Been listening to Models' Melbourne lately. For the 99% of people reading this, Models were an 80s Australian new wave band. Melbourne is 16 tracks from the late 70s, early 80s, before they got signed. There are some real gems in there (it's tough to find, so contact me at johnnyostentatiousATyahooDOTcom if you're interested). Anyway, most of the songs on there are live. Given the age, I'm amazed at how awesome it sounds. And in the CD booklet it mentions that HUNDREDS of bands back in the day thrived in the Melbourne scene.
It got me to thinking about an interview with Kirk Pingelly, INXS' guitarist/saxist, I saw a while back. He said that in the late 70s, early 80s, the Sydney and Melbourne club scene was at its peak. Nothing was off-limits. Apparently, it was -- to use a cliche -- a free-for-all. But by the time the mid-80s rolled around, the Law came to town and shut down the fun. I can't help but think that so much great music came out of Australia in the 80s. Nowadays, the land down under is pretty quiet (music-wise). Where are the Midnight Oils, Hoodoo Gurus and Birthday Parties? Sure, every once in a while you'll have a great act like Cut Copy, but for the most part it's more desolate than Darwin in the winter time.
Getting back to the subject line of this blog, I can't help but thinking if The Law didn't clam down on the clubs' freedom, maybe Australia would still have a music scene. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, music isn't a necessary component of life, but it's nice -- a benefit to living in a civilized society. Because in the end, Australia is a great country, and it deserves unique music.