It was great to have Craig Bloxom from the band Spy V Spy on the pod. A band who raised social issues and fought for what they believed in. So what happens when you walk away from music? Craig details his journey from bass guitars to the kitchen to making big booming bass guitars.
Peter Garrett – Tall Trees
If you to ask Peter Garrett in your best Queen Elizabeth Voice,
“So exactly where is one Peter”?
He would reply, “I’m back”.
Firstly this isn’t Midnight Oil and it would be a pointless exercise
if it was.
This is Peter Garrett and he’s built to last and born to run.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be folk, dreamy hippie
music or pure rock?
Well from the opening bass line, the song marches along and has a
melodic nature with short guitar burst but you can’t help hear a Martin
Rotsey riff underneath that is evident in the well slotted instrumental.
The best part of this song is the lyrics.
Like Mohammed Ali’s punching bag, like Rupert Murdoch’s latest
swag he’s back.
Where the song takes a turn is after he does some desert time to slow
down his then caught a wave to carry him back although to me the word
back could be easily replaced with home.
There is a certain power and passion in the last “I’m Back” in the song.
It has some growl to it and you can tell it has meaning, almost showing
a clarity in his mind that he is back where a musician needs to be,
The second song from the album, “Great White Shark” is made from the
bones of an old Oils idea and you get the feeling it has an activist angle
with the lines like, “The great white shark has got no feelings, the dolphin
is different, intentional innocence”.
Looking at the culling in Western Australia of Great White Shark, it
shows Garrett is still in touch with what’s going on around him.
Garrett heads out on the road with a great band to play live sets and I for
one will be rocking up to Belmont 16 Footers on the 12th August to hear
the album live.
Foxtel music channel Music Max will premier the the behind the
scenes doco on July 12th, which show the making of the album and
will contain some ideas on future projects.
Midnight Oil have been missing from the musical landscape since 2002. Is the time
right for the Oils to return? Let’s look at the issues.
When is the time right to get the band back together? As the Hoodoo Gurus say,
“There’s no time like the right time”.
Let me be the first to say that Midnight Oil have nothing to prove. The music
created lives on and always will.
Hailing from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, the Oils conquered the world
but would a re formed Oils need to do that? The answer is no.
Would the Oils be relevant in 2016? That’s an easy yes. Listen to the back
catalogue. Short Memory, US Forces, Read About It. Well the Russians are in
Syria, the US Forces are still giving the nod and Corporate Greed is greater
There is still so much going on in the world and even in our own back yard.
I think there is plenty of material but what about the songs.
The last song that really stood out for me was Golden Age. Listen to it and
you can hear complexity in the music and
lyrics. I am sure there is a whole file of music ready for lyrics.
Have a listen to The Break and it reminds you of Wedding Cake Island
and how much melody Midnight Oil had in their music.
Although the public buy less CD’s, many buy music through iTunes or use
online streams such as Spotify.
Digital sales are a big part of the landscape these days and doesn’t need
physical sales, solving a problem from the last USA tour where the Oils
music wasn’t available for fans to buy even with sold out concerts.
The Oils don’t need a major label but that is said without knowing the current
arrangements and contracts in place.
The Oils were the first of the Independent acts. They had their own label in
Powderworks Records which can be used again, so that’s theoretically covered.
When it comes to distribution then Reverberation looks like a good avenue if a
major label isn’t the go.
As Rob Hirst said about The Break, We can do a tour and be back by bin night”.
The Oils can tour at their own pace.Even though venues like Lizottes would be
too small, there is still a range of venues for the Oils to play.
When Midnight Oil left the landscape the Day on the Green series of concerts
weren’t as big as they are now. Looking at some of the recent line ups. Hunters &
Collectors, Hoodoo Gurus, Sunnyboys and Cold Chisel. The Sunnyboys were one
of the very unlikely reunions.
Would they be as good as they were? Well I would say they would still kick ass.
You can’t expect the Oils of The Antler days. I’m sure most of that crowd would be
in their 50’s or 60’s and am sure they aren’t what they once were.
Garrett recently said in an interview that he had picked up the guitar again and
started some writing. This shows the bug is still there so I wish someone would
tell Craig Bloxom from Spy V Spy that.
The time is right for Midnight Oil to jump into Moginie’s studio and work on
The time is right to do it on their own terms and their won way. But isn’t that
the ways Midnight Oil has always done it?
Imagine you were at the birth of a rock band that contained some of the modern gods of Australian rock music.
Your mind takes you to a dark light bar in some rough side of town, a place many fear to tread.
Is it a pace filled with bourbon and tattoo’s or would it be in the studio when paths crossed?
If you said the car park of Redhead Beach, then you would be correct. A very good guess but correct.
It was March 2014 and former Screaming Jets drummer and proprietor of Rosie’s School of Rock, Craig Rosevear was just fresh out of the surf.
Whilst having a yarn with fellow surfers, the talk turned to getting a band for a charity gig for the June Long Weekend.
It was at that moment that Rose Tattoo guitarist, Dai Pritchard was sighted riding his bike through the beach car park.
An exchange of greetings and it was ideas that began to fly around for the future rather than rockers reminiscing about the past.
The idea that former Screaming Jet, Grant Walsmley would be available guaranteed that the nucleus of a talented core would
be able to give birth to the Brother in Rock.
On that day the “Monsters of Rock” was born, in a car park at the beach.
It wasn’t long before the line up of Rosevear, Pritchard, Walsmley added Paul Coxon and the line up was complete.
Since this day the Monsters of Rock have recorded a song called Your Time and shot a video at The Cambridge Hotel.
A great song with cutting guitar riffs, the song marches along like a steam train on a hot Australian afternoon.
The Monsters of Rock don’t need to prove anything to anyone, their body of work in the Australian Music Industry speaks for
There is one thing we do know, The Australian Music Industry needs the Monsters of Rock.
One question that needs to be asked about the Australian music scene is, “Where has the surf music gone?”
Throughout the 1960’s the Australian surf music culture was born out of what was coming out of Southern California.
Music from the Beach Boys inspired bands like The Atlantic’s who had a big hit with the instrumental song, Bombora.
A look at the tours on the RSL circuit these days, sees acts like The Deltones, Little Pattie and Col Joy gracing the stage, once mainstays of the surf culture scene.
The biggest move forward was the punk scene, which allowed bands to form with no real technical ability to play an instrument.
Australia saw a wave of bands form which dabbled in surf music or were a part of the surf culture, many of these bands made their way north to Newcastle.
With names like Celebrate Rifles, The Hard Ons and The Trilobites, these acts stayed true to the punk form with a surf twist.
One of the biggest surf punk bands from the Northern Beaches of Sydney that performed at the Ambassador and later the Newcastle Workers Club, was Midnight Oil.
The Oils, often overlooked as a surf band had many songs dedicated to surfing and the water. The album head injuries is still regarded as one of the Top 10 surf albums in history.
Even in the later stages in their career, the Oils turned out songs like, “Surfs Up Tonight”, “Underwater” which complimented the earlier work of the instrumental, “Wedding Cake Island”.
Yet in the 90’s surfers turned to the grunge era and bands like Nirvana, then in the 2000’s soul surfers like Jack Johnson and John Butler Trio.
Even Newcastle’s own, “Screaming Jets had a great song called, “Tunnel”. The song comes complete with a great film clip of the band surfing and some other scenes form the surf movie, “Hawaii Nine-O”.
Tunnel features one of Merewethers regular surfers and current “Monster of Rock”, Craig Rosevear, who we know would be one who could write great surf rock.
A few years ago former members of Midnight Oil and the Violent Femmes formed a band in Sydney called, The Break.
Using the fundamentals of bands like The Atlantics which mainly consisted of great guitar riffs, The Break named all the songs after surf breaks around Australia. The first song was “Cylinders”.
The second album, called “Space Farm” featured a slightly different style of music again full of strong instrumental riffs.
What inspires a surfer to pick up a guitar and write about the waves, the ocean and the art of riding a wave?
Will the current generation of music writers make music about the things they do everyday and love passionately or write a tune about being in “Da Club”.
Cylinders, The Break