- (Intro) Dune Messiah
- Sunrise (Come My Way)
- The Prophet
- The Dark Side Of Eden
- Dead Forever
- Kings Cross Ladies
- I’m Coming On
- Skirt Lifter
- Little Queenie
BUFFALO Revisited LIVE at the Bridge Hotel, December 2013 captures what made Buffalo so great– loud, tight, powerful and totally uncompromising.
Guitarist John Baxter was one of the first in Sydney to get a 100watt amp.
Singer Dave Tice emphasizes Buffalo Revisited is not a Buffalo reunion but a tribute to its songs.
He already had the Dave Tice Trio, in which he writes new songs, plays instruments, and new styles, “to keep moving forward as a musician.”
But festival promoters and venue bookers urged him to form Revisited as younger generations of music fans were discovering their music.
“There’s much worldwide and here in the music that came out of Australia in that era,” says Tice, a driving force in Buffalo alongside bassist Peter Wells who later formed Rose Tattoo.
Not only are Buffalo, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Blackfeather recognised as pioneers of pub-rock, but overseas sites as Heavy Planet cited Buffalo as early doom metal and stoner rock.
Phil Dracoulis recalls: “I loved Buffalo. Every chance I got I’d go and see them.
“They influenced so many bands. Their music was the root of AC/DC and Rose Tattoo.
“As for Dave, he has one of the best blues voices I’ve ever heard in Australia.”
BUFFALO Revisited LIVE at the Bridge Hotel captures that greatness, their own songs complemented with a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie”.
They received no radio airplay but the size of their live following saw their albums go gold.
Part of their appeal was their shock-rock image. They exuded evil, smashed up motel rooms, got banned from Countdown and record stores refused to stock them because of their cover art.
The cover of Dead Forever was a blood soaked face peering through the eye sockets of a skull.
Volcanic Rock depicted a female form menstruating volcano lava. On Only Want You For Your Body a fat screaming woman was tied to a torture rack with shackles.
Their publicist got them headlines with tales of sexual appetites and plans to give away a vibrator with each copy of Mother’s Choice.
Dave Tice chuckles: “It wasn’t always true but we reveled in it! Some people in the music industry wouldn’t deal with us because of that image, which we also loved.
“Music allows me to run my own race and I’ve never been interested in playing mind games with others or have them tell me to be commercial. I’m still am not.”
Many Buffalo lyrics came from Tice’s love for reading books – “Dune Messiah” from Frank Herman’s sci fi series Dune, “The Prophet” from religious texts and “Shylock” from Shakespeare’s Merchant Of Venice.
However, the title of “Dead Forever” came from the reply of a spirit whom they asked during a séance what life was like in the underworld.
The one new song on the tape, “The Dark Side Of Eden” –“Don’t try to talk back, Jack, because your brother is living in a one-room shack. While you are driving around in a brand new Cadillac” is his anger at how humans are selfishly destroying the paradise that is Planet Earth.
“Western society is wasteful, greedy, and entitled. We watch on TV people are dying of starvation and children are fighting wars. But we still allow it to happen. It’s disgusting, man.”
“Drac” remembers the gig: “A lot of the audience came to me afterwards saying “Great sound”, it was the way Buffalo sounded in the ’70s.
“The room was three quarter full. As soon as they came on, everyone moved to front of stage. Everyone enjoyed it, the band, audience, me.”
The tape starts midway through opener “Dune Messiah” with the band already in full wah-wah blast, giving the impression to the listener of coming late into the venue.
What really happened was that the band was to start off on a jam and Tice was to run onto the stage from a side door for dramatic effect.
Alas, the door was unexpectedly locked, so Tice had to run around to the front door. In the chaos, Dracoulis forgot to press Record until later.
“Drac” BUFFALO at the Bridge 2013
The power on BUFFALO Revisited LIVE at the Bridge Hotel is what you get from a sound engineer with a broad audio knowledge.
Phil Dracoulis has the reputation of being among the best in the business, and being able to get a thick concert sound even in a small room.
He started out working in a recording studio in Melbourne, then did sound for Pantha for three-and-a-half years (“they offered me three months for no pay to prove I could be part of the band, which was common practice in those days. You existed on the dole which was $12 a week at the time”), moving to Sydney with them.
Aside from doing sound for the likes of Billy Thorpe, Marcia Hines and Richard Clapton, he worked in production houses Jands and Sounds, and did live feeds for TV’s The Today Show, The Midday Show, Spin and Ground Zero.
Drac is currently recording two young Sydney bands.
Buffalo were generating overseas interest 50 years ago. They were released on Britain’s Vertigo label. They got radio airplay in New York but their Australian label wouldn’t fund a US tour saying “No Australia band has a chance of breaking it in America.”
More recently US hard rock/metal label Ripple Music wanting to re-release Dead Forever (June 1972), Volcanic Rock (July 1973), Only Want You For Your Body (November 1974), Mother’s Choice (February 1976) and Average Rock ‘n’ Roller (June 1977).
Universal Music, which now owns the rights, refused permission to licence these out.
So Ripple went to Tice, and globally released Buffalo Revisited Volcanic Rock Live, cut at Sydney’s Bald Faced Stag with a newer lineup.
Another, at Marrickville Bowling Club, is being remixed.
The original albums sound powerful because producer Spencer Lee and engineer Wynn Wynyard got them to set up all their gear and blasr out, placing mics away from the amplifier to get a delay effect. One mike on the amp and one 10 metres away for a full sound.
Tice says: “Power doesn’t necessarily come from volume. It’s a fallacy, especially among young people, that if you play louder, you’ll sound more powerful.
“That’s not the way it works. You sound louder but less distinct. Power comes from the way they wind themselves around each other.
“Buffalo, especially the first line-up, was a very tight band. Pete Wells was a genius on bass and finding the right things to play across John’s riffs.
“Recording is capturing a moment in time and where the musician makes the final decision.
“We didn’t have a big budget. But we’d record four tracks in a day whereas other bands would record one track in four days.”
Dracoulis recalls those days: “There was no education or limits on sound levels.
“I was quite mad, I used to put the PA and the guitar amps at 12. The idea in a small room was to make sure the drums and vocals went over the guitar amps.
“But ultimately it’s not the level they’re playing at, it’s the dynamics they’re pulling together.”