Australian Crawl drop tape for Support Act’s Roadies fund
Their Live At Billboard 1981, out this week, is the fifth of the Australian Road Crew Association’s (ARCA) Desk Tape Series.
The initiative raises money and resources for the Roadies Fund to provide financial, health, counselling and well-being services for crews.
Live At Billboard 1981 was recorded by George Alexander, stage manager at the Melbourne club after a stint with Men At Work.
It captured Australian Craw at their peak, having sold 600,000 copies of their first two albums The Boys Light Up and Sirocco, and a huge live drawcard attracting 100,000 to Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and 90,000 to Sydney’s Domain.
Bassist Paul Williams says of their shows: “We were very confident. We lived for those shows. We were a rock band with a rock show. We leapt out at the gates with the first song.”
Between the first two albums, Crawl expanded to a six-piece with the addition of Guy McDonough as guitarist, singer, songwriter and shared frontman duties with James Reyne.
After co-writing ‘Downhearted’ for the first album, he penned all the singles for the second.
His brother drummer Bill McDonough, explains, “He was such a great songwriter and a great singer. He added a lot of credibility to the band.
“He took a lot of pressure off James Reyne who after the success of The Boys Light Up album was feeling the pinch.”
The 20 songs on Live at Billboard 1981 include all their hits: ‘Beautiful People’, ‘Downhearted’, ‘Errol’, ‘Things Don’t Seem’, ‘Lakeside’ and ‘Oh No Not You Again’.
There are also album standouts as ‘Unpublished Critics’, ‘Indisposed’ and ‘Love Boys’ (which Bill wrote about two of their crew), previews of the next album (‘Daughters Of The Northern Coast’ got its first airing this night) and covers as ‘Six Days On The Road’ and ‘Slow Down’.
The year after, Crawl had another #1 album with Sons Of Beaches.
Bill left in 1983 after clashes with Reyne, Guy died in mid-1984 aged 28, and Williams left during the making of the third album because “it was not a band I wanted to be in any more” and Australian Crawl broke up in early 1986.
The tape drops as Support Act launches Help A Mate, to raise much-needed money for an artist, roadie or music worker in need or suffering hardship or distress.
First prize is a rare Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster electric guitar signed by 24 musos from 14 bands, including Powderfinger, Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays and Frenzal Rhomb.