Australian Music

Brothers Angels and Demons

Today I am inspired by a gig I attended on Saturday night: Brothers Angels and Demons.

It’s probably best I give you a little bit of background. I am a huge fan of the rock band The Angels. The first of their concerts I attended was in February 1981, the last time I saw them was in 2010.

Their lead singer was Doc Neeson. A charasmatic, mad Irishman who was the best front man ever (IMHO)! He left The Angels in 2010 to be replaced by singer Dave Gleeson, a singer I have never been a big fan of, hence why I haven’t seen the band in recent times. Sadly in 2014 Doc passed away after fighting brain cancer for 17 months.

The Angels were formed by Doc and the Brewster brothers, John and Rick. They had great chemistry on stage and wrote brilliant songs including this one.

 

John and Rick are the third generation of professional musicians in the Brewster family, however the first to play rock music! John’s son Sam is now a member of The Angels. So basically there are four generations of the family celebrating and enjoying music in the professional arena.

Because this band have always  inpsired me and given me much music pleasure I wanted to see this show. It has toured in Adelaide (their home town) and Sydney several times but only one other time to Melbourne. On that occassion I couldn’t attend. This time around I was determined not to miss the show.

Brothers Angels and Demons is the story of the Brewster family’s musical journey. With an MC to ask questions and prompt story telling, John and Rick share stories about their grandfather and father, about learning classical music and discovering Bob Dylan. Stories about writing songs with Doc, about nearly giving up on a music career and the highs of success. All of it very inspiring. They also share music.  The music includes a classical piece written by their grandfather, improvised music from their first professional band The Moonshine Jug and String Band, songs they co-wrote for The Angels and for their Brewster Brothers CD and songs that have inspired them.

Performing in this brilliant show with John and Rick are John’s three sons Sam, Tom and Harry. An inspirational show of a talented family who clearly not only enjoy music but appreciate what a great opportunity it has given them. If you are a fan of The Angels or simply Australian rock music, then see this show. It will inform. It will inspire. You will enjoy.

 

Here Comes The Sun

Today I am inspired by Jeremy Oxley and Mary Oxley Griffiths and their book “Here comes the sun”. Jeremy Oxley is the lead singer of Australian rock group The Sunnyboys. Mary is his wife. In the 1980’s at the age of 22, Jeremy was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He went through some harrowing experiences with the mental health services and of course his own mental health.

Mary had been widowed for 5 years, working as a nurse when she met Jeremy. With the encouragement of her twin boys Mary pursued a relationship with Jeremy after she had discovered he was unwell.

I am inspired by her strength, her dedication, her patience and love to help Jeremy believe in himself again and eventually be confident enough to take to the stage again.

I am inspired by his strength, his resilience and his honesty.

The book is well written. If you are a fan of The Sunnyboys you will find it inspiring and interesting. If you are interested in mental health issues you will find it inspiring and interesting. If you believe in the power of love, patience and resilience you will enjoy this book.

Theatres of War Exhibition

Today I am inspired by The Theatres of War Exhibition currently  being held at the Victorian Arts Centre, StKilda Rd Melbourne.

 

The content of the exhibition is varied. Programs and posters of shows held in Australia to raise funds, clothing worn by people such as Kylie Mingoue, Doc Neeson, Patti Newton. Photos and letters telling stories of war and entertainment.

One thing that struck me in particular was a story the curator’s included with the program of the Vienna Mozart Boys Choir 1939. The choir had been touring Australia and were waiting in Fremantle, Western Australia to leave the country when War was announced. The choir master was interned in an internment camp and the boys were considered to be War Aliens. They were taken under the care of Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix and formed the nucleus of the St Patrick’s Cathedral choir in Melbourne. This story alone has inspired me to conduct some research to discover if the boys ever returned to Vienna.

Much of the content inspires the public to read about war history. The conditions back home and why entertainment was such a pivotal part of fundraising for the soldiers. The history of war zone entertainment. Which countries provided entertainment and how did this service start?

Finally I am inspired by the performers themselves, from opera singer  Dame Nellie Melba to pop sensation  Kylie Minogue. Rock star  Doc Neeson to comedians Hamish and Andy and many many more entertainers. These people provided their talent as a service during wartime but above all they basically risked their lives to enter war zones to bring some light relief and fun into the lives of the soldiers.  That’s inspirational.

The Palais Theatre StKilda

The Palais Theatre in the Melbourne beach side suburb of St Kilda is an inspirational beautiful old building in much need of some tender loving care. The local council and state government need to commit millions of dollars to save this theatre.

Windows need replacing, the external structure needs repairing, the exterior needs resealing, it needs fire protection works and much, much more! The I Love My Palais campaign has had two major boosts this week. On Wednesday night Mick Jagger made mention of the campaign at the Rolling Stones Melbourne concert and today it has been announced that musician Tex Perkins is a candidate for the state election in 3 weeks, with his main platform of concern being The Palais Theatre restoration.

Many musicians and music industry people live in the St Kilda area and many have performed at this inspirational art deco theatre. I have been to many performances there including shows by Australian rock band The Angels, American legend Bruce Springsteen and English pop singer Leo Sayer to name a few. I have seen the Jon English Rock Show, The Rockwiz Christmas show, Pirates of Penzance and attended the Countdown Rock Awards in the Palais. The Palais has suited all beautifully.

It would be a shame to lose such an iconic theatre. It would be a shame to lose such an historical building. It would be a shame to lose such an inspirational venue. The powers who are in control of money distribution need to see beyond today. They need to look back at what this theatre has provided. They need to look back at its past beauty. They need to look forward to what it can provide. They need to look forward at how beautiful it can once again look. They need to see the need to fund the repairs through the eyes of investment. To fund the repairs is an investment. More shows in the theatre equates to more money not just to the owners but to all the businesses surrounding the theatre. The restaurants, the bars and the carparks.

Tex Perkins is today an inspiration. He is prepared to stand up for an iconic building. He can see the value of restoring it. He has been inspired and will inspire.

palais wikipedia photo sourced from Wikipedia

 

The Ultimate Oz Rock Chick

Chrissy Amphlett was the front woman of Australian rock band The Divinyls. In my teens she was one of my inspirational female idols. She was gutsy and sexy in a male dominated profession without being glamorous.

Chrissy was born Christine Joy Amphlett on the 25th of October 1959 in the Victorian town of Geelong.  In 2007 she announced that she had multiple sclerosis. In 2010 she announced she had breast cancer.Due to her multiple sclerosis she was unable to receive radiation or chemotherapy for her cancer. She passed away on the 21st of April 2013 in New York.

Chrissy first came to my attention with The Divinyls first single Boys in Town.  Dressed in a school uniform with a blue fluro lit microphone stand, Chrissy sang, pouted and danced in the clip that was on high rotation on Countdown and other music video programs. She impressed me. I had never seen a rock chick like her in the Australian music industry.  I bought albums, went to gigs and each time Chrissy was inspirational.  To girls and guys. She was the ultimate rock chick.

Even after her passing she continues to inspire. Chrissy wanted her song I Touch Myself to become a tune for breast cancer awareness. It has become her parting gift to women. The Touch Myself Project is inspirational. I was almost in tears the first time I watched the clip. It is an amazing message and has been presented in a beautiful and powerful manner. Please take the time to view it for yourself and be inspired to touch yourself and remind others to do the same.

We are all trying to get on

“It doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all trying to get on. Everyone in his own way from the day that we are born.”

These are the opening lyrics to The Angels song You’re  A Lady Now from their self titled debut album released in 1976. The song, in fact the album, is not in the style that The Angels are well known for but these opening lyrics are some of my favorite from this Australian Rock band.

The lyrics quoted here inspire me to sit up straight and proudly say “you know what it doesn’t matter who I am or who you are, what equalizes us is the desire and need to get on.”

No matter where you live,  how old you are or what your job is, we are all trying to get on with our lives. To fulfill our dreams, to stay healthy, safe and sane.

 

 

I wish the official promotional film clip was available on youtube!

THIS ICEHOUSE IS WARM

Most of us when asked to picture an  Icehouse would imagine a place of frosty relations and cool air.

Australian rock band Icehouse is far from being a freezing entity in the Australian Music Scene. They are a band that inspires me and many other music lovers. They are a band whose career has been active for 37 years and doesn’t look like stopping in the near future.

Icehouse started out as Flowers in 1977 but came to mainstream attention in 1980 with the release of their debut single “Can’t help myself” followed by their debut album “Icehouse”.  The following year Flowers embarked on an international career and changed their name to Icehouse to avoid conflicts and confusion with another band.

Their debut album is one of my all time favorite albums. Each song is inspirational and a joy to sing along to. My favorite song on the album, Boulevarde,  was not released as a single but in my opinion it is the best song on the album. It is a song that I instantly want to sing along to every time I hear it. It’s a song that brings a smile to my face and I guess for these reasons alone it is inspirational.

Over the years the members of Icehouse have changed but the one constant is the creator, New South Wales Conservatorium of Music trained,  Iva Davies. In reality it is Iva Davies who is the inspiration and in a lot of ways is Icehouse.

I was watching a DVD of their hits the other day and was quickly reminded of what an amazing musician and songwriter Iva Davies is.

VALE DOC NEESON

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On June 4th 2014 the world lost a rock legend. I lost my idol, an inspiration. That man was Doc Neeson.

Doc was born Bernard Patrick Neeson on January 4th 1947 in Belfast Ireland. He migrated to Australia with his parents, 4 brothers and a sister, in 1960.

As the frontman/lead singer of Australian rock band The Angels he was dramatic, charismatic, crazy, energetic, unpredictable and captivating. His lyrics were poetic, mysterious, engaging, sometimes dark but most of all inspiring.  I wanted to write like him!

I honestly cannot tell you how many times I saw him perform. The first time was at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne supporting AC/DC in February 1981. The last time was at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney at Rock for Doc, a benefit concert to raise money for his treatment, in April 2013.  At each concert he inspired but more so at Rock for Doc. His speech of gratitude and determination was a tear jerker.  The closing song of Love Takes Care was beautiful and with the whole audience singing along with him, you could feel nothing but love and admiration from those on the stage and those off. We all believed he was giving all his strength and will power to fight the brain cancer and he did, but sadly the cancer won the battle just over 12 months after the concert.

I had the pleasure of meeting Doc a few times but each time was brief , just enough time to get an autograph and/or photo. But each time he was a gentleman, happy to pose for a photo, happy to give an autograph. For that I am grateful.

My favorite songs are Be With You, My Light Will Shine, Take A Long Line, the acoustic version of Marseilles and Blind Faith. The last was recorded by his band Red Phoenix whilst on a break from The Angels in the mid 2000’s.

Doc you will continue to inspire me and others. Your energy, your creativity and determination will not be forgotten.

R.I.P.