Past, Present and Future
A brief look at the history of the Hunters and Collectors from 1981 to 1984.
Author: MMM, Limestone Review.
Date: 24 August 1984.
Original URL: N/A.
“After the departure of Greg Perano and Martin Lubran the remaining members of Hunters & Collectors, still believing they had something valuable to offer the Australian music scene, decided to regroup and compose a new set of songs for the “Jaws of Life” album. The new material is more closely concerned with personal experience; it has a lot to do with ‘Soul’ with a heavy emphasis on voices and big brass melodies. Hunters & Collectors are far more aware of emotion than ever before. The new songs reflect the importance of making contact with people by concentrating in those special moods and feelings that everybody understands.” – Mark Seymour
The regrouped Hunters & Collectors is a new experience. The line-up consists of John Archer, Bass; Geoff Crosby, keyboards; Doug Falconer, drums percussion; Jack Howard, trumpet, backing vocals; Rob Miles, mixer; Mark Seymour, vocals, guitar, lyrics; Jeremy Smith, French Horn and Michael Waters, trombone. The band has changed from a percussive-based epic funk to shorter songs with a swing, jazzy style. Soul. The emphasis is on brass rather than percussion – no small wonder considering the impressive brass line-up. The spirit and vitality of Hunters & Collectors shines through in their live work, the band is working as a brilliant cohesive unit and according to trombonist, Michael Waters, they are much more relaxed and now enjoy their performances enormously.
Past hits are not included in their gigs – with the new line-up this is physically impossible; at some of their performances that has been up to 20 people on stage. Also, the style of their work has changed too much to accommodate this. Onwards and upwards.
The new album is called “The Jaws of Life”. The title refers to the device used to cut people free from car wreckage. “Erkk!” thought I, but understood soon after that this device is responsible for saving thousands of lives. The whole theme of the album revolves around the semi-trailer that was purposely driven into a bar in Alice Springs. Hunters & Collectors were playing the east coast of America at the time and the news that filtered through intrigued them.
On return to Australia Geoff Crosby went to that area to take photographs and put together the album cover. There is happiness and burning vitality in this LP that shines through after a few listens and the whole atmosphere and energy of their live performances is effectively captured. A recent video of a track from their album, “The Slab”, is a very lighthearted affair with a profusion of Fosters and Footie and “more like the people in the band and not like the post-holocaust crap that’s around at the moment”.
“I’m down here in the street, naked in front of God and everyone and I’m beginning to see daylight yawning down there and I’m just sitting here waiting for things to come”.
from The Slab
Hunters & Collectors emerged at the end of 1980 in Melbourne and within weeks had been practically deified by their huge following. They toured extensively throughout Australia and that increased their popularity, but somewhere along the line they became a flag for the hip to wave. This tidal wave of success swept them to England, but the English and Australian rock industries differ greatly. Hunters & Collectors emphasis and commitment to live performance was not considered relevant to Virgin Records or the British rock scene and in the six moths they spent there, they only managed to play for a month. While the industry was busily packaging them as the New Hope, the band spent many months becoming frustrated and demoralised. The whole experience was a disaster for a band so committed to live performance, so disastrous in fact that Martin Lubrin and Greg Perano left the band. The remaining members, having experience of England and being much touted fashion idols, were finally able to work out what they wanted, and took the chance to evolve that which had been denied them before.
“But I’m not sorry if I moved ten tonnes or more and I’m not sorry if I showed you how to wriggle round and round as long as you push me through the door…”
from Carry Me…(I keep falling over).
What can I say – the album is a giant amoung the present crop of pop and the band is meeting enthusiastic audience reaction. Hunters & Collectors will be departing Australia in late September to tour Europe and America equipped now with the experience they lacked before and with a newfound sense of well-being and confidence. Maybe the sky is not the limit. You can catch them at the Uni Bar on Thursday, 30 August.
In ‘The Past’ section, Martin Lubran’s name is spelt incorrectly as Martin Lubrin.
Thanks to Matt for typing this one out for us to enjoy!