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Howzat! Archive - February 6th 2013

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Twenty-one years after their debut album, The Meanies are back. They're doing it live for PBS, as part of Drive Live 2013. A stack of great acts are playing live on PBS every day this week between 5 and 7pm. The Meanies are part of Thursday's lineup, with Spinning Rooms and La Bastard. Head to for more info. When Howzat! asked Wally Meanie what he loved about PBS, he replied, "Absolutely everything. Peebs were the first to play The Meanies and they'll probably be the last." Hopefully they'll have some new Meanies to play soon. "We've got nearly 30 songs just sitting there ready to record," Wally reveals, "so we'll do that soon. But we've been saying that for a while now, so don't hold your breath."

As Stephen Cummings said, "Pubs open and shut every week." But they are the fabric of our scene, and should be celebrated. Another venue quietly closed before Christmas. It didn't generate any headlines and there was no marching in the streets. Its glory days were long gone. But the Station Hotel in Prahran played a significant role in the Melbourne music story. The Greville Street venue had two distinct phases, in the '70s and '90s. Richard Clapton actually eulogised the Station's passing on his classic 1977 album, Goodbye Tiger. "Geez," he sang in the title-track, "the bands don't seem to play 'round here no more/ Saturday night just isn't the same/ Wish everything was back the way it used to be before Nobody's gonna take the stage tonight/ But I'll sit here anyway and sigh." Richard later revealed the song was about the Station. "The Station Hotel is where all my most worthwhile bands from Australia came out," Richard told author Debbie Kruger. "The Dingoes, Spectrum, Daddy Cool Goodbye Tiger is about the end of an era, what we feared was going to be the end of Australian music. To us, the closure of the Station was symbolic of the closure of a really important chapter in Australian music."

The Station was where Mark Evans got the bass gig in AC/DC (even though he'd been banned from the pub after being part of a barroom brawl the week before). "The punters at the Station were known to be a discerning bunch musically," he wrote in his 2011 book, Dirty Deeds. "It was an interesting cross-section of hippies, drunks and curious music fans." Chisel, Skyhooks, Mondo Rock, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons and Australian Crawl all played at the Station. The Dingoes bass player John Bois documented the days in his recent book, The Dingoes' Lament. "Derelicts and dole dependents normally peopled the Station," he wrote, "as well as besotted bon vivants who claimed it was a haven of mateship, a place where men could be men, out of earshot of nagging women. But to the untrained eye, it looked more like a place of banishment. Nevertheless, on Saturday it was transformed into a subcultural temple. The gods of that subculture were The Dingoes." The band was keen to do a farewell gig at the Station last year, but the venue wasn't interested.

Howzat! got to see Dingoes guitarist Chris Stockley at the Station when the venue was resurrected in the '90s. Chris would pop up with Steve Hoy's band, who did a wonderful Saturday afternoon residency. And on March 13, 1992, Howzat! was at the Station for the live debut of Horsehead, who became our all-time favourite band. The record company bio for their debut album told the tale: "Capacity of the venue - 200. Actual audience on the night - five, including bar staff. Vibe: Awesome!!" In the '90s, there were many reasons to visit Greville Street, including the Station, the Continental, Greville Records and the Greville St Bookstore. Only Warwick Brown's record store survives. The Station is, of course, being turned into high-rise apartments. Like we need more of them.

The legendary Jim Keays released Howzat!'s favourite 2012 album, Dirty, Dirty. The record shows that when it comes to rock, Jim, 66, has lost none of his power. Sadly, Jim is also battling a cancer called multiple myeloma, and he's spent most of the summer in hospital. But some good news - Jim posted this Facebook message last week: "Well, it's nearly seven weeks since I went into hospital, but at last I'm home. The stem-cell transplant procedure was extremely gruelling and has left me unable to walk or eat at the moment, but over the coming weeks this will improve. But, most importantly, I'M ALIVE!" Jim is hoping to be back on stage mid-year.

Birds of Tokyo spend a second week in the top five.

Lanterns BIRDS OF TOKYO (number four)
Best Night JUSTICE CREW (20)
Holdin On FLUME (25)
What You've Done To Me SAMANTHA JADE (27)
HyperParadise (Flume Remix) HERMITUDE (38, debut)
Get Along GUY SEBASTIAN (40)

Flume becomes the first Aussie act to have a number one album in 2013, jumping from 16 to one.

Flume FLUME (number one)
Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (13)
The Sapphires SOUNDTRACK (16)
The Story So Far KEITH URBAN (19)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (21)
The Rubens THE RUBENS (23)
All For You COLD CHISEL (24)

Broken Heart Attack BEKI COLADA

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