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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - January 23rd 2013

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As Bruce Springsteen sang, "There's things that'll knock you down you don't even see coming." Local band The Evening Cast were getting set to do their first national tour, to launch their fine new EP, Lake (on Catch Release Records). Then, just after Christmas, tragedy struck - the Moriac home belonging to two band members, Joel and Rachel Cooper, was burned to the ground. Fortunately, Joel, Rachel and their five-year-old daughter, Poppy, were not hurt. But all their belongings were destroyed, including the band's home studio and CD stock. Ironically, the EP features a song called Smoke And Fire. Friday's Workers Club launch has now turned into a benefit gig, with members of Melbourne's music community banding together to raise money for the Coopers, including Mark from Skipping Girl Vinegar, Clare Bowditch, The Darjeelings and Celadore. As The Evening Cast sing in Surprise, "There's something greater to rely on."

The ARIA Hall of Fame started 25 years ago. The first inductees were Johnny O'Keefe, Col Joye, AC/DC, Slim Dusty, Dame Joan Sutherland and Vanda & Young.

The Hall is reserved for creative people, with the criteria stating: "Membership into the Hall of Fame is reserved exclusively for the creators of recorded music - the writers, the recording artists, and, in some cases, the producers, [with] the nominees' work to have had a cultural impact within Australia and/or recognition within the world marketplace." Since Vanda & Young were in the initial induction, producers have been snubbed (though Ross Wilson, who helmed the first three Skyhooks albums, was inducted in 1989). Surely, it's time ARIA recognised the enormous contribution made by producers such as Mark Opitz, Charles Fisher, Tony Cohen and Mike Chapman? Howzat! recently co-wrote a book, Sophisto-punk, on the life and work of Mark Opitz. As Jimmy Barnes told us, "My career wouldn't be anything without Mark Opitz, and I say that on behalf of many Australian musicians."

The Hall of Fame was a standalone event for six years, from 2005 to 2010, which allowed ARIA to have several inductions in the one night. Unfortunately, the Hall returned to being part of the annual ARIA Awards in 2011. Sadly, I fear that ARIA is now looking for the "TV moment", instead of acknowledging the work of worthy, but relatively unknown, artists. Howzat! knows of a story, several years ago, when a friend suggested Tony Cohen should be inducted. "We'll look at doing it if we can get Nick Cave to induct him," my friend was told. Surely, a Hall of Fame should be above commercial considerations? Speaking of which, isn't it time that innovators and fringe-dwellers - artists such as Kim Salmon, and Dave Graney and Clare Moore - were inducted? And how 'bout recognising the majestic brilliance of Died Pretty, 30 years after they formed?

Video directors don't fit the Hall of Fame criteria - they haven't actually created recorded music. But Australia has given the world two of the greatest video makers, Russell Mulcahy and Richard Lowenstein. For their cultural impact, shouldn't they be in the Hall of Fame? Everyone has an opinion on music, which is a beautiful thing. The ARIA Hall of Fame is a great part of Australian music. Howzat! doesn't have all the answers, but we know it can be greater. Finally, when are we going to get an actual Hall of Fame, somewhere fans can visit to celebrate Australian music? If we can't get the history right, we won't have much of a future. Happy Australia Day.

Ed Nimmervoll is the doyen of Australian music journalists. Howzat! caught up with Ed during the summer break. He had a brilliant idea regarding the Hall of Fame - ARIA should also induct classic Australian albums. Ed has been writing powerful pieces about music at his Facebook page. He recently wrote a stirring item about the remarkable Ross Hannaford. "When we appreciate music, we should trust ourselves," Ed wrote. "We shouldn't need to be told if something's good. We shouldn't be influenced by reputation or lack of reputation this is why I tend to be such a champion of Australian music, because it's up to us to acknowledge and appreciate what's around us. If we don't, no one else is going to. Don't wait for confirmation from others. The guitarist I saw today isn't world famous [but] there are just three guitarists I can think of who I've thought could produce anything from their guitars they imagined - Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Ross Hannaford. If you're in Melbourne, he's playing at a venue near you."


Just one Aussie act in the Top 20.

What You've Done To Me SAMANTHA JADE (number 20)
Best Night JUSTICE CREW (22)
Get Along GUY SEBASTIAN (29)
Party Bass BOMBS AWAY (37)
Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (38)

Reece Mastin leaps from 40 to 24.

Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (number seven)
The Sapphires SOUNDTRACK (13)
Flume FLUME (14)
Beautiful Nightmare REECE MASTIN (24)
Samantha Jade SAMANTHA JADE (27)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (39)
The Golden Jubilee Album THE SEEKERS (40)

Broken Heart Attack BEKI COLADA
Lonely Avenue LAUREN BRUCE


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