Radio Birdman – Sire Records – 1978

What Gives / Non Stop Girls / Do The Pop / Man With The Golden Helmet / Descent Into The Maelstrom / New Race

Aloha Steve And Danno / Anglo Girl Desire / Murder City Nights / You’re Gonna Miss Me / Hand Of Law / Hit Them Again

This post is respectably dedicated to Bob Short, late of Blood And Roses, pictured here on the fence in 1978 outside a shared house in Darlinghurst, a suburb of Sydney and the area where the Oxford Funhouse venue would have been. Filth the band Bob was in at the time may well have performed at that venue on occasions, The Saints and Radio Birdland certainly did…

Bob who is celebrating his 50th birthday today, would probably have grown up in his formative years with The Saints and Radio Birdman and would no doubt know this record uploaded tonight, backwards, sideways and any other ways, but I uploaded it anyway in celebration of Bob actually reaching 50 and for the benefit of any browsers who may not have heard too much of this great band.  

Happy Birthday Bob from all here at KYPP online.

A wonderful (and very long) interview below courtesy of

New Race a Radio Birdman / MC5 / Stooges spin off band can be heard on this site HERE

With the benefit of almost a quarter century of perspective, it’s apparent that, with the possible exception of the Easybeats, Radio Birdman are the most important band in the history of Australian rock and roll. Even die hard Saints fans can’t argue this – as great as the Saints were, they split for the UK almost before anyone in Australia noticed them, and they didn’t come back for many years afterwards. And when they did, it wasn’t the same band.

While Radio Birdman eventually also took their chances in the UK and also foundered on those shores, they waited until they’d caused a lasting impact in their own country – an impact that remains to this day. The Saints and Radio Birdman each released their debut singles within weeks of each other in 1976 – the first independently released singles in Australia and the start of the independent record industry there. But Radio Birdman did more – they created a scene where there none had existed, taking responsibility for booking the Oxford Funhouse in Sydney and ensuring both a place to play and a place to hang out for musical misfits who shared their opinion that music should be a wild, emotional and primal experience. Though the names of the bands that played the Funhouse may be unknown today, a lot of the players are not…turning up in later bands that achieved international status like the Hoodoo Gurus or Died Pretty.

There can be no doubt that it was Radio Birdman who infected the entire country with a love of Detroit-styled rock’n’roll owing a debt to the Stooges and MC5, a passion that exists to this day. For most of the 80s inner city Sydney almost nightly boasted gigs featuring bands that were directly influenced by Radio Birdman, and Radio Birdman shirts were probably more prevalent than those of any other band. Even now, bands like Brother Brick, Asteroid B-612 or Challenger 7 owe a strong and acknowledged debt to Radio Birdman.

Although they are consistently lumped in with the MC5 and Stooges, there was much more to Radio Birdman than that. Deniz Tek’s guitar licks often sound more like something from Blue Oyster Cult than the Stooges, with an almost jazz-influenced feel to them. There’s more than a little surf element to songs like “Descent Into The Maelstrom”, “Aloha Steve and Danno” or “Cryin’ Sun”. Rob Younger’s vocals recall Jim Morrison of the Doors more than Iggy Pop, and Pip Hoyle’s keyboards reinforce that feeling. And the songs show a strong sense of pop hooks, as on “More Fun”, “Non Stop Girls” or “Do The Pop”. It’s the fact that so many different influences are combined that made their sound so enduring…it doesn’t feel locked to any one era or style.

The story of Radio Birdman has to be one of the most fascinating in rock and roll. A full treatment of the band’s history requires an entire book, and fortunately, there is an excellent volume available in Vivien Johnson’s Radio Birdman (Sheldon Booth Publishing, 1990). The interview here provides only a glimpse of some key episodes, but suffice to say, the band was led by Tek and Younger, the former an American guitar ace from Michigan, who was in Australia studying medicine, and the latter their passionate Australian vocalist. Radio Birdman included 3 more Australians in bassist and graphic design wizard Warwick Gilbert, drummer Ron Keely, and another med student in Pip Hoyle on keyboards. Rounding out the lineup was Canadian Chris Masuak, who joined on guitar when Hoyle left the band for a brief period and stayed when Hoyle subsequently returned.

In the interview below, Tek and Younger talk in detail about their earlier bands and the formation of Radio Birdman. Like most bands, Radio Birdman was not immediately appreciated and spent plenty of nights playing to nobody. It was only in their last few months in Australia that they began to achieve wider recognition and play to large crowds. Like the Sex Pistols in the UK, or the Velvet Underground ten years earlier, their real impact was in the number of bands they inspired. The people who heard Radio Birdman seemed to undergo a conversion and develop the conviction that they, too, could and should start a band and play with fire and passion.

Signed to Sire Records in 1978, Radio Birdman released their first LP Radios Appear in the US and UK (with substantial modifications in content and packaging from the original Australian release) and left Australia for a UK tour. They returned in the fragments of wreckage. The tour was an artistic success but a logistical disaster, with their tour sponsor Polygram breaking from Sire before they started, a negative and ideologically straitjacketed UK rock press hounding them, the headlining Flamin’ Groovies dropping out of the tour due to Cyril Jordan slicing his hand open, and finally Sire dropping their contract while they were in the middle of recording their second album at Rockfield Studios. With internal pressures building, the band exploded. That second LP, Living Eyes, finally saw Australian release two years later. It has never been released anywhere else.

Steve: The Ramones and the Sex Pistols…those bands were definitely more basic than Radio Birdman.

Rob: Well, yeah, we had one more guitar!

Steve: And keyboards…

Rob: Ah, yeah! Shit!

Steve: And I think your songs were a lot more sophisticated, too. Songs like “Descent Into The Maelstrom” – I can’t imagine the Pistols or Ramones doing a song anywhere near like that.

Deniz: Yeah, I dunno. Maybe they had a different style, but there’s something outstanding about the songs on that first Ramones album, too. What they achieved to me was really revolutionary. We were sort of in between periods with our band because we pre-dated that stuff by a little bit. We didn’t see ourselves as part of the punk genre, because when we started up, the word punk was used to refer to bands that were mid-60s garage bands mostly. It was a different sound.

Steve: I wasn’t trying to imply that the Ramones weren’t good. I love the Ramones, and most of those late 70s punk bands, too. It’s just that it was kind of a straitjacket in terms of what people would accept if they were into those kinds of punk bands, and I think that hurt Radio Birdman.

Deniz: Well, yeah, because once people lock into a genre or recognize a genre as being what they are into, they can put the blinders on a bit, and we didn’t really fit into a genre. We took elements from all over the place. We had a pretty heavy Blue Oyster Cult influence as well as a British Invasion band influence. I even copped riffs from James Brown’s Live At The Apollo for one of our songs…

Rob: Did you?

Deniz: Well, yeah. That riff in “The Hand Of Law”.

Rob: Oh, right!

Deniz: If you think of the intro kind of fanfare thing on Live At The Apollo ’63.

Rob: That’s great, I’d never connected that.

Deniz: I’m not sure I was aware of that at the time, but I can hear it now.

Rob: I’ll have to pull that out and have a listen!

Deniz: Yeah, so there’s a lot of mixes of stuff in there. We had a pretty broad base of influences. We liked a lot of different kinds of music.

Steve: It seems like in Australia you could do that sort of thing more easily than you might elsewhere.

Deniz: I wouldn’t say easily…

Rob: No, I don’t think so at all.

It’s only that we came on fairly strongly with it and maybe turned people’s heads around with it. Not that we were universally liked from the outset or anything. It gathered a bit of momentum, but not really!  Our stuff was pretty left of field at the start and I think people around Sydney just wanted to hear Free and Deep Purple covers and shit like that.

Deniz: Yeah, that’s right. When we started off it was mostly laid back boogie bands and bands that would do sort of electric blues like Company Kane and the La Dee Das, and things like that. Then there were bands that would cover whatever song was popular from the band that had most recently toured in Australia, because in those days not that many bands would come out. When I first got there, everybody was doing Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin songs because those two bands had come out in the early part of that year, and that’s what people wanted to hear. So when we started to do what we did, it took years for us to get more than one or two people to come along and see us.

Steve: As long as we are going back to the beginning, I thought I’d try my trick question, which is to get Rob to describe TV Jones for me and then get Deniz to talk about the Rats a little. So maybe Rob I can put you on the spot and ask you to go first.

Rob: Oh, dear! OK, well, basically TV Jones (pauses as Deniz laughs in the background) – TV Jones were a great band, because they were different. They were just as different as anything that Deniz was a part of later on. Deniz used to be the front man in that band – he didn’t always have a guitar in his hand. From that I actually probably learned a bit myself. But the style of music that they were playing – the covers were anything from J. Geils to Alice Cooper, the Stooges, the Stones, and that type of thing. The originals they were writing were complimentary to that. They had a sort of a glam aspect about them, too, which in a way my own band the Rats did at the time. So there was a fair bit of common ground. I never saw their earliest gigs, which were mostly at this place called the Charles, wasn’t it Deniz, down my way where I live now?

Deniz: Yeah, the Charles Hotel.

Rob: Yeah, and they apparently had developed a pretty large following down there. So they actually had a great base of appeal. They weren’t unattractive to look at either. Apparently they’d cut quite a dash down there. I dunno, I think you had a couple of name changes before you arrived at TV Jones. But I was impressed.

Steve: So how about the Rats, Deniz?

Deniz: The Rats was the first really hardcore rock band I saw in Australia. I heard about them because my roommate, the guy who had the lease at the student house I was living in was Ron Keely – that house actually was the site of the formation of a lot of personal relationships that are still going on today. John Needham (Citadel Records founder and a key figure in Australian indie rock for the last 20 years – Steve) was one of the other students who lived in that house. We just sort of met there because we picked up an ad for a room in a student house, and Ron was the guy who was running the household. I rented a room in that house, if you can believe this, for six dollars and fifty cents a week. (laughs)

Rob: Now it would be six hundred and fifty dollars!

Deniz: Yeah, exactly. But Ron was a drummer, and he knew some other musicians in Sydney, and it was through him that I’d met Rob and got in touch with the Rats. I think Ron actually played me a tape of the Rats before I saw them, and the tape sounded great. I guess it reminded me a lot of the New York Dolls at the time. It had a lot of similar elements to the Dolls, and they actually covered a few New York Dolls songs.

Rob: Yeah, we played about six off the first album alone! (laughs) The first song I ever did was “Bad Girl”, actually.

Deniz: Yeah, and you used to do “Jet Boy” and “Personality Crisis” and things like that. But then I got to see them. It was a two guitar lineup. Warwick was the lead player, Warwick Gilbert. I think he played through a Fender amp, but he had the treble and volume on ten and the bass on zero – just this incredible slicing treble sound, and the only thing I’d heard that came close to that before was Williamson on Raw Power. Just this incredibly biting treble. So they had that going, and the rhythm guitar player was named Mick Lyon, and he just had this style where he played like every down stroke that the Ramones played, plus every backstroke, too. It was just this wall of noise coming out of his amp.

Rob: Yeah, he played a Telecaster thinline.

Deniz: You couldn’t even see his hand going up and down, he was playing that fast. And since it was a thinline Tele, again it was extreme treble. It was this incredibly abrasive yet somehow compelling wall of noise coming out of this band, and then Rob singing. I think in the early days they were doing makeup and stuff and had a great look, and it was the only thing out there that was different. So we immediately became pals and started going to each other’s gigs, and I think we had at least one gig together. Down in Wollongong, didn’t we?

Rob: Yeah, I think we did one or two.

Deniz: I think about five people showed up.

Rob: Yeah, we often outnumbered the audiences, I think. But I remember Ron Keely saying he knew a guy who played the same sort of stuff that the Rats were playing, and I just said, “Oh, bullshit. There’s no chance!” And he said “I can introduce you”. And I said there’s no way that any bands out here know anything about the Dolls and the Stooges and all that. But we got together eventually.

Deniz: In fact I remember the night very well when he brought you over to the house. I was trying to have a quiet evening at home listening to my records and all these people started turning up.

Rob: Shit, I’m sorry!

Deniz: So I look up from headphones and there’s all these people in the room, and they look like a band!

Steve: So then the origin of Radio Birdman was when Deniz you got kicked out of TV Jones…

Deniz: Yeah, I was sacked from the band. As Rob said, we had a little popularity in Wollongong, which was a town – I guess it was a coal mining or steel mining place about 100 kilometers south of Sydney. It’s a blue collar town, and that’s where we had gigs. We had a residency at this hotel there, the Charles Hotel. You know, in Australia, hotels are pubs. That’s their word for a pub – “hotel”. It’s not like you’re going to the Hilton. It was just this corner pub. They had bands, and we would get to play every Friday and Saturday night and get a free meal and a few bucks and free beer. At the time I was student in Sydney and I had to hitch-hike down there every Friday or Saturday afternoon and hitch-hike back on Sunday afternoon.

So we decided to make the move up to Sydney, because we saw that as going to the big time. We thought we were doing so great in Wollongong and we had no problems in generating this vibe down there that we just assumed that when we went to Sydney we’d be popular there, too. And that was quite a wrong assumption, because the minute we got to Sydney problems started.

We got a one week residency in Checkers, and the other band that we were opening for was Sherbet. We would do four sets, Sherbet would do one set, and then we would do a last quick set. After the first night we got fired from that gig. We showed up on day two to play and all our stuff was thrown off the stage – equipment was on the dance floor and these heavy grade bouncers were telling us “Get all your shit out of here now, or we’ll confiscate it and you won’t see it again.” Try to argue with these guys and cop an attitude and they offer to break both of your hands and put you in the garbage bin out back.

We didn’t have a van organized or anything but we had to get our stuff out of there. We played at the Whisky and it was the same thing again, and we couldn’t get a gig after that. So to make a long story short, the other guys in the band said it must be Deniz. There’s this vibe of negativity – that was the word they used – he’s too negative on stage…

Rob: (laughs) You were!

Deniz: (ignores Rob and continues) …and we’re not doing the covers people want to hear and it’s unpopular. So we’ve gotta get rid of Deniz and get somebody that we’re more likely to be successful with. So they came around the house and said I was going to be out of the band.

Rob: Yeah, I was there. That was hilarious!

Deniz: Yeah, Rob was actually there when it happened.

Steve: So what happened Rob?

Rob: (laughs again) They were all sitting around telling him he was Mister Bad Vibes on stage and they wanted to be a bit more, you know, um, welcoming to the people. Bands like Hush and so forth that played things that were more commercial. It wasn’t exactly like their music was all so left of field anyway. It was quite accessible stuff – it was rocking! But nevertheless, they couldn’t tolerate it…Deniz probably gave the audience a few vacant stares and a few glares and was doing a lot of various moves and stuff like that, the sort of thing that people around Sydney had never seen before, really. And I dunno, maybe that non-plussed an audience, but to me it was just the icing on the cake. They could play!

In fact, the Rats were dead primitive and I could understand if people hated us, but with TV Jones, they had more musicality about them. They had a level of confrontation to them to, but I couldn’t figure out what the other guys were on about. It was ridiculous. They got this sort of milquetoast character to sing sort of more in the British vein, I suppose, more of the upper range shrieking a la … that type of thing, you know?

Deniz: The guy’s name was Paul Greene, and he came on the stage with TV Jones as the new singer wearing jump suits, a big moustache and kind of a poofy feathered haircut. And he had a snake, too, so they could cover the Alice Cooper aspect. And of course, we all know where that all ended up!

Rob: Exactly. So I’m sitting here listening to all this shit and I’m thinking, well, this is just great, because now we can get a band together. So I was lapping it up. I thought it was quite amusing.

Steve: So were the Rats coming apart at that time?

Rob: I think we had just broken up ourselves. This happened almost concurrently (or is it simultaneously). I think Warwick just rang me up one day and said he couldn’t carry on with it, so that pretty much broke the band up. So that was that. And Deniz and I had struck up a bit of a friendship. One of the bases of our conversations in his living room was “Who’s better, James Williamson or Keith Richards?” and stuff like that. And that was it, a friendship was forged and we got something together after that.

Steve: When you first started as Radio Birdman, were you doing a lot of Rats and TV Jones tunes along with some covers, or did you start writing new material right away?

Deniz: Well, it’s obvious that we want to use the best of the two previous bands, so we did some of the same covers – we were doing “Personality Crisis” that the Rats were doing, and I think we did some Velvet Underground stuff…

Rob: Yeah, we did “Waiting For The Man” and “Rock and Roll” – stuff like that.

Deniz: Probably about half the stuff was from the previous two bands and the other half of the set was stuff that we got together for Radio Birdman.  The first couple of original songs I wrote, we had been doing those in TV Jones as well and we transmitted those onto Radio Birdman. Things like “Man With Golden Helmet”, “Monday Morning Gunk” and “I-94”, which originally was called “Eskimo Pies”. TV Jones had actually done a recording session and we got a couple of those songs on tape.

Steve: That was that single that just came out in Europe a little while ago, right?

Deniz: Well, sort of. That single, half of that single was TV Jones and the other half was a Radio Birdman out take. The guy made an error that put it out. He had a tape and he figured it was all TV Jones, but there was a mix of stuff on it. We had the better part of an album done, but the tape got erased or recorded over and used again for something else, and all we had was cassette dubs of the stuff.

Steve: At the start, Deniz, you and Pip were both in med school, which seems like a pretty serious case of burning the candle at both ends.

Deniz: I dunno. You’ve gotta do something else. You can’t just sit around and study all the time. Pip had been in a later version of TV Jones, so we’d been playing together for probably about a year before Radio Birdman started up. Pip was an interesting character because he’d never played rock music before and didn’t know anything about it. The closest he’d gotten to rock music was something like John Mayall. He’d been playing jazz and classical music. So especially with his classical music background, his tempo was whatever he wanted it to be at that moment. Which made his playing really, really interesting as far as fitting in with the rigid 4/4 format of a rock band. There was a lot of give and take there, and I think the results were that he sounded different from everyone else.

But the other guys in TV Jones didn’t particularly like Pip. First of all, they’d never met anyone else who was intelligent like Pip was, so he was kind of intimidating to them for that reason. But also, they didn’t understand his time and pitch freedom as being freedom. They understood it as he couldn’t play 4/4. So I think Pip had been tossed out of the band just before I was.

But as far as having time to play in a band…I suppose I could have done better in medical school if I’d studied harder. But I did OK. I got a credit and distinction and got through OK. Most of the stuff you learn in medical school you never use again anyway in the real world. So I think it’s actually more important in life to have other experiences. Look at most doctors and they have zero understanding of most normal people because they’ve never been around them – they’ve just had their head in the books their whole life.

Steve: Well, you gotta admit it’s an unusual thing. There haven’t been many bands with even one doctor in them, let alone two.

Deniz: But if you have one it attracts more.

Steve: Probably true! Changing gears, Rob, can you tell me some of the details about recording the Burn My Eye EP and how you came to the idea of releasing it on your own?

Rob: Oh, dear, I’m fairly hazy on the details of all of that. I remember we became acquainted with this journalist who was the editor of this magazine called RAM – Rock Australia Magazine is what it stood for – and this guy Anthony O’Grady took us around to various studios introducing us to producers and engineers and getting us to try to put down a couple tracks here and there. Mostly it didn’t work out terribly well, but eventually he took us to meet the people at Trafalgar, which was Charles Fisher and an engineer that he worked with called John Sayers. And we hung around that studio and I suppose we must have talked about what we wanted to do, the direction of the band, how we saw ourselves – I can’t really recall. I can only recall that we kind of reached a point where we couldn’t agree, and it looked like the discussion was breaking down, and someone suggested, why don’t you just go in there and set up and play something anyway. And so we knocked out a couple of songs and they seemed really interested after that.

Deniz: Yeah, we were ready to walk out because there was such a divergence in attitude between us and those guys. This was about the third or fourth studio that we had tried to work with and each one had failed as far as we were concerned. They didn’t like us and we didn’t like them. And the same thing was happening here with the discussion. We thought, this is hopeless, we’re going to leave. We’re out of here. But then Charles said, well, you know, you’re here, you’ve got your equipment here, and you might as well just play a couple of songs. And we said OK.

And you know what, they started to like us!

Rob: Yeah, which was to their credit, I suppose, from our point of view. Because hardly anyone ever did. So that was a surprise in itself. But I suppose we have to give credit to Anthony O’Grady for being so persistent as well.

Deniz: Yeah, he was willing to continue to take us around to other studios after the first couple of mishaps.

Rob: I think we went to one studio, it was something like 2SER radio station and I think we smoked out the console didn’t we?

Steve: Did Trafalgar actually pay for recording the EP and pressing it up, or how did you finance that?

Deniz: Yeah, Trafalgar paid.

Steve: Because it would have seemed like a pretty gutsy move if you had paid for it all yourself. But even so, the way you sold it was pretty unusual for the time.

Deniz: Well, Trafalgar wasn’t a label then, it was just a studio, and they’d never put a record out before under their own name. It was just a studio for hire. So this was a pretty bold move for them to go out on the limb and do an independent record. I don’t know if that had ever been done before in Sydney.

Rob: We weren’t aware that it had. I thought it was the first independent release. I’d never seen a record come out with no logo or anything on the label.

Steve: I’m not sure if it came first, but the one other that springs to mind is the first Saints single.

Rob: Yeah, but this was before that.  (Note – Ian MacFarlane’s Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop pegs the release date of Burn My Eye as October 1976 and

The Saints debut on their own Fatal Records of “(I’m) Stranded” as September 1976 – almost like Bell and Marconi practically simultaneously inventing the telephone!)

Steve: Were you surprised at how fast they sold out? Or were you expecting that it would sell pretty well?

Rob: I don’t remember. I just remember stamping the things. They were all white label records and we had a Radio Birdman symbol on a stamp and I was just sitting in the Trafalgar office stamping them. Then they’d get parceled up and sent out mail order. I think there were only about 1800 or so ever pressed up.

Deniz: Didn’t they go for about a dollar or two dollars?

Rob: Yeah, something like that. A dollar seventy five, maybe. Probably that was fairly reasonable in those days.

Steve: Yeah, but still selling 1800 of anything that’s relatively unknown is really hard. Even with the internet, I can tell you that with my label I do a thousand copies of something and it takes me years to make a dent in it.

Deniz: Yeah, that’s right, Steve, but look how many records are being put out now that you’re competing with. Whereas in those days there just wasn’t that much.

Steve: I suppose that’s fair enough. Well, another story I was hoping you’d re-tell is the story of how you met Lou Reed at the Sydney Airport and how that led to the Oxford Funhouse.

Deniz: Yeah, you know, I’ve told this story so many times that sometimes it’s hard to remember what’s really true about it and what I read in Vivien’s book. But to the best that I can recall, we knew that Lou Reed was going to be at the airport, and I wanted to go and see the press conference and I wanted to give him a Radio Birdman T-shirt. I had this idea to give him a T-shirt, but we didn’t have any T-shirts, so I went over to Dare’s house – Dare Jennings. He had just started silk screening. That’s even a much more incredible story, because this guy essentially owns Mambo (a clothing line similar to Quicksilver or Billabong that’s made Jennings one of the richest men in Australia according to Tek – Steve) and is a world clothing magnate now. But the first thing he did was a Radio Birdman T-shirt.

So I got him to make one, and Lou Reed answered these questions, and he was pretty tired after a long flight and was really kind of rude to these journalists. And I’m just listening at the back, and at the end of this press conference I walked up to him and handed him the T-shirt and said, this T-shirt is a present for you. And he said, oh, is this a local band? And I said yeah. And he said, local band, great! Are you playing? And I said yeah. But we didn’t really have a gig, and when he took off his secretary came up and said Lou wants to see your band. Where are you playing? And we didn’t have a gig, so I said, I don’t know, I don’t have my calendar with me right now, can I call you back? So I got her phone number and then we went and scrambled for a gig.

At this point, this was like mid 1975, this was the low point in terms of success for us. We’d been banned from all the major pubs on the circuit in Sydney. No place would have us. So we got the idea of going back to the Oxford, which is where the Rats used to play. Rob and Ron knew the guy that ran the thing, and they asked the guy – his name was Bill – if we could play there. They said, you don’t have to pay us, we just want to play, and our friends will come. Oh, and Lou Reed will come. And Bill said, well, if Lou Reed’s gonna come, you can play, but you’re not getting any money.

And we said, OK that’s fine, we’ll play. So we set up and our friends came, and it was actually a pretty good night. But of course Lou Reed never came. By then he’d forgotten about it or he blew it off. But it was a good night, and Bill actually came up to us after and gave us a ten dollar bill. I remember that really clearly. We’re sitting there, sweat-soaked, the place is full of beer cans and equipment, and we’re completely exhausted, and Bill goes, just to show you guys I appreciate how good you played, here’s ten bucks and be sure to pick up all these beer cans on your way out.

But then Bill wanted us to come back and play again, because a lot of people came and they drank a lot of beer. So that started off the residency for us at the Oxford. That’s how I remember it. Is that how you remember it, Rob?

Rob: Yeah, pretty much. I remember you also telling me at the time that Lou said something to the affect of see those people over there – he’s pointing at the journalists – he said “Fucking animals!” I remember you telling me that. I was impressed!

Steve: So after that you had a lot of pretty interesting bands play there with you that aren’t very well known outside of Australia, and probably aren’t even that well known inside Australia today, like Johnny Dole, or the Psychosurgeons, or the Hellcats, or the Mangrove Boogie Kings or those kinds of bands. Can you describe some of those?

Rob: Well, the Mangrove Boogie Kings were basically a rockabilly band. They were nice guys, and they played pretty well and had a huge repertoire. They were deeply rooted in the 50s. And Johnny Dole and the Scabs were playing 60s sort of songs, like Easybeats gear and so forth, maybe a few of their own, but in a more amped up way, more in the line of what became the punky sort of feel I guess. And who were the others we’re talking about?

Steve: The Hellcats?

Rob: Hellcats, yeah, well I think by the time the Hellcats were playing I seem to recall they had Damned songs and things like that in their set, didn’t they Deniz? They were doing “Born To Kill” and shit like that?

Deniz: Yeah, that was ’77. They were doing some of those early punk songs from England, and they were also doing some odd sort of gear like Beach Boys songs, but in an amped up way. They were doing “Fun Fun Fun” and things like that.

Rob: Yeah, I remember you being really taken by Mark Kingsmill’s drumming.

Deniz: I thought his drumming was really great and I loved Charlie Georges guitar playing.

Rob: Yeah, he had a tough style. It was mostly me and the Radio Birdman manager George Kringas who were booking that place, and I think we even either printed up leaflets or published some sort of little manifesto – it’s a bit embarrassing to think of it now – but it was basically like a set of rules about what you could wear in the place. But we were just trying to sort of give the place a kind of exclusive feel and create a sort of insular atmosphere and alienate the people that we thought were into all the weak stuff that we perceived as wimpy (laughs). So there were all these rules and edicts and shit, you know? We were trying to book bands in there that we thought were really like minded. But it wasn’t easy to do that, because there weren’t too many around there like that. So often that idea got compromised. And when we couldn’t play there ourselves, we had to get someone else in and now and then we’d have an expedient sort of band and we’d hear later on “fuck, don’t ever get them again”, you know. It was the sort of stuff that we loathed in the first place.

Deniz: But for the most part the idea was to try to get bands in there to play that had a hard time finding any where else to play because they were rejects like us. That was the idea, for rebellious people that would be rejected by the music establishment, they could play there. And the other idea was to turn all the money over to the bands. We kept nothing…we paid the girl at the door twenty bucks to take dollars at the door, and the guys who owned the bar got whatever the bar tab was, but all the door money, the band owned it.

Steve: Do you feel like having that place had a lot to do with developing bands in Sydney?

Deniz: I think some bands started just to play there. The Psychosurgeons probably started up just to play there.

Rob: Now, they were a pretty wild outfit.

Deniz: They later transformed into the Lipstick Killers, but originally they had a different singer and a different drummer. That was Mark Taylor’s band. They were pretty far out, those guys.

The band recorded their first classic LP, Radios Appear, for Australian release and then were signed by Sire for the international market. The Sire version of Radios Appear featured several different songs and new packaging. A fiery cover of the Stooges “TV Eye” and the old TV Jones tune “Monday Morning Gunk” were dropped off and their anthem “New Race” was shortened by nearly two minutes, but a brilliant cover of Roky Erickson’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and four new originals more than made up for the shortfall. The best of the new tracks was perhaps “Aloha Steve And Danno”, which copped the theme from “Hawaii 5-0” for its bridge and even today is without question one of the toughest surf songs of all time.

I can still remember picking up my used promo copy of Radios Appear for $1.99 in a bin at Al Bums Records in Tucson in the summer of 1978. I’d never heard of the band, but they were on Sire, and almost everything else on Sire was great, so I figured it was worth a go. It seemed an odd record for the times…the cover showed six band members (everyone else had either 3, 4 or 5) on the front looking like for all the world like some kind of special forces group with guitars – the Dirty Half Dozen.

Inside, the music was something different, too. It was ferociously hard driving rock and roll, but it sure wasn’t anything like the 1-2-3-4 three chord rock coming out of the UK. There were murderous guitar solos, keyboard flourishes, and textures lifted from jazz, soul, surf, garage rock, 60s pop and hard rock all mixed together in a bewildering montage. Although scarcely a word was written about the band in any of the music magazines I read, it was pretty clear to me that this record was a keeper.

Unfortunately, by the day I got that record, the band was already nearing the end of its lifetime. Sire sent them to the UK for a tour that ended in disaster. Vivien Johnson’s book on Radio Birdman does a terrific job of describing the tensions leading to the band’s break-up – there’s only room to hint at the issues in this interview. From that UK tour period a second album ultimately surfaced in Living Eyes, a slightly more subtle record than the debut, but still a powerful piece of work.

Steve: Can you talk a little about how you recorded the original Radios Appear album?

Deniz: It was a lengthy process. You made the comment earlier that Trafalgar funded the EP and the sessions and stuff, well what really was happening was that we got to use the studio when nobody else was booked in and when they didn’t have any paying customers. So we were using an infrastructure that was already there and pretty much already paid for, they just had to have the engineer and turn the lights on. But we only could get in there when nobody else was using the studio. So it took like a year to get all the stuff together. If we had a free weekend and the studio had a free weekend we could go in.

But that didn’t happen very often, and it was tedious, because we had to haul everything in and set it up, set the drums up and get a drum sound. Sometimes we’d record a little bit in the afternoon and then we’d have to tear everything down and go to a gig, and then come back the next day, Sunday.

Rob: I don’t remember it being so spread out – I have no recollection of that at all! But I remember all those sheets of corrugated iron that we used to liven the room up a bit.  It always seemed a somehow little bit muffled or subdued. It was one of those LA or west coast designed studios for Eagles sort of music or something, wasn’t it?

Deniz: Yeah, and it was heavily carpeted. Everything on it was carpeted – the walls, the ceilings. The only thing that wasn’t carpeted was the window on the control room. And even that was some kind of special glass that muffled sound.

Rob: (laughs) Bullshit! (all laugh)

Deniz: So we would bring in sheets of corrugated iron roofing material from the streets, bring it in our van into the studio. The engineer thought we were being deliberately contrary, but we weren’t – we were just trying to make it sound a little harder. And if you listen to the sound of the record now, it sounds pretty good. One of the things I’ve been asked a lot in interviews lately since this thing came out is: how come it endures? How come it still sounds OK when everything else recorded around those days sounds dated?

And I think one of the things that makes it endure is that the production was pretty straight forward. They didn’t use a lot of gimmicks. We got a good guitar sound, and we played really loud in there, and we had the corrugated iron to help it sound harder.

Steve: Can you tell the story about how you got signed by Sire? I heard that Seymour Stein came to Sydney to sign you, is that right?

Rob: He came to sign the Saints, I think.

Deniz: He was there to sign the Saints, but somebody dragged him along to one of our shows at the Oxford Funhouse. At least that’s what I remember hearing.

Rob: He was dancing on a table, apparently!

Deniz: I never see things like that because I always have my head down.

Rob: Yes, I know. You are quite diligent, but I have the luxury of perusing the room and, yeah, he was over there doing all this. And he came to another gig, that one we did at the ABC TV studio. And subsequently he had a meeting with us out in Trafalgar in the control room there, and he was deep into it by then. He was talking about us going to the UK and supporting the Ramones as it was going to be at the time, and tour around there. But as we know, it turned out to be the Groovies.

Steve: Why was the overseas version of Radios Appear different from the original Australian one? It seems like it’s half a second album and half a first album – it always struck me as strange that you didn’t just release the Australian version outside of Australia or else do an entirely new LP.

Rob: What happened there? Did we get cold feet or something? Maybe we just thought we could make a stronger album. I know we had some more new songs.

Deniz: I think when Sire signed us up for the world wide release of Radios Appear that was one of our conditions. We said, we’ve been living with this album for about nine months now and there’s a lot of things about it we’d like to change. If it’s going to go out to the whole world, we’d like to make it better. We’d been in the studio recording some new songs. Not nearly enough to make a whole second album, but enough to change it. And we figured, who’s ever going to hear the Australian version of the album anyway? We weren’t really thinking globally.

Steve: Can you talk about some of the tours you did to other parts of Australia and how you influenced the music scene there? Just as an example, I’m working on another feature for my website with Rob Griffiths of the Little Murders, and he was telling me how impressed he was when he saw Radio Birdman on the first tour to Melbourne.

Rob: We hear that quite often from people, about how some of these gigs really were like seminal moments in their lives. They say that’s case and it’s really quite flattering when you hear it. I think people like Nick Cave used to come to some of those Melbourne shows, I believe, and that entire crowd.

Deniz: There was a big difference between the first time we saw them and the second.  They were quite friendly the first time around and invited us to a party or something.

But the second time we came back they copped a pretty hostile attitude. So I suppose that’s an influence of sorts.

Steve: Was it sort of a competitive thing?

Deniz: I don’t know if it was competitive or whether it was genuine hate.  I don’t know.

Steve: It doesn’t seem like they’d have much reason to dislike you…

Deniz: What I picked up at the time was that they’d found out that a couple of us went to medical school and they thought that that signified a lack of commitment – as compared to being a junkie or something like that, which implied more commitment. (much laughter from all)

Rob: I wouldn’t argue with that!

Deniz: Yeah, that’s what I picked up.

Steve: One of those Adelaide shows got shown on TV, didn’t it?

Rob: Yeah, the Marriatville show, they filmed about seven or eight songs, I think. Sort of washed the whole room out with these really bright lights and I had two microphones to sing through, one for the PA and one for the recording. It was actually a bit inhibiting in a way. But that footage is really well regarded, and they keep recycling it on the ABC late at night to this day. We broke the attendance record of that place. It wasn’t doing so well in those days, but we got over 900 people that night and the place was jammed. It was quite exciting going to Adelaide the first time. That’s the city that gave the Beatles the biggest reception they’d ever gotten anywhere in the world too. There was like 400,000 people out to see the Beatles, and there’s barely that many in the whole frigging city!

So there must be something about that place. But it was quite satisfying to feel that momentum building up. But there were still strange things going on. There were people from TV stations – like we did an interview after that particular gig that was filmed, and I believe that the person who conducted that interview subsequently had a nervous breakdown and said that “if Radio Birdman come back to Adelaide it’s going to bring down the government” and all this shit. I think the guy went right around the bloody bend 

But we seem to have evoked pretty strange reactions from people where ever we went. We were still getting banned at different times, weren’t we, even at that point? Yet popularity was building and we were getting radio airplay, too.

Deniz: Some of us, I don’t know if you were with us that night Rob or not, but that first time we went to Adelaide, some us went to see Fleetwood Mac play at an outdoor concert.

Rob: Yeah, I went to that.

Deniz: We wanted George to get Stevie Nicks to come back to the Grange with us. We actually thought he might be able to do it. Talk about hubris! (laughs)

Rob: I didn’t know that went on, but I went to the show.

Deniz: Yeah, George went off somewhere after we really goaded him and pestered him, and he came back fifteen minutes later and said “sorry, I can’t get you backstage”. And that was when we ran into Blondie, wasn’t it?

Rob: Oh, yeah, one of the trips down there. I suppose it was that first one. The place we were staying was called the Grange, right on the beach there. The beach with no surf. And the guy who was putting us up there, our friend Patrick Miles who had the rock column in the Adelaide Advertiser and he’s the one who championed us and was the catalyst in getting us over there – Blondie were touring so he invited us over there. So we got to meet the band and so forth. She seemed really sweet. Yeah, I’d forgotten about that.

Steve: Can you talk about the final tour that you did to England and how that got arranged and all the problems between Phonogram and Sire and all that?

Rob: Deniz is probably more expert on this because there were a lot of things I didn’t even know went on until about ten years after the fact. It’s quite strange – I keep learning things about what went on before I arrived in England, because Deniz and our manager went over before the band did. I’m still learning, so I’d be happy to hear anything.

Deniz: Well, I don’t really know what’s true and what’s not true at this point. But what I learned from George – he was sort of keeping me informed as we went along up to a point – the tour was organized by a promoter over there named Ed Bicknell who was Dire Straits’ manager. That was before they really got big – a couple years before. Ed was recommended by Philips, which was the Polygram subsidiary that we were on over there. They were the distributor for Sire. So Sire said go tour, and they arranged through the distributor to finance the tour, and Ed Bicknell put the tour together.

We get over there and rehearse and we’re just starting the tour, and the records are in the warehouse, and the next thing we know Sire has split from Polygram. There’s some rift between those two companies and the relationship is gone between those two. We were only signed to Sire and we only had a relationship with Polygram by proxy. So there’s no reason for Polygram to continue to do tour support other than that they’ve got warehouses full of these albums, which in the end weren’t even shipped anywhere and weren’t getting to stores.

Because the relationship was dead between them and our label, they just sort of let the record die.

But somehow, George Kringas our manager managed to talk them into letting us finish the tour. So we went on the tour anyway, while knowing that things were bad relationship-wise, and where ever we went the record wouldn’t be in the stores or available to people. So it was kind of demoralizing.

It’s amazing that George was able to get them to continue to fund the tour and not just cancel it, but he did that, and we even went into the studio as previously scheduled and recorded the next album, again, just sort of running on fumes because there was no real backing.

About half through this or three quarters of the way through that we found out that we also were dropped from Sire. So Polygram dropped Sire, and Sire dropped us. My understanding was that Sire dropped a whole bunch of other bands at the same time, like the Dead Boys. They only kept a few bands…they kept the Ramones, they kept the Talking Heads, and they kept the two bands that were paying for all the other bands at that stage, which were Renaissance and Focus. They were the acts on Sire that were actually earning money. Nothing else was earning money at that point – the other bands were just an expense.

So Sire had to retrench, I guess because of cash flow problems or whatever was happening with this distribution deal going bad. So we got dropped. That’s my understanding of it pretty much in a nutshell.

Steve: Can you talk about some of the gigs you played on that tour? There were gigs both in England and in Europe as well, right?

Deniz: We only played a couple shows in Europe that I can recall. Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. Everything else was in the UK.

Steve: These were all with the Flamin’ Groovies, right?

Rob: Well, the Groovies had to pull out of it because Cyril Jordan fell over on this walkway down to a gig at this place in Brussels and he severed a tendon, I think, in his right hand, so they couldn’t play in that gig. So we filled in for both the nights, I think. And I think we did OK, actually.

I think one night they hauled us off the stage, which apparently is a customary thing in that area, for rival promoters to ring up and say “there’s a bomb in the place” and stuff like that, so we had to clear off on one night.

Deniz: Yeah, and the next night after that one, we went to Amsterdam and opened for Van Halen.

Rob: We didn’t play with them I don’t think, we went and saw them. I remember going to see them. We didn’t actually play with them, did we?

Deniz: No, they played after us at the Paradiso.

Rob: No, shit! Christ, I remember seeing them, I remember their singer David Lee Roth standing over at the side of the stage beseeching the balcony, because it had this balcony running high around the side of it, and he was shrieking “I’m on fire, I’m on fire!”. And this guy’s up on the top there and right through the center of the spotlight that’s beaming down on Roth he pours this beer, and you could just see the stream going right into his head. And he was shaking his fist and cursing this bastard up on top there. That was the highlight of that show for me! And their insane bass player strutting around there…

Deniz: I really didn’t know who they were then. They might have been famous and I didn’t know about it, or they weren’t famous yet, but I didn’t know who Van Halen was. They were just another band on the top of the bill. But I’ve got a great photo of us playing at that gig, there with that big circular balcony.

Rob: I just remember George struggling and cursing getting the banner put up behind the stage there, and none of us would help him. It was a huge banner and he was really perched on the top of this ladder trying to pin this damned thing up. I think he was pretty sour about that.

Deniz: We didn’t really know what to do, because we didn’t know if the Flamin’ Groovies cancellation of the rest of the tour was going to affect us, or if we were going to keep going, or what was going to happen. There was just one thing after another going wrong.

Rob: We went off and did a lot of gigs on our own after that.

Steve: You had a pretty rough time with the press, didn’t you?

Rob: Well, we got a few unkind reviews, but we got a lot of great receptions at the gigs. It’s not accurate to say…a lot of people have perceived us as having gone down badly in the UK, but it’s not really true. We really killed at lots and lots of places where we played, and there actually were some occasions where there was some real yellow journalism going on. There was gig we did at the Hope and Anchor where, I think it was the third one we played there, and the previous two had been all right, too…I guess that’s why they had us back…and we killed it. The place was stacked. And this bastard from the NME, I think…could’ve been Sounds, but I think it was the NME…he reviewed the gig as being a real pile of shit and saying how people were walking out and criticized us for having six members, for Christ sakes, shit like this. But he was referring in his review to our songs by the names that only we would know, sort of abbreviated versions of the names.

And what turned out was that Patrick Miles, our publicist that I mentioned before from Adelaide, he saw this guy grab a set list and piss off after about three songs. So he didn’t stick around. So he reviewed the whole gig, shit canned us completely in a magazine that had a vast influence both in the UK and across Europe…

Deniz: And in Australia, too…

Rob: Yeah, and all this sort of shit was getting back, and the perception was that we were doing really badly. Now that was one gig where we really killed it.

Deniz: We killed it. We actually did three encores that gig, and it was a riot. People were throwing chairs, and it was unbelievable. And we’d NEVER get three encores – that was the only time in our life where we ever did it.

Rob: Yeah, that’s absolutely true, and even if there were a few isolated gigs where we didn’t play so well, the majority of times we really put in and we got a great response. Like that first gig at the Marquee was fucking great! So I think we were pretty harshly treated at times.

Deniz: It was pretty inspiring to play at a place like the Marquee, when you’ve seen pictures of the Who playing there and the Stones.

Rob: The dressing room was covered with graffiti with the names of all these different groups, and I was just hoping that it was all genuine stuff and hadn’t just been scrawled up there in the last couple of weeks. Because it had all these famous band names written everywhere. It’s really marvelous to play there. It’s a good stage – a great sounding stage.

Steve: Looking back now, even the Hope and Anchor is a hell of a place to have played. A lot of great bands played there – a lot of the pub rock bands and stuff like that.

Rob: Yeah, well I saw the Police there for 60p and there were only about 8 people in the crowd. They had no profile whatsoever. I actually didn’t like them much at all, though I thought the drummer was pretty shit hot.

Steve: But guys like Dr. Feelgood and Eddie and the Hotrods played there.

Rob: Yeah, but I never caught those.

Steve: On the second album, Living Eyes, you were in the middle of doing it when Sire dumped you and that led to the studio holding the tapes…can you talk about that?

Rob: Well, Deniz is the expert on this episode, because things went on in relation to this that I had no idea of at the time.

Deniz: All I know about that is that we recorded it at or around the time we were being dropped from Sire, so there was no release outlet for it at that moment. As far as payment of the studio I have no idea, but the studio did keep the tapes, so the tapes were available when it came time to do the remix in 1995. We were able to remix from the 24 track masters. The studio had maintained the tapes all that time.

Steve: How did you manage to pull out the tape that was used for the original release of Living Eyes?

Deniz: That was burned off a safety copy of the quarter inch tape.

Steve: So they knew you were taking it and they didn’t have any problem with that?

Deniz: No, they didn’t have any problem with that. But it was just a safety copy and was never meant to be used as a master. But we retained the rights to our stuff in Australia and New Zealand and Sire only had the copyright for the rest of the world for that record.

Steve: When did that first get released in Australia?

Deniz: 1981.

Steve: Was it on Traflagar?

Deniz: Yeah, Trafalgar. Or was it Warners?

Rob: Shit, I don’t remember. It might have been Warners.

Deniz: Trafalgar might have… no, I think it was Trafalgar, wasn’t it?

Rob: I’m sitting not too far from a copy of it, so maybe I can haul it out. I just remember the times when we were recording that, the morale of the band was pretty low. Deniz was producing the record, and he was down in the studio a lot of the time, but we were in the process of a lot of infighting back up the hill at the manor house. Socially we were disintegrating at the same time as we were putting this album together, so it was a pretty fraught time. I don’t have very pleasant memories of that particular recording.

Steve: Bands are pretty fragile things in general, so I think all the stresses you’d been through sound pretty tough.

Rob: Yeah, it was pretty hard at the time.

Steve: In hindsight, are there things you can see that might have been better, like if you had just bailed out on the tour altogether and not gone when things started to go bad, do you think that would have made a difference?

Rob: It’s kind of hard to say, isn’t it?

Deniz: I never thought of it. I think everything that happened was pretty inevitable. We were just on that path.

Steve: Can you talk about the sequence of events that led to the remixing of Living Eyes in the mid 90s.

Rob: I think it was the guy from Red Eye Records who went to some great lengths, but I wasn’t terribly involved in all that. But I know the tapes were in bad shape and they had to be baked and all that sort of thing that they do to tapes that have been sitting in one spot for 20 years or whatever it was. I don’t know what to think about whether it was a good idea to remix some of that stuff or not, but when you have the opportunity to do those things, it’s hard to resist, I suppose.

Steve: My own view is that it’s one of the rare cases where the remastering and remixing really made a noticeable difference. There are so many things that come out remixed or remastered where my reaction is: I don’t see any difference that would matter to anybody.

Rob: Sometimes it can affect the atmosphere and does it in a very complementary way. Sometimes people think you can make a record a lot better just by tweaking the treble…all the tops and this sort of shit. I notice this from old records that are remastered into CDs, suddenly you can hear all this stuff around the cymbals and so forth and people for some reason equate that with being an improvement. But I think we’ve actually improved the atmosphere of the original stuff, so the remixes probably toughened up the songs, anyway.

We left a few little things out here and there. It might be interesting for people who were acquainted with the first releases to compare them. I know when I got a copy of that Raw Power remix, the relatively recent one, and saw what was left in as opposed to what was on the original release of that. It’s kind of fascinating to hear what a band will do when they’ve gained a measure of control over their stuff, and how they must feel in retrospect and decide “oh, I’m going to sling that out because I’d never liked that anyway”, whatever it is.

Steve: The one I really notice the difference on is “Crying Sun”. It seems like the balance between the keyboard and guitars has changed substantially from the original to the remix.

Rob: Yeah, well, with “Crying Sun”, the original mixing of that was a very contentious episode, so we were probably pretty conscious in the remixing of that one and we made a distinct improvement.

Steve: How did the reissues lead into the reunion tours? Was the sequence of events that you did the two reissues and then the tours happened after that?

Deniz: Yeah, I think the reunion tour was about nine months later.

Steve: My understanding is that those tours were pretty fantastically successful, is that right?

Rob: We had a good time, particularly the first one. We played to huge crowds, because a lot of them were big festival gigs around the country. That was pretty good. I think the band represented itself pretty well. We played a lot of big shows and were able to hold a really big room, really get their attention, and deliver a great show. I had a great time, particularly on that first tour.

Steve: Were those the biggest shows you ever played?

Rob: Oh, yeah, by far.

Steve: Were you surprised that there was that much of demand to see you?

Deniz: Yeah, I was. I had no idea how it was going to go over. But there was a lot of interest. I guess that’s one of the advantages of obscurity, that it generates interest. I suppose that people are attracted to things that are generally unavailable and obscure.

Steve: It seems like since you’ve split up, the importance of the band continues to grow steadily throughout the years. There’s more and more bands that are influenced by Radio Birdman, and people just don’t stop talking about Radio Birdman, and so the interest seems to just constantly build.

Rob: It’s bound to die out one day!

Deniz: Splitting up was probably our best move ever.

Rob: You can’t be too obscure, or no one will ever want you to come back in the first place.

Steve: Well, what is there about Radio Birdman that gives you the most satisfaction when you look back…particular songs where you feel like you really nailed it, or shows that stand out…what is there that really makes you feel proud about having been in that band?

Rob: Well, for me, I’m gratified that people really regard the band as making a difference in their lives. That’s a good thing, and I feel good about…there was a certain feeling in about the first year or so of the band, I thought that we were doing something that carried a lot of meaning for me. It’s rather hard to describe. I think it comes from just being…well Deniz and I were very close, and we were pariahs. We went out and wherever we turned up with that band we caused some shit. To me it seemed like that had meaning in itself. I found it really gratifying. Acceptance is one thing, but somehow the feeling that you’re breaking some kind of new ground is a special feeling. I can still get in touch with that, and I rather cherish that.

Deniz: I’d echo what Rob just said. To me the early days of never knowing if you were going to get beaten up or have equipment busted or get banned from the place or chased by the police, and persevering and still doing the music that we wanted to do on our own terms, regardless. Even if it’s two songs and they pull the plug, we still never compromised in the early days. We never did anything that we didn’t want to do. And as far as I’m concerned, we really stuck it to the established order of the day as far as the music scene goes. And that’s what I find gratifying, much more so than any sales of reissues now or general acceptance.

I mean, I’m glad also that people get enjoyment out of it. Obviously that’s great, but I think that for me, what I look back on most fondly are those early days of hardship, really. We had something going that was worth fighting for.

Steve: What was different seems to have been the intensity of commitment that you had; when you compare that to other bands who were trying to find a way to get popular without having something they were sticking to that was what they wanted to do. That whole idea of commitment to your music was not there for most bands.

Deniz: I think Rob and I, and also the other guys in the band really share a deep love of great rock and roll music. Ever since we were kids we have. And that runs really deep. And to be able to be part of a tradition of that…it’s like getting that from when you’re a kid, and hearing this great stuff, and finding out cool things about bands that you like, and then being able to do some of that yourself in a way that hadn’t been done and then pass it on to whoever is coming along next, that’s a great thing to have participated in.

  1. Nic
    July 27, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Great band, great record…

    The Chosen Few ‘The Joke’s On Us’ EP (from 1978) mines a similar Detroit-esque seam (despite the – seemingly – dodgy lyrics)…

    Many Happy Returns to Bob and all other old farts celebrating (my mucker Special K is 50 on Saturday)…

    How about a little Lobby Lloyd?

  2. dan i
    dan i
    July 28, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Man, major interview! My old Aussie flatmate Glen loved Radio Birdman, he had a group for a while and they supported Birdman at one or two shows in Brisbane. Good times by the sound of it.

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