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Howzat! Archive - February 22nd 2012

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During the glory days of Pseudo Echo, when Brian Canham beat Michael Hutchence to take the trophy for Most Popular Male at the Countdown Awards, the singer walked outside his South Yarra house to collect his rubbish bins. They were gone. He later received a letter from two women who'd been stalking him. They admitted they'd stolen the bins, claiming they had "got off" on Brian's rubbish. "This sort of stuff used to happen all the time," Brian says. "It used to freak me out." He also had to avoid public transport, high schools and shopping centres. "And I used to love shopping," Brian adds, noting that you couldn't shop online in the '80s. To go out, Brian ended up buying glasses, a fake moustache and a beret. "I had a baby face, so imagine what the glued-on moustache looked like," he says, laughing. "It worked pretty well, except people would know I had a fake moustache. They'd be thinking, 'Who is this crazy kid?' It was a fine line, which was the most humiliating. But at least they didn't recognise or hassle me."

It's been a long, strange adventure. After becoming the first unrecorded band to appear on Countdown, Pseudo Echo had seven Top 40 hits in Australia, a Top 10 smash in the US and UK, an album that spent more than six months in the Billboard Top 200, an appearance on The Joan Rivers Show, a meeting with Bob Hawke, and victory in the World Popular Song Festival. They also knocked back an international tour with Madonna. "After our Funky Town success, there was a resurgence of '70s rock, with Van Halen kicking goals, and we were getting on that trip, too," Brian explains. "With the Madonna offer, we thought it'd mean going back to a sound we'd just got out of. Bad move, in hindsight! But it's cool to say we knocked back a Madonna tour."

Brian formed Pseudo Echo with his old school friend Pierre Gigliotti, who became known as Pierre Pierre, which ranks alongside Garry Gary Beers as the greatest name in Australian music. Brian will never forget spotting Pierre at Greenwood High (now Bundoora Secondary College), carrying a Fender bass case. Brian thought, "Wow, who has a Fender?" He stopped Pierre and asked if he'd like to join his band. "He got the gig on the basis of the Fender logo," Brian laughs. Brian and Pierre went through several lineups and names, including The Lites and Secret Agents, before settling on Pseudo Echo, which came from a keyboard manual. "We didn't even know what it meant, but we thought, 'Woo, that sounds fancy.'" Brian made flyers that stated: "Pseudo Echo, Modern Electronic Music". They are now celebrating their 30th anniversary with a gig at The Palms at Crown on Friday, 2 March, with Wa Wa Nee.

Pseudo Echo never officially split. They simply "limped away" after their rock album, 1989's Race, sank without a trace (though one website has since hailed it as an "AOR classic"). "We'd lost a lot of confidence," Brian recalls. "There were no farewell shows because we thought people would say, 'So what?'" Brian had also lost interest in performing. "I was sick of being hassled and being famous, I just wanted to spend time with my family." Brian became a producer, helming two hit albums for Chocolate Starfish. Pseudo Echo reunited in 1997, and Brian - who's 50 in July - doesn't rule out more recordings. Success, second time 'round, has been sweet. And much more manageable. So far, no one has stolen Brian's rubbish bins.

Will Melbourne ever become home to an ARIA Hall of Fame, an actual venue that music fans can visit? A report commissioned by the Melbourne Council has urged the state government to turn unused land behind the Arts Centre into a music hub. By the way, Happy SLAM Day (Thursday, 23 February).

She records under the name Owl Eyes. Her real name is Brooke Addamo. And one YouTube commenter reckons she looks a little like Lindsay Lohan. "Lindsay Lohan?" Brooke shrieks when Howzat! mentions it to her. "I have not heard that one before. When I was in school and The O.C. was the big thing, I used to get called Mischa Barton. I never really never saw that either." Owl Eyes is doing a special show at the Spiegeltent this Thursday.

As it takes off around the world, Gotye's smash has spent eight months in the Australian Top 40.

Boys Like You 360 & GOSSLING (number three)
I Love It HILLTOP HOODS & SIA (nine)
Set It Off TIMOMATIC (14)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (16)
Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (26)
Don't Worry Be Happy GUY SEBASTIAN (32)

Triple J's Nick Cave tribute lands at 32.

Falling & Flying 360 (number eight)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (19)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (23)
Vows KIMBRA (24)
Straight To You VARIOUS (32, debut)
Reece Mastin REECE MASTIN (40)

Going Straight LACHLAN BRYAN
You're Boring Us All I, A MAN

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