News From Downunder 9/21

Snoop Gets Welcome Mat

Snoop Dogg got his visa from the Australian government to join the “Smoked Out” arena tour with Ice Cube, which launches Oct. 29.

Promoter Andrew McManus faced some anxious moments leading up to the authorization. He had already spent A$1.2 million on advance fees, holding tax and marketing, he said. None was refundable.

Things got into such a state that even Russell Crowe wrote the immigration department with a character reference for Snoop, who is friends with the actor.

Ray Arnold Dies

Ray Arnold, a colourful figure of Sydney’s live scene, died after a heart attack, aged 70. The one-time tow truck operator ran Chequers Nightclub and the Bondi Lifesaver.

He adopted young musicians, promoters and road crew – and was first manager of AC/DC. Promoter Michael Chugg recalled that when he first arrived in Sydney as a teenager, the booking agency job he had fell through.

Arnold fed and housed him during those rough times. Arnold was also linked with Rose Tattoo, Dragon and Jimmy Barnes. Chugg said Arnold counted Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra and Flea among his friends.

Short Notes

Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass festival donated $35,000 as part of its community grants. These are funded via a $2 per ticket contribution and auction by one of its onsite restaurants. The Byron Bay Hospital Auxiliary got $28,000 for surgical equipment while Wildlife Information and Rescue Service received $7,000 for a rehabilitation enclosure. Splendour donated $205,000 to local groups over the past eight years.

Sydney record label Albert Production – Australian home for AC/DC as well as Rose Tattoo and The Angels – has bought into Troy Barrott’s Hub Artist Services management. “Troy retains his anonymity,” Albert CEO Tim Prescott emphasised.

Venue owner Elia Eliades is behind Australia’s first live music channel, Moshcam (, which launched Sept. 15 with 2,000 live performances from 250 acts filmed at various Sydney venues.

Eliades’ company Century Venues Group operates Sydney’s Enmore, Metro and The Factory. His two partners in the site are TV and film producer John Reddin and Internet pioneer Paul Hannigan.

Death metal band Deicide placed a death wish on their Aussie tour. Their local promoter released a one-sentence statement: “We were advised that the band decided that they do not want to tour Australia this year.”


New Zealand

All 9,000 tickets for Kylie Minogue’s Dec. 8 show at Auckland’s Vector Arena sold out in 19 minutes. Frontier Touring added a second Vector show for the next day. In Australia, her shows sold out in nine minutes.

In a way to spark more chart action, New Zealand’s major music industry association RIANZ will count sales of CDs at artist gigs toward chart positions. Venue sales will have to be signed off by artists, venues and record companies. RIANZ can audit every return, with severe penalties for falsified sales information.

NZ country music pioneers Eddie Low, John Grenell and Dennis Marsh have teamed up for the 17-city The Highway of Legends tour. Promoted by guitarist Gray Bartlett, it runs Oct. 28 to Nov. 22.

The tour is then scheduled to head to the United States. Revolution Concerts and Events America has signed them to play on both U.S. coasts in fall 2009.