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Howzat! Archive - November 28th 2012

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A few years back, Howzat! had a chat with an Australian A&R man. Based in the US, he was looking for songs for a new act he'd signed. He grew up with The Dingoes and dug out their three albums. "But you know what," he remarked, "the songs weren't as good as I remembered them." Maybe it was the time and the place. But Jimmy Barnes still has fond memories of the band. Indeed, he tells Howzat!: "The Dingoes were, for me, the inspiration for Cold Chisel. They made music on their own terms. It wasn't about selling records, it was to suit what they wanted to do. I would see them every single night they played in Adelaide - I'd go six nights in a row, as would most of Cold Chisel. And every time I heard one of their records, I thought, 'This is a record that's not made just for Australia, it's made for the world.' Incredible band." Howzat! thought of these two recollections while reading The Dingoes' Lament, the brilliant new book by Dingoes bass player John Bois ($29.95, Melbourne Books).

Rarely have the words floated from the page of a rock book as beautifully as they do in The Dingoes' Lament. John Bois writes like a poet, gently and gracefully. "I was very unhappy," John writes. "I felt the calmness of the days but it seemed more like the calmness of a river just before it reaches the waterfall. I could not enjoy it. I still sweated over the band's quality or lack of it." Most rock books are filled with bluff and bluster, but this offering is an insight into insecurity. "We were either ignored somebodies or celebrated nobodies," John states, "and no one, least of all ourselves, knew which." The band is on the verge of breaking up when their big break comes - the Stones' tour manager, Peter Rudge, wants them to relocate to America. He gets them a deal with A&M, they make an album with Elliot Mazer (who produced Neil Young's Harvest), and the plan is they will go on the road with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then the Skynyrd plane crashes, killing singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines. "We're fucked," reacts Dingoes singer Broderick Smith.

But John depicts a band that was never confident enough to conquer the world. "I longed to be an audience member who could casually walk out of my life and into their trouble-free existence of limitless possibility," he writes after one anxiety attack. "But I was stuck." The band found themselves "scared of the future, in need of the past." "We tried hard," John concludes. "But, try as we might, we were nothing more than little Aussie battlers: brave but pathetic." But there's a happy ending. The Dingoes re-formed to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. And one final tour is planned, with the band playing at the Caravan Club on 29 & 30 December.

Two of Howzat!'s favourite acts are teaming up for a special Sunday afternoon double feature. Georgia Fields and Dan Lethbridge are playing live and launching their new videos at the Northcote Social Club on Sunday, 9 December. It's the premiere of the video for Saturday Night Fever, the opening track on Dan's acclaimed second album, Oh Hawke, while Georgia is debuting the Rohan Spong-directed clip for her new single, Snakes and Ladders. "I wrote the song about the games we play in relationships," Georgia tells Howzat! "It's also about the Sisyphean cycle; working as hard as you can to get 'somewhere', only to find yourself slipping down the python's back to right where you started. Sometimes this process is a dance, and you kind of enjoy moving 'round in circles. Other times it's a wretched struggle. Snakes and Ladders is more about the former." It's not Georgia's favourite board game. "I actually haven't played Snakes and Ladders in years, and I never enjoyed it as a child. I used to get very angry at the random injustice of the dice. My favourite board game is Scrabble - safe, rational, meritocratic Scrabble." Georgia's song name-checks the legendary Lauren Bacall: "I'm not ready to become the girl from next door, I'd rather be your Lauren Bacall," she sings. "The Lauren Bacall reference is actually there for my ex," Georgia reveals. "He's a big Lauren fan. I've only seen her in To Have and Have Not, but yeah, I could get why he likes her so much. She's got this fragility in her frame and brutality in her stare."

X Factor winner Samantha Jade debuts on top, while Guy Sebastian scores his 11th Top 10 hit.

What You've Done To Me SAMANTHA JADE (number one, debut)
Get Along GUY SEBASTIAN (five)
Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (17)
Heartless SAMANTHA JADE (29)
Party Bass BOMBS AWAY (32)
Rock Star REECE MASTIN (35)
Wish You Were Here DELTA GOODREM (40)

AC/DC's new live set lands at 11.

Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (number four)
Live At River Plate AC/DC (11, debut)
Flume FLUME (15)
The Rubens THE RUBENS (23)
Child Of The Universe DELTA GOODREM (24)
The Sapphires SOUNDTRACK (25)
Beautiful Nightmare REECE MASTIN (26)
Essential Oils MIDNIGHT OIL (31)

Broken Heart Attack BEKI COLADA
Saturday Night Fever DAN LETHBRIDGE
Snakes and Ladders GEORGIA FIELDS

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