Posts Tagged ‘Rose Tattoo’

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)

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)

165194-L-LOIf you need a reminder of why Australian rock n roll of the 1970 and 80s was the best in the world – then ‘The Glory Days Of Aussie Pub Rock’ is for you. Festival Records have done a superb job in capturing the best bands of that period, with a whopping 4 CD, 90 song set that has something for everyone. The obvious guitar heavyweights of the pub rock period are represented – with songs by Cold Chisel, The Angels, Divinyls and Rose Tattoo – yet what makes this comp a standout from others, is that the good folks at Festival have given some thought and insight when putting the project together. For example: Unlike other previous comps, where the ‘obvious’ hit was the choice to represent the band – on this CD, it’s not the case. The Angels tune is not the somewhat tired sounding ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, but the Birdman influenced ‘Shadow Boxer’. The Rose Tattoo tune is ‘One Of The Boys’ which probably should have been released as a single. By taking this approach – it means that the CD set will appeal to seasoned punters who were actually there during these halcyon days – as well as those who weren’t. Smart move. The Skyhooks tune is even a non-Shirley tune – with the often overlooked ‘Over The Border’ sounding vital and relevant. Superb, McCainsh lyrical wit as you’d expect.

 It’s good to hear pub rock stalwarts The Radiators, a band that probably should have had success overseas in the early 80s, as well as Spy V Spy – both bands I saw in countless Sydney pubs in the 1980s.  My favourite Spy’s tune is ‘Sally Ann’, but ‘Hard Times’ reminds you why this band were pub rock kingpins in the mid 80s. Rose Tattoo’s Pete Wells ‘Between The Saddle and The Ground’ is one of the other highlights. Plaintive, Dylanesqe vocal delivery – outlaw country – melodic, memorable riff – a tune that should have been bigger that what it was.

 It’s good that the OL’55 tune is ‘C’mon Let’s Do It’ and not the go-to tune ‘On The Prowl’.  Ol ’55 had a lot more going on musically than just being a revival outfit, and this tune reminds you of that. Ol 55’s key songwriter Jim Manzie had a lot of pop sensibility, and once free of the restrictions of being in a 50’s revival band, (both a blessing and a curse no doubt ), he began to really explore his pop song writing chops. His work with post OL ’55 outfits The Breakers and The Fives is often overlooked. The long out of print Breakers tune ‘When I’m On TV’ is included on this comp and it sounds great. Superb hard edge pop with a stack of melody and catchy chorus.  Almost worth the price of the CD for that tune alone! Who else remembers seeing this on Countdown?

From the early 70s period that are tunes by Buster Brown, Jim Keays, Thorpie, Daddy Cool, and Fraternity.  From the mid 70s there are tunes by Taste, Hush, Dallimore and Supernaut (with one of their brilliant post punk tunes ‘Unemployed’). TMG are also here too with ‘Gonna Be Somebody’, a disregarded hard rocking single lifted off their 1978 ‘Disturbing The Peace’ album. This tune sounds killer – given the digital treatment. From the 1980s – there is more great Oz pub rock fare with the Baby Animals, Screaming Jets, Kings Of The Sun, Noiseworks, Nick Barker, Hoodoo Gurus, The Church and the Saints. There are so many great bands here – you’d be hard pressed not to find something to your liking. There’s also Kevin Borich, Stars, Richard Clapton, Moving Pictures, the Hitmen, Dingoes, the Ferrets and the Sports.

Painters & Dockers get a guernsey with ‘Die Yuppie Die’ whilst the Flowers tune ‘Sister’ is a good alternate choice to ‘We Can Get Together’.  I forgot how good Heroes were, and ‘I Can’t Go On’ sounds fresh. Who else remembers The Motivators, The Aliens, Flaming Hands, Young Modern and the Johnnys? That’s right – they are also represented here.

Whilst Russell Morris is getting all the accolades (justly so) for his recent blues albums, people often forget his great work in the late 70s / early 80s. My favourite album is ‘Foot In The Door’ and how can you go past ‘Running Jumping Standing Still’ as an example of an iconic tune – Australian or otherwise? This CD contains one of his tunes with The Rubes, ‘Walk Don’t Run’, which is melodic and catchy hard edged pop from a guy who has a truckload of great songs to his name. Forget about ‘The Real Thing’ and ‘Wings Of An Eagle’ – dig into his late 70s period!  ‘Walk Don’t Run’ will get your started.  

I hadn’t heard The Spaniards tune ‘I Want To Live In A House’ since I saw Starstruck at the movies back in 1982, and it’s also good to hear Mike Rudd & The Heaters – another guy whose extensive body of musical work post Spectrum/Arial is often overlooked. One of Adelaide’s great pub rock bands The Boys are here with ‘Weoh Weoh Weoh‘, and the fantastic Numbers also with Four Letter Word’. Annalise Morrow certainly had it going on, and The Numbers were just about guitar-pop perfection.

Another pleasant surprise was the female fronted Melbourne outfit The Kevins, whose single ‘Romeo Romeo’ was originally released in 1982 on the White Label. I’d forgotten what a great tune this was and it’s good to hear it unearthed and given a new lease of life. Nice deep that stacks up well against bands with a larger profile.

Mi-Sex were one of the best bands of the pub rock glory days, and ‘Graffiti Crimes’ sounds fantastic to my ears in 2017. In fact Mi-Sex’s music sounds better as time goes on. Testament to the songwriting.  The album winds up with Swanee out front of The Alan Lancaster/John Brewster version of the Party Boys – and ‘High Voltage’ is a nice recap of what I told you at the start – Australian rock n roll is the best there is. 

A couple of surprises on the album were the Cockroaches tune ‘Hey What Now’ which is close to hard rock (on the verses anyway) and a long way from the Anthony Field Wiggles era –and the Warumpi Band’s ‘Stompin Ground’ which is indeed hard rock. Good tune too.

This is not a hastily thrown together comp. Like other recent Festival compilations, (Boogie!, When Sharpies Ruled, Silver Road etc), the bands and songs that represent them have been well considered – with a finished product that serves as a great audio document of a wonderful period of Australian music history. The package contains an excellent booklet with exhaustive liner notes, band info and cool images – including front page covers of many old issues of RAM!

Note that this is volume 2. Volume 1 also contains a monstrous 90 odd tracks and is equally worthy of your attention. Good work Festival. Keep up the good work Dog! 9 out of 10. Available everywhere.   

Tuxpi photo editor: https://www.tuxpi.comOn behalf of Mr. Rockbrat, I would like to wish all Rockbrat Readers a very happy Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2016! Statistics indicate that there are still thousands of people out there who enjoy reading the plethora of articles and blogs on the Rockbrat site –  with new readers continuing to discover (and re discover) many of the old articles. A well written word does not date – and still has relevance to certain people as time ticks by.  Astute readers would have noticed that there has been no new content to this blog this year at all. The reason for that has been that all our energies have been devoted to the Australian Rock Show podcast, which was launched in January of this year.

This year we have produced 50 episodes, and all are available for FREE download or streaming via ITunes, Sticher and Tunein Radio. There have been many highlights, including Interviews with Chris Bonacci (Girlschool), John Brewster (The Angels) Dave Evans (AC/DC / Rabbit), Craig Csongrady (Boss/BB Steal), TASTE (both Ken Murdoch and Michael Tortoni), Andy Cichon (Judge Mercy/Billy Joel/Shania Twain), Paul Woseen (Screaming Jets),  Boris Sujdovic (The Scientists/Beasts of Bourbon/Dubrovniks), Todd Hunter (Dragon), Jeff Hoad (Kings Of The Sun), Phil Foxman (Supernaut), Mitch Grainger, TMG Roadie Ronald Clayton, Lime Spiders, Tough Luxury, Legs Electric, Australian rock journalists Stuart Coupe (author of Gudinski) Murray Englehardt (author of AC/DC Maximum Rock n Roll),Melbourne all girl rockers She-Wolf, Ray Arnott, Sherry Rich, Anne McCue, The Shivers, Brian Giffin (author of Australian Heavy Metal encyclopaedia), Christina Crofts, Steve Mulry of Black Label, Tyrone Coates (The Bombers), Sandi Novak (Rum Babas), Rose Carleo, Leeno Dee (Candy Harlots / Melody Black).

Other highlights have been a AC/DC 2015 Australian Tour Special, the Australian all girl band special and the Flashbax segment that looks at long lost tunes from a particular year. Regular formatting of the show includes The Lost Wax segment, (where we highlight a long lost album with added commentary by a member of the band) and the popular Talking Rock/Rocking Talk segment, where we put our heads together and talk all things Oz rock! Kind of like rockbrat for your ears! We also have a range of Australian Rockshow T Shirts for sale too. If you are yet to check out the Australian Rock Show – head over there now at http://www.australianrockshow.com

 

Fans of genuine Aussie rock (Angels, Tatts, AC/DC)  take note. BITZER are for you. Forget about Airbourne for one second and the carbon copied style of oz rock they play. They are good at what they do, they nod approvingly to the past, but they lack the legitimacy, the authenticity, that a band like BITZER have to offer. This is Oz rock the way it should be played. It’s fun, it’s loud, proud, and kicks ass.  Bitzer is a new group featuring many familiar faces.  Experienced troupers from the halcyon days of OZ rock, we should be thankful that they are still treading the boards in 2013. Their collective experience includes stints in  Rose Tattoo, Dragon, Ted Mulry Gang, Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe, The Pete Wells Band, Black Label and the Damn Fine Band to name a few. Bitzer are Steve Edmonds, Lucy Desoto, Steve Mulry, Steve King, Mick O’Shea and Mick Arnold – and they have just released their debut, self titled six track EP that pays tribute to some of this country’s finest hard rock bands and the glory days of Oz pub rock.  The EP opens with a supremely bitchin’, full tilt cover of AC/DC’s classic ‘Riff Raff’, with Steve Edmonds not only shredding on guitar, but belting out a vocal that would bring a smile to Bon’s face.  Edmonds is a great player, and deserves greater recognition. Go check out the Steve Edmonds Band if you get a chance. Next up, Lucy De Soto gives ‘Bad Boy For Love’ the sultry, low down jazz treatment.  I’ve seen Lucy enough times over the years to know that as a jazz/blues singer, she can compete with the best of ‘em, and on ‘Bad Boy’ her vocal is lush and deeply rich, highlighting the stripped back arrangement that gives a fresh, diverse appeal to Ian Rilen’s classic. Speaking of Rilen, Lucy again takes lead vocal on a menacing cover of his tune, ‘401’, originally from the Hell To Pay album ‘Steal It’. I like this a lot.  I also like Black Label a lot – with Steve Mulry out front. Black Label are the best band in Australia – fact (search through this blog for reviews of their recent albums) and in Mulry, they have a front man with a distinctive, strong and appealing voice that reeks of authenticity. Mulry tackles a cover of the Angels ‘Marseilles’ that is as every bit as raw and rockin’ as the original. If you want evidence of his vocal versatility and ability, listen to his super strong delivery on ‘No Times For Games’. The Midnight Oil classic never sounded this good! Listening to this killer tune reminds me that Pete should return to rock ‘n’ roll. MP stands for microphone please! Steve Edmonds again takes lead vocal on a tasty cover of Kevin Borich’s ‘Gonna See My Baby Tonight’ that is catchy with a capital C.  If you wanna taste of the glory days of Oz rock in 2013 –  Bitzer deliver the goods in no uncertain terms. 10 out of 10. At only 9 bucks, you have no excuse for not buying a copy of Oz Rock Six Pack. Buy it here.

ImageFrom memory, I purchased this around 85 and it rules. Double LP, gate-fold sleeve, pressed locally via Concept Records. Around this time period, heavy metal was all I knew. Money earnt from my menial factory job was spent on metal records….and I’ve never regretted it. Actually this compilation really is a sneak peek at the barren musical landscape that was Australia in the mid-80’s. Hard rock and heavy metal was indeed – underground. Mr Rockbrat laughs when, nowadays, you run into people – straights, who tell you they went and saw Slayer on the weekend, or they have the new Sabbath CD ! Alas, metal maniacs, it was not always like this. Anyway, I found this gem whilst rummaging through my wax recently and as I cast my eyes over it, it got me thinking how much I learnt from it. Who needed school text books when the ‘istory of ‘eavy metal had to be learned, right ?!  The collection is pretty much a snap-shot of 83-84 heavy metal releases. WASP, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Scorps, Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Ozzy, Motorhead, Dio, Motley, Priest, Kiss – big guns of the genre at that time, who all have tracks on here. But it was the inclusion of bands like Warlock, Y & T, Titan and Coney Hatch which had me in a spin. Often, the first place you would hear new bands was on compilations, and such was the case with Metal Madness. The Rock Goddess tune ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ – tuned me on to this kick-ass chick three-piece and I still listen to them today. Girlschool got a start – as did Lita Ford ! A rickapoodie and a fandooglie !  The Sabbath tune ‘Trashed’ was with Gillan up front – it confirms what I said before that the comp in fact pieced together some of the most recent releases from this time period (never could stomach Ian Gillan’s shrilling vocals). Points to the compiler – Grand Wizard Glenn A Baker – for doing that. The inclusion of local acts Titan, Boss and Melbourne’s Bengal Tigers showed Baker – or an assistant, had their ear to the ground, but the inclusion of Spinal Tap was not funny – or was it ? Is this a joke ? Is this a joke ? How the hell did Canned Heat get a look in ? Including the Kiss plodder ‘Get All You Can Take’ from their then-released Animalize opus, was a masterstroke in absurdity. ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ or ‘Thrills In The Night’ woulda been my Kiss cuts from that rekkid – but it mattered not. Adelaide’s Titan, as you may or may not know, released ‘Head Scare’ on Raven Records. I think some of those members ended up in Almost Human, did they not ? This release was followed-up by the equally rockin’ ‘Headbanger’s Heaven’ double LP a short while later. Again, the record introduced me to some great HM bands, many of which still get spun on the rockbrat turntable. As the wacky Baker states in the liner notes ‘ if you can’t get off on this brain-bending compilation, you’re beyond all hope’. Comments from the Super Coach.

pete

Pete live in 1998 – (pic: Denis Gray)

Seven years back today – Pete Wells passed away. No one – and I mean no one – played better slide guitar than Pete. I am not just saying this, as Pete is no longer with us either – as I have long believed that his guitar sound – was a vital ingredient to the sound of Rose Tattoo. Try as they might – I am yet to hear Guns n Roses doing a take of ‘Nice Boys’ which sounds half as good as the Tatts…..because no one can play it like Wells did ! His sounds is so instrumental to that cut, like so many other Rose Tattoo numbers. The legacy of Peter Wells lives on and everyday, when some kid listens to Assault and Battery or that first album from 1978 – they are hearing smoking slide guitar from one of the very best. One of my best Pete memories was sometime in 1991 – at the Espy in St Kilda. I think it was a mid-week gig and the hard-hitting Warwick Fraser was in Pete’s band. They blew the roof of that beachside pub and were very loud. During a break in the set – I heard someone say ‘Thorpie’s backstage’ – which indeed – he was. Remember that Thorpe had been absent from Australia for some years. So there was Billy Thorpe – standing with a beer with Michael Gudinski – watching the Pete Wells band in red hot form. A great night of Pete Wells rock n roll – though there were several over the years. One other occurred in the late summer of 1993 – at a night club in the country town of Wagga Wagga – called Copacabana.  The Tatts were back – due to support GnR and were doing what coulda been their first show back. I stood in front of Pete – and felt the enormous power of Rose Tattoo being blasted out. This was not lightweight 1986 ‘Calling/Falling’ Tatts – this was the real fucking deal. Cocks, Wells, Leech, Anderson and DeMarco – the boys were back in town and were not here to mess about either. I will always remember that night – Wells, dressed in black – standing with a ciggie in his mouth – in front of his amp – sweating profusely as he played – leaning over that mike stand the way he did –  doing what he did best – better than most others in fact. Your music lives on – and you live forever in the hearts of many. (Mr Rockbrat)

Pete’s slide playing certainly provided some distinction to the Tatts sounds – and even though in 78 they were all calling Alberts home – the sound of the Big  3 (Angels, AC/DC and the Tatts was certainly distinct from each other – and the Tatts sound largely due to the slide playing. With Cocksy at stage left providing the rapid fire riffs, and Rilen/Geordie laying down the heavy rhythm –  Wellsy has plenty of space to create what are now considered, classic slide guitar parts. Looking back – guys like Wellsy were so iconic, so authentic. Revered by those who knew a thing or two about rock n roll – his style, look and sound was shamelessly aped by hordes of Sunset Strip wannabes in the late 80s who cashed in with a look and sound that Wellsy has forged a good decade or so earlier. As time marches on – I often reflect on those great times I saw Wellsy over the years – good memories locked away.  I remember one night in 92 (I think) at Barry McCann’s Lansdowne Hotel at Broadway – heading upstairs (the only band I ever saw upstairs at the Lansdowne) to see a one off performance by ROMEO DOG – a band featuring Andy Anderson on vocals/guitar, Wellsy on vocals/slide, Andy Cichon on bass and Mick O Shea on drums – for under $10! I bought a German copy of their CD and had all the guys sign it for me. That’s a good memory – though I have many of Pete. Never forgotten. (Cowboy Col)