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Interview: ANGRY ANDERSON

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Blood Brothers was the last studio album from hard rockers Rose Tattoo. Released in 2007, the album was recorded with founding member Mick Cocks on guitar. Sadly, Mick passed away in December 2009, yet another member of the band to die from cancer. “All the founding members have died of cancer which is tragic,” front man Angry Anderson recounts in our recent interview. “And doing that last tour with Mick in 2008, knowing he was dying, knowing that this as the last time that we were together, we were under a bit of a cloud and I was thinking to myself that there’s such a thing as the writing on the wall; the signs are there, you know. Maybe it’s time to sort of just go ‘O.K., it’s over’ and I processed it for a while and I got on with other musical endeavours because music will always be a part of my life, a big part of my life. De Marco went to gaol and as far as I’m concerned, he’s the drummer in the band and I thought ‘This is not working out’. So, it’s the end of an era; you say goodbye and you move on and the years went by.

It was an invitation from a long-time supporter of the band to play in a festival in Europe called Bang Your Head earlier this year that inspired Angry to get the Rock and Roll Outlaws back on the road. The response from the fans and the requests for another tour and the whole experience itself lit a spark. “It was just amazing; it kind of reignited the whole five. It wasn’t the adulation or any of that,” he explains. “I just missed how relevant the band was. I sort of realised that people so loved our music that they genuinely miss seeing the band perform and hearing the music live. When people come up to you after the gig and go Thank you for that! It was so good! I love those songs, I love the music and the live singing, the urgency, the passion. And that’s why we do it.”

Spurred on by the fans’ response, Angry decided it was time to tour the band again. “I didn’t want to put a permanent line-up together again because that’s kind of restricting. I’ve got a list of people I’ve wanted to play with or have played with.  I thought well I’ll put together a credible line-up and we’ll go out and play.” Angry stresses though that Paul De Marco will always be the Rose Tattoo drummer “When DeMarco gets out of jail, as long as he’s able to travel, he’ll always be the drummer in the band. And there’s Dai of course. Dai took over playing from Peter when Peter couldn’t play anymore so he’s been in the band 13 or 14 years now. Peter’s been dead 11 years.  Bob Spencer is playing guitar and he’s certainly one of the greatest rock players in this country and one of the greatest players ever, I think. Mark Evans of course was the founding member bass player for AC/DC so his rock credential, if you like, is impeccable. The great thing about those blokes is it’s a very select club because you not only have to understand the music, but you have to be able to understand where the music came from so you have to have an ability, if you like, to interpret the music you’re playing. Not everyone can just jump in and play in the band. And John Watson of course. He was very, very young many years ago when Australian Crawl were a full-time line-up and he’s been playing with James ever since. The thing that I loved about John as a youngster was that he understood the swing. He knows how to play rock ‘n’ roll in other words and he’s been an integral part of all the music that James has done for all these years. I played with him in the James Southwell Blues Band and I’ve seen what a rock monster he can be. He’s solid, he swings, he’s got great timing and he’s a great character. The character that John is as a person comes out in his playing. He’s not flamboyant but he plays something, and you turn around and you go ‘How tasty was that!’ And Bobby… he played in Skyhooks and he made them into a monster of a rock ‘n’ roll band and he contributed immensely to the guitar attack in The Angels when he was playing with them. He’s a guy that is so articulate in what he plays. He knows when he should play something that’s really flash and needed and meaningful and at the same time when he needs to sit back and play those sparse, sparking chords that just rip into you and it describes the less is more theory so as a band they’re amazing. We did a gig just recently with The Angels and Mi-Sex and they were amazing gigs because the band just stood up and played and the faithful, the people who really have the say, the long-term rabid fans were glowing in their praise for the boys.”

Angry says that the tour will provide an opportunity to relaunch the Blood Brothers album. “I wanted one last album with Mick because he was the last of the originals. It got released on an independent label and I don’t think it got the run that it deserved. We’re going to rerelease it off the back of this tour and hopefully the album musically will get some of the recognition that it should have got. We’re also touring Europe and we’ve got a full tour booked through June. I think in the whole of June there’s like 4 or 5 days off. I’ve gone back into training obviously. I used to say, ‘How long can you keep doing it?’ But we’re still doing it. Earlier this year I ran into Angus (Young) when we were doing the Guns ‘n’ Roses tour. He was there to do the encore with us. We had about half an hour to catch up and we talked about family and all those things and…  music.  The life force that makes it relevant and that keeps it going is the music. There are so many people around the world that your music gives so much joy to and lifts them up and for those moments, it just makes life better for them. Why wouldn’t you do it?”

And, with the passing years, rather than the music becoming stale and losing its relevance, bands like Rose Tattoo and AC/DC have found that they now have a new generation of fans. “That’s one of the most amazing things that I’ve experienced in recent years,” he admits. “And it’s transformed just recently like we were saying. There are people down the front with your band’s T-shirt on and you know they weren’t even born when you first started. You look down at their faces and you know they’re young and their faces are alive. And I have had a few of them actually say it to me so that’s why I know it’s true. They’ll come up to you after a gig and they’ll say ‘You know, we never thought we’d get to see you play all these songs live. We never thought we’d get the opportunity’, and they are so happy. And that one moment for that one person has made it worthwhile. And then multiply that by however many more…”

“When we were making music back in those wonderful heady original days, we set out to write songs that would stand the test of time and it’s great that in my lifetime I’ve seen that come to pass. I’ve seen the absolute proof that my songs mean something and what we tried to do, we did do. It’s kind of like I’ve fulfilled my function. I’ve earned my place; I’ve justified my existence. That’s a great feeling. I’m very, very comfortable and I’m at peace with myself over those things…” he shares. “But I’m not done yet.”

 

by Sharyn Hamey

 

Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2017.  All rights reserved

 

 

 

Blood Brothers Tour Dates

Saturday March 31 – SS&A Club Albury NSW
Friday & Saturday April 6 & 7 – Bridge Hotel NSW
Friday April 13 – Beach House Hervey Bay QLD
Saturday April 14 – The Shed @ Aussie World QLD
Friday April 20 – The Gov Adelaide SA
Saturday April 21 – Gateway Hotel Geelong VIC
Sunday April 22 – Corner Hotel Melbourne VIC
Friday April 27 – Miranda Hotel NSW
Saturday April 28 – Rooty Hill RSL NSW

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