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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - February 25th 2015

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BACK ON THE CHAIN GANG
As the Fleetwood Mac song says, you would never break the Chain. The legendary Aussie blues band Chain is still going strong, with gigs at the Caravan Music Club on 28 Feb and the Williamstown RSL on 1 March. Appropriately, Chain's biggest hit is a "work song", Black and Blue, which they wrote at Matt Taylor's first rehearsal with the band, in Brisbane in 1970. "It was a Wednesday and we had a gig on the Friday, so I had to learn stacks of songs," Matt recalls. "When we finally started packing up, Phil [Manning] started mucking around with that riff." Matt ordered the rest of the band to unpack their gear. "I'm going to come up with some heavy words," he said, "and we're going to do a work song." It was known as "We're Groaning" until the title was changed to Black and Blue the day Chain recorded the song at Sydney's Festival studios. The band then drove to Melbourne, smoking dope down the Hume Highway. "We were mind-bogglingly stoned," Phil recalls. They had no idea how Black and Blue would fare. "We were saying, 'It's just a dirge it's gonna be the biggest flop, or, you never know, it might be a hit.'" They'd crafted an Aussie classic, and Chain are still playing - 47 years after they formed. Meanwhile, Phil has been writing with Russell Morris, working towards a new solo album, his first since 2010's Checkmate Move. He'll be 67 next month, but has no plans to retire. "That's one of the nice things about blues music - as long as you can keep your health reasonable and keep performing, you can do it until the day you die."


WHITE NIGHT
Andy White released one of Howzat!'s 2014 faves, How Things Are. He's playing at Wesley Anne on 26 Feb with his band, the Antipoets, featuring son Seb on drums.


BEER AND LOATHING
Hunter S. Thompson took great delight in quoting Bobby Kennedy's description of Richard Nixon: "Richard Nixon represents the dark side of the American spirit." It had Howzat! thinking of the current state of Australian politics, but we digress. The outlaw American journalist died 10 years ago this month, and some of Melbourne's finest writers - including Mikey Cahill, Jonathan Alley, Patrick Donovan and Martin Boulton - are gathering at Cherry Bar on 28 Feb to celebrate his life and work. Rolling Stone publisher Jann S. Wenner says, "We used to read aloud what he had just written, get to certain phrases or sentences and just exclaim to each other, 'Hot fucking damn'." HST believed that "after midnight, all things are possible", but the Cherry event kicks off at 2pm, hosted by Tony Biggs, with live music by Kim Volkman. As HST was fond of saying, "Buy the ticket, take the ride."


HEY JUDE
The Seekers' first UK chart-topper, I'll Never Find Another You, hit number one 50 years ago today (25 Feb).


HOT LINE
"I'd trade all the lights on Sydney Harbour to feel my father's arms again" - Perry Keyes, Brylcreem, Alcohol & Pills.


CHART WATCH
Vance Joy scores his third Top 40 hit.

Elastic Heart SIA (number six)
Talk Is Cheap CHET FAKER (15)
Cosby Sweater HILLTOP HOODS (20)
Linger GUY SEBASTIAN (22)
Take Me Over PEKING DUK (29)
Do It Now MASHD N KUTCHER (33)
Sugar Man YOLANDA BE COOL (36)
Chandelier SIA (38)
Georgia VANCE JOY (40, debut)

Just one Aussie album in the national Top 10.

Built On Glass CHET FAKER (number 10)
1000 Forms Of Fear SIA (11)
Angus & Julia Stone ANGUS & JULIA STONE (13)
Walking Under Stars HILLTOP HOODS (15)
The Veronicas THE VERONICAS (16)
Madness GUY SEBASTIAN (22)
Wired TRAVIS COLLINS (26, debut)
Dream Your Life Away VANCE JOY (27)
Triple J's Like A Version, Volume 10 VARIOUS ARTISTS (28)
The Very Best INXS (32)
Rock Or Bust AC/DC (34)
Jukebox HUMAN NATURE (39)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Black and Blue CHAIN
Sound The Alarm ANDREW SWIFT
Brylcreem, Alcohol & Pills PERRY KEYES
The Day We Met SAM SHINAZZI
You've Been So Good To Me So Far TIM ROGERS

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