I’ve not been to Australia yet but I know exactly what it’s like.  It’s a mostly flat radioactive wilderness girded by primitive settlements, tribes almost, of mutants and scavengers ruled over by various fearsome warlords and chieftains who enforce their tyrannical rule on their enslaved subjects through unthinking, unceasing barbarity and brutality, charging around in their souped-up cars*.  In the evenings these children of the apocalypse gather together in rudimentary drinking establishments to quaff fermented mental juice, fight recreationally and listen to diamond-hard boogie.  Oh and there are koalas in Australia, I like them, they’re cute.

Australians, yesterday
Australians, yesterday

Neither cute, nor koalas, The Angels From Angel City burst into my consciousness when I guy I knew called Wilf at university copied ‘a fucking great tape’ for me with Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom on one side and Beyond Salvation by this Aussie band I’d never heard of on the other.  It knocked me out.  The opening track ‘Dogs Are Talking’ was the most exciting hard rock boogie thing I’d heard in years and it became the first LP I bought in 1991**, despite the cover being a bit pants.  I never heard of the band again.

Angels From Angel City Beyond Salvation 04

Well that is until I read an obituary of the lead singer Doc Neeson in 2014 and I found out that he had fronted a band called the Angels who were an Aussie hard rock institution.  Supporting AC/DC*^ back in ’75-76 Bon and Malcolm apparently recommended them to the indomitable duo of Vanda and Young who promptly signed them up to Albert productions and lent them their production skills; cue a serious cavalcade of punky, hard rock and new wave treats over a number of years.  Come 1989, come GNR and Great White manager Alan Niven and a deal with Chrysalis Records, the Angels were poised to do big things and they released Beyond Salvation.

Angels From Angel City Beyond Salvation 01 (2)

In the grand tradition of Aussie hard rock LPs the overseas version of the album was completely different to the domestic release, the band adopted the Angels From Angel City moniker to avoid confusion with/litigation from that lot from the USA that Punky Meadows used to front.  The Aussie version was, very sensibly, an all-new affair but the international version featured a handful of newies and re-recordings of a bunch of greatest hits that may not have made it overseas first time around.

It was ‘Dogs Are Talking’ that hooked me at first listen and it is still a great slice of rock today, macho sexy nonsense aside.  I found myself dancing to it whilst doing the ironing feasting with my conquered enemy’s concubines this morning.  It’s just as much of a blast for me now as it was 25 years ago.  Team it up with the next two tracks ‘Rhythm Rude Girl’ and ‘Let The Night Roll On’ and I’m well on the road to Valhalla.  The former is a big, slow raunchy hairball of a track about just the type of infernally pneumatic exotic dancer that would scare me, umm, rigid in real life and the latter is pretty darned special.  ‘Let The Night Roll On’ is a straight-ahead head-banging boogie which sounds a bit like the Georgia Satellites in a really bad temper and there’s a gratifying bit of chaos and damnation about Doc Neeson’s vocals on this one too.  ‘City Out of Control’ brings the side of originals to a close and it’s a slinky, menacing beast of a track, with some rather good guitaring on it courtesy of Rick Brewster and Bob Spencer.

Angels From Angel City Beyond Salvation 03 (2)

I had no idea until yesterday that one of the tracks on Beyond Salvation pretty much held the key to the whole of the Angels’ career, it wasn’t even a track I rated particularly.  The track, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, written after a friend of a friend died has rather good, sensitive lyrics about loss and longing,

Went down to Saint Tropez
Where Renoir paints the walls
Described you clearly
But the sky began to fall

Am I ever gonna see your face again?
Am I ever gonna see your face again?

So far, so good.  That is until Aussie audiences started shouting ‘No way, get fucked, fuck off!’, every time in answer to the question.  It surprised the band at first and then they embraced it and it became their signature thang live^.  I really like that story because it’s the tale of the audience grabbing a song from the artist and making it theirs.  Plus it appeals to my childish joy at totally gratuitous swearing.

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The second side of Beyond Salvation is the weaker one, having done a bit of research I find the originals are a bit rawer and leaner every time.  Still though, nothing here is bad and I can picture it as just the sort of hard-rocking hard-drinking music I’d want to soundtrack a four-day bender to after I’d come off a three-week shift at the bauxite mine and I was looking to blow a fuse or two.

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That the Angels From Angel City never did go on to bigger things internationally with Beyond Salvation is definitely no reflection on their songs or talent, it’s probably more of a reflection on their age, the slightly overblown band name and the fact that Chrysalis always seemed to be rubbish at pushing hard rock bands properly.  I’ve not been to Australia yet but I know exactly what it’s like….

634 Down.


*or was that just Mad Max: Fury Road? (which I watched today).

**just chucked that in there for future biographers of mine.

*^apparently, some kind of local band from over there, down under.

^but don’t take my word for it:

32 thoughts on “No Way, Get Fucked, Fuck Off

  1. I’m going to need an English to English translation. When you say the cover is pants, does that mean you think it sucks? I’m looking at the sci-fi girl in lingerie and falling in love.

  2. Being a bit speechless after this post and the comments, I’ll maybe just say how incredible that folk who’ve never set foot in Aus could nail it so accurately. Truly astounding.

    For the records, Cold Chisel (thought not my particular bag) where multiple times bigger than The Angels. Doc’s boys really hovered just above the pub rock circuit, but they did it energetically and tenaciously for a long time.

    I once saw them, late in the orange afternoon of a long long free concert, playing on disused railway tracks next to a polluted river in inner west industrial Melbourne. I stood on a road bridge, looking down on a scene resembling the climax of a Mad Max movie while several rumbles simmered threateningly behind me. Moving involved stepping over sprawled bodies still clutching empty beer cans, but you better believe the crowd still bawled, ‘No way, get fucked, fuck off’. Sheer poetry.

    1. That’s a beautiful story Bruce. Don’t forget that I’m from rural wales, which is basically a slightly more agricultural version of Mad Max – 3 out of 4 of us haven’t evolved opposable thumbs yet.

      I quite like a couple of Cold Chisel tracks and I do like Jimmy Barnes’ voice too.

      Tomorrow I intend to answer any questions I’m asked ‘No way, get fucked, fuck off’, in tribute to Mr Neeson.

      1. I did once wear black eye-liner on a night out (not for fancy dress purposes), on the grounds that I would therefore automatically look cool and different and chicks would love it. I didn’t and neither did they!

  3. The Australian Zombie Apocalypse started in 1987 when a Sydney DJ played double shots of Midnight Oil and Crowded House back to back. Humanity as a whole could not handle it. Many jammed pencils in their ears and the resultant lead poisoning led to mutant, zombie like creatures.

  4. I say, your description of Oz is bang on. And do those rogues down under have a penchant for swearing! Must be the criminal genes. I did swear somewhat myself, whilst climbing Uluru. You see, I had an unfortunate trouser explosion…closely followed by a run of foul language. All in all it turned out to be a fucking beautiful spiritual experience, and knowing there’s forever a patch of red outback repainted brown, still makes me dust off the didgeridoo now and then.
    Good band. Never heard of them… have now, and why isn’t that track the theme tune to Neighbours?

    1. I hope you immediately got ink to commemorate the event right across your back for ever.

      Personally I think any songs with questions in the titles should be greeted with the same chants – Do Ya think I’m Sexy? Are you Lonesome Tonight? Do you know the way to San Jose?

  5. Nice write up! These guys have always got press but it just did not cross into North Anaerica. Another Aussie band Cold Chisel(Jimmy Barnes was the lead singer) had a ton of hype as well and they even opened up for Nugent here in Tbay back in 1981 but when I went to look for there record the day after the show there was no product in the shop…..

  6. Very nice! I haven’t been to Australia either, but anyone I know who has loved it. Of course, they stayed in the populated and popular places, so I don’t know if they ever saw the real Australia of Mad Max proportions. This music sounds a fitting soundtrack to just such an adventure though!

      1. It is a documentary, but you got the time period wrong. It’s a doc about Australia in the early 80’s. They’ve come along since then, I’m led to believe.

      2. Really enjoyed the film, there was a lot more intelligence to it than I thought there would be. Plus lots of explosions. I like explosions.

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