ROSE TATTOO - NEVER TOO LOUD FAN SITE
INTERVIEW: ANGRY ANDERSON
Decembeer 18, 2017
Blood Brothers was the last studio album from hard rockers Rose Tattoo. Released in 2007, the album was recorded with founding member Mick Cocks on guitar. Sadly, Mick passed away in December 2009, yet another member of the band to die from cancer. “All the founding members have died of cancer which is tragic,” front man Angry Anderson recounts in our recent interview. “And doing that last tour with Mick in 2008, knowing he was dying, knowing that this as the last time that we were together, we were under a bit of a cloud and I was thinking to myself that there’s such a thing as the writing on the wall; the signs are there, you know. Maybe it’s time to sort of just go ‘O.K., it’s over’ and I processed it for a while and I got on with other musical endeavours because music will always be a part of my life, a big part of my life. De Marco went to gaol and as far as I’m concerned, he’s the drummer in the band and I thought ‘This is not working out’. So, it’s the end of an era; you say goodbye and you move on and the years went by.
It was an invitation from a long-time supporter of the band to play in a festival in Europe called Bang Your Head earlier this year that inspired Angry to get the Rock and Roll Outlaws back on the road. The response from the fans and the requests for another tour and the whole experience itself lit a spark. “It was just amazing; it kind of reignited the whole five. It wasn’t the adulation or any of that,” he explains. “I just missed how relevant the band was. I sort of realised that people so loved our music that they genuinely miss seeing the band perform and hearing the music live. When people come up to you after the gig and go Thank you for that! It was so good! I love those songs, I love the music and the live singing, the urgency, the passion. And that’s why we do it.”
Spurred on by the fans’ response, Angry decided it was time to tour the band again. “I didn’t want to put a permanent line-up together again because that’s kind of restricting. I’ve got a list of people I’ve wanted to play with or have played with. I thought well I’ll put together a credible line-up and we’ll go out and play.” Angry stresses though that Paul De Marco will always be the Rose Tattoo drummer “When DeMarco gets out of jail, as long as he’s able to travel, he’ll always be the drummer in the band. And there’s Dai of course. Dai took over playing from Peter when Peter couldn’t play anymore so he’s been in the band 13 or 14 years now. Peter’s been dead 11 years. Bob Spencer is playing guitar and he’s certainly one of the greatest rock players in this country and one of the greatest players ever, I think. Mark Evans of course was the founding member bass player for AC/DC so his rock credential, if you like, is impeccable. The great thing about those blokes is it’s a very select club because you not only have to understand the music, but you have to be able to understand where the music came from so you have to have an ability, if you like, to interpret the music you’re playing. Not everyone can just jump in and play in the band. And John Watson of course. He was very, very young many years ago when Australian Crawl were a full-time line-up and he’s been playing with James ever since. The thing that I loved about John as a youngster was that he understood the swing. He knows how to play rock ‘n’ roll in other words and he’s been an integral part of all the music that James has done for all these years. I played with him in the James Southwell Blues Band and I’ve seen what a rock monster he can be. He’s solid, he swings, he’s got great timing and he’s a great character. The character that John is as a person comes out in his playing. He’s not flamboyant but he plays something, and you turn around and you go ‘How tasty was that!’ And Bobby… he played in Skyhooks and he made them into a monster of a rock ‘n’ roll band and he contributed immensely to the guitar attack in The Angels when he was playing with them. He’s a guy that is so articulate in what he plays. He knows when he should play something that’s really flash and needed and meaningful and at the same time when he needs to sit back and play those sparse, sparking chords that just rip into you and it describes the less is more theory so as a band they’re amazing. We did a gig just recently with The Angels and Mi-Sex and they were amazing gigs because the band just stood up and played and the faithful, the people who really have the say, the long-term rabid fans were glowing in their praise for the boys.”
Angry says that the tour will provide an opportunity to relaunch the Blood Brothers album. “I wanted one last album with Mick because he was the last of the originals. It got released on an independent label and I don’t think it got the run that it deserved. We’re going to rerelease it off the back of this tour and hopefully the album musically will get some of the recognition that it should have got. We’re also touring Europe and we’ve got a full tour booked through June. I think in the whole of June there’s like 4 or 5 days off. I’ve gone back into training obviously. I used to say, ‘How long can you keep doing it?’ But we’re still doing it. Earlier this year I ran into Angus (Young) when we were doing the Guns ‘n’ Roses tour. He was there to do the encore with us. We had about half an hour to catch up and we talked about family and all those things and… music. The life force that makes it relevant and that keeps it going is the music. There are so many people around the world that your music gives so much joy to and lifts them up and for those moments, it just makes life better for them. Why wouldn’t you do it?”
And, with the passing years, rather than the music becoming stale and losing its relevance, bands like Rose Tattoo and AC/DC have found that they now have a new generation of fans. “That’s one of the most amazing things that I’ve experienced in recent years,” he admits. “And it’s transformed just recently like we were saying. There are people down the front with your band’s T-shirt on and you know they weren’t even born when you first started. You look down at their faces and you know they’re young and their faces are alive. And I have had a few of them actually say it to me so that’s why I know it’s true. They’ll come up to you after a gig and they’ll say ‘You know, we never thought we’d get to see you play all these songs live. We never thought we’d get the opportunity’, and they are so happy. And that one moment for that one person has made it worthwhile. And then multiply that by however many more…”
“When we were making music back in those wonderful heady original days, we set out to write songs that would stand the test of time and it’s great that in my lifetime I’ve seen that come to pass. I’ve seen the absolute proof that my songs mean something and what we tried to do, we did do. It’s kind of like I’ve fulfilled my function. I’ve earned my place; I’ve justified my existence. That’s a great feeling. I’m very, very comfortable and I’m at peace with myself over those things…” he shares. “But I’m not done yet.”
ROSE TATTOO DROPS NEW LIVE ALBUM RECORDED IN 1982, MASTERED FOR 2017 “TATTS: LIVE IN BRUNSWICK” OUT NOW
Golden Robot Records
February 03, 2017
Tatts: Live in Brunswick is a 14-track album recorded at Melbourne’s Bombay Bicycle Club in Brunswick in 1982 and mastered for loyal fans in 2017. Released via powerhouse indie rock label, Golden Robot Records, the album is available via iTunes and other digital retailers, with hard copies being sold exclusively at Rose Tattoo’s upcoming Brisbane and Sydney performances with Guns n’ Roses on February 7, 10 and 11, as well as the SFR Store.
It’s an album that takes you back thirty-five years ago; the Australian pub rock scene was at its peak, live music was everywhere, and so was Rose Tattoo, becoming one of Australia’s most revered rock bands of all time, known for their peerless, raw, heavy blues rock, hot mix of slide guitars, and the unmistakable voice of Angry Anderson. Tatts: Live in Brunswick – when rock was king and Rose Tattoo was at its most formidable, with all the might of what’s ahead in 2017.
01 Out Of This Place
02 Bad Boy For Love
03 Assault And Battery
05 We Can't Be Beaten
06 Butcher And Fast Eddy
07 Rock And Roll Is King
09 One Of The Boys
12 Juice On The Loose
13 Rock And Roll Outlaw
14 Scarred For Life
GNR TOUR DATES
BRISBANE - Tuesday 7 February at QSAC Stadium
SYDNEY - Friday 10 February at ANZ Stadium
SYDNEY - Saturday 11 February at ANZ Stadium
ROSE TATTOO TELL US WHY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HAS LOST ITS WAY
February 03, 2017
Today, Golden Robot Records drop the live recording of one momentous night in Brunswick – the night Rose Tattoo took to the stage of Bombay Bicycle Club and cemented their place in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll history.
After supporting Guns N’ Roses on their Australian tour, the Tatts intend to relive those heady days, tearing up the same old venue (now called Bombay Rock) and fulfilling the prophecy of late band member Peter Wells.
Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson remembers Wells’ insight like it was said yesterday – it came at the moment the band found out their single ‘Bad Boy For Love’ had hit the peak of its success.
“We were standing in a pub on City Rd and a mate came in and said ‘the Tatts just went pucker number 1, that’s Bad Boy!’” says Anderson. “Pete turned to me in the wonderful way that he’s got with wisdom and said ‘You’ll be singing that fucking song for the rest of your life, ya cunt’.
Sadly, Wells is one of six former Tatts to have died in the band’s 40-year history, but Anderson carries on in their stead under the same banner, writing and recording in the new Golden Robot studios.
“I’m to do a new solo album. The lineup that’s gonna play the Guns N’ Roses show, as there’s no Tatts lineup that exists, is my band, the Angry Anderson Band,” he says. “The Tatts thing is in limbo at the moment while [drummer Paul] DeMarco’s still in jail.”
While DeMarco does time for gun running, Anderson is turning to young guns to revitalise the old style; folks like Golden Robot Records founder Mark Alexander’s son Jagger, who Anderson says “cuts a very tasty swing”.
“What I see the next Tatts lineup being… We’ll trade off what we do best, which is rock ‘n’ roll or the blues, but we’ll write and record music that’s more reflective of today. We always wanted to make not as many albums but evolve musically.”
Anderson has been in the fortunate position to witness the evolution of the scene over four decades in the industry. He must therefore, be a genuine authority on how rock ‘n’ roll has shifted and changed over time.
“That’s not as easy as it may seem to answer,” he says. “I may be opening myself up for the Old Fogey award, but I don’t think rock ‘n’ roll is represented in its truest form [today] – everything’s rock ‘n’ roll. Well, everything isn’t!
“Rock ‘n’ roll is a very clearly defined genre of music. The term rock ‘n’ roll is derived from black people wanting to describe the sexual act. Rockin’ n rollin’ is like boogie woogie, it can all trace its origins back to sex… It has to syncopate, it has to shuffle, it has to swing. [Modern bands] rock, but they don’t roll.”
For Anderson, the genre’s always been an instinctive thing, something buried in the bones that the Tatts appropriated and teased out of their listeners.
“The reason that people can’t resist it is because it’s a natural rhythm,” he says. “It’s derived from the black feel of music which has got a history that goes back hundred and hundreds – if not thousands – of years of interpreting the natural body grooves, not only in song but in dance.”
Somewhat ironically, he still has a bugbear for the most prominent genre in modern music; one that’s also core to black cultural expression through music. It’s a frustration that seconds his self-nomination for the Old Fogey Award.
“I was one of those completely ignorant people that said I’d give hip-hop five years, 10 at the most, and here it is still driving us nuts,” he says. “It’s a legitimate form of music… black people, not your Lionel Richies, etc., but the kids on the street finally had a voice in music.
“You can argue the benefits of it… their heroes and the people they look up to glorify the abuse of women and the violence of young men against one another as young males in their songs, and that’s probably the downside of hip-hop music, but there is an upside to it as well.”
Genre battlefield lines (and racial politics) aside, Anderson is optimistic about where music is headed, even if his beloved blues are under-represented.
“Historically, all music evolves and then gets to a certain stage and revitalises itself,” he says. “There were calls in the seventies, before the Sex Pistols and all that happened, that music had died. Music didn’t die, it was just journalists being overly dramatic.
You know, video was gonna kill live music – that never happened, it was never gonna happen! They said the same thing before the Beatles.”
The next iteration of the Tatts will be its swansong, by Anderson’s admission, but he’ll no doubt be a familiar face on the pub rock circuit. There’s new material coming, but he’ll never escape Pete’s prophecy – he’ll be singing that same fuckin’ song for the rest of his life, without a moment’s regret.