet for overseas readers, you don’t land support slots with Dylan, Marianne Faithfull, Robert Cray or The Stray Cats (to name a few) if you ain’t the genuine article, and Wells is definitely that and then some. This is the latest effort from the original rock n roll outlaw, and sees Wells sticking to the well worn booze n blues boogie formula he practically invented all those years ago. Pete Wells-rock n roll has always maintained broad blues appeal, yet at the same time never forsaken fans more familiar with his heavier work with Rose Tattoo. The tunes representative on this CD should again satisfy both parties. A generous 19 tracker with highlights aplenty. The mess o blues of ‘Can’t Stand Up’, or the Chuck Berry approved ‘Sideshow Blues’ agreed with me, as did a reworked romp through ‘Taking The Pain Away’, heavy on the slide with that always likeable piano accompaniment. The Tatts like ‘Born To Lose’ (no not the Heartbreakers classic) is typical Wells boogie and the choice cut for mine, but hey, Wellsy could release an album of Spice Girls covers and it would still sound fucking great to me. Choice covers include ‘Don’t Lie To Me’, ‘Nadine’, and even a Keef approved romp thru ‘Get Off My Cloud’. If that’s not enough you get some live numbers as well which feature his Tatts accomplice Mick Cocks on guitar. Along with Lobby Loyde, the most influential Oz guitar player alive.

(Archive Source: Cat Scratch Fever/Vicious Kitten Records Newsletter Issue 1: May 1999)

R-3751733-1342921765-7233.jpegTotal trash-punk mayhem from one of the best out there – Detroit’s infamous Trash Brats. First off I gotta say that this is the coolest artwork I have seen in a long time, with the lads in caricature guise.( and also the coolest lyrical sex-theme since Sydney’s Candy Harlots released ‘Red Hot Rocket’ back in ’88. ) ‘Rocket To Heaven’ is a sheer classic rock ‘n’ roll song, heavy on the melody, a rock solid chorus and as snotty and trashy as they come. Raucous guitars, punchy vocals, some piano, and you have what is without a doubt the best song the Brats have put out. Plenty of Dolls-isms for the purists, yet this stuff stands on his own merits, and it’s FUN. Cross the Dead Boys with Kiss maybe and you are on the money.This should be massive. In an equitable world, teenage girls would be pinnin’ up Brats posters on their bedroom walls and guys would be playing air-guitar to ‘Rocket To Heaven’. It’s just that good ! Yet Matchbox 20 and the Foo Fighters are today’s rock ‘n’ roll stars ? Give me a break already.The flip side is a raunchy run through the old Dead Boys standard ‘3rd Generation Nation’ which again cooks. Buy this one without any risk at all. On the very cool Lawless label.

(Archive Source: Cat Scratch Fever/Vicious Kitten Records Newsletter Issue 6: Jan 2001)

MI0001508095The Dragons are one of the most bitchin’ rock ‘n’ roll bands doin’ the rounds, and live, well that’s where they really come into their own. The Dragons attacks their material with gusto, and a sheer love of rock ‘n’ roll’s rich legacy – from the Stones to Thunders to Joan Jett to the Replacements- they keep tearin’ the same dog eared page out of the rock ‘n’ roll scrap book and plying it over and over again – and dammit it sounds good to this old rock dog !.Captured live on their home turf at San Diego’s Casbah, the Dragons churn out a selection of their own rockin’ ditties as well as dispensing a fair old kicking to some much-loved chestnuts. Supercharged melodies delivered with a gut feeling for a groove, you’d be pretty hard to please if you didn’t find something hear to your liking. Cool covers of Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’, the Four Horsemen’s ‘Let it Rock’, the Dolls ‘Puss n’ Boots’ all rock with a capital R, yet a run through of Freddie Fender and his Texas Tornados ‘Adios Mexico’ is pretty much consummate rock ‘n’ roll as far as I’m concerned. Jack Daniels and Coke, dirty sounding low-slung guitars – yep, this is as good as it gets.

(Archive Source: Cat Scratch Fever/Vicious Kitten Records Newsletter Issue 6: Jan 2001)

rilen.jpgDamn this is good….real good. If this isn’t the best Australian release of the year then I’d like to know what is.
Is it necessary to introduce the man ? OK, for the benefit of the few who weren’t listening the first time around. Rilen formed the seminal Australian rock ‘n’ roll beast that be Rose Tattoo, created new visions in boogie punk with X, and has since been with Sardine V, the truly wonderful Hell To Pay and over recent years has carved out a niche for himself with his own outfit, Skindiver. Like his tattooed brother-in-arms Pete Wells, Rilen is the real deal. He creates real rock ‘n’ roll, soaked in beer, sweat, and a lifetime of rock ‘n’ roll memories that a thousand pretentious Axl Rose wannabe’s could only dream of. Don’t expect the blistering heavy boogie of the Tatts though. Uh uh. Take it down a few notches and feel the low-down cool of a man who has lived the life, and has the scars to prove it. New versions of ‘401’ and ‘Booze To Blame’ swagger along with intent, guided by Rilen’s liquor scarred throaty vocal delivery. ‘Letter’ a simple, low-down guitar ditty is hard to beat, as is the authentic delivery of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Man’, self-expression if ever there was. ‘It’s OK’ with it’s simple three chord shuffle and likeable low-down melody comes close to being the album’s personal pick, yet that plaudit goes to ‘Deep Sea Floor’, a stark and emotive plea, stripped back, with Rilen’s deep voice shining through on a song thats brilliance relies entirely on it’s uncomplicated charm and easy drifting melody. Songs of love, broken hearts, booze and rock ‘n’ roll, Rilen has come up trumps. My god was, is and always shall be Johnny Thunders, a guy whose authenticity, originality, and sincerity put him in a class that few come close to. Those three same qualities you will find in Ian Rilen. In my humble opinion, Love is Murder is the Australian album of the year. Buy some bona fide rock ‘n’ roll spirit today, an enriching listening experience.

(Archive Source: Cat Scratch Fever/Vicious Kitten Records Newsletter Issue 6: Jan 2001)

00052796.jpgThere’s been a big rock revival in recent years, led in the main by the Scandinavian fraternity. Yet the time is right for the brethren of rock n roll to rise yet again to the top of the world, and that brotherhood is Australian rock n roll, and the time is now ! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Hellacopters and all that, but the trip they take was pioneered and perfected by Oz bands. It’s taken The Hellacopters in particular for people to realise that Australian rock n roll is on the way back – in a big way. Brother Brick, Asteroid B-612, Blood Sucking Freaks, Z-28, Repo, Stunt Car Drivers, Powder Monkeys, Challenger 7, Panadolls, Sheek The Shayk, Freeloaders – and of course the Yes Men! I’d been eagerly awaiting the release of this sucker, and it certainly does not disappoint. In fact if anything it exceeded my expectations. Opening with the wild ride that is ‘Ma Raf Vo’, and then slotting into the groove heavy ‘What’s Wrong’, with it’s killer guitar work and growling vocal delivery of Sean Greenway, it’s hard to top. ‘Your Hanging’ with it’s big fat sound quickly won me over. The laid back groove of ‘Stripping Music’ kinda reminded me of a stripped back ‘Ride On’, again heavy on the groove. Pick for mine though is ‘Acid Reign’, with it’s full-on assault and the signature Leadfinger sound all over it, although ‘Casting Stones’ ran a close second. Lotsa great rock n roll to choose from, twelve cuts in all. Well recommended.

(Archive Source: Cat Scratch Fever/Vicious Kitten Records Newsletter Issue 4: April/May 2000)

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photo: C.Gray

1) Stew, what’s been happening with the Brother Brick of late ?  We’ve been touring to Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and a lot of other places, played about 20 plus shows in the last 4 months so that’s taken up a lot of time. Been trying to finish up the writing of an EP now and also get the profile of the band a bit bigger in home town Sydney. There is a new 7″ pressed and on the way from Spain too (Bang! Records) called ‘See You Tonight’ – it’s a killer as well but yeah we are mainly trying to get this new recording together. 2) And the plans for 2000 for the Yes Men.  A Euro tour ? That would be great and it may happen in August cos I heard that White Jazz is gonna release the album (called “Prosody”) over there in July, it has already been released here on CD and vinyl on Stolen Records just this month. If the Yes Men can get over there I am hoping to also do a Brick tour on the back end and kill two birds with the one guitar! 3) What have you been listening to of late ? The Byrds (especially Untitled / Sweetheart of the Rodeo), Turbo Negro, The posthumously just released Freeloaders album –”Through the Sound Barrier”, Challenger 7- “Payola”, Son Volt -“Wide Swing Tremolo”, Nikki Sudden – “Red Brocade”, Ian Underwood’s (Challenger 7-Kryptonic’s) nightmare touring stories, Rugby League, Cricket, Watts album and the Yes Men – “Prosody” 4) The Move or classic Quo ? Not too familiar with The Move so I’ll have to go with Quo, although I much prefer the Pretty Things and the Who. 5) Brother Brick have just done a bunch of shows in Melbourne and Adelaide. Did you get a chance to see Repo, whom I rate as one of Oz’s best) ?  Yes I did – they were loud and proud and it was a good night, they have a great drummer – Jay Young who also used to play in the Bloodsucking Freaks and currently plays in another great band in Adelaide called Z-28. 6) Holden, Ford or Chrysler ?  If you have ever seen my Epiphone Wiltshire guitar then you will know that the answer to that is Chrysler. I used to have a Ford Falcon XW or XY that I really dug too. 7) Do you have a favourite axe of choice ?  Yes – I like tomahawks but a good heavy meat axe is also handy to have around the house whenever you need to execute errant housemates or guests 8) A message for all the Cat Scratch Fever readers out there ?  Ummmm…rock ‘n’ roll is punk and punk is rock ‘n’ roll…Triple J Sucks!!!!!….smash the system!!!! …oh yeah – Cat Scratch Fever people I love you guys – you are the true rock ‘n’ roll people…am I raving on or what???? (I just got out of a van after driving 11 hours on a hangover and no sleep, last night we got totally stinking and nearly pissed on some music industry wanker for fun, in fact I am still a bit smelly so I had better go take my medication and have a bath… good night all.

(Archive Source: Cat Scratch Fever/Vicious Kitten Records Newsletter Issue 4: April/May 2000)