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The Angels Interview

The Angels Interview

Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, legendary Australian band The Angels are about to hit the road for an extensive Australian tour and will also be releasing two commemorative albums. Lead guitarist and founding member John Brewster took some time out to chat with Sydney Unleashed.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

We formed a jug band in Adelaide, the Moonshine Jug & String Band, in 1970 to have some fun on weekends while we were all at Uni. To our surprise it took off, became very successful, packing out venues all over town. We started writing songs and they were ROCK songs so we had to change to an electric band. The Angels began in April 1974.

Best part of what you do?

Playing live, writing songs with all the members, recording and producing the albums with Rick.

And the worst part?

Over the years, having to spend time away from family while kids were growing up. Missed many events that I would have liked to attend. However it’s all a bit easier these days.

Any interesting tour experiences you can share?

In 1975 we did three gigs with AC/DC in SA, became friends. Angus, Malcolm and Bon went back to Sydney and told George Young and Harry Vanda about us. That’s how we landed our first record deal. In 1985 I sat next to Mohammed Ali all the way from Denver to LA…fantastic! In 2011, about 18 months before Chris Bailey died, we played a gig in Hakuba, Japan and the whole band played golf…that’s never happened!

Favourite album of all time and why?

If you mean Angels album, ‘No Exit’ was a great follow up to ‘Face to Face’. The songs are great, the sounds are great, Rick and I had hit our straps as producers and the band was a well-oiled machine. We did some great gigs around the release like the LaTrobe Uni show which was filmed for Nightmoves and now released. Close second is the new album, ‘Talk the Talk’… right up there in my opinion.

Best live performance that you’ve ever seen?

There have been many great ones, AC/DC, David Bowie, Dylan in 1966… but, just recently, Bruce Springsteen. Unbelievable band, incredible commitment to entertaining his audience and the stamina to play for nearly three and a half hours non-stop with no let-up.

Favourite bars/clubs/pubs you’ve hung out in?

Barney’s Beanery in LA with our minder, Luke Richmond RIP, when we were making the ‘Two Minute Warning’ album. Also the National Golf Club with my good friend Wilbur Wilde after playing one of the very best courses in Australia.

Take us through a typical day in the life of The Angels?

When we are on the road, leave hotel at …? (always on time thanks to mobile phones), drive an hour or so, stop for breakfast at whatever cafe Sam says to go to (he looks up the best spots on his iPhone), listen to rhythm tracks of new recordings trying out harmonies or melody lines or maybe some comedy stuff on the CD player, or Dave Gleeson live comedy…Nick Norton is good at that too but I can’t hear him when he’s up the back of the 8-seater. Drive to hotel/motel check-in, go to gig for sound check and back for gig. Sounds boring I guess but they are good days in good company.

What music are you listening to right now?

Marcus Hook Roll Band (that’s Harry Vanda and George Young from the seventies with Angus and Malcolm Young on guitar…a great album). Also ‘Powerage’, maybe my all time favorite AC/DC album. Also ‘Blonde on Blonde’ one of my favourite Bob Dylan albums.

What advice would you give to someone looking at getting involved in the music industry?

That’s a hard one…it’s a tough business to be in, particularly these days when there’s so few places to play. But, whatever you or your band is doing, stay true to your own direction, don’t be afraid for influences to come out in your music but don’t follow trends.

Any news or final comments?

The Angels will be out on the road from June through August right around the country. We look forward to celebrating our 40 years, our band, our repertoire and sharing that with our wonderful fans. Mutual celebration! Our thoughts go to Doc who is unwell.

© Danny Canak

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