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Radio Birdman - One Auckland Show

Radio Birdman - One Auckland show

We never suspected that the day would come, but the kids are saying “yeah-hup!”, all over again. Now that hell has indeed frozen over, and the 21st century has seen both The Stooges and the MC5 rise from the ashes to visit New Zealand, the time is nigh to experience the only act who ever measured up strongly enough to complete the trinity suggested by those two seminal Detroit outfits – the legendary Radio Birdman, from Sydney, Australia.

The most influential and oft-cited band to emerge from the heyday of late 70’s/early 80’s Australian underground rock’n’roll, Radio Birdman return with Zeno Beach, their first new album in over 25 years. And, in line with the Birdman ethos, the record is self-financed, self- produced, and self-directed, and will be released on the band’s own label, Crying Sun. Radio Birdman are, as they have always been, outside of and independent of the mainstream music industry.

Marking this landmark occasion – which should not be considered a case of nostalgic looking back, but a fierce step into the future --  the band are set to embark on an international tour, which, velvet tiger presents... are ecstatic to announce, will include their very first visit to New Zealand.

With a name that resulted from a mishearing of a Stooges lyric, Radio Birdman were originally formed in 1974 by Detroit émigré (and medical student) Deniz Tek and Sydney native Rob Younger. They built up their following the grass-roots way: playing to the adventurous and open-minded in living rooms, basements and parties, before striking out to the public at large, where doors were often slammed and plugs pulled after merely one song. Circumventing the status quo, Radio Birdman took over the second floor of a pub and renaming it the Oxford Funhouse, it became ground zero for the incipient Sydney punk rock scene; and with an all-out assault that was in tune with -- but two steps removed from -- the punk bands, Birdman blazed a trail for the DIY, make-it-happen-on-your-own-terms approach.

They recorded two albums with a solidified line-up including mainstays Chris Masuak and Pip Hoyle: the landmark Radios Appear and its follow-up Living Eyes, before dissolving in 1978, although key members teamed up with Ron Asheton (the Stooges) and Dennis Thompson (MC5) for an Australian tour in 1980 as New Race, immortalized by the live album The First and Last. Between then and the eventual reformation in 1996 (resulting in the live release Ritualism), there were many acclaimed offshoot bands, though none which truly captured the irrepressible manic energy of Radio Birdman; Younger became a respected producer while leading the New Christs, and Tek continued playing music with his own bands while working as an ER doctor in Hawaii and the USA.

But that’s as much looking backwards as we care to do. What matters is what gives and what happens now: Radio Birdman are back. With a vengeance. And this show is something you don’t want to miss.

Radio Birdman are Deniz Tek/Rob Younger/Chris ‘Klondike’ Masuak/ Pip Hoyle/Jim Dickson/Russell Hopkinson

Kings Arms, France Street, Newton - Monday, Aug 28th
Tickets available from Real Groovy and Fast & Loose from July 10th

New album Zeno Beach on sale Monday 17 July


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