Label: Rutabagas - RUTLP88001 Format: Vinyl LP, Album Country: Australia Genre: Folk, World, Country Style: Country, Folk
There was some discussion about whether we were gonna do it Twisted Rail - Kev Carmody - Pillars Of Society (Vinyl not and we decided to do it and thankfully it was really good. We had a very supportive and enthusiastic producer in Dermot Hoy. All the same, Buffalo managed to outdo themselves with the wildly tasteless cover design which featured an obese, screaming, semi-naked woman shackled to a torture rack. Starman Books know how to present a quality product. Another snippet from Dr. We were living in a house in St.
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The music scene was starting to change around that time as well, Countdown had started. The whole venue scene in Australia had changed as well; initially we used to play a lot of school dances and then the pub scene opened up.
Here he speaks for the first time about the circumstances of his departure:. I dunno if that line-up would have worked. He was a great slide player but it came as a bit of a surprise to me actually. Pretty soon after that I got the chop. I was looking forward to that.
I was a bit surprised. How much of that band was me! I put so much work into that band, they were my songs and my effort and they thought they could just chop me out like that. I just crawled away and got in my hole for a while and never heard from anybody. I think it was something to do with my volume on the guitar. He used to complain a bit and quite rightly so.
I was probably one of the loudest guitar players going around. But I felt I needed that to play the way I did. I think some of those songs are good. When the band dissolved at the end of the year after making little headway, Baxter left the music industry.
It had been suggested, for some time before, that John was an uncontrollable force. One thing I will say is that through the first three albums with that four-piece, and also including the five-piece when we first started, is that the focus and the ideas within the band members were on parallel track. We had an innate understanding of what we were trying to do. A strong part of the reason for the line-up change was management preferences.
They thought it was necessary to change the band. The very things you can do to access that market were anathema to John, he just assumed what he did was fine. They got caught up in that way of thinking at the time. The last two albums have a more commercial sound, which was the whole idea. We had people telling us what to wear. Not only that but after feeding them, we hoped to be able to feed ourselves!
Plus, I personally think that if we were in a larger market doing what we were doing, or we were a band from New York or a band from London, then the financial rewards that would have gone with being in a commensurate position in those markets meant that all of us would have been doing quite well.
The Australian market puts other constraints on performers. It tends to focus the realities a lot earlier than in other parts of the world. Overseas the numbers are hugely different. Despite their best efforts over the next couple of years, the expected hit singles for Buffalo never eventuated. Nevertheless, they were in a curious position when it came to their live appearances, with their local gigging schedule having dropped off considerably.
Tice had actually joined a new band called Mr. Madness being put together by four ex-members of Sydney-based psych-pop outfit Flake. This was an opportunity too good to miss: Sabbath was one of the biggest bands of the day and indeed the local boys had often been compared favourably to the Brit metal masters.
Tice remembers finishing the support slots to Sabbath, rushing offstage, jumping into a waiting car and heading across town to fulfill his singing role with Mr. Madness for three sets a night at Chequers disco. Naturally, his long-term allegiance lay with only one band: Dead forever… had been out for a while and we were on the same label as Black Sabbath of course, Vertigo.
There was some discussion about whether we were gonna do it or not and we decided to do it and thankfully it was really good. Madness, but the reception we got was exceptional. Unfortunately we never got to meet Sabbath. On the first night I went up to their dressing room, knocked on the door but there was nobody around.
So I walked up to it and I was feeling the strings and they were like elastic bands, they felt real soft and they were probably real light strings as well. And then a roadie walked in so I had to make a quick exit laughs. That was it, nothing was said. But it was a great gig for us. For a band that never got any radio airplay, to support Black Sabbath was fantastic.
They scored another important support slot on the national package tour by British bands Slade, Lindisfarne, Status Quo and Caravan that did the outdoor concert rounds during February. Now down to a streamlined four-piece line-up of Tice, Baxter, Wells and new drummer Jimmy Economou, Buffalo ploughed ahead with more determination than ever and commenced work on their second album at United Sound Studios.
Sound Blast reported that United Sound had recently imported new quadraphonic four-channel recording equipment and that the first to use the facilities would be none other than Buffalo! The importance of Volcanic Rock can never be overstated. Reviews of the album were positive: The album thumps, it bumps and grinds gut solid from go to woe. The music howls and screams all around, and over guitar and bass riffs.
The vocalist has a powerful gnawing sort of voice, earthy and interesting. But the Steppenwolf influences are too obvious. Other side, Pound of Flesh, is musically more fulfilling. Buffalo had already earned a reputation as macho progressive heavies with the release of Dead forever… , but it was Volcanic Rock that cemented the legend. With its full quota of scorching, molten heavy metal, Volcanic Rock sounds as sweet as a Mach truck driving through a china shop, with twice as much crunch to boot!
I think he discovered that himself in recent times. What might look good on paper might not come out so well when you sing them laughs. But I could always make them work. That epitomised our style. So I played it and they liked it. It was good that they did, otherwise I probably would have tossed it out. It became our most popular live song. Pop band Sherbet headlined the concert bill and Baxter remembers the day as wet and overcast. Baxter continues, warming to the memories: After that we went full on hard rock; no ballads.
It was more my influences because I am a head banger. For Volcanic Rock we just decided to go full on, we recorded it live in the studio without any touch-ups. Being the main songwriter, I wrote all the music and got the songs going and then Dave would add his lyrics later. The other guys were happy to head that way as well. It was a watt RMS valve amp with two quad boxes. I used to love that amp! I also sold the SG quite a while ago.
I think I did a pretty good job. From Volcanic Rock onwards, that four year period I was at my peak. Volcanic Rock and Only Want You for Your Body are the most representative albums when it comes to my guitar playing style. Wells indeed shares that opinion: It just seems to have survived the best. Generally speaking, just the style of playing and approach seems to make sense to me. It always seemed to work when we played it live and people always liked it.
Likewise, when drummer Economou really got wound up, there was basically no way of stopping him short of a sharp blow to the head. The album came with a fold-out illustrated lyric sheet, as well as featuring a garish and controversial gatefold cover illustration by J. Phillip Thomas: To top it off, a fiery denizen of the volcano holds aloft a glowing, phallic shaped molten rock. Wonder what the feminists of the day had to say about that little lot!
From memory, there were two or three different designs put forward and the artwork that got used was the last one that the record company wanted to use laughs. Only Want You for Your Body was the same too. The record company were shitting themselves what people might think. You might as well just hide it away. Baxter laughs too, but for a slightly different reason.
That demon on the volcano should have been holding a guitar above his head, I reckon, not what he was holding. I thought that was ridiculous laughs. He should have been holding a flaming guitar.
I would be much happier with that now. At the time we just thought it looked good. That was the tactic we had to employ. No airplay, so we had to get people to listen to our music somehow. We had a very supportive and enthusiastic producer in Dermot Hoy. He saw our potential in the first place and he made the way clear for us to record our albums. Usually we liked the artwork; I think the concepts were accepted straight away. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that anyone held out much hope for a Buffalo hit single!
Interestingly, most of the singles released by Phonogram on the blue and silver Philips label of the day were mono mixes. You need a bit more distance to have perspective on these things. And that continues to amaze me but I can see why now.
If you have reason to want to put that behind you, it becomes a bit of an embarrassment. There are some good songs there and thankfully I can see it within the context of which it was done. I always ask people about that, younger people who have only been into the music for the last decade or so.
They just like it. Will the old guys like them, will the young kids like them? Do you remember the first time you saw the cover of this album? My first sighting of the album was back in early I remember it well; I was 14 years old and had started getting seriously into music.
The face and the attention-grabbing semi-psychedelic colouration effects around the skull matched the album title perfectly: Opening the gatefold sleeve revealed the photo of a heavy bunch of dudes playing their instruments in a cemetery, with amps towering behind them and gravestones rising ominously in front. Something was going on here! Holy shit! I flipped the jacket over: This Buffalo was worthy of further investigation and it soon became apparent that they already had two more albums, each boasting even more tasteless front covers: Musically, Dead forever… was all lurching riffs, rasping vocals, throbbing bass lines and a weird echoed sound to the drums; a generally heavy psych quality but with a few softer touches as well.
Within a year we even saw Buffalo playing live when they appeared at our local high school dance. Besides, when was Black Sabbath ever likely to play at your school dance? Yet there remains something real and tangible about such a discovery. One got the impression these guys were the real deal. Their record covers were outrageous, they played hard and heavy, they looked mean and surly: Lead singer Dave Tice always had a glint in the eye and a wicked grin plastered across his face.
Bass player Pete Wells appeared entirely po-faced, yet surely something wilier lurked beneath that air of nonchalant cool. It was as if they were in on some preposterous joke and were bursting to let the audience in on it all, but they never let on: Just the fact they got away with their record covers at the time says a lot about their approach and demeanour.
On the surface the covers appeared confrontational, but their true essence was borne of genuine wit and a playful sense of the absurd. There was a time, however, during the late s through the early s when the name Buffalo was a forgotten one, relegated to the back blocks as punk and new wave swept all before them. It was that general downturn of interest in anything pre, especially something deemed to be heavy metal or, heaven forbid, progressive rock!
You could find copies of Buffalo albums in second-hand shops for next to nix. Gradually, the legend began to grow, assuming mythical proportions as their records became increasingly rare and started to fetch high prices on the collector market.
I followed that with sections devoted to their records as part of my retro-zine Freedom Train Issue 3: And that interest continues to this day with the band more popular throughout the world than ever conceived possible during their existence as a recording and touring unit. They then put in time with the dubiously titled Capitol Showband before forming Head in Issued in May, the single sold poorly and remains the rarest Buffalo-related artifact.
When Pete and I first came down to Sydney and Head was looking for gigs and trying to make a name for ourselves, at that point we were still very much a blues band. We were playing what is still the basic repertoire of every blues band to this day. We had changes in the band with Pete, John and I forming the core of what became Buffalo.
With John it was a matter of doing what he wanted to do. His style was blues-based but he never considered himself to be a blues player. It was very obvious to Pete and I that what was going on between basically a blues rhythm section and this guitar player was rather interesting.
Pete was obviously the one who had to find a way to make his bass playing work within that. He was already at a stage in his career and ability that he could jump on the changes that John might throw at him fast enough to make it work.
Pete Wells had a similar recollection: It was a very unique style of playing. There were lots of guitar players he liked at the time, but he never sounded like anyone else to me. A lot of what he came up with was based around improvisation. A lot of it was very simple rock, a couple of chords and a riff and we used to jam on that and come up with songs. Tice goes on to explain: We chose a new name because when we started going around to the Sydney agencies as Head, we were treated with enormous indifference.
Dal Myles at DM Enterprises was interested in the band, but he hated the name. He suggested we change the name because of certain drug connotations. We also wanted something with an Australian flavour. So we got a map of Australia that also showed distribution of flora and fauna.
This is a true story: It landed in the Northern Territory and the nearest name beginning with B was Buffalo. In order to make up for a perceived lack of musical expertise, the members of Buffalo simply adopted a brash, no-nonsense macho attitude and got loud and heavy. Vertigo , issued in June. The Vertigo connection is one of the most intriguing aspects of the whole Buffalo story.
By , the Sydney office of Phonogram was on the case, promoting the label with local releases of many Vertigo titles and a desire to establish an Australian identity.
Vertigo issued Dead forever… in Germany, Holland and possibly France, sans the gatefold sleeve. I really miss that now, quite frankly. I guess organic is as good a word as any to describe what we did. Quite a number of tracks on those early albums were done in the studio like that. The first album was a little bit more thought out, organised, but not much more.
With the subsequent albums, in most cases we were writing as we were recording. John Baxter remembers starting with his first band when he was about 16 years old. Some of it was poppy, Top 40 stuff, but to me at the time it was just great rock. Also The Easybeats were a great influence. Grand Funk! As a program of music in itself, Dead forever… remains one of the first truly sinister albums from an Aussie band of the day. Baxter stamps his identity throughout the album as an emergent guitar player of tremendous scope.
He dominates with memorable riffs, stinging lead breaks and other interesting guitar parts: Very much in the Tony Iommi style of dense, heavy riffing with multi-tracked solos jostling for attention amid the boogie overtones, the whole thing creates a fat, solid framework of tremendously dark power.
You might use something as a reference point. And the rest of it was us. He kept his lyrics for my liking fairly good. They probably called themselves after the album. We were playing a two week residency at the Chevron Hotel up there; the promoter had put us up in this house and the story was that the owner had died in his bed.
We supposedly established contact and the glass started moving. Dave continues: So the cover spoke for itself. It was put together by Nick van der Lay who saw a way to make some sense of it all visually and photographically.
What you see on the cover of Dead forever… was just a way of portraying what the album was about; it stood out immediately in a record rack with the skull and the face with all the blood. Nick also took the photo of us in Rookwood Cemetery and used that on the inner gatefold. He was very clever; he had a big input into the first three album covers. Unfortunately he died in a motorbike accident, which is why the album covers changed after the third one. This house we were staying in was pretty creepy in some ways, lights would go on and doors would slam shut.
So it was like this ouija board with the letters and we put our fingers on this glass and asked all these questions: Something had to give, and by the end of co-vocalist Milano had left; he later formed Southern Cross. Balbi also left to be replaced by Jimmy Economou another ex-Mandala alumnus ; Balbi later travelled to England where he joined the ranks of pub-rockers the Count Bishops. Wells 2. Glenn A. Baker made no secret in his praise for St.
Indeed, throughout the s and s Jeff St. His long and distinguished career involves many great recordings. This expanded CD edition adds ten non-LP, mono singles to the music programme for extra clout. The singer also changed his name to Jeff St John and his stage persona was complete.
When interviewed in , St John explained how he came to join the band: They were playing in a little place called the York Club and one night two big, burly policemen walked in, physically lifted Shane off the stage and took him away. I happened to be walking back from the city down Pitt Street, with my then wife-to-be Pamela, and John Helman pulled up in a car.
It used to be a folk club called the Last Straw, run by Jim Carter. He made his fortune on the folk scene but he also saw the writing on the wall and he involved two guys from Channel 7, Rod Kirk and Tony Culliton and they turned the Last Straw into Rhubarbs.
Probably the most innovative thing they did was chopping out a large section of the upstairs floor so that it became a four-sided balcony. St John was credited as writer of the flip side which starts out at a laid-back pace with a catchy guitar lick, cool organ sounds and the singer in mellow voice. The band members respond in kind with a more forceful delivery including doubling the beat at the end of each chorus turnaround.
Bentley had left to form Python Lee Jackson. On first listen it might seem to be ordinary but this record is deep. The English bands were copying and drawing their influences from the American source so rather than copy the copyists, we went directly to the source as well.
We were putting our own interpretation on the original works. Don, John and Peter, in particular, had record collections that spanned the whole Mississippi delta blues period, so we were listening to people like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Jimmy Reed, Leadbelly. With black music they used a lot of falsetto and I was able to go from full voice into that upper register. And the guys in The Id helped me to nurture and train that instrument to the point where I was able to pick up the ball and run with it on my own.
All my childhood was spent singing musical comedy and light operetta with my parents. My father was a wonderful baritone and my mother was a beautiful contralto, so I just had music around me all my life. When the boys started feeding me this stuff, I was this dry sponge and I just soaked it up. Writing in Tomorrow Is Today: Australia in the Psychedelic Era, , Ian D. Marks was spot on when he explained:. The slithery slide guitar of original Missing Link member Peter Anson balances the organ perfectly and provides even more of a Moorish atmosphere to proceedings.
You can almost smell the incense and spices wafting through the desert on this one. And herein lies the rub: But you know what? So many people love that song. It got picked up for the Packer special the TV mini-series Howzat!
So then when I came out of hospital we decided to keep the brass section. The Sunoroid campaign involved each person who bought a pair of sunglasses being given a free copy of the single. By all accounts it was a huge success, with some sources quoting over 25, copies sold. The single reached 6 in Sydney and 12 in Melbourne during January With a full work sheet the band was never idle: At one point they opened the disco on a Saturday or the Sunday afternoon and let the kids in but essentially we were a band for grown-ups.
While McCormack had played drums on the hit single, by the time the group came to record the album he had been replaced by Derek Brooks. The sound of the original stereo vinyl is robust and diverse but it should also be noted that the mono pressing does have a hefty punch to it. Look, Pat did a brilliant job with that album, I have to say. I think that between us we created a milestone in Australian recording history.
I personally believe it was the first album to come out of Australia that could have been recorded anywhere in the world. So that was it — time, place, ability, circumstance, all of those things. And songs. Ironically, it was Peter Anson who sang the lead vocals on this one! I put my own interpretation on it.
Right next to the railway line. They were a great live act. They found a bass player. But by then the band was over. So the single was released under the new name Little Murders.
Rob Wellington formed the International Exiles. Vic joined Dorian Grey. They would never be as noisy as on this first recording, put down one night in early PayPal offthehiprecords gmail.
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