|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Groups & Solo Artists|
UK / Australia, 1970-71
Vince Melouney (aka Vince Maloney) (guitar, vocals)
Doug Parkinson (vocals)
Johnny Dick (drums)
Teddy Toi (bass)
If Milesago had a section called "Best Laid Plans" this group would surely get a guernsey. On paper, it looked like a dream team, with four of Australasia's best musicians combining in a 'supergroup' and intent on conquering the world. Given the talent involved, this should have been a great group who did grand things, but, as so often happened in OzRock, the reality proved to be drastically different.
Vince Maloney, Johnny Dick, Teddy Toi and Doug Parkinson were veterans of some of Australia and New Zealand's top bands of the 1960s:
After three-odd years with The Bee Gees in the UK, Vince quit the band over the inevitable "musical differences" and had a short spell with Ashton, Gardner & Dyke (of "Resurrection Shuffle" fame) before landing a solo deal with MCA. He decided to put together a hard rock supergroup in the Led Zeppelin mould, in order to record the album. The first offer went out to Teddy Toi, an old friend and colleague who was doing session work in London at the time. In June 1970, he invited Johnny and Doug to join him in the UK, a trip made possible by the In Focus win in the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds -- the first prize was a trip to England.
They put together a set of strong original material, and cut the album in London, although it was not evenutally released until 1971, just after they had split. They returned to Australia in December 1970 amid a welter of hype. Boasting that they would become the biggest band in the world immediately, the band encountered resistance from a sceptical public, a situation not alleviated by Doug's boast to Go-Set that "In three weeks Fanny Adams will be the best band that ever trod this earth". Perhaps it was simply a case of being an idea before its time (although other groups like The Dave Miller Set were treading this path successfully). In the event, their brand of heavy, blues-prog rock was (so we're told) upstaged by their support bands at the time, apaprently making a mockery of the group's claims.
According to Ian McFarlane, tensions within the band ran high, as one might expect of such an all-star outing. They made some notable appearances, including the Myponga Festival in January 1971, and early in the year MCA released one single from the album, "Got To Get A Message To You" (which was a group original, not the Bee Gees song of the name) backed by "They're All Losers, Honey". But within months of arriving back, the band had self-destructed. The straw that evidently broke the camel's back was a fire at Sydney's Caesar's Palace discotheque, which destroyed all their equipment. Parkinson left under a cloud, and MCA were sufficiently cheesed off with Doug that they effectively banned him from recording for the next two years.
Doug evenutally assembled a new version of In Focus, and later pursued a successful solo career on the rock and club circuit, on TV and on stage. Throughout the 1970s, Melouney worked with a succession of bands, including The Cleves, Flite, Levi Smith's Clefs, the Jeff St John Band, John Paul Young and the All Stars and Rockwell T. James and the Rhythm Aces. In 1999 he was reunited with The Bee Gees for their "One Night Only" concert in Australia -- the first time they had played together since Vince left the band thirty years earlier.
Teddy Toi and Johnny Dick played on Lobby Loyde's solo album Plays with George Guitar, and then joined Loyde in a new version of The Wild Cherries. Teddy moved on to a stint in Sydney supergroup Duck in 1972-73, followed by a couple of years in the final version of The Aztecs, and Johnny enjoyed a long and successful stint as the drummer in The All-Stars, backing Stevie Wright and then John Paul.Young.
The Fanny Adams LP, which is a very fine piece of work, is now a sought-after collector's item, but it has recently been reissued on CD (albeit as a bootleg) by a German label, and if you can find it you won't be disappointed. The thundering "Ain't No Loving Left" is also included on Raven's superb Golden Miles collection.
"Got To Get A Message To You" / "They're All Losers, Honey" (MCA MCA-1184)
Fanny Adams (MCA MAPKS 4069)
"Ain't No Loving Left"
"Sitting On Top Of The Room"
"Yesterday Was Today
"Got To Get A Message To You
"You Don't Bother Me
"They're All Losers Honey"
All tracks written by Vince Maloney / Doug Parkinson / Johnny Dick / Teddy Toi
Produced by Vince Melouney
"... an excellent album, full of heavy progressive hard rock and blues that unfortunately didn't do too much for them, which is a great pity, because they had serious potential to go far." - The Dinosaur Days
Doug Parkinson official website
Vince Melouney official website
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock (Outback Press, 1978)
Chris Spencer & Zbig Nowara
Who's Who of Australian Rock (Five Mile Press, 2002)
Stranded in Paradise (something press, 199?)
New Zealand Music of the 60s and 70s
The Dinosaur Days