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Australian Made was a festival concert series held during 1986–1987 in the six state capitals of Australia and featured local rock acts Mental as Anything, I'm Talking, The Triffids, The Saints, Divinyls, Models, Jimmy Barnes and INXS. The series started in Hobartmarker on 26 December 1986 and concluded in Sydneymarker on 26 January 1987. Rock journalist Jeff Jenkins rated it as one of his 50 most significant events in Australian music history, "It wasn’t a huge success, but it showed that an all-Australian festival could work." Australian Made was conceived to counter tours of international acts, like Dire Straits' 1985–1986 world tour, which were drying up funds for Australian groups.

To promote the tour, INXS and Barnes (ex-Cold Chisel) recorded a cover of The Easybeats song "Good Times" which was released in December 1986 as a single and used as the theme song. "Good Times" peaked at #2 on the Australian charts. The single peaked at #47 in the United States Billboard Hot 100 on 1 August 1987.

At the Sydney concert, Peter Trotter, playing saxophone for Mental As Anything, collapsed on stage and died a week later. The tour had a budget of $3.25 million, and was announced with claims of Australian mateship and cooperation; however arguments ensued between various band managers over the proposed concert series film. The tour ended in acrimony with two managers, Chris Murphy (for INXS) and Jeremy Fabinyi (for Mental As Anything), arguing backstage in Sydney and coming to blows. A film of the tour, Australian Made: The Movie, directed by Richard Lowenstein, was released in July 1987, but contained no footage of Mental As Anything performing. Rock historian Glenn A. Baker and Bob King wrote Australian Made, Gonna Have a Good Time Tonight : The Authorised Documentary of the Event in 1987 with detailed notations by Baker and photographs by King.

Background

Dire Straits, and other international acts, mounted Australia-wide tours in 1986 with promoters claiming that local acts couldn't fill large concert venues. Acts like INXS and Jimmy Barnes felt that a tour by internationally renowned Australians would fill these venues. In October 1986, Chris Murphy, of Mark Murphy Agency (MMA) and manager of INXS, Mark Pope, who managed Jimmy Barnes and Divinyls, and Mushroom Records boss Michael Gudinski, commenced negotiations to develop the Australian Made tour. Mushroom Records had released material by Models, managed by Murphy, while their touring partners I'm Talking were managed by Ken West and had released material on Regular Records. These band managers used their record labels and industry contacts to provide other local acts that had toured internationally, The Saints, The Triffids and Mental As Anything. The Triffids' guitarist Graham Lee stated that Hutchence had insisted on them being part of the bill, on the basis of their international success, even though they were not well renowned in Australia.

To promote the tour, INXS and Barnes (ex-Cold Chisel) recorded two songs, a cover of The Easybeats song "Good Times", and "Laying Down the Law" which Barnes co-wrote with INXS members Garry Gary Beers, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Michael Hutchence and Kirk Pengilly. Both songs were recorded, with "Laying Down the Law" also written, and "Good Times" film clip made, all on the same day. Tim Farriss, INXS lead guitarist, was unavailable for the recordings, as he was unable to be contacted due to fishing commitments. The single peaked at #2 on the Australian charts, and months later was featured in the Joel Schumacher 1987 film The Lost Boys and the associated The Lost Boys soundtrack. This allowed it to peak at #47 in the United States on 1 August 1987. The tour had a budget of $3.25 million, when the accounts were finally tabulated the promoters had lost $30,000 each. After the tour, there was a dispute over the royalty split on "Good Times". Four years later the single appeared on the British charts when The Lost Boys was released on video.

Barnes stated that the Subiaco concert had the best Rock 'N' Roll crowd he had ever seen. With the exception of keyboard player, Peter Kekel, Barnes employed an all Canadian backing band, that he had used for his own North American tours from 1985, for the Australian Made tour. All the acts travelled between capital cities on the same plane. Chrissie Amphlett of Divinyls wrote about the tour in her autobiography, Pleasure and Pain, she was impressed that various band members got along so well.

At the Sydney concert, Peter Trotter, playing saxophone for Mental As Anything, collapsed on stage and died a week later. The tour was announced with claims of Australian mateship and cooperation, however arguments ensued between various band managers over the proposed concert series film. Some bands felt they had been coerced into unfavourable tour contracts. The tour ended in acrimony with two managers, Chris Murphy (for INXS) and Jeremy Fabinyi (for Mental As Anything), arguing backstage in Sydney and coming to blows. After the Sydney concert, Rick Grossman, bass guitarist of Divinyls, was fired from the group due to his heroin addiction, he attended the drug rehab centre, The Buttery, and eventually joined Hoodoo Gurus in 1988. The film of the tour, Australian Made: The Movie, directed by Richard Lowenstein, was released in July 1987 and was shown in cinemas, but contained no footage of Mental As Anything performing. An edited DVD version, Australian Made: Featuring INXS Live (aka INXS: Australian Made) was released in May 2008.

Venues and dates

  1. King George V Ovalmarker, Hobartmarker - 26 December 1986
  2. Thebarton Oval, Adelaidemarker - 1 January 1987
  3. Olympic Parkmarker, Melbournemarker - 3 January
  4. Subiaco Ovalmarker, Perthmarker - 10 January
  5. Chandler Velodromemarker, Brisbanemarker - 17 January
  6. Endeavour Fieldmarker, Sydneymarker - 26 January


The bands

Line-ups of the various bands in order of appearance:

References

General


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