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Howzat! Archive - July 17th 2013

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"Sitting counting the years again, while the wrinkles and the age get in, like liquid into this chalk" - What's Five Cents Buy?

July 23 is a big day in music history. Neil Young and his band, The Squires, recorded their first single, a surf instrumental called The Sultan; the Ayatollah Khomeini banned rock 'n' roll in Iran; Ringo Starr unveiled his first "All-Starr Band"; Paul McCartney got engaged to Heather Mills; and Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning, aged 27. And 25 years ago next Tuesday The Fauves played their first gig, at the Mt Eliza Football Club. Singer Andrew Cox would later reflect: "There was no rider, we were underpaid and no one got laid. It was a microcosm of an entire career." Howzat! has written a lot about The Fauves over the years. So to celebrate their Silver Jubilee (they're doing a special gig at the Corner on August 31), we asked four fans to contribute:

"It really is my pleasure to work with The Fauves - even more so as our first project was working on one of the great Australian albums, 2008's When Good Times Go Good. I've encountered a band constantly invigorated despite the miles travelled. A band happy to revel in the past but not rooted in it. My fondest memories include a steamy evening at the Australian Open tennis where, despite the humidity, Ted still contented himself by dressing in full Blue Oyster Bar leathers. A set at the inaugural Blueprint Festival where a surprisingly tight Fauves played against the backdrop of a festival crumbling literally and figuratively around them. Being regaled with stories of major label A&R cronies and the extraordinary ways they manage to claim credit for all successes while blaming the artist for all failures. Being told The Fauves have a concrete policy of playing 'any gig that we can walk to' when asked if they wanted to do a show at Penbank Primary School. Watching Ted drag the band's bucket of beers on-stage during an Espy show to deter 'rider spiders'. Almost choking on a Golden Gaytime the first time I watched The Fauves - 15 Minutes To Rock and seeing Jeff Jenkins with long hair. Plus, they've been incredibly loyal, which can be rare in the dog-eat-dog world of music."

"A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to an interview with UK artist Damien Hirst reflecting upon his mid-career retrospective at the Tate. He was describing a key life moment: 'I suppose you get to a point where you have suddenly got less time in front of you than behind you and I think when you get to that point you can start to look back comfortably.' Then I got the email about The Fauves celebrating 25 years. Some reflections: The band's original line-up (Coxy, Doctor, Doug and Jack Dyer) was the best. From memory, The Fauves signed to Polydor early 1993 and over their six years on the label showed their great work ethic by releasing four albums - Drive Through Charisma, The Young Need Discipline, Future Spa and Lazy Highways. Some highlights: Lazy Highways and Future Spa are great Australian long-players that stand the test of time. Two ARIA nominations: Best Alternative Release for Future Spa in 1997, alongside Spiderbait (who won), Powderfinger, Dirty Three and Nick Cave; and Song Of The Year in 1998 for Surf City Limits, alongside The Whitlams' No Aphrodisiac (which won) and The Living End's Prisoner of Society. Some of the best shows I saw The Fauves play were when they were special guests on Hunters & Collectors' farewell tour. I sincerely hope they decide to do something special for their 25th anniversary."

"In the old school rock 'n' roll hierarchy, the video director is most often placed underneath the road crew in terms of importance. The Fauves, however, always made me feel like I was an integral part of their team. I was lucky to be invited into their inner-sanctum, directing 10 music videos, operating visuals/shooting live and attending recording sessions. The Fauves were and still are fiercely artistically independent and have never followed any sort of musical trend or scene. They have been described as 'quirky', but their songs run deep, exposing a sense of raw truth with more than a hint of dark humour. I've been privileged to stand side of stage with The Fauves at the Big Day Out, with members of the Beastie Boys and Soundgarden looking on and wondering, 'Who the hell are these guys?' They even got to support KISS, with Ace Frehley being one of the few people in the world who could drink more than bass player Ted, who was then The Fauves' sound mixer. Their music videos over the years reflect the changes in the music industry. We all flew in a helicopter to the original concert site for the Sunbury 97 video and spent the day on Rene Rivkin's yacht for Surf City Limits. In later years, we shot at a hippy squat for I'll Work When I'm Dead and the Doctor shot Underwhelmed on his mobile phone. The Fauves are the underdog champions of Australian rock who will hopefully continue to challenge our music industry for another 25 years."

"So hard to know where to start with these goddamn national treasures. I'm sure they're sick to death of being referred to as possibly the most underrated Australian band in history. I toured with The Fauves, both when I was in Ripe and then Holocene. With Ripe, we did the Shock Treatment tour with The Fauves and The Glory Box. My enduring memory was The Fauves' set at the Annandale. They all came out in white shirts, wrapped in toilet paper that was strung between them. Jack Dyer had black eye makeup with 'God of Thunder' written on the back of his shirt. Their set, of course, was a blinder. As ever. People often talk about the great frontmen and women of Australian rock, such as Bon, Tex, Tim, Chrissy and Adalita. Put Coxy up there among them. His dry self-deprecation is renowned - and it still astonishes me how that shy teetotaller turns into a motor-mouthed comedian extrovert onstage. Never mind how a 30+-year-old virgin oozed so much raw sexuality. Add to that his amazing ability to turn any onstage disaster into a triumph of rock theatrics, his weird-arse Hendrix way of playing a right-handed guitar left-handed, and that unique raspy vocal. Live, The Fauves never let you down. At the end of the day though, it's the songs that matter, and between Coxy and the Doctor, The Fauves' canon is rich pickings. They can be as parochial as Paul Kelly but with more incisive references, and as satirical and witty as TISM but with a tenderness and heart TISM never came close to. I hear more in Fauves songs that ring bells with my Australian upbringing than any other band."

Vance Joy hits the Top 20.

Parachute TIMOMATIC (number seven)
Resolution MATT CORBY (10)
Fire Starter SAMANTHA JADE (12)
Riptide VANCE JOY (17)
Sheppard EP SHEPPARD (18)

Harrison Craig returns to number one.

More Than A Dream HARRISON CRAIG (number one)
Circus In The Sky BLISS N ESO (two)
Glorious Ruins HILLSONG LIVE (six)
The Beginning And The End Of Everything JOSH PYKE (seven, debut)
The Great Country Songbook TROY CASSAR-DALEY & ADAM HARVEY (nine)
Departures BERNARD FANNING (16)
Ice On The Dune EMPIRE OF THE SUN (22)
Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (27)
Flume FLUME (30)
The Platinum Album JUDITH DURHAM (36, debut)
Beautiful Noise LEE KERNAGHAN (38)

Wear The Label On The Outside THE FAUVES
Caesar's Surrender THE FAUVES
First Day On The Run THE FAUVES
It's Not '74 Anymore THE FAUVES

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