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Radio Birdman

Balmain Town Hall, Sydney
by Anthony O'Grady - RAM 3/12/76

God I wish the Top 40 sounded like the Radio's Smith and Wesson or There's gonna be a new race ... or, Maelstrom. But it doesn't. And maybe the kids of Australia won't want it. The point is though, the Radios are gonna give 'em a clear cut choice. As clear cut as a GII blade. 'Cos the Radios are on the move. This Blitzkreig which took in five dates around Sydney is a foretaste of a New Year offensive, a curtain raiser to the release of an epee containing four samples of the bands strongest hewn rock. A tremor announcing a forthcoming album.

With the Radios, as the Balmain audience found out, it's clear choice. Either face up to it or run away. There's no middle ground of analysis - no safe backtracking through their musical roots to decide whether they're musically respectable or valid. All that sort of stuff is irrelevant here.

For Radio Birdman are a vision. Crude and angry and unrepentant they're fueled on no ordinary motivation. The Radios are visionaries and reflectors of Big City phenomena. You can hear the underground railway in their music. You can feel the denseness of signs and traffic and buildings and people in the layerings of violent guitar riffs rubbing against thunderings of bass and drums.

In a musical world where the bland dominates. Birdman are still on Methedrine. In today's atmosphere, that makes them overkill rock - a big, loud, jagged noise celebrating the Big City instead of muzaking it to under earshot. Some of us still want to find release in music, not just pleasure. Commitment, not just contentment. If you're from the city - and love it - you know why the Radios want to sound so crude and passionate, why their singer delves into overt ecstay and pain.

It's wonderful. Thrilling even. Walking out of the Radios gig your nerves are on fire and your mind just won't quit. There's gonna be a new race? I hope so.

Anthony O'Grady

Grass Roots - RAM 1975

Radio Birdman
Rob Younger (vocals), Deniz Tek (guitar), Warwick Gilbert (bass), Pip Hoyle (keyboards), Ron Keeley (drums).

Radio Birdman live in Darlinghurst (Inner Sydney suburb) but spend a lot of time hanging around sleezy street corners. They are feared and loathed by many venue managers - and Birdman keep getting banned. Which means we don't get to hear hair-raisers like TV Eye, 1970, Serch and Destroy (The Stooges), Personality Crisis ( N.Y.Dolls), Harvester of Eyes, Career of Evil ( Blue Oyster Cult); plus their own sinister Insane Alive, Smith & Wesson Blues, Burned My Eye and Murder City Nights.
Reaction to their music is emotive and physical rather than intellectual.

Are they satisfied they're reaching the right sort of audience for what the band wants to do?
"No - we have never played in Detriot."

Er... well, what sort of audience is the band trying to reach?
"Venue managers negate the possibility of that type of audience existing."

Well then, what are the band's aspirations?
"Play second billing to The Stooges at the Michigin Concert Palace. Be given the chance to blow Skyhooks' arse off the stage. Get paid for doing both."

If Birdman keeps getting banned, and you're having hassles getting gigs, where to now.... desolation Boulevarde?
"No. It's pretty crowded there these days. Y'see - the problem is that our music appeals to the darker side of human nature. An a lot of people don't like to admit they've got one. But it's there just the same. No... we'll keep playing, and I suppose that automatically includes (to put it politely) being asked to exit premises. Venue managers (there's that dirty word again) are getting harder. But so are we. Our time will come - just like Cooper, N.Y.Dolls and all the others."

So, next time you're cruising down Bizarro Boulevarde, keep your eyes open and your paranoia pills in your pocket Radio Birdman are out ta getcha!

They are currently working the Oxford Tavern on Friday and Saturday nights and can be booked through Dennis McDermott, Showgroup Management (02) 519-6016. Usual fee $100-2000 per night depending on gig.

NB. A photo was included with the article. Rob is singing whilst swaying backwards with his long blonde hair hanging down over his shoulders. He is dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt and tight slacks, and is wearing elbow length black gloves and black eye-liner. In the background you've got Ron playing drums and Pip on the keyboards.


Thanks to Adam and Jenny Tetlow for sending the articles
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