- The Blackeyed Susans
Infobox musical artist
Name = The Blackeyed Susans
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Perth,
Western Australia, Australia
Genre = Rock
Years_active = 1989 - Present
Label = Waterfront Records
The TriffidsMartha's Vineyard Chad's Tree Kim Salmon and the Surrealists Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds The Dirty Three The Jackson Code
URL = [http://www.blackeyedsusans.com.au/ Official Website]
Current_members = Phil Kakulas
J P Shilo
Past_members = see main list
The original line-up consisted of
David McCombon vocals and guitar, Alsy MacDonaldon drums (both of whom had been members of The Triffids), Phil Kakulas on bass guitar (an ex-member of Martha's Vineyard), Rob Snarski (ex- Chad's Tree) on vocals and guitar, and Ross Bolleteron organ and accordion.
They played eight gigs and recorded four songs before their 'day jobs' forced them to put the project on hold. The songs became their first EP, "
Some Births are Worse than Murders", released in 1990 on Waterfront Records. The record spent several weeks at number one on the independent charts in Australia.
By the time the EP was released the band had already undergone several incarnations. Not everyone took their holidays at the same time, so a floating lineup became an integral part of the band's character and appeal. Phil Kakulas left for Sydney with Martha's Vineyard . He was replaced by Martyn Casey (
The Triffids). Ross Bolleter went to work in Japan, making his fortune playing piano in cocktail bars and restaurants. He was replaced by Adrian Wood. David McCombwas present in the second lineup in 1989 before departing for England. He was replaced by Kim Salmon( The Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon, Kim Salmon and the Surrealists) on guitar and vocals in the summer of 1990. Martyn Casey departed shortly after to join Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
In mid-1990 Rob Snarski travelled to London and recorded an album's worth of material with
David McComband Kenny Davis Jnr ( The Jackson Code- keyboards). Upon returning to Australia, Snarski moved to Sydney and with Davis Jnr formed the next lineup of the band. Phil Kakulas returned as bass player, having worked with Grant McLennan( The Go Betweens) since the demise of Martha's Vineyard six months earlier. Kathy Wemyss ( The Jackson Code- vocals, trumpet) and Tim Rollinson (DIG - guitar) were recruited whilst on holidays from inner city cabaret band Pressed Meat and the Smallgoods. James Elliott (drums) and James Cruickshank (organ) took leave from The Cruel Seato play in the band. This lineup remained intact for most of 1991 and recorded an EP, " Anchor Me", as well as contributing the song "Glory, Glory" to the Triple J Live at the Wirelesscompilation album.
Despite playing numerous shows in Sydney and Melbourne, The Blackeyed Susans were still very much an occasional event, coming together when it suited them for the pleasure of playing. They created a backdrop for Snarski' s honey-laden vocals which were gaining more attention from press and public alike. He was awarded the WA Music Industry Award for Best Male Vocalist in
1991four songs from "the London Sessions" were released as the EP "...Depends On What You Mean By Love".
After releasing two solo singles and playing a handful of shows in
Londonwith his band The Red Ponies, David McCombdecided to return to Australiaand settle in Melbourne. Graham Leehad been a resident of Melbourne for the past three years, playing in The Paradise Vendors, The Pub Dogs and Crown of Thorns, and Kakulas and Snarski had recently moved there - "going where the weather suits my clothes", as the song says. Locals Jim White (Venom P Stinger, The Dirty Three- drums) and Warren Lee Ellis ( The Dirty Three- violin, organ, piano accordion) completed the lineup.
A compilation CD entitled "Welcome Stranger" was released in
1992. It incorporated material from the three previous EPs plus two extra tracks from 'the London Sessions' and a live version of The Triffids' song "In The Pines". Months of touring followed to promote the release "Welcome Stranger" before the band returned to the studio to record their debut full length album " All Souls Alive", released in December 1993 and produced by Phil Kakulas . It featured ten tracks, eight penned by Kakulas/McComb, as well as the Leonard Cohen/ Phil Spectorclassic "Memories" and an inspired version of the Johnny Paychecksong "Apartment No 9". Regarded as something of a classic now, the album features nine of Snarski's finest vocal performances to date, one over-the-top vocal by David McComb, the inspired chaos of Warren Lee Ellis and the majesty of Jim White, pedal steel by Graham Lee and mandolin and harmony vocals by Mark C. Halstead (The Paradise Vendors, Disappointment).
All Souls Alive" was released in America on Frontier Recordsin April 1994 receiving great reviews and sales. The album was also released in the UK, Greece, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Italyand Swedenin July 1994. The album got great reviews in the UK press and airplay on Radio One.
Two singles lifted off the album were released in Australia in July 1994, namely "Dirty Water" and "
This One Eats Souls". Each came with four bonus tracks lifted from the now legendary cassette-only release Hard Liquor, Soft Music. Though technically by The Blackeyed Susans Trio, this was an album's worth of late night melancholy that has since become the most sought after of Susans rarities. The Blackeyed Susans commenced working on their third album "Mouth to Mouth" in August 1994, completing it in May 1995. The band signed a new record deal with HI-GLOSS/Mds in March 1995. "Mouth to Mouth" introduced new members Kiernan Box (piano, organ and harmonica) and Dan Luscombe (guitar). It also included Graham Lee (lap and pedal steel), Ashley Davies (drums), Jen Anderson (violin), and Helen Mountfort (cello). Kathy Wemyss( The Jackson Code) wrote string arrangements for the album and also played trumpet. Recorded at Fortissimo Sound Studios, Melbourne, by Victor Van Vugtand Andy Parsons, it was produced by Phil Kakulas and mixed by Tony Cohen. "Mouth to Mouth" was released mid-July 1995.
Let’s Live" was the first single to be lifted off "Mouth to Mouth" and was released in Australia in June 1995. It contained several bonus tracks not available on the album, the most notable of which was a Suicide-styled reworking of the Springsteentrack "State Trooper". " Mary Mac" was the album's second single, once again containing bonus tracks not available on other releases, including a version of The Go-Betweenssong "Dive For Your Memory". The single proved to be the band's most successful thus far and the song an essential part of the Susans' canon.
The band toured nationally through 1995, and ended the year with a successful, if somewhat irreverent, tribute to
Elvis Presleyon New Year's Eve. This was to be the beginning of a tradition for the Susans, they returned to The Corner Hotel in Melbourne to play the best and the worst of the King's back catalogue each year, concluding in 1998.
A national tour with Paul Kelly followed in the Summer of '96, with current drummer Mark Dawson joining the group after many years involvement with both
Ed Kuepperand The Jackson Code.
The band also had cause for celebration when news confirming their signing to
American Recordingscame through, with "Mouth to Mouth" slated for a May release in America and Canada. The band travelled to New York to play with Johnny Cash, at CMJ in September 1996, before touring in the U.S. and Canada. Coincidentally they had already written and were performing the song " Smokin’ Johnny Cash" before any of this occurred.
The relationship with American however would prove to be short lived. The label 'released' the Susans from their contract, along with most of their other international acts, in the great slashback of 1997.
In December 1996 "
Some Night, Somewhere" was released in Australia as a Christmas bonus disc with "Mouth to Mouth". Recorded live at the Continental in Melbourne, this limited edition CD has long since been deleted.
1997 saw the band back in the studio to record the "Spin the Bottle" album, released in July. Produced with Victor Van Vugt (
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dave Graney'n' the Coral Snakes, Luna) the record featured ten new songs and a cover of Billie Holliday's "You're My Thrill". It spawned three singles - " Smokin’ Johnny Cash" , "Spin the Wheel" and "Blue Skies, Blue Sea" and proved to be their most successful release to date. A busy touring schedule saw the Blackeyed Susans occupied for almost a year, concluding in March 1998 with a national tour with The Whitlams. The album also received a nomination in the ARIA Music Awardsfor the year.
Also of note during this period was the release of the W Minc Productions' compilation album "Where Joy Kills Sorrow", which featured Phil Kakulas and Mark Dawson playing on several tracks, as well as Rob Snarski collaborating with Matt Walker on "If You Don't Want My Love".
Likewise, keyboardist Kiernan Box released the "Wet Your Beak" album by his band
The Disappointments, featuring Mark C. Halstead on vocals.
After some much needed respite the Blackeyed Susans reconvened in August 1998 to record the "
La Mascara" EP, released November 1998. It featured five new tracks including "Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah, Oh No" and "To Skin A Man". Both received airplay on Triple J's and other Australian youth orientated stations. A video for "To Skin A Man" was commissioned. Produced and directed by Adam Kyle and Holly Shorland, its provocative images of flesh and blood were too much for the ABC who chose to screen it only in black and white. A tour ensued through the summer and well into 1999.
In February came the sad news that Blackeyed Susans co-founder
David McCombhad died at his Northcote home. Dave, of course, had been the singer and songwriter for The Triffidssince forming the band at high school with Alsy McDonald and Phil Kakulas in the late Seventies. In the Nineties he had suffered much ill health, culminating in a heart transplant in 1995.
From May to
July 1999, The Susans worked on thirteen songs on a four-track in the living room of Rob's flat. News first filtered through in August of a new album, "Shangri-La", to be recorded and released in the new year. ‘Less rock, more roll’ they said at the time.
But it was not to be, in
May 2000The Blackeyed Susans parted ways with their record company Mds after it was bought by Festival Records. The "Shangri-La" album was put on hold.
2001 saw The Blackeyed Susans back with a new album, "
Dedicated to the Ones We Love", released on their own label, Teardrop, and distributed through Shock Records. The record paid tribute to the influences and aspirations of the band - including songs from Hollywood-period Elvis, Sinatra, Big Starand The Velvet Underground. Well received by the public and lauded by the critics, a national tour followed keeping the band busy until the end of the year.
Early 2002 saw band members busy themselves with solo and side projects, most notably the recording of an album from Rob Snarski and Dan Luscombe entitled, "There Is Nothing Here That Belongs To You", released later in the year on the Quietly Suburban label to much praise and national tours with
Marianne Faithfulland Paul Kelly.
In 2002 The Blackeyed Susans returned to Sing-Sing Studios in Richmond to finally record the lost album of "Shangri-La". Augmenting their sound with
op-shopinstruments and old vinyl. The album was finally released 21 July 2003on Teardrop through Shock Records.
"Shangri-La" was nominated for 'Best Adult Contemporary Album' at the 2003 ARIA Awards, missing out to
John Farnham's " The Last Time". Since its release the band have played sporadically in Melbourne. Dan Luscombe and Kiernan Box both perform with other artists but are still considered to be band members and continue to play with the band when possible.
In 2001 Kiernan Box joined
Augie Marchwhile Dan Luscombe joined Paul Kelly's band in 2003, then The Dronesin 2006.
A four CD retrospective was planned for March 2008 but has not yet appeared.
*Phil Kakulas - double bass, songwriting
*Rob Snarski - vocals, guitar, songwriting
*Kiernan Box - piano, organ, harmonica
*Dan Luscombe - guitar
*Mark Dawson - drums
*J P Shilo - guitar, accordion, violin
David McComb- vocals, songwriting (left to form Red Ponies)
Alsy MacDonald- drums
*Ross Bolleter - organ, accordion
Martyn P. Casey- bass (left to join Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
*Adrian Wood - keyboards
Kim Salmon- guitar (left to form Kim Salmon and the Surrealists)
*Kenny Davis Jr. - keyboards
*Kathryn Wemyss - vocals, trumpet
*Tim Rollinson - guitar
*James Elliott - drums
*James Cruickshank - organ
*Ashley Davies - drums
*Graham Lee - guitar,
pedal steel, vocals
*Jim White - drums (left to form
The Dirty Threein 1993)
*Warren Ellis - violin, organ, accordion (left to form The Dirty Three in 1993)
*Mark C. Halstead - mandolin, harmony vocals
The Blackeyed Susans discography
* [http://www.blackeyedsusans.com.au/ The Blackeyed Susans website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/theblackeyedsusansaus The Blackeyed Susans MySpace website]
* [http://www.shock.com.au/artists/releases.asp?artist_ID=54559 Blackeyed Susans - Shock Records]
* [http://www.amo.org.au/artist.asp?id=202 AMO website - Blackeyed Susans]
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Look at other dictionaries:
The Blackeyed Susans discography — The following is a discography of albums, EPs and singles released by the Australian band The Blackeyed Susans.DiscographyAlbums*Welcome Stranger – 1992 *All Souls Alive – December 1993 *Hard Liquor, Soft Music – a cassette album by The Blackeyed … Wikipedia
Dirty Water (The Blackeyed Susans song) — Dirty Water Single by The Blackeyed Susans from the album All Souls Alive Released … Wikipedia
Mouth to Mouth (The Blackeyed Susans album) — Mouth To Mouth Studio album by The Blackeyed Susans Released July, 1995 … Wikipedia
Spin the Wheel (The Blackeyed Susans song) — Infobox Single Name = Spin the Wheel Caption = Artist = The Blackeyed Susans from Album = Spin the Bottle A side = Spin the Wheel B side = Released = September 1997 Format = Recorded = Sing Sing and Fortissimo Studios, Melbourne Summer, 1996/1997 … Wikipedia
Shangri-La (Blackeyed Susans album) — Infobox Album Name = Shangri La Type = Album Artist = The Blackeyed Susans Released = July 21, 2003 Recorded = Sing Sing Studios, Melbourne (2002) Genre = Rock / Folk rock Length = 56:14 Label = Teardrop Producer = Phil Kakulas, Craig Pilkington… … Wikipedia
Welcome Stranger (Blackeyed Susans album) — Infobox Album Name = Welcome Stranger Type = Album Artist = The Blackeyed Susans Released = August, 1992 Recorded = Perth – March, 1989 Sydney – March, 1991 London – 1990 Genre = Rock / Folk rock Length = 54:42 Label = Waterfront Records Producer … Wikipedia
Dirty Water (Blackeyed Susans single) — Infobox Single Name = Dirty Water Caption = Artist = The Blackeyed Susans from Album = All Souls Alive A side = Dirty Water B side = Released = July, 1994 Format = Recorded = Fortissimo Studios July, 1993 Genre = Rock / Folk rock Length = 18:45… … Wikipedia
Mouth to Mouth (Blackeyed Susans album) — Infobox Album Name = Mouth To Mouth Type = Album Artist = The Blackeyed Susans Released = July, 1995 Recorded = Fortissimo Studios, Melbourne Autumn, 1995 Genre = Rock / Folk rock Length = 48:22 Label = Hi Gloss Records Producer = Phil Kakulas… … Wikipedia
The Triffids — Infobox musical artist Name = The Triffids Img capt = The Triffids (1985) Img size = Landscape = Background = group or band Alias = Origin = Perth, Western Australia, Australia Genre = Rock, alternative, Folk rock Years active = 1976 ndash;1989… … Wikipedia
The Triffids — Жанры альтернативный рок фолк рок инди поп Годы c 1979 по 1989 … Википедия