Friday, February 6, 2015

My favourite songs to come out of Brisbane

1) "A Matter Of Time" - Railroad Gin (Polydor) 1974. They were the biggest Brisbane band of the early 70's fronted by charismatic rocking chanteuse Carol Lloyd. A fine piece of post psyche rock with guitars phased to 11 and an ultra catchy flute solo together with Lloyd's delectable but powerful vocals. It was written by Laurie Stone, and later covered by 90's all-girl band The Dream Poppies as the opening cut on their album "Poppycock" and still sounded great after all these years. Why it wasn't a number hit escapes me.

2) "! (The Song Formerly Known As)" - Regurgitator (East West) 1998. Quirky and innovative genre-bending legends Regurgitator took the mickey out of wallflowers and social misfits with this cheeky but sassy funk track with some nice funky guitars, vinyl scratching and some shouting samples from 70's disco band Silver Convention's "Get Up And Boogie". Don't know where the "Thank you Mr. Dj" bit at the end came from, but it's fucking funny.

3) "I'm Feeling Hostile" - The Busymen (Wild Eagle) 2002. Inveterate 60's garage punk revivalists The Busymen were formed in 1997 but this single didn't come out until 2002. Gritty, punchy and aggressive, it has a certain fondness with me as I helped to record it and it was also the last ever recording to be done at the legendary Red Zeds studios before it closed its doors.

4) "I Don't Wanna Be Left Out" - Powderfinger (Polydor) 1999. Not one of their better charting songs compared with the likes of "Passenger", and "These Days". This was apparently written about a friend of Bernard Fanning who was in a band with me at the time who suffered from schizophrenia and felt lonely and ostracised from everyone despite that I found her a very friendly, caring and personable type. It is heart-warming to see bands of this ilk be able to put themselves in the shoes of people who are misunderstood by society and therefore kept at arm's length.

5) "Trashed" - Lavish (Festival) 1998. If there was one Brisbane band that never lived up to their fullest commercial potential, it would have to have been these guys. Opening with some screeching guitar feedback, this adrenaline rousing rocker teared along with the force of a tv set being chucked through a hotel window. With a harrowing video showing a girl being raped in a nightclub interspersed with the band done up as 80's New Romantics, the song was on high rotation on Triple M and Triple J from 97-98. They signed to Festival but were dropped the next year and quietly split in 2002. Guitarist Jeff Lovejoy returned to producing and fronting his own band Lovejoy with sister Kylie, and bassist Luke Thomas has found more success with Davey Lane's band The Pictures.

6) "I Gotta Get A Message To You" - The Bee Gees (Spin) 1968. Manchester born boys who emigrated to Brisbane in the late 50's scored their second number one hit in the UK in 1968 with this beautiful ballad. They have to be the most successful Brisbane band in history.

7) "To The Moon And Back" - Savage Garden (Roadshow) 1998. Two ultra-cute and unassuming Brisbane boys scored their first ever Number One hit in 1998 with a nice AOR number about a girl with dysfunctional parents who cut herself off from people in order to wait for her dream guy to make life better for her. Nice acoustic guitar solo and a gorgeous piano and string orchestra in the fadeout of this song.

8) "I'm Stranded" - The Saints (Philips) 1976. Arguably the first and finest punk band to come out of Brisbane, this was written by guitarist Ed Kuepper one night whilst waiting for a bus out in Inala. The song was quickly picked up by Philips and Power Exchange in Europe and the UK and became an instant cult hit with its minimal riffing and Chris Bailey's yobbish drawl. They defected to EMI/Harvest records which gave them a UK Top 40 hit with "This Perfect Day". The lineup eventually split with Kuepper going solo and Bailey having a successful chart career in Australia in the 80's. The original lineup reunited in 2007 for the Pig City festival at Univeristy of Queensland.

9) "Streets Of Your Town" - The Go-Betweens (Mushroom) 1988. Along with the Saints, The Go-Betweens are one of the most critically lauded Brisbane bands although they are scarcely in the same league as The Bee Gees and Savage Garden where record sales are concerned. This was their sole top 50 hit in 1988. Sadly, guitarist and vocalist Grant Maclennan passed away a few years ago and the band is now pretty much the vehicle for Robert Forster.

10) "Footpaths Of Brunswick Street" - The Natives Of Bedlam (Independent Release) 1993. Eccentric guitarist Evan Clarry formed this madcap folk outfit in the early 90's fronted by vocalist Marita Mangano, and bassist Adele Pickvance (now working with The Go-Betweens). This song is an amusing light-hearted look at life in the notorious suburb of sleaze and poverty but rich in music and talent.

11) "Nicotine" - Animal Boy (Oracle) 1996. Brisbane hair metallers Animal Boy delivered this biting rant about the evils of cigarette smoking from their "Walking Stick" EP. After the band split, Ian Pool turned his career around to becoming a highly acclaimed fine arts and commercial photographer.

12) "Jive To Stay Alive" - Chicks Incorporated (RCA) 1977. One of the most intriguing acts to come out of Brisbane in the late 70's was Chicks Incorporated who started out as an all-girl disco-funk instrumental band with one male guitarist. They signed with RCA Records and brought out this two-minute bright and funky piece of pop. They went through many lineup changes over the next 5 years due to difficulties with finding good musicians. Drummer Miriam Curtis produced their album "Security" which had songs written by jazz pianist David Bentley and well respected songwriters Laurie Stone and the late Peter Moscos.

13) "Say Goodbye" - Indecent Obsession (Melodian) 1989. Styling themselves on Duran Duran and Pseudo Echo, these pinup predecessors to Savage Garden were signed to Molly Meldrum's Melodian label in 1989 and broke the top 10 with this great boppy rocker. The song was lampooned by The Comedy Company that year as "Hair Gets In My Eyes", and the band went onto greater heights in the early 90's with having massive hits in South Africa after which they called it a day. Singer David Dixon now works in musical theatre whilst the drummer Daryl Sims joined Sydney industrial techno punks Insurge, and keyboardist Michael Szumowski wrote the No.1 hit "Poison" for Popstars winners Bardot in 2000. As for guitarist Andrew Coyne.....hmm, wonder whatever became of him? Nobody seems to know. The song recently regained some cult popularity in underground film "All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane".

14) "Cocaine" - Emma Dean (Independent Release) 2008. One of Brisbane's fastest rising stars, her music is a clever combination of classical and art rock. This song is about some internet rumour mongers who libeled her as being a cocaine addict. I can totally relate to this song with some of the nasty things that have been said about me being a nudist recently by people who don't know me and have never met me. Their karma will come back on them eventually.

15) "The Flea That Ate My Stash" - The Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time (Sundown) 1987. This large, loony mob of 60's psyche-rockers meets 80's New Wave had a cult hit with this song back in the late 80's. The band split for a while, but made a comeback in 2007 for Pig City and since then have become much in demand again on the garage punk circuit. There is also a video on Google of this band performing the song at the Step Inn with garage rock DJ Judy Jetson doing some nifty go-go dancing.

16) "Oh" - The Whats (Reverberation) 2005. 2/3 of indie rock trio Screamfeeder did a White Stripes thing and formed a spinoff band with just guitar and drums with a great video of heaps of punters moshing to the song at the back of the now defunct Skinny's Music.

17) "Stepping On" - Sexing The Cherry (Volition) 1994. Just before the wave of Brisbane rock hit the top 40 in the 90's came this glamourous disco act which got it's debut play not on the likes of B-105, but on Peter Dick's show on 612-ABC Brisbane. The song is mostly remembered for the piercing wail by the lead singer towards the end which could even put Mariah Carey to shame. A pity this band never had any other hits after this.

18) "Happy Days" - Silver Studs (Philips) 1975. Probably the third Brisbane band after the Bee Gees to crack it nationally. The song was a good old fashioned rocker that was released to tie-in with the 50's sitcom that launched Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Scott Baio to international stardom as well as boosting Suzi Quatro's music career in the U.S. The band were a trio led by Lance Reynolds, but eventually became a disco orientated duo. Lance is now a successful film industry mogul in America, whilst his son Nigel was in critically acclaimed Brisbane act My Three Sons in the late 80's.

19) "Tom Tom Turnaround" - New World (RAK) 1971. Brisbane folk trio were the second act to make it big nationally and in the UK in the late 60's - mid 70's with their signing to Mickie Most's RAK label and produced by legendary Nambour lad Mike Chapman. Chapman performed this song himself to Mickie Most whilst trying to land a production deal and almost instantly scored it. The rest is history - he went on to produce some well respected artists in the 70's, 80's and 90's like Suzi Quatro, Mud, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Nick Gilder, Divinyls, Australian Crawl, and in the 90's Baby Animals and Tina Turner. A very moving version of this song was also recorded by The Sweet for their debut album "Funny Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be".

20) "Orgasm Addict" - Kiley Gaffney (WEA) 1995. Former techno diva Kiley Gaffney reinvented herself as a punk princess with an off-the-cuff cocktail piano rendition of the Buzzcock's ode to masturbation. Taken from her EP "Bitter Fluff", she was signed with future husband Paul Curtis' management company but was eventually slammed by the critics. Nevertheless it's still enjoyable listening.And finally a few more.......

21) "Please, Cindy-Louise" - Darren J Ray (Independent Release). Darren J Ray is a good-time rock'n'roll troubadour who specialises in 60's rock and pop music both as a solo artist and with his fine band The Fabulous Sounds Of The 60's and The Love Bugs. This country orientated rocker was engineered by Oliver Jones (brother of Daniel from Savage Garden), plus the band have also had connections with Carol Lloyd who was then working as a music agent a couple of years back, as well as being friends with Sexing The Cherry. Darren's band has also featured Natalie Blair from Neighbours, and has legendary producer Jeff Lovejoy's dad Arnold on guitar.

22) "Sausage Roll" - The Nudists (Independent Release). I'm probably the only person in Brisbane who has actually gone out and bought both albums by this experimental garage hip-hop ensemble, whom both them and d-wizz 2.0 were the support acts for Talkshow Boy in 2005 just before The Orient closed its doors to live bands to become a capitalist pokies paradise. Cute and kooky guitar lines blend with languid half-spoken half-sung vocals about forsaking healthy foods for sausage rolls.

23) "Nude Twister" - Hot Liquid Sex (Not Released). This is my favourite song by a rising girl power-pop trio whom I've been into for some time now. A hilarious ode to the party game enjoyed by daring teenage party animals (a la Corey Delaney) and swingers alike. Don't play this if you are over 80kg.

24) "Listen To Your Mother" - Squelch (Independent Release). Electronic rock outfit Squelch were a popular live act in the early 90's fronted by guitarist/vocalist Lana Gishkariany and Robert Lennox. Her banshee like vocals complimented the glam rock beat and menacing electronic effects. Robert eventually helped form Taiyo and is still performing on the local circuit.

25) "In Another Life" - The Veronicas (Sire). The closing cut on their latest album "Hook Me Up" sees them veer away from their angsty bubblegum punk pop and into a more mature rock territory. Sounding similar to Radiohead's "Creep" and Tom Petty's "Free Falling", it is about learning to deal with the harsh realities of sacrificing childhood romances for coping with the pressures of the music business. If you listen carefully, you can hear Jessica Origliasso sniffling towards the end as apparently she was in tears when recording it.

26) "Thrill" - Dream Poppies (Pod). Cheesy, fluffy but very satisfying power pop number from local girl band who were quite popular during the 1990's. They were loved by the critics even though they performed a number of classic covers in their repertoire. Great video of them enjoying go-karting at the Caboolture race-track.

27) "Stole My Love" - Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys (Kommotion). British born wide-eyed innocent lad Mike Furber tried to contend for the King of Pop in the 1960's with Normie Rowe (whom he was often compared to). His attempt to do so failed miserably, but this is a great and catchy song. He signed to Columbia Records at the end of the 60's by which time his star had long since faded with no sign of it returning. Sadly, in 1973 he was found dead by hanging.

28) "I Would If I Could" - Marcie & The Cookies (Columbia). Melbourne pop/rock princess Marcie Jones teamed up with Brisbane's Cook sisters to form this all girl cabaret pop outfit. A pleasant, jaunty if somewhat ethereal song and astonishingly this act is still around recording, touring and doing live gigs on the Melbourne circuit.

29) "On The Verge Of Something Wonderful" - Darren Hayes (Powdered Sugar). Former Savage Garden lead singer had a more modest offering of success following the break-up of the band. After being dropped by Columbia Records, he moved to the UK and started up his own independent label. Interesting track with a great video to go with it.

30) "Singing In The 80's" - The Monitors (Festival). Quirky band who were one of the first Brisbane acts to make the charts in the 80's. Very New Wave orientated electronic pop featuring Gayle & Gillian Blakeney on backing vocals. They were 14 years old at the time and were wearing KISS makeup in the video. After the Monitors were finished, they went on to become TV personalities including doing time on Neighbours and recording with Stock, Aitken and Waterman in 1993 with a song that only made No.53 on the British charts.


  1. The "thank you mr. dj" at the end of the Regurgitator song is also by Silver Convention.

  2. Hi Dario I'm after an album you posted some time ago by chicks Incorporated is it possible to get a digital download of it.

    1. You can download the album "Security" by Chicks on YouTube. Check it out on the channel: :)

    2. You can download the album "Security" by Chicks on YouTube. Check it out on the channel: :)