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FIRE AND RAIN
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
ED AND THE HEART
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)
Knots And Bows THE EVENING CAST
Broken Heart Attack BEKI COLADA
Lonely Avenue LAUREN BRUCE
Die On The Vine LIVINGSTONE DAISIES
Beside You MARK SEYMOUR
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