RADIO BIRDMAN - 2JJ SYDNEY NOVEMBER 1976 CS
RADIO BIRDMAN - 2JJ SYDNEY NOVEMBER 1976 CS

RADIO BIRDMAN - 2JJ SYDNEY NOVEMBER 1976 CS

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LULUS:

The second and final instalment in the rise of Radio Birdman “2JJ NOVEMBER 1976” might just be that holy grail definitive document of the band at the height of their powers.

With the establishment and success of the Fun House in 1976, Radio Birdman had forged a place for themselves within Sydney’s conservative mid 70s music scene. But increasing controversy led to increasing obstacles for the band as they found the industry eager to have the growing sub-culture and unconventional sound contained to it’s own innocuous microcosm, their now famous emblem designed by Deniz Tek being adopted by the band and their loyal fanbase drawing accusations of fascism, cult and/or communism from the industry and community at large.

For musicians in mid 70s Australia (and hell probably everywhere) the name of the game was mainstream or bust and the industry made it clear there was no place for Radio Birdman until the band found one of their few fans and allies within the industry, Anthony O’Grady, an editor for Rock Australia magazine who had aspirations to shake up Australia’s Top 40 chart trends and decided to take the band under his wing.

To accomplish this they were going to need a recording and utilising his position and connections Anthony O’Grady took the band to every studio he knew where they found themselves facing the same problems they faced in the live circuit with no studio, engineer or producer willing to touch them due to their sound, outlaw reputation or a combination of both.

Persevering through rejection after rejection they approached O’Grady’s final option, Trafalgar, a low budget studio designed and built by “the song doctor” Mark Fisher and producer John Sayers in the heart of Annandale between 1973 and 1974 who were looking to bring the contemporary “American” sound to Australia by sourcing hardware from LA and taking advantage of bargain basement “five for one” microphone deals.

Unimpressed with their efforts and citing dull quiet acoustics Radio Birdman pronounced Trafalgar D.O.A. and prepared to abandon the session whilst O’Grady negotiated a second shot with the engineers allowing the band to record on their own terms. They proceeded to search nearby demolition sites, hauling sheets of corrugated iron through the streets, upstairs and covering the walls to Fisher and Sayers horror to achieve a more amplified electronic percussive sound (a technique arguably pinched and utilised to great effect by Tony Cohen and The Birthday Party a few years later).

Whether they were surprised by the results or confident in local sales the manager of Trafalgar decided to form a label around the band, financing the recordings, signing a deal and facilitating the release of their debut 7” EP “BURN MY EYE” in October 1976. With a single press of 800 copies it was ignored by the press on its release only available through the studios mail order, stocked by a few sympathetic record stores or sold out the back of the bands station wagon after shows which brings us to “DOUBLE JJ NOVEMBER 1976”.

Recorded eight months after their previous live to air to help promote the “BURN MY EYE” EP, “DOUBLE JJ NOVEMBER 1976” showcases very little of that material focusing instead on songs that would appear the following year on their now legendary debut LP “RADIOS APPEAR” alongside covers of the Beach Boys, Barry & The Remains, Blue Oyster Cult, The Outsiders and of course The Stooges.

This incredible performance is perhaps the only recording in existence which not only documents what Fun House devotees claimed is the one true great era of the band, but also points towards their turning point with the controversial return of keyboardist Pip Hoyle, who cameos with the band on “MAN WITH GOLDEN HELMET" and “LOVE KILLS” proving to be the dividing line not only with the fanbase but within the band itself and an essential document of punk counter-culture in Australia. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY LULU'S
BH

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