The band performed as Mad Not Madness, a tribute band that featured Dugald McNaughtan (keyboard player), Charles Thompson (guitar), Charles “Chucky T” Thompson (guitar). They began to compose original material and established themselves as Area-7 in Melbourne in 1994 after a lyric from The Specials’ Dawning of a New Era. There are arguably Australian’s most successful Ska / Punk band.
In 1994 Area-7 recruited Walter Eskdale (lead vocals), Rohan Pacey (bass) and Alistair Shepherd (saxophone). In 1995 their debut No Logic! a Demo Tape chart at #6 and selling over 80,000 units after Triple J picked up the title track’s message of racism and violence in the wake of the rise of the One Nation political party.
In 1996 singer Walter Eskdale leaves the band recruited John “Stevo” Stevens, formerly of the rockabilly band Yeah Yeah!, to vocals. Alistair Shepherd (sax), Toby Dargaville (trumpet) and Rohan Pacey (bass) all left in approximately 2002 and were replaced by Paul West (trombone) Matt Sanders (trumpet) and Chris Meighen (bass).
Their 2000 album, Bitter & Twisted, their album debuted at #6 in the ARIA charts, produced four singles and went Gold (selling over 80,000 copies) and was a final nominee for “Best Rock Album” in the 2001 ARIA awards. With strong support from Triple J and performances on Rove Live, Hey Hey It’s Saturday and regular spots on ABC’s Recovery, which yielded the hit single ‘Second Class Citizen’.
Their 2000 album, Say It To My Face, saw the band break into the mainstream receiving, high rotation support from Triple M and the Austereo Network. The album peaked at #38 and produced their most successful single, “Nobody Likes A Bogan”, which remained in the ARIA Top 40 for two months than eight weeks! Triple M wanted to use it for a national competition to find ‘Australia’s Biggest Bogan’. In return, they suggested our next single, ‘Save Yourself’ unfortunately, it was never released.
However, everything fell apart after their record label, Zomba Records Australia Ltd, closed operations in February 2001. BMG purchased the entire Zomba Group in 2002. Leaving, Area-7 with no record label which, affected many others to go on their own. Left them not able to promote their albums and organising tours, they decided to go independently. They remained firm favourites on major festivals, headlining the Vans Warped tour and national tours with No Doubt, The Get Up Kids, The Living End, Jebediah, Eskimo Joe. Even entertained Australian Defence Forces and United Nations staff in a month-long tour of Timor-Leste during which they’d play in the jungles with tanks providing the lights for the show.
Area-7 spent two years trying to get out of their deal and were signed with Shock and released single, ‘Big Issue’. Australian independent label encourages them to record new material for their album Torn Apart, with Shock in 2005 that featured a cover version of ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’ by The Angels. There performed with Reel Big Fish and did the tour of East Timor for the UN. The last two decades have seen some amazing highlights like Warped, Pushover, Big Day Out, Offshore, Falls Festival, Homebake and more.
Dan Morrison, the drummer with Melbourne ska-punk band Area-7, died on the weekend after a fall. The band Facebook account stated he had struck his head on a concrete footpath and rushed to hospital with head trauma.
They have released five major releases like Road Rage, No Logic!, Bitter & Twisted (Gold status), Say It To My Face (Gold status) and Torn Apart. Highlights include their Gold albums, their ARIA nomination for Best Rock Album in 2000 and their significant success on the Australian touring circuit.
Re-edited by Tony Senatore
Premier Artists, Area-7
Augustus Welby, Area-7
Staff Writer, Charles “Chucky T” Thompson (Area-7) interview (2010)
Staff Writer, Area-7 drummer Dan Morrison dies, band confirms