The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 1, 1988 · Page 39
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia · Page 39

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Friday, January 1, 1988
Page 39
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A spirited spacious rock band Rockers who drink not drive i f;A..:.,.yr ; ROCK KATHERINE TEH HAVE you heard of White Cross? The answer is often:"Yes, they are that religious band, aren't they?" But no, say the band:"It's not religion, it's spirituality." According to the guitaristlead singer of White Cross, Peter Mather, 'white' signifies purity for him and the 'cross' symbolises using spiritualism rather than materialism to overcome problems in one's life. Songs about giving love feature on their album, 'The Bride', which was released in August Spirituality or not, the band wants what every other band wants. Its members want to make a living from music, to interest a large record company, and a large booking agent Some of them work part-time for money. They have a record company that knows of their ambition to go to a bigger record company. They have a record that they are not altogether happy with, blaming money constraints and inexperience in the recording studio for not getting the sounds they wanted. A Melbourne band, they have a booking agent in Sydney who occasionally books them Melbourne dates (although they organise most themselves). Fulfilling, in a small way, their desire to tour, White Cross Regularly tours Sydney, has visited Newcastle and Canberra, and next year will tour New Zealand. Although, as Mather says, the band is trying to "extend their sphere of influence", its market has been predominantly inner suburban, not the outer suburban venues because of their "alternative to commercial music feel". Their first answer to, "What sort of music would you say you played?" was, "Rock n'roll". But on second thoughts Nigel Harford, who plays bass and sings, calls it "spacious rock n' roll". What this means is that the band is not a heavy handed boom cha boom cha and electric-guitar band, but rather an acoustic guitar and sax band that plays ballads as well. Harford says, of the band which formed two and a half years ago: "One day we may go a bit mainstream, it'd be a bit of a challenge, too". Mather says that they are happy if they play well to a small audience saying that it is a "sign of maturity in a band if you can put on a good show no matter what". Harford explains why they have to sometimes play to a small audience: "We are a hard band to hype." White Cross show that they can fee as serious in person as they are about their music. So for now they play about once a week on average as they try to build familiarity with audiences. Harford tells of a group of girls that followed the band from Sydney to Canberra. He claims: "They didn't come down to get to know us they came down for the music." He explains their female rapport is due to a "real feminine side to our music girls respond to". Mather says: "We have never had groupies as such." But Harford adds, if they "come and see us" they may like the music and may buy the record. Harford is adamant that: "If the idea is good you can still get a lot of people interested. Maybe this will take longer." According to White Cross's public relations material, 75 American college radio stations have picked up their songs in the past few weeks: "The Bride has gone Top 10 on 23 US college station charts! Vocalist Peter Mather is 'delighted' at the news." It also says that they are a "featured" act in a syndicated program to be aired in the US early this year on a 120 station college show. The band is not sure about the figures. WHERE AND WHEN: White Cross is playing at the ID Club, 132 Greville Street, Prahran on Saturday. PAUL FELDMAN FIRST there was MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Then there was SADD Students Against Drunk Driving. Now there is RADD Rockers. Against Drunk Driving. Is it all just becoming a fad? , No way, said heavy-metal singer Ronnie James Dio. "It's not the call letters that are important it's the. message inside. No one wants to see anyone else killed, especially for the stupid reason of a driver being drunk."' Dio, who once suffered a 150-stitch gash in his head in a collision with a car driven by a drunk driver, was one of three rock stars hosting a news conference in Los Angeles to inaugurate a Christmas holiday program of public service messages from the newly organised, non-profit RADD. About SO well-known musicians will be featured on RADD's various radio spots, which will be broadcast on 250 radio stations in the United States. Dio said the artists include such veteran social activists as Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as members of the Rolling Stones, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and REO Speedwagon. Distinguishing itself from more traditional anti-drinking organisations, RADD is not against sipping per se, its leaders explained. Rather, the group's aim is to warn youngsters about getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. "The great thing about this project is it's cool to drink, but not to drive," said Morton Weinstein, executive producer of the group's audio message project And just how much is it cool to drink? Each artist has his own opinion. In what might sound like an eye-opening statement for a singer who once fronted a band called Black Sabbath, Dio declared: "I think everything should be done in moderation. Drinking to excess is stupid and wrong." Bret Michaels, lead singer of the glam-rock quartet Poison, took a different tack. "The fact is, there is nothing at all wrong with partying. I'd be a liar to say it because I do it myself. But when you're drunk, just don't drive it's suicide." Like Dio, Michaels, 24, said he once nearly died as a result of drunk driving. When he was 16, he said, he and a close friend got drunk at a bar that served minors. Michaels decided to drive home with his sister, who was sober. His friend decided to drive home himself and died In an accident "Definitely designate one person to be straight or sober (to drive home) when you go out to have a good time," Michaels suggested. "It's just respect for fellow man," echoed David Paich, keyboardist and singer for Toto. Los Angeles Times A year of guts, grey matter and rehashes SO that was 1987. Commercially, a year where cover versions dominated and a minor Bob Seger hit was excavated, in disturbingly sound health, to become a . Number One song. Over the year it became increasingly difficult to pick songs from ads on radio. While 'Friday On My Mind' droned across the airways, small brains strained. Was that the Gary Moore cover or the Big M ad? Not that we mind the concept of redoing old songs, but it seemed the basic principle of reinterpreting and re-arranging them had been lost Instead of improved definitions we heard paler carbon copies, perhaps with a token drum machine. There have been great cover versions, like 'Eleanor Rigby' by Zoot and Aztec Camera's cool version of Van Helen's 'Jump'. But mainstream Australian bands this year have led the way in the limp cover game. Some, like Cattletruck (did a wan version of The Resurrection Shuffle') and The Huxton Creepers (rehashed 'Pretty Flamingo') should have known better. And then there were the others. 'Locomotion', by the omnipresent Kylie; Dragon and 'Celebration'; 'He's Gonna Step on You Again' from both The Party Boys and The Chantoozies; 'Get Ready' by Carol Hitchcock and 'Funky Town' by Pseudo Echo. From overseas. Boy George croaked out 'Everything I Own' while Kim Wilde chanted 'You Keep Me Hanging On'. There was 'When You Walk in The Room' from Paul Carrack; 'Don't Leave Me This Way from The Communards; Sting re-releasing his 'Don't Stand So Close To Me '86' single. It augurs well for 1988, when we can perhaps look forward to our first entire album of covers. (From The Party Boys perhaps?) Or maybe a few more dinosaur rockers will wise up to the SegerSting example. Why sit back and watch someone else do your song, when a re-release would save so much time and effort? But now to the bright sparks of the yean Shaun Carney's top albums for 1187. FLASH LIGHT Tom Verlaine We all know that justice is a figment of the civilised mind, but something really should be done about Tom Verlaine's lack of chart success. This blistering collection of rock songs was a must for all lounge room air-guitar players. TALLULAH The Ge-Betweens The single 'Right Here' alone made this a worthwhile record. The Gobies may have looked angst-ridden on the cover but there were plenty of positive personal and musical messages on the vinyl. BETWEEN THE HORIZON AND THE DOCKYARD Andrew Pendlebary Superb musicianship, great song selection. Nuff said. UNDER THE SUN Paul Kelly and the Colored Girls Varied Weltanschauung and great tunes prove that Kelly is the best and brightest writer in Oz. A record with guts and grey matter. . SKYLARKING XTC Producer Todd Rundgren almost succeeded in making XTC the Beatles for a few brief, shining moments. Only androids could fail to mmmmmmmd TTT N K- or s The Go-Betweens: personal and musical messages be uplifted by this paean to the post-teen crisis. Most Insulting lyric for 1187: "Here is my heartwaiting for youHere is my soulI eat at Chez Nous" 'Love Will Find a Way' by Yes. Wendy Tnohy's Top singles of the year (of the Australian-made singles submitted to her for review). The excellent debut single by Melbourne band Fire (the former Ku KIux Frankenstein) 'Rosemary Rosary'; a melodic tune over tight and enduring guitar and sax riffs and a woody flute break. . Harem Scarem's 'Miracle Mile, a frenetic release blending bluesy harmonica and bass, country rhythm and honky-tonkish piano under impatient vocals. A vibrant and energetic cut The Painters and Deckers did not let their fans, or the censors, down; choosing between 'Nude School' and 'Die Yuppie Die for fun value is difficult If suspiciously commercial-sounding the Ge-Betweens releases 'Right Here and 'I Just Get Caught Out' maintained the musical, and lyrical, standard. Weddings Parties Anything produced the folky pearler 'Away Away', an endearing tune which seemed not to achieve the air play which it most definitely deserved. 'From Now On the fine Crystal Set release, an ambient and haunting piece inadvertently reviewed twice, needs no further praise. This reviewer's favorite Paul Kelly sad the Colored Girls release for the year was the touching and human ballad Te Her Deer. X's cover of 'Dream Baby, especially the wild guitar lead, was edgy and powerful. . V ..- Friday 1 January j y83 - ( i i : i.V .;'. A

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