The tapes are usually recorded by the acts’ sound engineer straight from the mixing desk, and gives an intimacy, sharpness and an incredible live punch.
In this case, it was recorded and produced by high profile crew member George Alexander, who was stage manager, at the time, of the Melbourne central business district high-end music venue Billboard. George had previously worked with Men at Work. The tape was remastered by Matt Rosser.
The FOH engineer was Gary "Rocket" Fox.
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.
ARCA established Black Box Records as the platform to promote each release, with MGM Distribution providing worldwide distribution.
“The idea of our Desk Tape Series began some years ago for us to help in a small way to help give road crew recognition to themselves and to the public for their contribution to the Aussie music industry,” say founders and co-directors of ARCA, Ian Peel and Adrian Anderson.
The Desk Tape Series will be available through:
(paste the link into your browser if it fails to work)
Australian Crawl: Live At Billboard 1981 was recorded as the band from Victoria’s surf coast Mornington Peninsula, hit its strides as a live act.
They consisted of singer James Reyne, drummer Bill McDonough, rhythm guitar and vocals Guy McDonough, bassist Paul Williams, lead guitarist Simon Binks and rhythm guitarist Brad Robinson.
Their healthy swimming and surfing passions initially gave the band a surfer and college student following before they became household names.
By the time of the Billboard show, Australian Crawl had sold 600,000 copies of their first two albums The Boys Light Up and Sirocco, and voted the most popular group at the 1981 Countdown Awards.
They were breaking attendance records at clubs around the country. They drew 100,000 to Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and 90,000 to The Domain in Sydney.
Paul Williams commented on how they sounded circa the Billboard show: “We were very confident. We lived for those shows. We were a rock band with a rock show. We leaped out at the gates with the first song. We were always working on the set to make it more exciting.
“We were genuinely into the excitement of the show. Brad Robinson would lift you just through his body language on stage, all 6’3” of him primal screaming.
“James would be running around, jumping up and down, vicing up the crowd, running over and shouting in your ear.
“In the meantime, the bass had to be rock solid and the drums had to swing.”
Between the first two albums, Crawl expanded to a six piece with the addition in October 1980 of Guy McDonough as guitarist, singer and songwriter.
Guy was a long time friend of some of the band, and brother of Bill McDonough.
Guy, Bill and Sean Higgins had written the gorgeous ‘Downhearted’ on the first album.
For Sirocco, named after Tasmanian-born Hollywood hell-raiser Errol Flynn, Guy had written five of the eleven tracks, all the singles and onstage shared frontman duties.
He was a tough no-nonsense individual who changed the social dynamics of the band,
Bill McDonough recollects, “Guy was brought in to broaden our song writing and assist in lead vocals and backing vocals.
“He was such a great songwriter and a great singer. He added a lot of credibility to the band.
“He took a lot of pressure off James Reyne who after the success of The Boys Light Up album was feeing the pinch.
“He was quite charismatic, like James, but in a different way. In a lot of ways he was the musical and social glue of Crawl.”
The 20 songs on Australian Crawl: Live At Billboard ’81 include all their hits at the time, as ‘Beautiful People’, ‘Downhearted’, ‘Errol’, ‘Things Don't Seem’, ‘Lakeside’ and ‘Oh No Not You Again’.
There are also album standouts as ‘Unpublished Critics’ (written by Reyne and Williams), ‘Indisposed’ and ‘Love Boys’ (which Bill wrote about two of their road crew), reviews of the next album (‘Daughters Of The Northern Coast’ got its first airing this night) and crowd-punching covers as ‘Six Days On The Road’ and ‘Slow Down’.
The year after, Crawl went on to have another #1 album with their third album Sons Of Beaches.
Bill left in 1983 after clashes with Reyne, Guy died in mid-1984 aged 28, Paul Williams left during the making of the third album because “it was not a band I wanted to be in any more” and Australian Crawl broke up in early 1986.
ARCA thanx its Sponsors for supporting the ARCA 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
Norwest Productions 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"