Never Too LoudThere seems to be an awful lot of good rock and roll that comes from Australia. Maybe a lot of it gets overlooked in the US because Australia is so far away and we just don’t hear about the bands that work for years but don’t get the big breaks like AC/DC or Silverchair.
Rose Tattoo is one of those bands that never really got that big break in America. They came out of Sydney, Australia, following in AC/DC’s footsteps. The Tatts officially got together in 1976, three years after AC/DC, and released their debut album in 1978, again, three years after AC/DC had led the way with their debut.
I mention the AC/DC connection for a couple of reasons: The bands’ histories are somewhat tied together in that AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd had played briefly in a band called Buster Brown with Rose Tattoo’s singer “Angry” Anderson. The Tatts also made their first public appearance at the rock club Chequers, where several years earlier AC/DC had kicked off their own career. As Rose Tattoo were getting started, they received a fair amount of support from their “older brothers” in AC/DC. Harry Vanda and George Young, who had also produced AC/DC, produced Rose Tattoo’s first four albums. And George Young is, of course, older brother to Malcolm and Angus Young.
Today’s post is from an April 30, 1982, show at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. The Tatts had just come home after a successful trip to Britain, including a headlining spot at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. Their plans were to take a little time off, record their third album, then head to America, where anticipation was building about the band the British press had said made “Motorhead look like chorus line in a ballet.”
Instead, guitarist Rob Riley crashed his motorcycle, badly damaging his arm. The Hordern Pavilion show is the only performance the band managed over the course of six long months. By the time they hit US shores in 1983, opening for ZZ Top and Aerosmith, the magic was gone and within three months, the band splintered.
Despite the short life of the band’s original incarnation, Rose Tattoo was extremely influential among the Los Angeles metal bands of the 80s, such as Guns N’ Roses and LA Guns. Guns N’ Roses actually got most of the members to reunite in 1992 and support the Gunners on an Australian tour.
Currently, Angry Anderson is heading Rose Tattoo, along with Dai Pritchard, Paul DeMarco, Geordie Leach, and Mick Cocks. Founding members Pete Wells and Ian Rilen both died from cancer in 2006. The Tatts released Blood Brothers in Germany and Australia earlier this year.
Per usual, here are a couple of sample tracks. If you like what you hear, you can unzip the whole show here.
Bad Boy for Love.mp3
Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw.mp3