1982 - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 10 to 1 - Midnight Oil
Once again I have to thank my brother Paul for this one.
I was still too young in 1982 to really have any idea of what Peter Garret was on about when he sang, "Gough was tough till he hit the rough yeah Uncle Sam and John were quite enough" or "Flat chat, Pine Gap in every home a Big Mac and no-one goes out back that's that!" or "US Forces give the nod, it's a setback for your country
Bombs and trenches all in rows, bombs and threats still ask for more
Divided world the CIA, who controls the issue
You leave us with no time to talk, you can write your assessment"
But I got the vibe there was more to the story than what I was hearing on the nightly news.
Later on I read books like John Pilger's 'A secret country' and John Perkins 'Confessions of an economic hitman' and a the penny's did drop.
I can't thank Midnight Oil enough for the example they set of what Rock Music can be - a force to be reckoned with!
I've been lucky enough to see Midnight Oil live a number of times and boy are they one of the greatest in show business.
They give it all. Rob Hirst is absolutely spell binding on the drums and Peter Garrett always looked like he was receiving electric shock therapy or something whenever he danced, but the music, ah the music and the message - so brave, so on point!
My favourite Midnight Oil gig was at the Coogee Bay Hotel in 1990?
I was at NIDA at the time studying acting and the world seemed kind of sparkly and full of promise, but kind of posh and more refined than my Melbourne Bogan roots.
It was great to get along to 'Selena's' as it was called back then and into that wild sweaty and impassioned herd.
A good friend of mine in Melbourne is the sister in law of Aussie guitar legend Barry Palmer, who was playing for Hunters & Collectors at the time (Another awesome Australian band with huge passion)
Barry is one of the nicest guys going.
I'd helped him out by removing some old insulation from his new pad and he blessed me with free tickets to a number of concerts in Sydney and the Gold Coast as a result.
It was absolutely awesome to check out those two bands together.
The Hunters horn section joined the Oils and blasted out that ever catchy singable hook in 'Power and the Passion'. Garrett was swinging off chains, Hirst was kicking over his kit. It was 100% real deal fearless art!
The Australian Music scene at the time was thriving, there was still a strong touring circuit where bands could cut their teeth and get the kind of tight that makes great albums possible.
Poker machines, the increase of Random Breath Testing stations, no more smoking in pubs, more and more regulations and noise pollution complaints seemed to bring a silence to the roar of that great wild beast that was The Aussie Music Scene.
In the mid to late 80's and early 90's I saw some of the greatest gigs of my life and they were all Ozzies 'Chisel's last stand, The Divinyls, The Oils, Hunters, Inxs, The Church and on to the Saints, Painters and Dockers, Nick Cave and the bad seeds, You am I, Dave Graney and The Beasts of Bourbon '
It really was an incredible time.
Sometimes I think those guys were lucky to be musicians in that era, to make a living touring whilst getting tighter and tighter as a band, and then other days it seems that the message in the music was simply more powerful and more engaging as a result. Who didn't want to see what would happen on stage when Chrissy Amphlett or The Oils performed?
The scene now is smaller but the passion is still very much alive, we have so many great live Aussie bands out there still and a hand full of venues dedicated to the heart and spirit of the thing - be sure to get out there and support them whenever possible.
There's a new film coming out soon about the Oils, I can't wait to check it out.
Their 1990 film of their gig in front of the Exxon building in NYC is still one of my go to live gig films.
A truly legendary uniquely Australian band to which I'm forever grateful.
I love every track on this album - they're all such an important part of our Nations History - 'Short Memory' 'U.S Forces' 'Scream in Blue' , 'Maralinga' - I'm still horrified every time I think that after those nuclear tests there at Maralinga they put up signs in English, Italian, French and German, but failed to put up one single sign in the indigenous language of the area, being that these were the only people who would ever set foot there. :(
"It' just enough to make you want to cry! It's just enough to make you want to cry!"
Oh yeah and if you're an Aussie and you've never been 'outback and that's that' to remote Australia do you self a favour - you've got to feel that red sand beneath your toes, check out the Southern Cross in the night sky and find out whatever you can about our incredible Indigenous history.
Yeah 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 , 1 by Midnight Oil is the history lesson we never got in schools back in the 1980's.
Here's the one that hooked me in though- the super catchy and ever singable 'Power and the Passion'