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Buffalo was an early heavy metal band formed in Sydneymarker, Australia in 1971. The band left a legacy with Australia's heavy metal, pub rock and alternative rock movements. The band had evolved from the Brisbanemarker blues-rock outfit Head, which was originally formed in 1968 by Dave Tice and Peter Wells. A change of lineup and a shift in musical direction saw the new band emerge - the name Buffalo was chosen (according to legend, randomly off a map of Australia) as it was seen a more marketable name than the previous Head, which had been considered to be offensive due to its sexual and drug connotations.


Largely unrecognised within the Australian music scene, Buffalo was possibly Australia's first heavy metal band, pre-dating other pioneering Australian hard rock and heavy metal acts, such as Coloured Balls, AC/DC, The Angels, Taste and Rose Tattoo. Like many pioneering heavy metal acts, Buffalo incorporated strong influences of blues-rock and progressive rock. The band toured across Australia, at venues ranging from school dances in tiny halls to large outdoor concerts. Overall, the band's sound is comparable to Black Sabbath, whom they supported during an early 1970s tour.

Despite being the first non-European or Britishmarker act to sign to Vertigo Records, Buffalo remained an underground band. This was largely due to a lack of airplay on radio, with commercial radio virtually blacklisting the band, and the non-existence of public radio stations in Australia (such as Triple J and 3RRR) until the mid-1970s. Also, the controversial artworks for their albums Volcanic Rock (1973) and Only Want You For Your Body (1974) saw some record chains refuse to stock their albums. After 1975, the band underwent various line-up changes and a change of music direction. The lineup and direction change was followed by decreased album sales and critical acclaim. The band disbanded following their last release in 1977.The two albums "Volcanic Rock" and "Only Want You For Your Body" are now regarded as prog/stoner/hard rock masterpieces.Despite public demand, the members of Buffalo have resisted a reformation & now with Peter Wells sadly no longer with us, the chances are slim at best.Dave Tice can sometimes be heard slipping a Buffalo song into one of his live sets.


The original lineup was unconventional for a rock band, featuring two lead vocalists (Dave Tice and Alan Milano) and filled out by John Baxter (guitar), Peter Wells (bass) and Paul Balbi (drums). Its best-known lineup (during its most successful years during 1973-1975) saw the exit of Milano, resulting in Tice as the sole vocalist, with Jimmy Economou replacing Paul Balbi on drums. Ex-Band of Light slide guitarist Norm Roue joined Buffalo in late 1974, but at the start of 1975 John Baxter was dismissed from the band - an event seen as the catalyst of Buffalo's decline. Baxter was replaced by Karl Taylor, who recorded on the Mother's Choice album. By 1976, both Roue and Taylor had departed the band and were replaced by Chris Turner and Colin Stead - although Stead's spell with the band was very brief. The final lineup change also occurred in 1976 with Ross Sims replacing Peter Wells.

Breakup and subsequent projects

After Buffalo disbanded, several members went on to other projects. Peter Wells formed Rose Tattoo and had a solo career. Dave Tice went to the United Kingdom to join the Count Bishops but returned to Australia to work as a solo artist and as a member of The Headhunters. He is currently playing in the Dave Tice Band and with ex AC/DC bassist Mark Evans as Tice & Evans. John Baxter played with Boy Racer and Southern Cross. Alan Milano was also a member of Southern Cross. Chris Turner went on to a long career in the Sydney music scene (including various musical projects with Peter Wells) and is also involved with Big Rock Records.Their song "Writing on the Wall" was used as an underlying sample for the song "Gold Rush" by the Quiet Village


The band's back catalogue was re-released in Australia by Aztec Music in a re-mastered and extended form.


  1. Allmusic, accessed 27 December 2007
  2. DaveTice

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