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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - May 23rd 2012

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We love a list. Australian Guitar magazine's list of the 50 greatest Australian guitarists is a good one. Strangely, they ranked just the Top 10, and then simply listed the other 40. For the record, the Top 10 was: Angus Young, Tommy Emmanuel, Ian Moss, Chris Cheney, Rick Brewster, Slava Grigoryan, Deniz Tek, Jim Moginie, Lobby Loyde and Ross Hannaford. The Top 50 includes Tim Rogers, but, inexplicably, fails to mention Davey Lane. Huh? Howzat! is pleased to report that Davey, the busiest guitarist in the business, is getting set to release his debut solo album. The Top 50 did include another one of Howzat!'s favourite guitarists, Ashley Naylor - the human jukebox - but fails to feature our most tasteful and versatile player, Shane O'Mara, and the brilliant blues and rock player Jimi "The Human" Hocking. And Howzat!'s best buddy Cory reckons Bill Chambers should also be on the list.

The book is called One Way Or Another, The Story Of A Girl Who Loved Rock Stars ($29.95, Black Inc). "Not another book about groupies shagging rock stars," we thought when we picked up a copy. But this book works because actor Nikki McWatters is a fine writer. She's got a story to tell, and she knows how to tell it. "Truth be told," she writes, "a rock star in real life would make a hopeless partner. Far better to be a rock and roll mistress than a rock and roll missus. Musicians were junk food, not a proper nutritious meal. Good and bad for you at the same time, like a plate of greasy chips and a bottle of red, red wine." Nikki is still a Gold Coast schoolgirl when she has her first sexual experience, with a member of Australian Crawl, who she doesn't name. She beds a Duran Duran member, and also falls for a star who sounds suspiciously like Steve Kilbey (who provides a plug on the front cover: "A great Australian rock 'n' roll read"), a relationship that has unintended consequences. Nikki gives Dragon a slap ("It was a running joke that Dragon was the ugliest band in Australia. Queen won the international title") and praises Pseudo Echo, calling bass player Pierre Pierre "a walking hairdo and an interesting musician and we chatted about current affairs. This was a breath of fresh air in an industry that often viewed girls backstage as meat on legs." More sad than salacious, One Way Or Another is a rollicking read. Richard Lowenstein calls it "a Puberty Blues for the '80s generation".

Howzat! had a funny experience with Peter Jones. We were standing in line at Crowded House's farewell show at the Corner. "Sorry mate, you're not on the list," the guy on the door said to Peter, who politely replied, "I'm the drummer in the band." There was no rock star tantrum; Peter just quietly explained that, no, he wasn't Paul Hester, but, yes, he had been the drummer in Crowded House after Paul left the band in 1994. Peter Jones - who died from brain cancer last week - was an unassuming rock star. He was also the drummer in two other brilliant bands, Harem Scarem and Deadstar. Much loved, he will be much missed.

Disco queen Donna Summer, who died last week at the age of 63, had an Australian link. Donna was a childhood friend of Marcia Hines. Marcia grew up with Donna (then known as Donna Gaines) and her sister Linda in Boston. "They were really cool chicks to grow up with," Marcia tells Howzat! "Donna was always really musical. She was a few years older than us and, consequently, incredibly hip. She was in a band way before we were even allowed out of the house. She wrote some of the best songs of that whole era."

Seven of the 12 Aussie hits in the Top 40 are connected to The Voice. Meanwhile, The Temper Trap's anthemic Need Your Love spends just one week in the Top 40. But expect a big debut for their new album next week.

Nothing's Real But Love KARISE EDEN (number nine, debut)
Sitting On Top Of The World DELTA GOODREM (10)
Do It Like That RICKI-LEE (13)
Hands RACHEL LEAHCAR (15, debut)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (16)
If Looks Could Kill TIMOMATIC (18)
Shut Up & Kiss Me REECE MASTIN (19)
Big Jet Plane LAKYN HEPERI (23)
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) VIKTORIA BOLONINA (28, debut)
Child 360 (32)
I Never Loved A Man EMMA-LOUISE BIRDSALL (36, debut)

The Voice is also impacting on the albums chart, with coach Keith Urban scoring his first local chart-topper with his new compilation.

The Story So Far KEITH URBAN (number one, debut)
Now & Then DAMIEN LEITH (14)
Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (17)
Don't Funk With Me ALSTON (22)
Vows KIMBRA (23)
Falling & Flying 360 (24)
Tin Shed Tales JOHN BUTLER (28, debut)
Trouble's Door ASH GRUNWALD (29, debut)
No Plans COLD CHISEL (30)
Nightflight KATE MILLER-HEIDKE (31)
It's Never Too Late ANDREW WISHART (36)

I Understand SOPHIE KOH
Don't Leave DEADSTAR

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