Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


NZ/Melbourne - Breeding Ground For Rock Revolution

North American Record Industry Sees Melbourne, New Zealand Music Scene as Breeding Ground For Rock Revolution

By Jason Leopold

Not since Nirvana turned Seattle into a breeding ground for grunge and post-punk has a geographic area become synonymous with a particular style of music. But such is the case with Melbourne, Australia, which over the past year has consistently been churning out some of the best rock bands unheard in North America for more than a decade.

Leading the pack is Warped, a hard rock outfit whose sound is difficult to pin down in one word, but whose influences are clearly grounded in punk-rock and metal made famous by the likes of AC/DC, The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones. For the United States, a country that’s been bombarded with bands like Limp Bizkit, Creed and Blink 182, Warped are not only a refreshing change, they are messiahs.

The saviors of rock music, it appears, hail from Down Under. Bands like Warped, The Cants, The Smallgoods and Drivaside are turning Melbourne and New Zealand into the new Seattle and the major record labels in the U.S. are quickly taking notice and trying to capitalize off the trend. Bands like New Zealand’s The Datsuns and Auckland’s The D4 have signed lucrative record deals in the states and are slowly taking over the airwaves.

But it wasn’t until a virtually unknown Melbourne band called Jet signed a $1 million record deal with Elektra Records in the states earlier this year that record labels started to pay closer attention to Melbourne in hopes of signing the next big thing.

Many of these bands weren’t even born when artists they emulate, like The Stooges, first started making records, so why are they so inclined to try and push this type of music into the mainstream?

Frustration and boredom with the current state of music are the easy answers. But more importantly, the music played by bands like Warped reflects the attitudes of the working-class musicians who perform it. The music is an outlet and a way to let off some steam. These guys are rock stars. They strut and swagger. They shake and shimmy. They put the fun back into rock-n-roll.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote that Melbourne and New Zealand “has the patina of overnight success.

“The Australian and New Zealand scenes' ascendance has been decades in the making. The new crop of bands can trace their lineage back to the late-'80s, early-'90s Australian scene spearheaded by the Flying Nun Records label and groups like the Bats and Straitjacket Fits. They, in turn, followed a precedent set by the likes of Radio Birdman, the Saints, the Celibate Rifles and others inspired by Detroit rock and post-punk New York to play fast and loud in an era of synth-pop.”

Craig Regan, a writer for the Australian garage-rock Webzine the I-94 Bar said ‘the influence of the Stooges and MC5 in the mid-'70s was significant, if maybe a little overrated,” on bands coming out of Australia today. “Radio Birdman certainly had a distinct touch of the New York Dolls about them but were also very Blue Oyster Cult and Rolling Stones influenced. Melbourne took a more arty approach, evident in angst bands like the Birthday Party (Nick Cave's first group) and a host of impersonators.”

Like Led Zeppelin once sang, the song remains the same. And so far it sounds pretty damn good.


- Jason Leopold is an investigative journalist based in California, he is currently finishing a book on the California energy crisis. He can be contacted at This story is available for republication, please contact the author by email.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news