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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - June 12th 2013

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FLESH FOR FANTASY
Where have all the great rock bands gone? That's what Marc Welsh ponders in Bring Back Aussie Rock n Roll, a track on his debut solo album, Press The Flesh. "Bring back the bands!" Marc sings, name-checking his favourites, including Kings Of The Sun, Hush, the Oils, Fester Fanatics and Massive Appendage. "Bring back TISM," he pleas, "at least we will have some fun." Press The Flesh landed in our letterbox with a handwritten note: "Rock & roll from the kids these days seems very serious - zero David Lee Roth! And we're over-run with derivative singer-songwankers."

Marc humbly calls himself "just a fan of music, who plays. I'm not a musician." But this is a wonderfully diverse and powerful rock record. And it's got the thumbs-up from Kings Of The Sun's Jeffrey Hoad, who left a Facebook message, saying he'd been "crankin' and lovin' and laughin' and haven't had that much fun listening to a record for yonks". The sense of humour shines. The working title for the album was "Marc Welsh, Best of the Solos". "But I figured not everyone remembers when the four KISS members released a solo album and then the best-of came out." So Marc went with Press The Flesh. "A couple of people have said it conjures up being a bit naughty, but the real meaning, of course, is to network, to get out and get amongst it, and that's what I want to do with this album."

Like a nervous young man on a fumbling first date, Marc has been working his way south. He started on the Gold Coast with a high school band called the Ultra Deviates (a re-worked version of one of their songs, Apostles of Destiny, appears on the album). He played Van Halen II so much, he literally wore out the grooves. "It changed me from a bass player to a guitar player - or wannabe guitarist," he smiles. Marc then formed the acclaimed Asylum, who relocated to Sydney in the '80s. He documents those days in Sophie's Song, when they were regulars at the Lansdowne and the Trade Union Club. In the '90s, Marc found himself in Melbourne in Have A Nice Day, who released two albums on Mushroom. After so many years, what does it feel like finally having just your name on the cover? "Like free beer on a sunny day, poolside, at an eight-star hotel. In Spain."

Marc, who's also a tattooist to the stars, wears his art on his sleeve - and all over his body. As well as an Asylum tattoo, he's got KISS and Gary Moore tattoos, a Phil Lynott portrait, and a tribute to Josie Jason. "Josie had it," Marc says of the Melbourne guitarist, who sadly died of cancer in 2009. "When I first saw the Argonauts, I was floored." Marc dedicates Press The Flesh to Josie, and he's rapt that Argonauts bass player, Kev Hunter, is part of his live band to launch the album (Saturday at Footscray's Reverence Hotel). Marc also dedicates the album to Chrissy Amphlett and his Uncle Greg. "I met Chrissy when they [Divinyls] got their young drummer JJ Harris, whom I'd played with on the Gold Coast. I went down to see a few shows in Sydney, which were awesome. I always loved Mark McEntee's different guitar approach as well." Marc calls his uncle "the older brother I never had. He was only 10 years older than me, a Virgo, like me, sports mad and a larrikin. He loved a drink and loved hot chicks."


SMASH HIT
Great to see Vaudeville Smash's debut album, Dancing For The Girl, get a five-star Sunday Herald Sun review. They're launching the album at the Corner on Friday.


STREET LEGAL
It's been a big year for The Solicitors. Just a few months ago, they made their live debut, at the Brunswick Hotel. "It was great to finally get out there," singer Lee Jones says. Unfortunately, bass player Rob Grasso got punched in the face "by some moron after the show". "I didn't think we were that bad," Lee adds. Obviously not, because The Solicitors were snapped up by Popboomerang Records, who have issued the band's debut EP, Made To Measure, which is being launched at Yah Yah's on Friday. The EP includes a cover of The Jags' power pop gem Back Of My Hand. "I heard it on the radio and thought it was a new record," Lee says. "At first, I was devastated because this 'new' band had pretty much nailed the sound we wanted. Then when I discovered it was from 1979, I thought, you know what, we're having that!" As for the band's name, Lee explains: "A friend said, 'Hey, you guys always wear suits, you should be called The Lawyers or something.' We went with The Solicitors as it has other connotations aside from the legal ones."


CHART WATCH
Gurrumul and Delta have a top five debut.

Bayini (live) GURRUMUL & DELTA GOODREM (number four, debut)
Resolution MATT CORBY (eight)
Threads of Silence KARISE EDEN (19, debut)
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow CELIA PAVEY (23, debut)
If HARRISON CRAIG (24, debut)
Hello STAFFORD BROTHERS (25)
You've Really Got A Hold On Me MISS MURPHY (32, debut)
Overjoyed LUKE KENNEDY (35, debut)
Alive EMPIRE OF THE SUN (37)
Sheppard EP SHEPPARD (38, debut)

Baby Animals make a new start at number 19.

Beautiful Noise LEE KERNAGHAN (number 17)
Steal The Light THE CAT EMPIRE (18)
This Is Not The End BABY ANIMALS (19, debut)
Flume FLUME (26)
Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (34)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Bring Back Aussie Rock n Roll MARC WELSH
Dancing For The Girl VAUDEVILLE SMASH
Free PALACE OF THE KING
Back Of My Hand THE SOLICITORS
I Didn't Think You'd Care FIONA LEE MAYNARD & HER HOLY MEN

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