of The Visitors"
Stagedoor Tavern, Sydney
August 5, 1979
Comrades of War/The Visitors/The Hitmen
"A few words about that show. The idea was to have the Hitmen and the Visitors open for a surprise Radio Birdman reunion show...we were calling the mystery band "Comrades of War" after a Sven Hassel book title.
"It was also going to be the Visitors last show, so it was envisioned as a kind of farewell party for us. I was on the verge of leaving Australia to return to the USA...in fact my flight out was the very next morning. The amp head was still hot when I put it on the plane.
"All the ex members of Radio Birdman were in the two opening bands, except Rob. We had all agreed to do it, but at the last minute (in the dressing room at the Stagedoor Tavern) Rob had second thoughts.
"I think what happened was some friends had talked him out of it, by telling him that it would do harm to the "memory" of it, etc. In those days people felt there was something magical, not to be messed with ... even by us!
"Of course by now the word is out, the place is jammed with people expecting a reunion. It was going to be ugly, no matter what. We felt a bit desperate, and somehow decided that we would still go on without Rob, but with Kannis and Mark filling in. They were very eager to do it; both had sung backups with Radio Birdman before, and were fully within the family. We would do the Radio Birdman songs they felt comfortable with, and fill out the set with some covers.
"There wasn't time to think it through.
"In retrospect it was undoubtably a mistake. I felt we had to do something since all those people had paid expecting the reunion. But there can be no Radio Birdman without Rob. Maybe we should have just gone home.
"The Visitors set was really great, the best we had ever played. It would have been a wonderfully high note to end on...but the night left me feeling sad and kicking myself. We got destroyed in a review in someone's book, (was it Clinton Walker's ?) and he was probably right.
"Anyway, it still bothers me even after 20 years..."