The Australian Road Crew
GOANNA Live at Canberra Workers, 1985
GOANNA, Live At Canberra Workers Club, February 8, 1985 is the seventh in the Australian Road Crew Association’s (ARCA) Desk Tape Series.
ARCA established Black Box Records as the platform to promote each release, with MGM Distribution providing worldwide distribution.
The series was created by ARCA to raise funds and resources for Support Act’s Roadies Fund to provide financial, health, counselling and well being services for crews.
Thanx to Shane Howard/Teresa O'Brien at Goanna Arts and Nprint for the cover artwork, the mastering by Shane Howard and GOANNA for their support of crew.
The Goanna "Live At Canberra Workers Club, 1985", is a desk tape, a cassette of the live mix, recorded by the band’s Front of House audio engineer, the very capable and talented Mike Emerson. They were, first and foremost, live mixes done for a live audience and the band would listen back to the live tape on the drive to the next gig the following day, in an effort to constantly improve the live shows. They weren’t made for commercial release.
It follows acclaimed tapes from Redgum, TISM, The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, Australian Crawl and Men At Work.
The GOANNA LIVE 1985 tape and the Desk Tape Series will be available through:
https://ffm.to/goannaliveatthecanberraworkersclub1985 (copy link into browser pls if it fails to work)
The folk-rock Goanna Band, as they were first named, were formed in 1977 by singer-songwriter Shane Howard in Geelong Victoria.
With an ever-changing line-up, the band steadily grew in popularity with hard touring.
In 1982 they exploded into national and international success with ‘Solid Rock’.
The classic was inspired after Howard’s emotional and eye-opening ten-day camping trip to Uluru two years before, and the album Spirit Of Place which reached #2 in Australia.
Live At Canberra Workers Club captures the bridge between Spirit Of Place and the follow up Oceania, which was released in April 1985.
The band lineup was :-
Shane Howard: Vocals & Guitars
Rose Bygrave: Vocals & Keyboards
Marcia Howard: Vocals & Keyboards
Peter Coughlan: Bass Guitar
Robbie Ross: Drums
Mal Logan: Keyboards
Brian Holloway: Electric Guitar.
They lived as a collective in a two-storeyed house which they called Goanna Manor, and operated as a social democracy between the musicians, management and road crew.
The Canberra tape captures the triumphant note of the songs on the first album, and the step forward in Oceania, which they had just recorded in America with Bill Payne, keyboard player and songwriter with US band, Little Feat.
Some of the new songs like ‘Common Ground’ and ‘Dangerous Dancing’ were previewed on the tour. Although not as big a commercial hit, a revised version of Oceania was released in August 2020 on their Goanna Band website.
Howard’s body of work, both with the band and acclaimed solo albums, saw him appointed a Member of the Order of Australia In 2016.
SHANE HOWARD RECALLS THE TIME OF THE TAPE
(This is an excerpt of his memories of the time, the full transcript to be published in the liner notes).
"Having been off the road for nearly a year, recording and mixing, finances were grim and we’d taken to the road with some urgency, to raise some much needed wages, promote the Common Ground single and prepare for the upcoming album release.
By the time we did the Canberra Workers Club gig we’d already been touring pretty solidly through November, December and January 1984, to promote the ‘Common Ground’ single.
We’d had a short break and done a few days of recording and a few days of final mixes for the following single release before driving to Canberra. It was one of the first shows in a very long tour run that would take us from Melbourne to North Queensland, to Tasmania and West Australia. Like all touring in those days, it was nearly all done by road.
There’s some rough patches here and there and a bit of patchwork and spot welding that had to be done in a few spots. They’re certainly imperfect.
That said, the tapes are impressive and I think you’ll be struck, dear listener, by how good a live band Goanna were and how great the crew were who pulled these shows together, night after night, on the road. They’re a faithful portrait of a band in full flight, with a six man road crew, that you don’t see in the background, pulling every show together.
It was no easy life but our core crew guys were the salt of the earth and stood by us through thick and thin.
Bob Welsh was Goanna’s Stage Manager forever. He turned up regularly to a residency we had on Saturday afternoons at the Station Hotel in Prahran, Melbourne in 1980 or 1981. It began as a conversation and then he started helping us carry our gear out to the truck at the end of the gig. Before long, he was completely indispensable and central to the crew. Bob stated.....
"The people who mentored me in this, my first gig with any band, were all outstanding operators in their fields and gave me the tools to work for over 40 years with a variety of fine Aussie bands.
I would get a call at a gig at 6 o'clock in the evening and be told that there would be a Hammond organ and Leslie amp in the show tonight, leave room on stage. No problem! or "We need a didge mike for the encore" No problem! Fortunately, nobody invited a steam calliope player to join. That may have been a problem!”
The old adage in Goanna was, “Look after your crew, they’ll look after you.”
We also had a rule about not doing more than 300 kilometres a day, unless it was unavoidable, in a conscious attempt to keep everyone safe on the road. We did."
ARCA would like to thank the following sponsors of The Desk Tape Series:-
Sponsor Industry Roles
CMI P.A and Production
DSE Trucks Transport
Scully Outdoors Outdoor Production
Gigpower Crewing and Staging
Lock and Load Crewing
Chameleon Touring Lighting
JPJ P.A and Lighting
Novatech P.A and Lighting
Show FX Australia Pyrotechnics
Event Personnel Crewing
Norwest P.A and Lighting Production
Ian Peel and Adrian Anderson
ARCA Co-founders and Directors.
Note from founders:-
" This is a small way we can help our mates get some self-worth and recognition for their contribution to the Aussie music industry and help if they are in crisis. It is a great honor for us to be able to present these memories to all."
"All Hail Crew"
"Looking after OUR OWN with FEELING and a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE"