Australian News 10/25

Donovan, McQueen Team Up

Gregg Donovan, Sydney-based manager of Grinspoon and Airbourne, has teamed with former Shock Records A&R manager Stuart McQueen to launch Wonderlick Entertainment in the new year.

It will be a 360-degree model company covering recording, publishing, merchandising and management rights.

The well-respected pair quietly formalised the partnership mid-October. The duo had not intended to announce the venture for some months, but word got around and they were approached by acts wanting to be signed on.


Community Rallies For Jellyfish

Melbourne’s Northcote Social club is spearheading a donation drive for Electric Jellyfish, the band that suffered a fatal tragedy on the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland on their first U.S. tour.

Guitarist Hayden Sweeney and his wife Bridget O’Brien died October 18 after their 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe swerved, apparently to avoid a deer, and crashed into a concrete barrier.

Singer Mike Beech suffered head injuries, bass player Adam Camilleri broke his arm and drummer Patrick Lias escaped with minor injuries.

The Electric Jellyfish formed four years ago at La Trobe University, and had been saving for the trip since then.


Merritt Benefit Raises $200K

A star-studded benefit for soul singer and guitarist Max Merritt at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre October 21 raised $200,000.

Merritt, who has lived in Los Angeles for the past 30 years, has returned frequently to tour. Since May, he has been fighting Goodpasture’s syndrome, which causes the kidneys to shut down.

More than 140 singers, musicians and production crew donated their time, including such household names as Renee Geyer, James Reyne, Daryl Braithwaite and Black Sorrows. Merritt’s Melbourne-based manager Wal Bishop said the show was recorded and may be released as a DVD.


Clubs Move To Stop Violence

Club operators are working with government authorities to stem violent outbreaks in their establishments.

The state of Victoria is considering a scheme where patrons entering a venue hand over their IDs to log on a computer so they can be traced if need be.

In Darwin the problem that club owners face is patrons fighting to get all-too-rare taxis to transport them home.

Taxi drivers working the midnight to 3 a.m. shift prefer to be at the airport awaiting flights from Asia and from the Australian east coast. Negotiations have begun with authorities to introduce special buses to drive clubbers home.


Mint Chicks Win Big

Auckland garage band The Mint Chicks cleaned up at the 2007 New Zealand Music Awards, winning best group, album of the year and best rock album for their second album, Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!

The video for the title song earned the clip’s director, Sam Peacocke, a Tui (as the awards are called) for best video.

The band is planning to relocate to Portland, Oregon, in early 2008, and negotiating with a California-based management company.

Hollie Smith, who now lives in New York, returned for the ceremony and took home the female solo artist, breakthrough artist and best Aotearoa-roots album trophies for her debut album Long Player, through Soundsmith/EMI.

Evermore won single of the year for "Light Surrounding You" and was given the International Achievement Award.

Fifties rock ‘n’ roller Johnny Devlin was inducted into the NZ Hall of Fame. In tribute, a specially formed supergroup called the New Devils – Jon Toogood (Shihad), Shayne Carter (Dimmer), Paul Roper (The Mint Chicks) and Mike Hall (Pluto) – performed their own rendition of Devlin’s biggest hit, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy."


Tonic For The Troops

A group of entertainers left for the Middle East October 18 to entertain Australian troops stationed there. The 13-concert expedition included two former soldiers, Angels singer Doc Neeson and comedian Gary Bradbury.

Heading out on October 22 to entertain forces stationed in the Solomon Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, were vocal harmony duo Russell Morris and Darryl Cotton, comedian Chris Radburn, magician Adam Dean, didgeridoo artist Adrian Ross and model Anneliisa Tonisson.

They’ll perform a series of solo concerts for the 150 Australian troops and 200 police currently working as part the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI). Morris, best known for his 1969 hit "The Real Thing," said he has wanted to be involved in the project for years.

"I feel like I’ve been the last kid in the line – I’ve been trying to go for years," Morris said.


Short Notes

KISS is returning to Australia and New Zealand in March for dates, which will include a set at the Grand Prix in Melbourne, according to Paul Stanley in a U.S. radio interview.

Bruce Springsteen is hotly tipped to visit in January. Kylie Minogue is planning a world tour next year. The Eagles are also expected to return.

The Wiggles are finalising talks with a cable TV company to screen two of their TV series in 35 African cities over three years. The multimillion-dollar generating act will also launch a TV show in Japan in November. The Wiggles also run theme parks on the Gold Coast and New York.Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington broke his arm midway four songs into the band’s Melbourne show but stayed on stage until the end.

Sydney lighting designer Brad Wright joined the team at Machine, at its new Saturday nightclub in Oxford Street, Midnight Shift. Wright was original light designer at Justin Hemmes’ superclub Home and has since worked at Skygarden, Blackmarket, ARQ and Tank and festivals as Tropical Fruits and We Love Sound.

Raelene Gill’s Cartel Music Management signed Newcastle indie pop trio Lover.

The inaugural Caloundra Music Festival on the Sunshine Coast, funded by the local council as a tourist drawcard, October 19-21 was an unqualified success. More than 15,000 people came to see 50 acts including Jimmy Barnes, Ross Wilson, Vanessa Amorosi and Richard Clapton.

A minor drama arose when New Orleans singer/songwriter Jon Cleary of Absolute Monster Gentlemen went for a swim at Kings Beach on Sunday morning and got into difficulties, and had to be saved by a lifesurfer.

He was taken to hospital but returned to play another set. Events organiser Richie Eyles said no crowd problems came up at the festival, and hoped the council would bring it back next year.

Former Warner Bros. managing director Robert Rigby signed two artists to his new management, label and publishing company, Ambition Entertainment. They are Sydney pop/rock act Stone Parade and Queensland adult contemporary artist Gregory Moore.

Little Birdy, The Panda Band and The Dirty Secrets showcased at the CMJ conference in New York before a roomful of influential college radio programmers. The afternoon show at Arlene’s Grocery was called "Western Australia Meets CMJ." It was organised by the West Australian Music association (WAM), which worked closely with CMJ CEO Bobby Haber.