The Australian Road Crew Association has secured the backing of major Australian artists for the release of LIVE soundtracks recorded from venues across Australia and Internationally.

The ARCA Desk Tape Series is an initiative of the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA), a not for profit organization dedicated to the welfare of live production crew in Australia. ARCA is assisted by a collective of industry professionals, all freely giving their energy and time.

The BLACK BOX RECORDS recordings were created to raise much needed funds and have aligned with Support Act’s “Roadies Fund” to provide financial, health, mental health, and counselling – Finally, men and women, are being recognized for their being the backbone for major artists tours, corporate events, and even giving ‘their time’ to charitable events.

The series was created by ARCA to raise funds and resources for Support Act’s “Roadies Fund” to provide financial, health, counselling and wellbeing services for crews. ARCA was approached by Support Act after ARCA made the industry and the wider community aware of the plight of many Roadies who were doing it hard, and they created the “Roadies” fund together.

Roadies have amassed a treasure trove of live recordings spanning more than 40 years and made ARCA their custodian. These tapes document the cultural significance of the Australian live music scene and serve as important historical records, requiring a release to ensure they may never be lost.

Each release acknowledges the importance and value that roadies have contributed to making our live performance industry such an outstanding success. They offer recognition to the engineers who documented this wealth of genuine Australian music history. ARCA has established Black Box Records as the vehicle to promote each release, with MGM Distribution providing the means for worldwide distribution.

Each release will be distributed worldwide through all major digital and streaming services by MGM Distribution. ARCA will finance short runs of CD’s of each title for sale if feasible.

The Desk tape Series is available through; Amazon, Anghami, Apple Music / iTunes, Boomplay, Deezer, MGM, Pandora, Shazam, Spotify, TenCent, Tidal, TikTok and YouTube Music.

DESK TAPE SERIES: THE PARTY BOYS LIVE AT THE TIVOLI, SYDNEY 1987

The Party Boys was formed in 1982 by Mondo Rock bass guitarist Paul Christie along with Australian Crawl’s James Reyne. It played its first show at the Moby Dick Surfer’s Club in Whale Beach, Sydney. The plan was for The Party Boys to be a part-time fun supergroup project playing rock classics, using a revolving door of known musicians when their respective bands were off the road, a total of 36 players over the years.

These included The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, Australian Crawl, The Divinyls, The Models, Dragon and Choirboys, and international names such as Alan Lancaster, Joe Walsh of The Eagles, Eric Burdon of The Animals and Graham Bonnet. But it became a runaway success, with hit singles and albums, and sell-out concerts.

One of the singles, a cover of John Kongos’ percussive anti-apartheid song from 1971 “He’s Gonna Step On You Again” went to #1 on the ARIA chart.

Originally Paul Christie played bass. But when Alan Lancaster, ex-Status Quo joined, he switched to drums as a two-drummer setup with former Divinyls member Richard Harvey who Paul played his first ever live gig with, this was the line-up that released ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again’.

The follow up “Hold Your Head Up” from The Party Boys album, was made by the line-up that’s on LIVE at the Tivoli Sydney 1987. This was the most commercially successful of the line-ups.

The Party Boys was a lucrative experience. Paul Christie was a shrewd businessman and he set up a business model that was ahead of its time in the Australian music industry.

David ‘Strawb’ Quinn, their sound engineer who is responsible for the Tivoli tape,

began crewing for his brother Paul’s band Electric Pandas, doing their sound live and on recordings, as a result also offered a job as a tape operator at Rhinoceros Studios and working with the likes of INXS and Cold Chisel. Aside from doing the sound for the Party Boys, David engineered most of their studio recordings.

The Tivoli show was also the album’s launch party. The venue was packed with fans and music industry executives, and as the tape shows, the crowd was totally vibed up. It came right in the middle of a tour, so the band was sparking, even as soon as it hit the stage.

The tape includes the two hit singles, as well as La De Das’ “Gonna See My Baby Tonight”, The Angels’ “Fashion And Fame” and “Marseilles” and Status Quo’s “Roll Over Lay Down” and “Rockin’ All Over The World”. Others were  Them’s “Gloria”, The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” and AC/DC’s “Live Wire” and “High Voltage”.

AC/DC invited the Party Boys to tour Australia with them in 1988, and treated them royally.

The Party Boys missed out on creating two great line-ups and broke up in 1992, although they would reunite a number of times.

DESK TAPE SERIES: TED MULRY GANG LIVE AT THE FAIRFIELD HOTEL 1982

LIVE at the FAIRFIELD HOTEL, 1982  was recorded when TMG were becoming a heavier band. It includes hits such as “Jump In My Car”, “Darktown Strutters Ball”, “My Little Girl”, “Lazy Eyes”, “Heart Of Stone” and “(You’ve Got) The Devil In You” and The Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women”.

Herm Kovac says that TMG were always a working class pub band who fitted in with their record company Alberts’ famous sound, which included AC/DC, The Angels and Rose Tattoo. In fact Herm Kovac and Les Hall earlier played in a band with AC/DC’s Malcolm Young. That LIVE at the Fairfield Hotel, 1982 got recorded and was released by accident.

Garry “Squirt” Brokenshire was 17 years’ old when he joined the TMG crew as a lighting designer in 1978. He met them when he crewed for Sherbet as a 15-year-old and the two bands toured together. In fact, Brokenshire used to join TMG onstage each night playing congas on “The Devil In You”. By the Fairfield show he was no longer in their crew, but he was interested in sound, so he and their sound engineer Steve Donkin worked it out he could set up in a truck and record the show. The resulting cassette was “lost” for 40 years in a box with other cassettes in a storage space, and he found it quite by accident.

It is only appropriate that LIVE at the Fairfield Hotel, 1982 is released on September 1st, 2021, the date of Ted’s passing. That month features a lot in TMG’s history. Ted Mulry was born on September 2 (1947) in England and died from cancer on September 1 (2001) in Sydney at the age of 53.

TMG played their first show on September 2, 1972. “Jump In My Car” reached #1 in September 1975 and stayed there for six weeks. “Steppin’ Out” b/w “It’s All Over Now” was released on September 2,1976.

Ted Mulry started out as a balladeer with hits as “Falling in Love Again” and “Julia”. In the early ‘70s, after a visit to England, he returned excited after seeing bands like Slade, T-Rex and Status Quo and wanted to form a band with them. They had a mutual love for The Beatles, comedy troupe The Goons, and Heinz Baked Beans.

They were also tennis fans. Herm Kovac remembers the Fairfield gig, because it was the day Bjorn Borg lost to John McEnroe at Wimbledon, and he was so excited listening to the match on the radio on the way he almost totalled his car.

TMG were a real “gang”, with recording royalties split four ways, and majority rules indecisions. The live shows were split five ways, with their “fifth” member, Ron Clayton, their long-time tour manager, production manager and driver.

TMG’s starving days ended when “Jump In My Car” went to #1. The song, written by Mulry and Hall, was an album track. But influential DJ Barry Chapman of Sydney’s 2SM started to play it and urged them to release it as a single.

TMG were in a bind. They knew Alberts wanted them to record a new album and would not issue another track from an early album. The band had a meeting with Ted Albert, head of their record company. As they crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Kovac told Mulry “Say to me, ‘We have to release ‘Jump In My Car’”. Mulry was mystified but did as he was told. Their meeting with Albert did not bring up the song.

Afterwards the band went to the office of the label’s A&R manager and pulled off a scam. A few weeks later Ted Albert severely told the band, “I heard what you did. You’re lucky it was a hit!”

Desk Tape Series: Dave Tice and The Headhunters live at Yella rock 1991

Dave Tice And The Headhunters are the 16th act to throw their support behind Support Act’s Roadies Fund through the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA)’s Desk Tape Series.

The set reflected the blues and R&B that Dave helping to spearhead in Australia from the ‘60s. The audience was transported from the swamp rock of Creedence’s “Green River/ Run To The Jungle” and Latino blues of Los Lobos’ “Don’t Worry Baby, It’s Gonna Be Alright” to the slow burning “Stop” by Lonnie Mack to sturdy workouts as “One’s Too Many”, Muddy Waters “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights” and the encore, a grittier rendition of UK outfit Johnny Kidd & the Pirates.

A highlight was an eight minute frantic rendition of “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, first popularised in the 1930s by Delta bluesman Big Joe Williams.

The tape nails why Dave Tice and The Headhunters became so popular. When Dave returned in 1984 from the UK where he was frontman for R&B/punk Count Bishops, he formed the band with Rose Tattoo’s Mick Cocks and former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans. They all had other commitments, and The Headhunters operated as a revolving lineup as various members went off to do other stints.

The lineup on LIVE At Yella Rock 1991 had only played two or three times together, which made their tightness even more remarkable. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” showcased the Headhunter solo skills – guitarist Steve Edmonds displaying why he was being hailed a virtuoso, Paul Balbi kicking off with a steady drum pattern, John Carlini’s solo going higher than what a bass guitar was built for, and Tice driving things along with a harmonica solo.

Dave Tice met the blues in his early teens. Born on Christmas Day in 1950 in London, he grew up in a farm with no TV or even electricity. He was visiting a friend whose family had a TV set, and watching a show called Ready Steady Go. On came a fierce looking uninhibited band with long hair and skinny legs. They were The Rolling Stones and they triggered in Dave a long time love for the blues.

At 14, Dave and his family moved to Brisbane. At the migrants’ hostel he hung with black African teenagers equally as passionate over the blues. But meeting Pete Wells changed his performing career. They played in a number of bands before moving to Sydney where they became Buffalo.

In Buffalo Dave perfected his approach to performing – to be as ‘on edge’ as possible. Booking agents hated they were loud and brutal. But without radio airplay, their albums went gold in Australia and found a following in Europe.

LIVE At Yella Rock 1991 features a cover of Chain’s “Snatch It Back And Hold It”. Tice loved the Melbourne band. When the singer relocated to the UK in 1977 after Buffalo split, Towards The Blues was one of three albums he took.

During this time Dave Tice flexed his muscles as a songwriter, writing with Doctor Feelgood’s Johnny “Guitar” Crippen and Dennis Walker of the Robert Cray Band. LIVE At Yella Rock 1991 features a number of his songs: “Louise” written with Australian guitarist Mal Eastick, the boogie “On The Prowl” and also Dave’s version of riff-laden “Cadillac Walk” by Mink Deville.

The Yella/Yellow Rock show was an emotional reunion for legendary crew figure Grahame “Yogi” Harrison. He’d worked with Dave Tice and Paul Balbi in Buffalo when he was paid $5 a gig. He’d gone on to crew for Rose Tattoo, Air Supply (“I loved mixing their vocals, they were wonderful musicians), Jon English, The Sunnyboys, The Johnnys and The Saints, with whom he went to the UK. Grahame once went into the offices of EMI with his cassette bag and played them LRB, Air Supply, Dragon and AC/DC. The execs said they had no potential. Most of these acts went on to sell millions of records.

Desk Tape Series: Albert Lee and Vince Gill live at The Prince of Wales Hotel 1988

Highly acclaimed US-based country music guitarists Vince Gill and Albert Lee are the latest artists to throw their support behind ARCA’s Desk Tape Series.

The live show at The Prince of Wales Hotel Bandroom in St Kilda, Melbourne in 1988 was part of a 10-date run, which included a run of shows at The Prince of Wales Hotel. The backing band was comprised of two legendary Aussies, Malcolm Wakeford on drums and Graham Thompson on bass.

The live tapes are made straight off the mixing desk and made by a road crew member, in this case it was the sound engineer for the tour, another great Aussie, Noel Bennett.

Now a country music superstar, winner of 22-Grammys and who last toured Australia as part of The Eagles, Vince Gill was still establishing his solo career when the Australian tour took place. Now based in Nashville, he knew Albert Lee when they were both living in Los Angeles and moving around in the same music circles.

In 1988, Albert Lee enjoyed legend status among other musicians. Born in England, he was “the guitarist’s guitarist”, for his technical virtuosity and for playing his Telecaster at breakneck speed. This was the time of squealing feedback courtesy Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. Lee wanted to play country music and thought he’d try his luck in Los Angeles in 1974. He was embraced there, recording and touring with heaps of musicians, notably with the Everly Brothers and Emmylou Harris.

On Live At The Prince Of Wales, 1988, the mood is both laid-back yet intense, the crowd cheering them along as they exchange licks, harmonies and affectionate stage patter. The set included Lee’s “Evangelina”, ”So Sad” and cover of John Hiatt’s “Pink Bedroom” while Gill contributed “Colder Than Winter” and “Just Enough To Keep Me Hanging On”. Because of time constraints in rehearsing with their Australian backup band, much of the second part of the set was filled with uptempo rockabilly classics as “One Way Rider” and “Tear It Up”.

“Sweet Little Lisa”, which Albert Lee had recorded with Dave Edmunds, saw the duo joined on the night by Stephen Housden of Little River Band. They knew him from LRB’s American tours, and had dinner with him before the show. Also at the meal was Russell Morris, whom they knew when he lived in the US. Morris was in the audience that night but didn’t join them on stage. The classics “That’s Alright Mama” and “Mystery Train”, popularised by Elvis Presley, were more a tribute to the King’s guitarist Scotty Moore.

The 1988 tour was pulled together by folk music promoter and wine grower Andrew Pattison. In 1973, he and a friend drove in an old London taxi from England through Europe and Asia and ended up in Australia where he ran the Troubadour club in Melbourne.

Desk Tape Series: Wendy Matthews live at Mudgee RSL 1991 & Bunnemah Estate 1994

The first show was at the Mudgee RSL (NSW) in April 1991, a year after her debut album Émigré went platinum and won her ARIA awards for best female singer and best newcomer (single). Her hit singles included ‘Token Angels’ (inspired by a tragic school bus crash in Grafton,NSW), ‘Woman’s Gotta Have It’ and ‘Let’s Kiss (Like Angels Do)’.

It was one of the first shows her band did after just three weeks of rehearsals. Already they were red-hot, quickly adapting to Wendy’s mix of soulful ballads and funk-jazz slammers.

By the time of the second tape, recorded three years later at Bunnamah Estate in Margaret River (WA), she had international tours under her belt,and her stage confidence had soared.

The second album Lily, which reached #2 and certified triple platinum, yielded more hits as ‘The Day You Went Away’, ‘Friday’s Child’ and ‘If Only I Could’ and even led to her making her acting debut as a nightclub singer in the 1993 movie Flynn about actor Errol Flynn.

Many of the band and crew are still with her today. Jim Blackfoot, her front-of-house and tour manager for five years who recorded Wendy Matthews Live 1991/1994.

Wendy Mathews and her songs celebrate being a free spirit and outsider and lover of nature. She’s been these all her life.

Born in Montreal, Canada, her art school parents split when she was 14. Two years later she left school and went busking across North America with friends. At 18 she was in Los Angeles busking, making jewellery and working as a session singer.

She did backup vocals on Little River Band co-founder Glenn Shorrock’s solo album, and he invited her back to Australia to sing on tour. She stayed, singing backup on albums by Jimmy Barnes, Richard Clapton, Tim Finn, Icehouse and Cher, and joining bands as The Models and The Rockmelons (where she first started working with Jim Blackfoot) and Peter Blakeley and The Resurrection.

In 1989 she was part of the supergroup Absent Friends, which included members of INXS and The Models, who had a Top 5 hit with ‘I Don’t Wanna Be With Nobody But You’ (which is also on the ARCA live tapes) before going solo.

The nature of her relationship with her audience came from her childhood idol Joni Mitchell. The legendary fellow Canadian said in interviews it was important for her fans to see themselves, and not her, in her songs and that how they responded was uniquely theirs and made them understand themselves better.

Wendy has lived for the past 20 years on a 10-acre spread on a mountain top outside Coffs Harbour on the NSW in a mud-brick house. Her only companion is her six month half border collie half kelpie Odo, whom she got after her long time border collie companion Bear moved into her next universe.

Wendy is bemused by how strangers she meets insist that she lives in a teepee, is vegetarian, abstains from alcohol and meditates every day. She is currently writing her next album, to release through her own Barking Bear record label.

Desk Tape Series: Russell Morris and The Rubes live at The Palladium 1982

The Rubes were formed in 1980 as a vehicle for Russell Morris’ songwriting after he returned to Australia after a lengthy stay in the US.

His early hits like ‘Hush’, ‘The Real Thing Pts. 1, 2 & 3’ and ‘Rachel’ were written by others but he wanted to concentrate on his own work. The self-penned ‘Wings of An Eagle’, ‘Sweet Sweet Love’ and ‘Mr America’ continued his run of hits.

The Rubes formed in 1980 from the ashes of The Russell Morris Band, who imploded through personality clashes between some members. The new line-up included Bruce Haymes and Max Chazan.  They’d been in a band called The Rubes, so the name was kept.

The Rubes’ set centred on interplay between Haymes’ keyboards and Chazan’s guitars, and did wonders for Morris’ newer songs as ‘Roar Of The Wild Torpedoes’, ‘Surprise Surprise’, ‘Thunderground’, ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ and ‘One Way Street’, all featured on Live At The Palladium. The set also included hits as ‘Hush’, ‘Eagle’ and a gritty ‘Mr. America’ and album tracks as ‘So Tough’, ‘Love Stealer’ and ‘How We Run’.

The Rubes’ music got critical acclaim but mainstream radio refused to play their tracks as they considered Morris – and many of his contemporaries – “old hat”.

However ‘The Roar Of The Wild Torpedoes’ still remains in his current set, and fans who recently discovered Morris through his blues/roots renaissance have hunted down these songs.

By 1983 the five Rubes made a decision: if their single ‘Get It Right’, which they rated highly, wasn’t picked up by radio, they’d call it quits.
Morris remembers The Rubes with great affection.
Haymes went on to play with Bachelors from Prague and Paul Kelly, and won an ARIA for soundtrack for the feature film Lantana (2001). Chazan, an economic graduate, made a fortune on the stock market. Puchala went on to work for a trucking company. Philipas died in the 1990s.

What followed was a tough period when the music work dried up. It was a stressful time during which time a marriage broke up. He tried music theatre (Jesus Christ Superstar), wrote jingles and teamed up on retro-acts as (Ronnie) Burns (Daryl) Cotton & Morris and Cotton (Jim) Keays & Morris.

One day he saw a faded newspaper photo of the criminal Thomas Archer, which virtually spoke to him, “Write a song about me.” It struck a chord and he started writing of real-life Australian characters, locations and experiences.”

The 2012—2015 trilogy Sharkmouth, Van Diemen’s Land and Red Dirt – Red Heart saw him back in the charts and in demand for gigs. He followed up with more successful albums.

People suddenly remembered his songwriting and singing prowess, and Russell Morris went on to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2018 given the Order of Australia medal for his services to music.

Desk Tape Series: Doug Parkinson, Live at Gobbles, Perth, 1979

Doug Parkinson is the son of an artist. Doug matriculated from high school with honours in all subjects and was also a prefect at school. He excelled at school in every way including sport (Cricket , Rugby Union and Rugby League) and left school at 18 to become a cadet journalist at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, and had made it his creed right from the 1960s to always play with the best.

Doug Parkinson helped put together The Southern Star Band which was made up of some of the best musicians in Australia at the time, playing a fusion of rock, jazz and funk. Absolutely brilliant performance.

As the bands singer Doug Parkinson regarded them as being “a little ahead of their time. They were one of the best bands I’ve played with, and with a red-hot rhythm section.”

By the time of the Gobbles show, two of the members were poised for worldwide fame.

For Tommy Emmanuel, the Southern Star Band was the first time he’d step out of the country-rock of his band Goldrush, and his exuberant free-up creativity is evident on the live record.

Parkinson says of the guitarist’s contribution to the band: “He is a master of the instrument, and as we went along, his musical horizons expanded into jazz and rock, he had a very sophisticated and complicated technique.”

After stints with John Farnham and Dragon, Emmanuel moved to Nashville, USA, and became a multi-award winning global guitar hero and received the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2010.

Frank Esler-Smith, who loved classical music and studied architecture in Melbourne, went on to join Air Supply in America, where he made a name for himself as a master strings arranger for their hits. He died of pneumonia in 1991.

Mark Kennedy, who as a teenage prodigy on drums emerged with prog-rock Spectrum and jazz-fusion Ayers Rock, went on to greater heights as a player and as a record producer.

Keith “Stretch” Kerwin who started in the Brisbane Avengers, later joined Jon English’s Foster Bros.

Mark Kennedy and Duncan McGuire, a foremost bassist who had also played in the Southern Star Band, together went on to form a production company and produced some fine songs.

Parkinson remembers the Gobbles show well. “It was a great night! All the hip people from Perth frequented the place and they liked our band.”

At that time the Southern Star Band were aligned with top promoter Kevin Jacobsen, and they were booked for many shows, including on tours by major international acts as Bob Marley, Genesis, the Four Tops and Randy Crawford.

Also at the same time, the band had just had a hit with ‘I’ll Be Around’, a cover of The Spinners’ 1972 one-million seller written by Thom Bell and Phil Hurtt.

The 16-song Live At Gobbles shows off some wonderful interplay between the musicians, especially on ‘Waiting For The Wiz’, ‘I Know A Little’ and ‘You Ain’t Going Nowhere’. It also showcases the astonishing array of songs the band played.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Doug Parkinson, Live at Gobbles, Perth, 1979 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Crowded House, Live ’92-’94 Part 2

The late Dutch Tilders was a prominent multi-award winning figure who emerged in the folk/blues boom from the late ‘60s, best known for his singing, guitar work and harmonica playing. Dutch is still one of the greatest blues players.

This is a pure acoustic performance with no amplification. Dutch had a Tuesday night residency at the club.

Peter Howell, his long-time double bassist recalls, “The Commune was a small folk club in Victoria St., North Melbourne. Folk clubs in those days were alcohol free and also PA free. You were really frowned upon if you had an electric instrument!

“The best memories of these clubs are playing totally acoustic, no PA”s, the audience sitting at your feet and not uttering a word. It was like being under a microscope.

“It was the best scene to get your act together as a musician and not be self conscious under such scrutiny.”

For the recording he borrowed an Otari 2 track reel to reel and a couple of condenser mics. “This recording is a great example of how it was done in a folk club and I am proud to see it released. A great moment in time for Melbourne music.”

Tilders’ audience was diverse, and his natural no-nonsense charm could win over crowds at rock venues, jazz festivals, parties, bike clubs – and one memorable time at the Box Hill Town Hall, skinheads and sharpies at a Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls show.

Tilders was diagnosed with terminal inoperative oesophageal cancer in May 2010. While the music community gathered around doing benefits to raise money for medical costs, Dutch kept performing despite the pain.

He defied doctors’ orders and kept smoking and drinking until a few hours before he passed away on April 23, 2011. He was 69. Dutch chose quality of life, not quantity, and passed peacefully.

In May 2012 Australian Guitar magazine listed him among the top 40 on its Definitive Australian Guitarists of All Time list.

On October 30, 2019, Dutch was inducted into the Blues Music Victoria Inc Hall of Fame.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Dutch Tilders, Live at The Commune 1976 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Crowded House, Live ’92-’94 Part 1

Crowded House make beautiful albums. By July 2010, the band, which formed in Melbourne in 1985 and  quickly became a global success story, had sold 10 million of them.

But it is in concerts that they bring a sense of time to the timeless songs, with their improvised humour  through whacky onstage patter and the occasional onstage practical jokes on fans.

Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 has some of the band’s best ever songs. Part 2 will continue the  incredible song list.

‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ was enough of a gorgeous ballad to be a world hit including #2 in the US, #1 in  New Zealand and Canada and Top 10 in Australia, Norway and the Netherlands. Neil was feeling lost at the time and wanted to write a song about moving forward. He penned it at his brother Tim’s home, trying to find quiet there while his sibling was away. However, drummer Paul Hester was staying there and had friends over, so while Neil wrote behind closed doors  in the piano room, out came the line “when the world comes in”.

In the studio, producer Mitchell Froom suggested changing the flavour, and shifted the key from E to E#  to make it more melancholy. Years after its release, fans remain divided on whether the song is of hope or if the title means “don’t dream (any more because) it’s over”.  According to bassist Nick Seymour: “You think the song is gloomy? The record’s about not giving up hope  and succumbing to the effects of the mass media and consumerism, but there’s an over-riding positive view in all our songs.”

The inspiration for other songs on Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 come from different places.

‘Pineapple Head’ was something his infant son Liam yelled out while hallucinating during a fever in Melbourne, as well as “the get away car” and “the detective is flat.”

One interpretation of ‘Better Be Home Soon’ is that Neil is telling Paul Hester he was aware of the  demons he was confronting and that he needed to be home where he would be “safe”. At the 2005 ARIA  awards, after a depressed Paul killed himself in a Melbourne park aged 46, Neil flew to Sydney from Auckland just to perform the song as an emotional farewell to Paul.

‘It’s Only Natural’, another global hit, featured in the end credits of 1992 film There Goes the  Neighbourhood starring Catherine O’Hara.

‘Locked Out` was part of the soundtrack to Reality Bites. 

‘Chocolate Cake’ was inspired by an incident in a New York restaurant where a woman loudly chattered, “I don’t know, you think I should have another piece of chocolate cake?” The song’s lines like “excess of fat on your American bones” was viewed as a comment on American consumerism and over-indulgence which led to its low sales in the US.

Other songs on Crowded House Live 92—94 Part 1 include ‘Whispers And Moans’, ‘Love This Life’, ‘In My  Command’ and ‘Fingers Of Love’.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Crowded House, Live ’92-’91 Part 1 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Dutch Tilders, Live at the Commune 1975

The late Dutch Tilders was a prominent multi-award winning figure who emerged in the folk/blues boom from the late ‘60s, best known for his singing, guitar work and harmonica playing. Dutch is still one of the greatest blues players.

This is a pure acoustic performance with no amplification. Dutch had a Tuesday night residency at the club.

Peter Howell, his long-time double bassist recalls, “The Commune was a small folk club in Victoria St., North Melbourne. Folk clubs in those days were alcohol free and also PA free. You were really frowned upon if you had an electric instrument!

“The best memories of these clubs are playing totally acoustic, no PA”s, the audience sitting at your feet and not uttering a word. It was like being under a microscope.

“It was the best scene to get your act together as a musician and not be self conscious under such scrutiny.”

For the recording he borrowed an Otari 2 track reel to reel and a couple of condenser mics. “This recording is a great example of how it was done in a folk club and I am proud to see it released. A great moment in time for Melbourne music.”

Tilders’ audience was diverse, and his natural no-nonsense charm could win over crowds at rock venues, jazz festivals, parties, bike clubs – and one memorable time at the Box Hill Town Hall, skinheads and sharpies at a Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls show.

Tilders was diagnosed with terminal inoperative oesophageal cancer in May 2010. While the music community gathered around doing benefits to raise money for medical costs, Dutch kept performing despite the pain.

He defied doctors’ orders and kept smoking and drinking until a few hours before he passed away on April 23, 2011. He was 69. Dutch chose quality of life, not quantity, and passed peacefully.

In May 2012 Australian Guitar magazine listed him among the top 40 on its Definitive Australian Guitarists of All Time list.

On October 30, 2019, Dutch was inducted into the Blues Music Victoria Inc Hall of Fame.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Dutch Tilders, Live at The Commune 1976 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Neil Finn, Solo at the Seymour Centre 2010

In late 2010, when Neil Finn played an intimate solo show in the York Theatre at the Seymour Centre in Sydney, he took the opportunity to say hello to some old friends from different parts of his life.

From the stage, he told the sold-out 800-strong audience, “I thank you for joining me tonight and allowing me to pass through a few eras and a few songs that I don’t get to play very often because it’s a very joyous thing for me. “

Ten years later Finn has nothing but great memories of that show, and of that trip down the time tunnel. “I remember it fondly as a great room and an audience that was leaning forward and listening to every word.”

There was no specific reason about what it is about those old friends he needed to bring up onstage and breathe new life into them. “I just made it up backstage an hour or so before … I can’t remember what sparked each choice.”

Having built up a loyal following with Split Enz and Crowded House, Neill Finn was able to dig into darker and more experimental themes on his solo albums. “I am truly blessed,” he says of his audience’s willingness to come on his different journeys.

Neil Finn’s songs have appeared everywhere – band albums, solo records, documentaries, movies, and endless collaborations. But he is at pains to point out that he doesn’t write for projects. Rather the songs emerge and land where they may.

The Seymour Centre saw the songs blend into each other, as Neil switched from guitar to piano, and infused the proceedings with humour and with wry quips like “Is it contradictory we’re in the Seymour Theatre (sic) and there’s no Nick Seymour?” and bringing up an audience member (Adriano) to play two-finger piano with him during ‘Anytime’. Brilliant.

Representing the solo albums are stand-outs like the melodic ‘Into The Sunset’ which Neil describes as “a literal inspiration sitting watching the sun go down at Piha (a beach on New Zealand’s north island) after a long time away.”

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Neil Finn, solo at the Seymour Centre 2010 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Goanna, Live at Canberra Workers Club 1985

Shane Howard recalls of the show: “Having been off the road for nearly a year, recording and mixing, finances were grim and we’d taken to the road with some urgency, to raise some much needed wages, promote the Common Ground single and prepare for the upcoming album release.

By the time we did the Canberra Workers Club gig we’d already been touring pretty solidly through November, December and January 1984, to promote the ‘Common Ground’ single.

We’d had a short break and done a few days of recording and a few days of final mixes for the following single release before driving to Canberra. It was one of the first shows in a very long tour run that would take us from Melbourne to North Queensland, to Tasmania and West Australia. Like all touring in those days, it was nearly all done by road.

There’s some rough patches here and there and a bit of patchwork and spot welding that had to be done in a few spots. They’re certainly imperfect.

That said, the tapes are impressive and I think you’ll be struck, dear listener, by how good a live band Goanna were and how great the crew were who pulled these shows together, night after night, on the road. They’re a faithful portrait of a band in full flight, with a six man road crew, that you don’t see in the background, pulling every show together.

It was no easy life but our core crew guys were the salt of the earth and stood by us through thick and thin.”

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Goanna, Live at Canberra Workers Club 1985 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Men at Work, Live at Christchurch Town Hall 1982

A recently surfaced live album from Men At Work, recorded just before their massive US breakthrough showed the band from Melbourne was more than ready for what was to come.

By the time Men At Work played New Zealand, they’d repeated their Australian success, with ‘Who Can It Be Now? and ‘Down ‘Under’ storming the charts and their first album Business As Usual perched at #1. On the tour, they broke attendance figures at every venue, were given the rock star treatment, and the Christchurch show was broadcast nationally on a radio network.

Men At Work’s Christchurch show before 2,500 fans, recorded by long time friend and front-of-house operator Mark Woods, follows successful issues by ARCA of rare desk tapes by Redgum in 1985, TISM in 1988, The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band in 2010, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons in 1976 and Australian Crawl in 1981.

Mark Woods explains: “The American producer Peter McIan massaged songs, and turned them into radio hits. Men At Work’s rise to success was so quick. Within six months they moved from the tiny pub, the Cricketers’ Arms in Richmond, to playing to tens of thousands at beachside concerts.”

Live At Christchurch Town Hall 1982 abounds with hits like ‘Who Can It Be Now?` which began life by Hay on a treetop house in NSW and finished off in the seedy suburb of St. Kilda in Melbourne where residents feared being mistaken for criminals and drug dealers. ‘Down Under`is credited to Hay and guitarist Ron Strykert. But they never sat in the same room to write it. Strykert came up with the riff as part of a cassette tape of soundscapes. Hay listened endlessly to the tape and one day while driving around Melbourne, the phrase “I come from the land down under” popped
in his head. Says Hay, “It was a marriage of two totally different approaches. But it wouldn’t have become a song if not for that tape that Ron made.”
‘Overkill’ captures Men At Work’s anticipation of their massive success, “of stepping into the unknown where you have no control and having a certain amount of steel about that.” All in all, this live recording captures an incredible moment in time and a piece of historical Australian music.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Men at Work, Live at Christchurch Town Hall 1982 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Australian Crawl, Live at Billboard 1981

Australian Crawl: Live At Billboard 1981 was recorded as the band from Victoria’s surf coast Mornington Peninsula, hit its strides as a live act.

They consisted of singer James Reyne, drummer Bill McDonough, rhythm guitar and vocals Guy McDonough, bassist Paul Williams, lead guitarist Simon Binks and rhythm guitarist Brad Robinson.

Their healthy swimming and surfing passions initially gave the band a surfer and college student following before they became household names.

By the time of the Billboard show, Australian Crawl had sold 600,000 copies of their first two albums The Boys Light Up and Sirocco, and voted the most popular group at the 1981 Countdown Awards.

They were breaking attendance records at clubs around the country. They drew 100,000 to Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and 90,000 to The Domain in Sydney.

The 20 songs on Australian Crawl: Live At Billboard ’81 include all their hits at the time, as ‘Beautiful People’, ‘Downhearted’, ‘Errol’, ‘Things Don’t Seem’, ‘Lakeside’ and ‘Oh No Not You Again’.

There are also album standouts as ‘Unpublished Critics’ (written by Reyne and Williams), ‘Indisposed’ and ‘Love Boys’ (which Bill wrote about two of their road crew), reviews of the next album (‘Daughters Of The Northern Coast’ got its first airing this night) and crowd-punching covers as ‘Six Days On The Road’ and ‘Slow Down’.

The year after, Crawl went on to have another #1 album with their third album Sons Of Beaches.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Australian Crawl Live at Billboard 19981 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons’ Live At San Remo, NYE 1976

Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons were one of the most powerful bands to emerge out of the Melbourne clubs in the mid-70s – with a glorious blend of originals and obscure covers with tight musicianship and a laddish sense of entertainment.

They were fronted by ball of energy Joe Camilleri who sang and played sax, and his nickname derived from Giuseppe, the Maltese name for Joseph gave the new band their name.

Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons hit the ground running. Within weeks they were packing out clubs, eventually playing 300 shows a year around the country and abroad.

Live At San Remo, NYE 1976 features Wayne Burt classics as the blues ballads “King Of Fools” and “I Need Your Loving (I Remember)”, the swamp rock guitar interplay “Dancing Shoes”, the horn driven tribute to Willie Dixon “Yes Indeed” while “Beating Around The Bush” from the Oz movie soundtrack is a formidable performance with horns and guitars whipping around each other. The opening track of Live at San Remo NYE 1976 John “Boodle” Power plays bass and sings the Muddy Waters blues classic “Just to be With You”

Their covers were not obvious ones. Camilleri would go to hip underground record stores and find imported R&B, jazz and soul compilations.

From these came Joe Liggins’ cool shuffle “The Honeydripper”, Louis Jordan’s 1958 “Barnyard Boogie (Boogie In The Barnyard)” and rollicking 1949 “Saturday Night At The Fish Fry” and Sammy Kershaw’s 1958 hit “All In The Same Boat”. They were discoveries for much of the crowd and became live favourites.

Dave Ridoutt’s tape captures the last blaze of glory for the original lineup.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Live at San Remo HERE

Desk Tape Series: TISM, Live at the Corner Hotel 1988

TISM (This Is Serious Mum) formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1982. Their collision of electro pop, vicious satire and performance art, made them one of the country’s most popular live acts and even saw them achieve mainstream chart success.

Hiding behind masks, pseudonyms and elaborate stage costumes, TISM turned every performance and interview into an art event. In one such interview, journalists were stood at the opposite end of a football ground to the band, and forced to communicate via megaphone. On their first appearance on national TV in Australia, TISM appeared with 28 fully costumed members, performing their latest single, ‘Saturday Night Palsy’

TISM shows featured all manner of distractions, including debating competitions, an onstage wedding, a stock market simulation, a full costume performance of Shakespeare, a ‘Save Our TISM’ telethon, and even a show where two TISMs performed simultaneously at either ends of the venue.

The 1988 gig at the Corner was a more stripped-down affair, however it still saw the band revving two lawn mowers onstage during the set, highly dangerous behaviour in those pre-safety-conscious days of overcrowded venues.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream TISM Live at the Corner Hotel 1998 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band Live at Ormond Hall 2011

The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band emerged in the early 1970s playing a mix of jugband, swing, blues, cabaret and jazz.

They incorporated underground theatre, circus, visual arts, counter culture politics, irreverent humour and vaudeville routines as tap dancing, juggling and fire-eating, and became one of the biggest bands of that time.

The Ormond Hall in Melbourne was their spiritual home. So it’s not surprising that when they reunited as an eight piece in 2011 for the Reignited Tour, they would return there for a three night run.

“The audience was always crazy when we played there,” says Matchbox’s long time sound engineer Ian Bowles, who recorded the tapes with Ormond Hall’s house engineer Tim Marmach.

Live At Ormond Hall 2011 includes all their stage favourites, including “My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes”, “That Cat is High”, “Smoke Dreams of You”, “Hernando’s Hideaway”, “The Masochism Tango” and their famed set-closer “Wangaratta Wahine”.

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band’s Live At Ormond Hall 2011 HERE

Desk Tape Series: Redgum, Live in Amsterdam 1985

The grey wintry rains had well and truly arrived in Amsterdam when Redgum made their debut visit to the city in late1985. It was part of a three month tour through Europe and the United Kingdom — later extended to four months – as the band took their music to that part of the world for the first time.

The Melkweg (The Milky Way) club, one of Amsterdam’s best known music venues is where U2 and The Clash played their first shows in the Netherlands.

Located on the Lijnbaansgracht, near the Leidseplein – the prime nightlife square of Amsterdam – the former dairy farm was renovated into a number of music rooms in different sizes in 1970.

It was here, in a bitterly cold and wet night, that this Redgum live album was recorded by front-of-house engineer Mark Williams.

He recalls, “It was the only venue I’ve worked in where you could legally buy drugs! On the tape I wrote, “Mixed by Colombian Gold”. You could have a joint when you were mixing, which is exactly what I did!”

On the tapes, the band sound strong and confident. Two years before they had broken through into the mainstream in Australia with the ode to Vietnam War vets “I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green)” and “I’ve Been To Bali Too”.

The touring that followed saw them fuse into a tight live unit that operated on all six cylinders.

Redgum co-founder John Schumann agrees: “Prior to leaving for Europe we had been playing six nights a week up and down the east coast of Australia for what seemed like years on end.

So there was a maturity and a confidence about the band that I don’t think we recognised in ourselves. But, listening to these tapes, I can hear it. Frankly, I’m surprised we were that good.”

He adds, “I really think the spirit and the confidence was simply born of us being a well- honed touring act.

I also attribute a lot of our musical confidence and competence to having Brian Czempinski in the band. Brian was the session drummer who played on ‘19’ – and we asked him to play on the ’19’ tour and on the ‘Frontline’ album.

“He quickly became a full-time member of the band. Brian was about 10 years older than us – and is a sensational musician. He taught me a great deal about playing in a band. He was also my roommate and confidant on the road. I loved “Chimp” to bits – and I still do.”

Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Redgum Live in Amsterdam HERE