Photo: Emmy Etie
Recorded and mixed by Branko Cosic
Recorded at The Tivoli, Brisbane, 23rd June 2017
Radio Birdman was one of the first Australian independent bands to carry the punk label. The name comes from a misheard The Stooges lyric from the song “1970” (the actual lyric is “radio burnin’”).
They formed in Sydney, 1974 with Deniz Tek and Rob Younger wanted to create a band that challenged the commercial mainstream whilst being completely uncompromising. With the addition of Pip Hoyle on keys, Ron Keeley playing drums and bassist Carl Rorke, Radio Birdman started playing DIY shows in rented garages and community spaces after being rejected from multiple venues.
Once signing with Trafalgar Records, the band released their debut, 1977’s Radios Appear to critical acclaim, leading them to expand their touring circuit to include Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide. When Sire Records president Seymour Stein came to Australia to sign Brisbane punk band The Saints, he saw Radio Birdman and immediately invited them to join his label.
The band moved their base of operations to London, and toured extensively in the UK and Europe, both headlining and as support for Sire label-mates the Flamin Groovies. Their overseas success was short-lived as Sire Records began having financial difficulties and were forced to drop Radio Birdman and many other bands from their label.
Without a label, with no tour support and no distribution for Radios Appear, the band continued on, while suffering deteriorating interpersonal relations. Radio Birdman played one last show at Oxford University in June 1978, after which the band split up – on the eve of an explosion of independent music in Australia, which they had played a large role in creating.
Airing details: Originally via Zed Digital, 7-8pm, Sunday 7th of January 2018.
Show production and engineering: Reuben Aptroot.