The Grace Emily Hotel
Thursday 22 September 2022
Ramblings – Geoff Jenke
Photos – Geoff Jenke
“The sixties were as the close to the ‘90’s as we are now as close to the ‘90”. So spoke Andrew P Street (co-author), at the launch of the book, Sound as Ever (Australian music 1990 – 99). Scary stuff. As one obsessed in all things rock n roll, I lay awake after this show thinking about that statement.
I am of the age that 1968 was the pivotal year for rock music for me. I bought my first 45rpm single (River Deep – Deep Purple), bought my first album (High Tide – The Rolling Stones) and lay awake under the blankets listening to my Crystal set radio, trying to pick up Melbourne stations from S.A.’s mid north. I first heard Russell Morris’s The Real Thing late at night and thought rock music could never get any better than that. 1990’s was still 22 plus years away. We had the pub rock explosion of the 1970’s to get through first and then the Terrible Tribute Band era of the 1980’s. In 1968, the 1990’s was man living on the moon (nope!), flying cars (nope!) and watches with telephones built into them (close).
Now it is 2022 and Russell Morris is still releasing excellent albums and touring, I am still going occasionally to the ‘Cranker to see bands, I am still listening to new young Australian bands like The Prize and Adelaide bands like Frankie Sunwagon, who’s 2022 single Georgia is possibly the most beautiful song I have heard this century (Check it out). The 1990’s ended 22 plus years ago. But we still don’t have flying cars.
In between 1968 and 2022 were the 1990’s and authors Jane Gazzo and Andrew P Street have released a book about that era, called Sound As Ever. Andrew P Street was on hand at the South Australian launch of the book, held at The Grace Emily Hotel to give us an insight (for those too young) and a reminder (for those of an older vintage – which was most of us at the Grace) of the heady days of the 1990’s. While the book that Andrew was promoting is about Australian bands, he spoke lovingly about the Adelaide scene. About venues like the Crown & Anchor, the Astor and Seven Stars, “which was so far away it may as well have been in Glenelg”.
Andrew spoke of bands we went to see in the 90’s, bands we thought would be one day be a huge as U2, but alas no. 1990’s saw a change in the way we listened to music. Those shiny things called CDs came out and basically killed off vinyl, although there was a plethora of vinyl still released on independent labels that often only saw one or two releases and then in low pressings. And of course, the cheap way to get your music out there was cassette.
Street mags were becoming “kings of the street”. Rip It Up and db ruled but there were other smaller publications that came and went in the blink of an eye, but were all more important than Rolling Stone Magazine, as they talked about “our” scene.
The book Sound As Ever is not a chronological look at Australian music. It has the feel and look of a street magazine, but within its 200 pages are stories from band members, Music Festivals, Record Labels, pubs in every city and even a quiz at the back to see how much you actually remember about the 90’s.
After talking about the book, Andrew gave us a musical feast by picking up a guitar and playing some songs from 1990 Adelaide bands like The Millards, Undecided, Reckoning and Career Girls, songs that have not been heard in a long long time. Wonderful stuff.
After a short break, Flat Stanley gave us a run through of their songs from the past as well a new one. Action New Perspective opened the set and throughout the evening we got Earlicker, Charity Kiss, I Grew Old and The Great Unknown.
It was like the 1990’s was still with us.
Sound As Ever – A Celebration of the Greatest Decade in Australian Music 1990 – 1999 is out now and available at all good book stores.
As Andrew P Street told us “If we sell enough copies there maybe a second volume”.
Let’s hope so..