Industrial Strength: Part 2
BUBLE GOES DOUBLE DIAMOND
Michael Bublé’s long-time holiday hit Christmas (Warner Music) was certified double diamond in Australia for total sales of 1 million. Released in 2011, it has been the #1 Christmas album for the past six years with a total of 14 weeks atop. It is now the 24th longest running #1 album and also now the 11th biggest seller of all time in Australia.
Christmas sold 70,000 over the 2016 Christmas period, but Warner sold an extra 50,000 in post offices and petrol stations which are not included in the ARIA calculations.
Officially Australia’s biggest seller is Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell with 1.75 million copies and John Farnham’s Whispering Jack with 1.7 million.
BLUES AWARDS FINALISTS
Melbourne’s Geoff Achison & The Souldiggers led the finalists for the 2017 Australian Blues Music Awards with four gongs. They’re up for the album, song, group and artist of the year categories. Hurricane Hearn and Blues Arcadia had three each, and Claude Hay and Justin Yap Band both had two each.
SA FESTIVALS GET GOVT. AID
South Australia’s music festivals are being given a helping hand by the State Government. It is to announce a newly created position of Music Festival Catalyst. It was cemented through the Dept of Premier & Cabinet and based at St Paul’s Creative Centre in Adelaide, along with the Music Development Office.
The Catalyst’s role will be to provide support and coordination (including licensing) for festivals through project management, research and analysis, identification and presentation of ideas, and development of advice and recommendations, resulting in an integrated and strategic approach to the Music Festival Policy Project.
SHORTLIST FOR TSA AWARDS
The Tamworth Songwriters’ Association (TSA) Songwriter Salute Awards will be held on Tuesday January 24 at The Longyard Hotel. The list of semi finalists are posted on the TSA website. The Anzac Song of the Year category is especially popular this year, attracting 80 entries with 20 semi finalists.
AUSSIE MUSIC PREMIERES ON FOXTEL
Foxtel has announced a number of Australian music premieres on its schedule for the rest of summer.
The next Later With Jools Holland on Thursday January 19 show has Chase and Status feat. Tom Grennan and Bugzy Malone, Nick Waterhouse, Glass Animals, Sleigh Bells, Jose Feliciano and Joseph Elektra.
The remaining Jonathan Ross episodes also have featured artists including Robbie Williams, Jeremy Clarkson, Little Mix, Micky Flanagan and Ellie Goulding.
Soundstage on Saturday January 14 at 7.30pm features Richard Marx – A Night Out with Friends.
Another Aussie premiere is Six By Sondheim, a documentary on the great American songwriter.
AMPA NEW CAMPUS
The Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) has revealed details for its new Sydney campus launching in 2017. The Surry Hills location is 150m from Central Station and directly opposite Prince Alfred Park.
Its flagship Tom Mann Theatre at the new campus will be a venue capable of hosting live music, theatre, musicals, dance, drama and spoken word. Jamie Rigg is AMPA’s new head of contemporary music and student engagement.
SOPHIE KOH EXCEEDS CROWD FUNDING TARGET
Self-funded and self-managed independent singer-songwriter Sophie Koh has exceeded her target for her fourth album. Book of Songs celebrates pop music with an east-meets-west record, influenced by Chinese poetry and Western classical music.
The record will be a collaboration with producer Greg ’J’ Walker (Machine Translations, Paul Kelly). Two years ago, Koh played him some pieces suggesting they only use piano, cello and viola. Inspired by the music, Walker, who spent some time in China and speaks Mandarin, pulled out two books from his shelf: Women Poets of China and Lu Xun’s Poems.
RUBY AWARDS LAUDS TWO
Adelaide’s Ruby Awards announced joint winners for its Premier’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Rob Brookman was founder of WOMADelaide and Artistic Director of the 1992 Adelaide Festival.
German-born arts philanthropist Ulrike Klein, founder of the Jurlique skin care label, set up the UKARIA Cultural Centre at Ngeringa in the Adelaide Hills. Its 220-seat concert hall was purpose-built for chamber music.
NEW ADELAIDE ACTS SHOWCASED AT CLIPSAL 500
Emerging Adelaide acts will be given the chance to perform before huge crowds at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide race. Music SA is already presenting two days of music as part of Bands on Track. Over 100 acts applied to be support on the bills.
Friday March 4 is hip hop night, headlined by Hilltop Hoods and featuring Seth Sentry, The Funkoars and Aaradhna. Supports are South Sudanese refugee hip-hop crew Playback 808 and soul hip hoppers DC & DRAGZ while a showcase by Golden Era Records includes Vents, K21 and Purpose. On Saturday 4 March, pop band The Byzantines and garage trio Battlehounds join Hunters & Collectors and Baby Animals.
AMPLIFIER BACK AFTER A YEAR
Amplifier, set up in 1999 as a one-stop platform for all things New Zealand music, is back after closing down a year ago. The new revamped version incorporates sibling operation theaudience. It will now showcase NZ music through streaming platforms, starting with Spotify. It also expands its scope internationally – both in reach and in the artists it covers.
It begins with two curated Spotify playlists – Amplifier Buzz to find the latest new acts, and theaudience HOT to cover every kind of NZ music.
* Bruce Begley emerged in the late 80s with inner city Sydney band The Honeys, co-writing their debut album Goddess with the band’s Grant Shanahan and delivered by singer Andrea Croft. Signed to Waterfront, they toured the country in an old Holden and didn’t make any money. Shanahan and Croft went on to form Catherine Wheel and Croft set up Pollyanna. Begley, who was also in Flicker, reformed The Honeys in 2008 for a second album Star Baby.
* Indigenous country singer Auriel Andrew was born in Darwin in 1947, the youngest of seven children. A member of Central Australia’s Arrente people, she grew up in Alice Springs and moved to Adelaide at 21. There she appeared on TV and toured with Chad Morgan and Reg Lindsay in the late 60s.
In 1973, she moved to Newcastle where she toured with Jimmy Little, became known for songs such as Strait Islander Music, Truck Drivin’ Woman and Brown Skin Baby and sang Amazing Grace in Pitjantjitjara for Pope John Paul II. In 2008, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement at the Deadlys. She was part of the SBS documentary of Clinton Walker’s book Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music and more recently was a cast member of its national tour.
* Child prodigy Johnny Dick was drummer for a number of Australian bands in the 1970s. Born in Wales in June 1943, he grew up in New Zealand and took up drums at 13. He arrived in Australia with Max Merritt, where at a show at the Rex in Sydney, Billy Thorpe grabbed him from the crowd area and said he wanted him in The Aztecs.
Dick played with Doug Parkinson In Focus, Fanny Adams, The Wild Cherries, Stevie Wright Band and John Paul Young’s All Stars Band. His association with the Alberts label also saw him release a solo single The Warrior in 1975, produced by Harry Vanda and George Young. He was also offered the role of designing Paiste cymbals at its Switzerland headquarters, but turned it down. “An absolute scallywag and great talent,” recalled John Paul Young. “A freak of nature (for his playing style) and one of the greatest drummers in the world,” added Doug Parkinson. Johnny Dick was 73 when he passed after a battle with cancer in Coffs Harbour.
* Samantha Aulton was the singer for NSW Hunter Valley rock band Crimson Tide, formed in 1997. A soulful singer and an engaging performer, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. In between treatment, she played on and off with the band while also writing a book about her battles and became a counsellor to help fellow sufferers. By 2011, the cancer had moved to stage 4. Sam Aulton was 46.
* Bunny Walters emerged in the late ‘60s in New Zealand, running away from the family home in The Bay of Plenty at 15 to head to the big smoke to become a star. He was 17 when he began releasing records, soon becoming a household name and became known as “the Maori Tom Jones”. His best known tracks were Brandy in 1972 (#4), Take The Money And Run (#2) and Nearest Thing to Heaven. He lived in Australia for a year. He also flexed his muscles as an actor, appearing on NZ sitcoms, and in his later years became a Christian missionary. Bunny Walters, whose Maori name was Ngai Te Rangi, was 63.
AND A FEW OTHER THINGS…
During his visit next month to Australia to play invite-only gigs for the Hit and Nova networks, will Ed Sheeran announce a full-blown tour for later in the year?
The ACT Government this morning announced that it is staging its own free ’Australia Day in the Capital’ event at Regatta Point. Playing are British India, Hands Like Houses, Young Monks and Choir of Hard Knocks. It is hoping for a crowd of 60,000 and has invested $100,000 in the event. It replaces the Australia Day Live concert on the lawns of Parliament House which was cancelled last year.
LA-based Aussie DJ Wax Motif and his posse were among the Aussies caught up in the shootings at the 10-day Mexican BPM festival where four died and 12 were injured. The tragedy unfolded right in front of them. He tweeted, “Guy 5m in front of us got shot. We all jumped the fence to get out and saw at least 4 bodies down on the escape. We ran down the beach cos we saw bodies in the alleyway next to club then another gunman started charging down on us from up the beach.”
Solo albums by Bernard Fanning and Silverchair drummer Ben Gillies have been creating in Byron Bay. Fanning finished sessions with co-producer Nick Didia just hours before he hit the stage at Falls Byron. Brutal Dawn, out in April, is the second instalment of songs written in Spain, the first being Civil Dusk from last year.
Gillies, who worked on his record with producer Jordan Power, lives in Melbourne where his wife Jackie appears on The Real Housewives of Melbourne.
Sam Smith spent his holidays in New Zealand with some unconfirmed sightings in Sydney. In NZ, a group of fans on a boat in Lake Tarawera recognised him on another boat. They got his attention by blasting his single Stay With Me, and beckoned him over to join them, which he did.
Heading to the Coachella festival in April are Empire Of The Sun, Lorde, The Avalanches, Jagwar Ma, Broods, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, What So Not, Pond and Anna Lunoe. The Lorde set in particular, her first full length show in three years, will generate global interest, as she’s expected to preview some of her long awaited second album. She’s second on the bill to Kendrick Lamar on day three. Last year, she was on the Coachella stage for one song as a guest with Disclosure.
Set for the Governors Ball in New York City in early June are Flume, Kevin Parker with Mark Ronson, The Avalanches and RÜFÜS. Boston Calling includes Tkay Maidza and Dirty Three’s Jim White and his side project Xylouris White.
The Veronicas’ Lisa Origliasso and US actor Logan Huffman after a two year relationship … country music performer Morgan Evans and rising US country singer Kelsea Ballerini whose relationship bloomed after they co-hosted an awards night in Queensland … The Bennies’ guitarist Julien “Jules” Rozenbergs and Melbourne band The Sugarcanes’ singer and guitarist Lucy Wilson.
While on holiday, Dusty The Musical cast member Alex Given trekked 100 kilometers up the Himalayas, making it to the Everest base camp 5565 meters above sea level with 14 others and 5 Nepali guides. He decided on the trek when he was at home watching the Everest film.
While singer Peter Andre’s family home on the Gold Coast (in Benowa Waters) goes to auction later this month, the word is that his London coffee shop is set to reopen after it was thought to be “closing permanently”. He opened New York Coffee Club in East Grinstead in 2011.
Jim Paterson of Adelaide band The Borderers is offering a $100 reward to anyone who can recover his EM325 Maton Acoustic Guitar which he’s used for 22 years. It went missing from the Gaslight Hotel in Brompton on December 16. It came with a black case with the words THE FIX which belonged to his son Rowan who died six years ago aged 18. It also includes chord charts to enable them to use session musicians all around the world.
Xavier Rudd’s next album will be a live one recorded in the Netherlands.
Brisbane’s The Goon Sax will relocate to Berlin midway through the year. They toured Europe last September, and had their track Up To Anything on one of the Billboard charts. Band member Louis Forster is the 18-year old son of Robert Forster of Go Betweens fame.