chickenstones - The I-94 Bar
Good god, what a fucking racket.
“Johnny Streetlight” is four-and-a-half bottles of joyous, fresh-faced old school rock’n’roll, soaked in piss and substance abuse and if you treat it right you’ll lose part of your hearing (just don’t eat the worm at the bottom). There’s no bad songs on “Johnny Streetlight”, they’re all good for gold. If this band had been around in the mid-‘80s they woulda been huge.
The inner sleeve pic by Leif Alan Creed makes the band look positively criminal (one gentle soul makes up for his lack of pupils by wielding a rather lethal saw).
Doc Temple (centre) with Chickenstones
What's my Top Ten? Now, there's a question best reserved for someone young enough to still have a memory that lasts longer than a week. But as there is scant actual non-payola industry reference around, fuck it. I will try.
First off, I have had a number of recordings thrown at me this year as I rather often do a radio show co-host replacement thing (when one of the usual hosts is off doing what parallel universe shit they do.) This does not, however, make me any wiser or more influential than anyone else.
Some picks were not committed to Pro Tool hard drives this last year but took many, many months of work to do so, thence, they deserve some spotlight, but I subscribe to the Bob Short model of 'Do I have Ten?'. Maybe, maybe not. Being numerically dyslexic, I shall offer thoughts, not numbers:
1 . Welcome Aboard – The On and Ons: Catchy, melodic powerpop tunes by former Kings Of The Sun and Screaming Tribesmen guitarist Glenn Morris with bass and harmony vocals by Hoodoo Guru/Stepfords /Wetsuits member Clyde Bramley, performed with energy and great live.
2. Beginning At The End – The Young Docteurs: Thirty or so years in the making and well worth the Wait. If The Young Docteurs had done more recordings they would have been one of the more influential Australian psych/Punk bands of the ‘80s.
3. Love Is A Gamble - The Steve Wernick Band: Folk rock, country and swing influenced songs well constructed and arranged, performed in a unpretentious, heartfelt way.
4. Johnny Streetlight- Chickenstones: Blues influenced, Aus alternative rock with songs about homelessness, gambling and cheating relationships but performed with upbeat humour. A great band to see live, too.
5. Rx- Loose Pills: Some of Sydney’s best powerpop musicians with tight, up beat songs.
It seems a lifetime ago when the two great outposts of Sydney rock and roll were its northern and southern beaches. They were feeder tributaries to the inner-city and spawned bands like the Celibate Rifles and the Trilobites, to name just a couple.
The venues that were their spawning grounds have long closed down, the bands willing to play their own music thin on the ground. Only a hardy few are still willing to take a risk and make the swim up-stream.
One of Australian rock roll’s few truly dangerous frontmen, Garry Gray (ex-Sacred Cowboys), is making a rare Sydney appearance with his crack band The Sixth Circle on November 18, presented by the I-94 Bar.
Garry Gray and The Sixth Circle are playing The Factory Floor in Marrickville with soulful rock soldiers Leadinger and street-level Northern Beaches rockers Chickenstones.
Melbourne-based Gray is a true survivor and legend of the Australian underground music scene. As crazed, chainsaw-wielding frontman for the Sacred Cowboys, he and his bandmates left a legacy of five studio albums and trademark singles, “Nothing Grows In Texas” and “Hell Sucks”.
Blasted by Molly Meldrum on Countdown as the worst band he’d seen in five years, Sacred Cowboys wore the insult as a badge of honour. They disrupted and devastated Australian audiences in the ‘80s and late ’90s with line-ups that included members of Beasts of Bourbon, The Models, Wet Taxis , Paul Kelly and The Dots and JAB.
As they say at well-to-do sailing clubs on Sydney's north side: "I like the cut of their jib."
“Johnny Streetlight”, that stellar album from Sydney’s best kept rock and roll secret, Chickenstones, is getting a release on vinyl, thanks to French label Basil Records. If you don't remember it coming out or want to know what the fuss is about, we reviewed it here.
To celebrate, Chickenstones will play a special show at The Music Lounge in Brookvale, Sydney, on July 21 with psych-punk veterans The Young Doctors and Thomas Keating. They'll also debut their new filmclip. Show-offs!