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Howzat! Archive - October 31st 2012

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Two years ago this week, Jack Howard did a gig at the Grace Darling with Monique Brumby and Ron Peno. It was a turning point in a long and varied career. At the end of the night, Jack split the takings between the three acts. They each took home $20. "That pretty much stopped me in my tracks," Jack recalls. "I couldn't keep calling upon the exceptional musicians that I've played with so I gave it up for a while."

Jack relates that tale in the liner notes of his new album, The Story So Far (out through MGM). It's a story with a happy ending. Since "quitting", Jack has released a superb solo album, Shadowlands, while the new album is a fine retrospective, gathering tracks from Jack's six solo releases. It also comes with a bonus DVD - Live At Pure Pop. Jack says "a more sympathetic live environment" boosted his spirits. "With the Caravan Club, Pure Pop and a few others, I've found an audience that I didn't seem to be able to get to before." What are Jack's memories of the DVD gig? "Fear," he laughs, revealing that he actually shot two shows. "The first one was a fizzer, so we had to get the second night right. Luckily, everything fell into place." The DVD features a hidden track - a stirring version of the Hunnas' Holy Grail. "I sing it quite regularly with a variety of outfits," Jack says, "and it usually gets a big reaction one of those small moments of glory."

After Hunters and Collectors ended, Jack found a happy home as a music teacher at Wesley. "It definitely helps my playing because I play all day every day." But he says his solo career suffered because of dodgy management - "I was the manager". He doesn't enjoy the business side, "but I've come to terms with it now. I operate on a pretty small scale and know plenty of sympathetic people, so it's not too bad. I just never go north of the river!" As the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. His liner notes conclude, "Now we just want to play - we love to play." And there's nothing dull about The Story So Far. Though he writes that "melancholy and minor key are my middle names", it's a power-packed collection of dynamic songs. Jack launches the album at the Caravan Club on Sunday afternoon.

Early gigs. We also love late gigs (speaking of which, The Cheats are doing Pony's infamous 2am show on Saturday). Seeing Chris Wilson at Cherry at 6pm on a Friday you gotta love that! Friendy was making cocktails, while Max Crawdaddy introduced Chris: "Some call him a national treasure, I call him a national pleasure." Looking out at the large crowd, Chris remarked, "You're either the sophisticated set, or the biggest bunch of pissants in town." Chris is back at Cherry this Friday at 6pm, to play more tunes from his fantastic new album, Flying Fish.

Howzat! has written the liner notes for Aches and Shakes, the new compilation celebrating 10 years of Popboomerang Records. In the lead-up to the launch (at the Tote on Sunday, 18 November), we put label boss, Scotty "Pop" Thurling, in the Howzat! hot seat, asking him to nominate his three favourite Popboom albums, as well as his three biggest mistakes. For part one, Scotty nominates the 85th Popboomerang release, The Sugargliders' new retrospective, A Nest With A View (1990-1994). "In 1994 I discovered RRR, and over the airwaves came an evocative, delicate, jangled guitar line with whispered, gentle, intellectual vocals," Scotty recalls. "The band was The Sugargliders and the song was Ahprahran. My world and path was never the same!" And Scotty's third biggest mistake? "You always remember your first, don't you? When I stumbled on Sarah Sarah - the first band signed to Popboomerang - they were playing a battle of the bands. They comprised of duo Zac and Kate, belting out cheeky, addictive pop tunes. This ambitious yet precocious pair quickly caused a love/hate buzz on the Melbourne scene and were joined by a revolving cast of members to record six sparkling songs before imploding in a mess of lies and lust - I aged six years in six months! But it wasn't all bad news - through Sarah Sarah's bass player Michele, I met Remake Remodel (the only Popboom band to play the Big Day Out), and their good vibrations landed me the Splendid/Frente recordings."

Delta scores her 12th Top 5 hit.

Battle Scars GUY SEBASTIAN (number four)
Wish You Were Here DELTA GOODREM (five)
Rock Star REECE MASTIN (16)
Boom Boom JUSTICE CREW (25)

Paul Kelly has a Top 10 debut.

Beautiful Nightmare REECE MASTIN (number three, debut)
Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (seven)
Spring & Fall PAUL KELLY (eight, debut)
Beautiful Noise LEE KERNAGHAN (nine, debut)
The Sapphires soundtrack (15)
Broken Brights ANGUS STONE (18)
The Late Blue GYPSY & THE CAT (23, debut)
Bless This Mess LISA MITCHELL (24)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (25)
The Rubens THE RUBENS (27)
Hate THY ART IS MURDER (35, debut)
All For You COLD CHISEL (38)
Falling & Flying 360 (39)

And I'll Sleep Tonight DESERTERS
Dawsons Creek SARAH SARAH

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