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Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:46

Kate Miller-Heidke: Taking Flight

Three years since her last album, ‘Curiouser’, Kate Miller-Heidke is set to release her third solo effort, ‘Nightflight’.

“Everything I’ve ever done has been a reaction against the previous thing; if ‘Curiouser’ was a playful, dysfunctional adolescent, ‘Nightflight’ is more like a damaged, melancholy person in her late 20s,” Kate says.

The result is a musically vibrant and deeply personal album that reflects the nature of the acoustic sets Kate has been performing for the last couple of years.

“I wanted to make a record that harnessed the power of that, the live show and the dynamics and intimacy of it. I wanted to make something with all real instruments and friends playing across it to give it a personal, honest thing that the last record didn’t have so much,” she says.

Though much of the album was written while Kate was staying in the hustle and bustle of London, she returned to finish it surrounded by the peacefulness of Toowoomba. “It was a contrast, it was like my world shrunk.”

But it’s this quiet town background that brings the story element of her music out, like the haunting tale of ‘Sarah’.

“I guess there are just certain stories that haunt me. I love stories. I’m a reader and that’s what’s a big part of being human; the stories that we tell.”

After three years of touring and performing across Europe, Asia and North America, Kate would have a few stories to tell.

“There’s an opera that I’ve just done in London that left a huge impression on me, I’m still thinking about it.”

Many people in London were thinking about it; ‘The Death Of A Klinghoffer’ was performed at the London Coliseum and Royal Opera House, and received glowing reviews for being ‘musically dazzling’.

While August will see Kate embark on an Australian launch tour, for now she’s got the travel bug and is heading back to the United States.

“We’re going to base it around residencies in New York and LA but I’m sure we’ll end up driving around a lot,” Kate says.

‘Nightflight’ is available now.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 12:21

INXS: Keeping It Together

For some bands, performing over 5,000 live shows to 25 million people in 50 countries with 35 million albums sold over 30 years would be enough for a satisfactory retirement. But not so for INXS, who’ve announced an extensive tour across Australia.

INXS started out performing gigs in and around Sydney in 1977 when they called themselves the Farriss Brothers and consisted of Andrew, Tim and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, Garry Beers and iconic original frontman, Michael Hutchence.

The band stayed together unchanged for 20 years before the tragic death of Hutchence, and even then the only changes have concerned the frontman role. After performing with numerous singers, the band announced in September last year their fourth official frontman; Irish singer Ciaran Gribbin.

On joining Ciaran told “INXS definitely played a huge part in my musical education as a songwriter and something I aspired to, so to be in the band now is pretty amazing.”

Ciaran has been behind the scenes of the music industry for some time; he provided the backing vocals for Snow Patrol’s ‘Eyes Open’ album, performed on the soundtracks to ‘Heartless’ and ‘Wild Target’, and was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for co-writing the Madonna song, ‘Celebration’. More recently, he has written, recorded and produced the music for the film, ‘Killing Bono’.

Unlike the reality series ‘Rock Star: INXS’ which J.D Fortune won in 2005, Ciaran’s INXS entry was more of a natural process that almost happened by chance. He met Andrew Farriss at a mutual friend’s party in Sydney a few years ago and ended out on the balcony playing acoustic guitar and singing ‘Mystify’ among other things.

“I just enjoyed the guy's company and really enjoyed his voice and listening to his songs, his music,” Andrew told “Later on I realised the collaboration, artistically and especially songwriting, could be something that would be really, really good for INXS."

“We kept writing stuff and it was very fruitful and before I knew it Andrew had suggested to the band that I could be the guy that they were looking for,” Ciaran said to “I met with the band and we rehearsed and went through some of the material and we hit it off.”

In September last year INXS released the first single from this collaboration, ‘Tiny Summer’, without revealing who the new vocalist was. Reviewers were impressed with some suggesting whoever it was should be fronting the band.

Andrew says there is no master plan for how they’re going to proceed with Ciaran just yet, but they’re definitely enjoying the process.
“We're just really enjoying being creative and seeing where that leads,” he informed “We're experimenting with a whole range of things, and that's the most important thing, to really try out different things and find out what we can do together.”
As for the upcoming tour Ciaran describes it with a laugh as a “baptism of fire”.

“In a way I'm slightly nervous, and in another way I'm unbelievably excited. It's a wonderful, proud moment for me, a real feeling of achievement to have a band of INXS' stature believe in me as a performer and a singer,” he said to


1977: Band originally formed in Sydney as Farriss Brothers. Members at this time were Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, and Garry Beers.

1979: Officially become INXS.

October, 1980: First album, ‘INXS’, released on Deluxe Records. It was recorded during midnight to dawn sessions after performing an average two gigs a day.

1981: Second album ‘Underneath The Covers’ released.

October 1982: ‘Shabooh Shoobah’ — the band’s third album and first worldwide release.

May, 1984: Fourth album ‘The Swing’ is released. INXS top the Australian charts for the first time with the single, ‘Original Sin’.

October, 1985: Breakthrough album ‘Listen Like Thieves’ was released. It featured the band’s first US top five single, ‘What You Need’.

1986: INXS record Easy Beats cover ‘Good Times’ with Jimmy Barnes for the ‘Lost Boys’ soundtrack.

September, 1987: The group’s biggest single so far, ‘Need You Tonight’ released. This is the only INXS single to chart number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

October, 1987: Sixth studio album ‘Kick’ released; it eventually goes 6x platinum.

September, 1990: ‘X’ is released. The group’s seventh longplayer peaks at #1 in Australia, #2 in the UK and #5 in the US.

August, 1992: Their eight album, ‘Welcome To Wherever You Are’, incorporates a 60-piece orchestra.

November, 1993: ‘Full Moon, Dirty Hearts’ — their ninth album — is released and features Ray Charles on one track.

May, 1993: INXS score highest selling Australian band award at the World Music Awards.

April, 1997: ‘Elegantly Wasted’ released. It would be the tenth, and last album recorded with Michael Hutchence.

November, 1997: Michael Hutchence was found dead in an Australian hotel room at the age of 37.

November, 1998: The band performs Mushroom Records' 25th anniversary concert with Jimmy Barnes as lead vocalist on two tracks.

June, 1999: US singer Terence Trent D'Arby provides vocals for INXS at the launch of Stadium Australia, site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

May, 2000: INXS perform sporadic shows with Jon Stevens.

2001: INXS inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

November, 2002: The band begin touring again and start recording with Jon Stevens, INXS’ ‘seventh member’.

October, 2003: Jon Stevens leaves INXS.

September, 2005: TV series ‘Rock Star: INXS’ witnesses J.D. Fortune named the new INXS frontman.

November, 2005: The group’s first album since ‘Elegantly Wasted’ in 1997, ‘Switch’, is released.

November, 2010: Greatest hits album, ‘Original Sin’, released.

September, 2011: J.D.Fortune and INXS mutually separate. Northern Irish singer/ songwriter Ciaran Gribbon announced as the new INXS frontman.

INXS play Harrigan’s Drift Inn, Jacobs Well, June 24 and Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, June 28.
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 12:12

Jane Gazzo: Be Yourself, Be Quirky

With applications now open for the Channel [V] Presenter Search 2012, current [V] presenter, Jane Gazzo, encourages anyone who has ever drooled for the position to give it a shot.

“I get people who contact me on Facebook saying ‘I love your job, I’d do anything for your job’, so put your money where your mouth is. If you want to do it, do it,” Jane says.

Channel [V] will be presenting the search as an elimination type series. “We just feel it’s a great way to find new talent in this country; you’ve got ‘X Factor’, ‘The Voice’, all these singing related competitions, why not a presenter related competition?”

Regardless of what you think a TV presenter’s life is like, though, Jane assures us it’s a hard working gig that will take over your life. “It’s a really full-time job. Even though we’re only in the office four days a week it’s an intense four days, then of course we work Saturdays with The Riff. It’s quite difficult to juggle a social life and even to see bands becomes a little bit of taking and giving, we have to sacrifice a lot, especially our weekends.”

But if you’re still keen for the job don’t think a pretty face is all you need; when Channel [V] Presenter Search found Billy Russell three years ago, it was his “quirky qualities” that made him stand out. “Anyone can audition for this who thinks ‘I look a bit alright’; ultimately we’re not looking for a good face for television, we want a package, someone who knows their music, has an opinion about music,” Jane says.

You’re going to need excellent written communication skills too, as an important part of the role includes writing. “I don’t think a lot of people realise that being a Channel [V] presenter involves an incredible amount of writing; you have to write your own script, you’ve got to research about stuff, write opinion pieces for magazines and articles and the Channel [V] website.”

But if you have the skills and the talent to make it, you’ll become part of, and learn from, a great team. “There’ll be a lot of help, people like myself and Danny Clayton, we’ll definitely help us much as we can.”

And what a wealth of experience there is at [V]. Jane has been a music writer, presenter and reporter for countless media outlets both here and in the UK, while Billy Russell has the experience of going through the presenter search process.

“I think we all bring something different to the presenting team; Carissa (Walford), well she’s gorgeous and she loves her hip hop and she unashamedly loves pop music so she brings that element. Danny’s just been there forever; he’s got a producing background and has a wealth of experience and he’s not a bad looking bloke for the girls,” Jane laughs.

Even with this support network, the new presenter will still need to hold their own with musicians and other celebrity identities. Jane, with all her years of experience, can still get caught off guard, as she found at Soundwave this year.

“I knew exactly who I was going to interview; I’d researched all my questions, no problem. At the last minute someone cancelled and I got handed an interview with Clown from Slipknot. Clown is probably one of the most difficult people in rock and roll; he’s from Iowa, he’s a bit of a redneck and he’s probably not the most pleasant of rock stars to interview,” Jane says.

“Our new presenter is going to be faced with a lot of these challenges so we want someone who can be paddling, holding the interview together.”

But with all that’s going to be required of the new presenter, the best piece of advice Jane can offer is: be yourself. “We’re not looking for a clone of any of us, we want someone completely different who brings a completely different slant to the team.”

So give it a shot. If you’ve got what it takes you may just end up with the job everyone else dreams of. “I absolutely adore my job and the team I work with. When you think about it, it is a fucking great gig because it’s not a 9 to 5 job, you’re at a festival one week, you’re hanging out watching the Foo Fighters the next week on Goat Island. That’s what keeps me there ultimately; it’s the best job in the world, why would I want to give it up?”

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 14:42

Live Review: Jason Byrne

Brisbane Powerhouse March 9

After years of dragging audience members on stage as part of his act, Jason Byrne has finally admitted to himself, or us at least, that he really is the puppet master, and we’re the puppets every time. For this year’s show, as the People’s Puppeteer, Byrne explodes onto the stage with his usual high energy and quick wit that demands and thrives on audience participation, pulling unsuspecting victims into the act. This is not a show you want to turn up late to; you will be mocked, you will be punished, yet somehow you’ll still find it funny.

There are so many Irish comedians peddling drinking themed humour, but Byrne’s ad-lib and audience participation — that never misses a beat — has become his own unique style; there’s little structure to the show, it’s so reactive it couldn't be staged without an audience. It would be worth seeing every show of his tour for the simple fact that no two shows could possibly be the same: the hilarity of the “hairbrush lady” has come and gone, and the puppeteer is off to his next town with thanks to Brisbane and the request that “somebody takes the woman down from the curtains in the Powerhouse please”.

Thursday, 01 March 2012 09:42

QMAs: Emma Louise

With the Queensland Music Awards open for applications this week, Emma Louise — who collected three awards in 2011 — talks about how it started her career back in 2007.

“I went into the QSong, which is now QMA, when I was 15 and I can honestly say if it wasn’t for that I would probably still be in Cairns because that’s how I met my manager and lots of people that I work with now,” Emma says.

It was this break that eventually led Emma south, when she moved to Brisbane permanently at the age of 18. “I love Cairns but there’s definitely more opportunities in Brisbane and I was so keen to do stuff with my music that I loved every second.”

It was last year that all her hard work, and the move to Brisbane, paid off, as Emma won the Song of the Year Award as well as the Pop and Folk/Singer Songwriter awards at the inaugural Queensland Music Awards. “To be able to go into the same awards and win some other ones, I think it’s a really great awards and I think it gives everyone a fair go,” she says.

With the increased exposure from the QMAs, Emma’s schedule is definitely packed, with recording and international tours coming up, including the ‘Out Of Water’ US tour.

“So we go to America in two weeks and just before that we are trying to get as much recorded before we go away. In April we are recording and in May we go away to London for a month; there’ll be a lot of running around and stuff but it should be good.”

This will be Emma’s debut album, and it seems to have taken a life all of its own. “We were going to do an EP but it’ll be an album now. I’m just recording the newer songs that I have ... I’m not trying to take it in a certain direction or away from the EP, I’m just doing what comes out naturally and we’ll see where it goes."

Entries for the 2012 Queensland Music Awards are open from Thursday March 1. 
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 12:21

No Barriers: Parkway Drive

In the middle of the Big Day Out, and with an extensive national tour coming up, Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall recalls some of the  antics of past regional tours.

“Surfboards and bodyboards, kids doing flips off things and stuff like that; I think when you get young kids, a stage with no barrier and a band telling them they can do whatever they want any kind of chaos can happen.”

The bodyboards in the mosh pit started out as friends rocking up to Parkway’s Byron shows with old boards and “just launching”, Winston recalls, but since then it’s become a theme at their concerts. “Once YouTube takes off kids see it everywhere and start bringing boards to the show. We’ve had boards rocking up in spots like Croatia and Eastern Europe where there aren’t any beaches,” Winston laughs.

Another trend surrounding the band is fans getting Parkway tattoos, and Winston’s seen some bad ones. “There are a lot of people I’m sure who are stoked with what they’ve done, but they’re really not good and in a place that you’re going to regret in the next couple of years and then for the rest of your life.”

It seems the tattoo fad has somewhat replaced fan mail for Parkway Drive. “I think mail has gone out the window for us and I don’t think mail lasts that long if people bring it to the show, it just gets sweaty and destroyed in their pocket. The amount of bad Parkway tattoos I’ve seen is definitely higher than the amount of bad letters,” Winston says.

Parkway Drive made their debut appearance at the Big Day Out last month, yet Winston admits he had never been to the festival prior to this year. “Never in my life, it’s pretty weird to say and everyone seems kind of freaked out about that. I think everyone in Australia has been to a Big Day Out.”

To make up for the lost years, he spent all his off-stage time at the Gold Coast show catching as many sets as possible. “It was fucking amazing. I got to watch Kanye at the end of the night and it was the most mindblowing set I’ve ever seen from anyone ever, it was out of control.”

With such a busy year ahead the guys have tried to spread out their live shows so they don’t burn out. “We’re trying to tour in a way that whatever time we spend away we spend the same amount of time at home and recuperate. You spend so much time travelling and on weird sleep patterns and physically beating yourself to death every single night, then the hours spent at the airport, you just get run down, you need time to recoup so that’s how we run it these days.”

While touring is the current focus, the band have kept their noses to the grindstone writing a new album that has them pretty excited. “Ever since we wrote ‘Deep Blue’ we’ve been psyched in that writing process and it’s just sort of rolled over into this.”

Recording should start mid year after their regional tour and Winston says there will be some interesting influences present. “The last album was sort of testing the waters for a few ideas we have in regards to melody and bringing in a couple of different elements here and there, they’re only subtle things. It worked so well for us on those records and we liked bringing in these influences that we weren’t familiar with, so we have a lot of stuff planned to go along with what we’re already familiar with.”

At the same time he assures us they’re still making heavy, fast music; they will always be ‘Parkway’. “We have songs written that sound exactly like Parkway songs, probably the heaviest songs we’ve ever written; it’s sounding heavy but the melodic side of things is definitely going to be interesting.”

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 12:11

Tyrone Noonan

F U Britain

When asked why he now lives in New York, Brisbane-raised Tyrone Noonan laughs at how he was “unceremoniously booted out” of London.

“Halfway through my stay in London the GFC happened and the home office had this kneejerk reaction and got rid of the Commonwealth citizens. I basically went 'F U Britain', and decided I'm going to New York. America welcomed me with open arms.”

While New York is his base now, Tyrone is enjoying being back in Australia, juggling family, friends, the beach and performing with a number of artists. He has a number of solo shows in the next month at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow where punters can expect some surprises. “I'm going to have some mates drop in here and there. It's pretty casual but I think it's cool I'm doing some gigs in the Valley while I'm home, you know, where it all started.”

The Tyrone Noonan Band will be playing the Gold Coast later this month, which is looking like a George coup, with four former members of his original band under one roof. “It'll be Geoff Hooton, the original bass player from George; his band is playing as well as my band, then Taylor who feature Nick Stewart and Geoff Green from George as well.”

The project that really has Tyrone excited is Sonic Lines, a collaboration with Anthony Garcia and William Barton. “The idea of the project is each of us drawing on our traditional heritages; Anthony with his Mexican influence, me with my Irish background and Will with his indigenous background. It's quite surprising that what's come out is sounding quite contemporary.”

None of these new projects should overshadow Tyrone's new album, 'I Believe', which is a mix of rock, pop, soul, funk and reggae. “I've always veered between the personal and the political when it comes to my songwriting and I guess the album is a continuation of that process.”


Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:25

Arj Barker

Comedy In Preview

While shaking up a wheatgrass juice, comedian Arj Barker tells us after the last three months of touring, he’s now trying to get his health back.

“I don’t care if people know how hard the road is, the road beats you up. You’re in the car wobbling around all day, in a different bed each night, there’s no regularity of food. I know I have a much easier life than many people in this world, but the road takes its toll,” Arj says.

The road takes him a long way from his home in California so he tends to make the most of what luxuries he can while on tour. “I’m essentially sacrificing having a personal life spending so much time out on the road. I’m missing my friend’s birthday parties, my nephew’s baseball games and maybe a normal relationship for myself, so I’m thinking at least I’ll eat the best goddamn meal I can.”

When first asked what keeps bringing Arj back to Australia so frequently, he springs on the chance for a laugh. “I keep forgetting shit. In ’98, I left my favourite hoodie here, so I had to tour for a few months until I found it in Canberra. Then I got home and I was ‘oh, are you kidding me? Where the fuck is my iPhone charger?’ and those are expensive so I had to come back.”

But the truth is Arj actually has a bigger fan base here than anywhere else in the world. “I do have a career in the states, but I’m just balancing out. This is definitely a second home for me so it’s natural I’d spend a lot of time here.”

Before even coming to Australia, Arj’s first stage performances abroad were in London back in the ‘90s, which was a bit of an eye opener for him. “It forced me to write a new opener which acknowledged their hesitancy towards my nationality. It was really that first minute that was so important. Now when I go there, I don’t bother with it, I have a lot more confidence and I’m not going to apologise for being American which is essentially what I did in the early days.”

There’s definitely no need to apologise as Arj is well known now throughout Europe as well as Australia and the US. “In fact we’re trying to cut a deal right now to show my DVDs in Europe and Eastern Scandinavia on television, and these are DVDs I recorded in Sydney so we’ll see how that goes.”

Arj prefers to keep his humour fairly universal with material that works wherever you go. “The only thing I’ve ever really modified is my references, so I’m not going to make a joke about Darling Harbour when I’m in San Francisco. I have jokes that only work in Amsterdam so you guys will probably never hear them out here.”

Travelling around and making so many TV appearances, Arj often gets recognized by fans and welcomes people wanting to say hi and get a picture. “The only thing is sometimes I’m so feral - I just rolled out of bed and went to the airport and if anything I’m a little embarrassed to have photographic evidence of what a scrounge I am.”

With 2011 coming to a close, he has big plans to branch out into new things as he takes a break from touring. “I’m gonna learn to DJ and get a few gigs around the place cause I got a taste of that earlier this year at a Triple J party. They asked me to be a guest DJ, I said ‘this is the best deal ever - it’s fun, people are dancing and they’re happy.”

On top of wanting to get into another TV show along the lines of ‘Flight Of The Concords’, he plans to do some acting, learn piano, hang glide, and do some serious video gaming. “It sounds kind of cliché but I’m one of those people that’s like ‘you only have one life’ so you may as well try all the stuff you found interesting and fun.”

For the most part Arj is looking forward to being able to slow down and spend some time at home in the states to see what the new year brings. “With the implications of 2012 and a Presidential election, it’ll be an interesting year whatever happens. It’s going to be such a circus I don’t want to miss it; the world is mental right now.”


Wednesday, 02 November 2011 13:43

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Writing's On The Wall

Though they’ve gathered quite the following, lead singer Alec Ounsworth started with humble notions and never expected Clap Your Hands Say Yeah to be this big.

“I don't think anybody should, you just do what you can and if people like it you should be surprised.” Even their obscure name came about by casual chance; they saw the phrase graffitied on a wall in New York on the way to their first gig. â€œWe happened to be passing a peculiar sign and it was graffitied — in not the worst but not the best part of New York — and we said 'this will be our name and of course we'll change it later', but we never did,” Alec laughs.

That was early days; now they're back together after going their own ways for a period last year. â€œEverybody worked on his own projects during that time, got better at certain aspects of their own personality. Sean did production, Tyler and Lee did compositional work, Robbie worked on his own songs and I worked on my own songs; everyone got better at his own instrument.”

With a new album out, they're set to tour down under with Harvest Festival. â€œOne thing I had noticed - it seems there's a very serious interest in songwriters, there's a very real audience in Australia, to me that's a very comforting and optimistic thing.”

This positivity with the audience may be what Alec often feels when the band performs live. â€œI might be exhausted and then I get on stage and there's this push and I don't know where it's from, you turn it into something that you didn't know was possible and I think that's what makes a live show interesting.”

But he says that's a best case scenario and, of course, every now and then you have a bad night. â€œAt the worst times you over-think everything and you're anticipating the next line and you're wondering what the person in the third row is staring at.”

No matter how the performance goes, though, Alec's looking forward to engaging with people in the audience off stage. â€œAt first you might have a band related conversation, but eventually it melts into an actual conversation, real people talking to real people — it might sound small but it's important to me.”


Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:51


Theatre In Preview

With the wave of bromance comedies hitting the screens, ‘Jucy’ is an Australian story of two friends ‘womance’. â€œDefinitely not a love-in-the-pants relationship,” Francesca Gasteen assures us. Fran plays Lucy while Cindy Nelson is Jackie, two Brisbane girls with a close friendship that makes up ‘Jucy’, based on the actors real life friendship with each other. â€œIf you could take the warmth and the fun that we have with each other on a daily basis and bottle it, that’s what ‘Jucy’ is,” Fran says.

Fran and Cindy are actually known to their friends as Frindy so they had a lot to channel into these parts. â€œIt was brought together by director Louise Alston and writer Stephen Vagg as after we worked with them on several theatre projects in Brisbane, we’d end up hanging out and spin yarns on their back deck. Then one night Louise said ‘you’re great, let’s make a film out of you two guys’ and that’s how ‘Jucy’ was born,” Cindy remembers.

The whole film was shot in Brisbane, often in Fran and Cindy’s home and other places they regularly hang out. â€œThe moments that were most special to me was when it was just me and Cindy bouncing off one another and doing what we do all the time - which is just playing up,” Fran says.

In spite of a story that may seem like a chick flick, ‘Jucy’ has been enjoyed by a broad audience. “We took it to Toronto for the international film festival where we were just two chicks from Australia and the response from young, old, men, women, everyone you could imagine was huge, everyone got something out of it. So it’s not strictly a chick flick, because either you’ve had a relationship like that or you’ve been involved with someone who has,” Cindy says.

All ‘Jucy’ screenings at the Toronto Film Festival were sold out before the festival even began. “As a first platform to show our film to anyone anywhere Toronto was the best. They live and breathe film and the response we got by selling out all of the screenings prior to the event even beginning was amazing, and we were lucky enough to go which was another great friends bonding experience,” Fran says.


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