Interview: JOHN BREWSTER (The Angels)

This year, one of the country's favourite bands, The Angels, will be celebrating their 40th anniversary. And they have a new album called 'Talk the Talk'. "It's our second album with Dave Gleeson," John tells me. "Dave joined the band in early 2011 so this is his third year and the 40th year for The Angels."

They will also be part of the incredible line-up for this year's Red Hot Summer Tour. "Yeah, that will be good," agrees John. "We're doing some shows with Suzi Quatro which is going to be very interesting. She's a good rock chick. I believe she knows our stuff. It's very good times."

Sadly, though, 2013 was a tragic year for the band, with the loss of their friend and bass player, Chris Bailey. "He died in April," says John. "But I can tell you that he is on five of the tracks on the new album. He was able to come into the studio before the cancer got him and it was lovely. It's a nice, lasting legacy of his wonderful playing."

John's son Sam now plays bass with the band and Mick Norton is on drums.

I guess that having 'young blood' in the band gives a fresh new perspective to the music?

"Maybe it says a lot about music," John muses. "Maybe it says a lot about rock 'n' roll. Rock 'n' roll's always cool as far as I'm concerned. And to get young guys playing in an old band, they're not just there to pick up a pay cheque. They just love it. And we go down the highway and we've got me and Rick in the front seats and the other guys behind us. I'm usually behind the wheel and I've always done that. There's three generations in the same vehicle and we're all in the same band and we all get on well. And you go into the studio with these guys and you say 'I've got this idea for a song' and twenty minutes later, we've got a rhythm track. Rick and I still write the music but we've been encouraging the other guys to write lyrics and Mick Norton is a fantastic song writer in his own right and Dave Gleeson, who seems to have written very little with the Screaming Jets, is a fantastic lyricist and comes up with ideas so we are really encouraging that. So this new album is really all about this band. If The Angels has a defined sound, we've strayed away from that sometimes but I'd say that this is a real Angels album. I think it's one of the best things we've ever done. The guitars obviously feature pretty prominently. I think we've just got twelve fantastic songs. It's a complete thing rather than a couple of good songs and fillers. I think it's twelve out of twelve. I actually think it's one of the best things we've ever done. It's easy for a guy in a band to say 'Oh, this is the best thing we've ever made' because you're about to release it. You want it to be successful. But I actually mean it. It's a fantastic record. We've made records where you get to the end and you listen to the mixes and you go 'Oh ok... well, I could have done better than that one.' But this one is really good."

John reminisces about some of the great memories of touring with The Angels over the last forty years. "There are certainly many great moments," he recalls. "I just saw this special on David Bowie just recently on SBS and I remember the first time he came to Australia and he actually chose The Angels to be his support act. We were special guests actually. That was the year we were going through the roof with the 'Face to Face' album and that tour was just absolutely brilliant. We had dinner with David and his family every night. He and his band came to one of our shows on a night off. We did the Bondi Lifesaver in Sydney... it's a legendary venue. Bowie and his band came to the gig and it was fantastic. And of course there were the times touring with AC/DC. I'm dropping names here but the thing is, it was so inspiring. The early days of AC/DC were incredibly exciting with Bon Scott. They still are exciting but in those days, when they were writing and performing those wonderful songs, we were part of it. The seventies were such an amazing period. There were no poker machines in pubs. People talk about The Angels being a great pub band but we were also doing concerts. We were doing big shows like the Festival Hall and a lot of big outdoor events. It was just a very exciting time."

And now, the band is in its fortieth year, with a new line-up, a new album and a new tour. "With the two shows we're doing at the Bridge Hotel," John explains, " we're actually going to play the entire album and then we're going to have a break and we'll come back and do the hits so we'll be working our butts off. Oh well... we're only young guys.. or at least Rick and I are, " he laughs. "And we really enjoy our lives, I must say."

by Sharyn Hamey

Tour Dates:

Fri - 10th Jan 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Feature Presentation - New Album Tracks & Classic Favourites
Bridge Hotel, Rozelle NSW


Sat - 11th Jan 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Feature Presentation - New Album Tracks & Classic Favourites
Bridge Hotel, Rozelle NSW

Thu - 16th Jan 2014 - 3:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult]
Centenary Oval, Port Lincoln SA

Sat - 18th Jan 2014 - 2:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult] - *** THIS DATE IS NOW SOLD OUT
Mary Ann Reserve, Mannum SA

Sun - 19th Jan 2014 - 2:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour
Nowingi Place Soundshell, Mildura VIC

Sat - 25th Jan 2014 - 12:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult]
Mornington Racecourse, Mornington VIC

Sun - 26th Jan 2014 - 1:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult]
Mulwala Waterski Club, Mulwala NSW

Sat - 1st Feb 2014 - 2:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult]
North Gardens, Ballarat VIC

Sat - 8th Feb 2014 - 1:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult]
Parklands Resort, Mudgee NSW

Sun - 9th Feb 2014 - 1:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour [All Ages - w/Adult]
Harry Sawkin Park, Nowra NSW

Sat - 15th Feb 2014 - 12:00 pm    
Red Hot Summer Tour
Harrigans Drift Inn, Jacobs Well QLD

Sat - 15th Mar 2014 - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm    
Bayside Beats
Bunbury Racecourse, Carey Park WA

Thu - 20th Mar 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
Jive Venue, Adelaide SA

Fri - 21st Mar 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
Jive Venue, Adelaide SA

Sat - 22nd Mar 2014 - 2:30 pm - 9:30 pm    
A Day On The Green - Hunter Valley - SOLD OUT
Bimbadgen Estate, Pokolbin NSW

Thu - 27th Mar 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
The Corner Hotel, Richmond VIC

Fri - 28th Mar 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
Doncaster Shoppingtown Hotel, Doncaster VIC

Sat - 29th Mar 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
Moorabbin Sandbelt Hotel, Moorabbin VIC

Sun - 30th Mar 2014 - 2:30 pm - 9:30 pm    
A Day On The Green - Mt Cotton
Sirromet Wines, Mt Cotton QLD

Fri - 4th Apr 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
Doyalson RSL, Doyalson NSW

Sat - 5th Apr 2014 - 7:30 pm    
Talk The Talk Tour
Waves Nightclub Wollongong, Towradgi NSW

 

Last updated by Rock Club 40 Jan 8, 2014.

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