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Birdman Group plan long US, Europe tour

by Brendan Donnelly - Sun Herald, January 15, 1978

Sydney rock group Radio Birdman's aim to get "a positive audience response" won it a crowd of 2,500 over 10 days in Adelaide, and a tour publicist.

Patrick Miles, formerly the Adelaide Advertiser's rock columnist, regards Birdman as one of a trio of worthwhile Australian groups. Miles will pay his own way to accompany the group on its coming 20-week tour of America and Europe.

He said this week: "I was going overseas anyway".

His decision may be unusual but Radio Birdman is versed in the unusual, from its music down. Last month, when the Iggy Pop tour was cancelled, Birdman, the support act, went ahead by itself, appearing in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. However, the link between Iggy Pop and the group os deeper than almost-toured-together; the name Radio Birdman is taken from an Iggy Pop (sic) song called 1970.

Keyboard player, Pip Hoyle, says the name tells where the group was at formation in 1974, "but we've progressed, although we still play some Iggy songs". And if musical development has been away from Iggy, certainly affection has.
Leader singer Rob Younger says the group probably wouldn't agree to be support act for a future Iggy Pop tour.
It is Hoyle who says the aim is to get a positive audience response "love us or hate us, but not indifferent".
Individual motives for playing, he says, are a mixture of philosophic and asthetic.

Younger says the group is diverse on most topics but unified in the ambition to "play good music". They agree the song lyrics, mostly by Steve McGarrett*, "fit in with the music" and tend to be a "steam of consciousness" rather than commentary. The meaning of the songs and the references in them are confined to group members, they say.

They are critical of Australia radio and television programming which they say depends on the prejudices of programmers, and see the tour as an escape. Although tour dates have not been completed, Hoyle and Younger expect to leave at the end of the month because they are running out of money. With McGarrett in America, paving the way, the group cannot work and casual work is scarce.

Younger and Hoyle say any musical reservoir will be tapped in trying to establish an identity early in the tour.

* Deniz used the pseudonym Steve McGarrett (as in Hawaii Five-O) after a falling out with university administrators who pressured him to drop out of the band.

Thanks to Craig Regan for digging the article.
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