The Band

2017


The wise amongst us have always said ”never say never” so with the spirit of that in mind..’here we go again!’.
I’m very excited to be going out again as Rose Tattoo, 100% adrenalin fueled Aussie rock ‘n’ fucking roll, played in the traditional Aussie way with passion and total commitment to the moment.
As there is no permanent Rose Tattoo line up at the moment, until Demarco gets out, I have assembled the finest bunch of rogues, worthy to wear the colours, to accompany me into the fray.
Dai Pritchard on slide off course, in my eyes he has no equal.
Second guitar is Bob Spencer, a monster of a player, one of the greatest players I have ever seen and has been a close friend, brother and ally for the past forty years.
Mark Evans on bass, his pedigree is enshrined in Aussie rock history.
Keeping the seat warm for Demarco is the legendary drummer John ‘Watto’ Watson, another monster of a player, together the boys and I will continue Rose Tattoo’s legacy.
You the loyall supporters and you the newly found friends deserve nothing but the best and that’s just what you will get!..Be there or be square! …Ango. 

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About Rose Tattoo

Rose Tattoo is an Australian rock and roll band, now led by Angry Anderson, that was formed in Sydney in 1976. Their sound is hard rockmixed with blues rock influences, with songs including “Bad Boy for Love”, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw”, “Nice Boys”, “We Can’t Be Beaten” and “Scarred for Life”. Their first four albums were produced by Harry Vanda and George Young who also worked with AC/DC. They disbanded in 1987, subsequently reforming briefly in 1993 to support Guns N’ Roses on an Australian tour. They reassembled again from 1998 and have since released two more studio albums.

According to Australian rock music historian Ian McFarlane, Rose Tattoo are “one of the most revered bands of all time. The Tatts played peerless, street-level heavy blues with the emphasis on slide guitar and strident lyric statements”. Guns N’ Roses, L.A. GunsKeelNashville Pussy, Motosierra, Pud Spuke Helen Schneider, and the Uruguayan band The Knight’s Night have covered Rose Tattoo songs. On 16 August 2006, they were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. Six former members have died in recent years including four of the original recording line-up, Dallas Royall (1991), Peter Wells (2006), Ian Rilen (2006), Mick Cocks (2009), and Lobby Loyde (2007), who was a member between October 1979 and September 1980, and Neil Smith (2013), who played bass temporarily prior to Loyde.


2006

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In the category of ´cult bands` Rose Tattoo has been at the top of the pile for years. The raw style of blues rock that the Australians manage to create out of a hot mix of slide guitars, pounding hooks with sharp and tight rhythm along with the unmistakeable voice of the front man Angry Anderson is what gives the fans a welcome feast in what is today a fast food orientated music business. The best thing about Rose Tattoo is: The band can take a punch and are full of vitality, they put every kick in the face behind them and still have the energy to carry on and deliver a new quality product. Their new album, Blood Brothers is not only a true to the time Rock´n`Roll album that mixes traditional and modern styles in a super high quality but is also a tribute to the band members Peter Wells and Ian Rilen who unfortunately recently lost their lives. In short: Blood Brothers is a manifestation of Rock´n`Roll of the strongest form, powerful, unrelenting and wildly uncompromising. Although the death of his two friends had left a massive hole in the life of singer Angry Anderson, he wanted – especially in respect to Peter Wells – to keep the band alive. Angry explains. “Peter said to me: You have to make the choice, but my opinion is that Rose Tattoo should still carry on after my death.“ and with this he saw that it was his duty to carry on the work that his friend had done over the years. „At fi rst I wasn’t too sure whether I could carry on the work with Rose Tattoo, but now with the experience taken from this album, I know that Peter is still with us and lives in our songs.“ This is why Blood Brothers sounds so typically down to earth and done with the hand. The current line-up of the band consists of Angry Anderson (vocals), Mick Cocks (Guitar), Steve King (Bass), Paul De Marco (Drums) and newcomer Dai Pritchard (Guitar), a group of people who know how to produce hand made Rock´n`Roll of the fi nest Australian sort which in the thirtieth year of their existence leaves nothing to falter. The new album was produced by Mark Opitz in ´Studio 301`, Sydney, Australia.

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With Blood Brothers Rose Tattoo have managed to produce an album that equals the two predecessors 25 To Life (2000) and Pain (2002), so that the musicians after a long break are able to impressively return for the new millenium. The new album is full with lively rock numbers, that just stick in the brain and impress the fun the band members have in their music. For example in the songs ´Man about Town`, ´Nothing To Loose` or ´Sweet Meat` cracking riffs are met with straight-line grooves just to rock the listener’s heart. The moving song ´Wonder Why` is excellent with its dragging rhythm, addictive slide guitar and the unmistakeable vocals from Angry Anderson. With the gripping song ´Once In A Lifetime` the band remembers the massive merits of former band members, and with the previously released song ´Black-Eyed Bruiser`, which originally came out of the work of the Australian composer duo Harry Vanda/George Young along with Steve Wright (The Easybeats) and was a massive hit in 1974, they remember Peter Wells.

That Anderson not only writes about life as a rock musician, but is also an expert of history and can see beyond the borders of the music business is documented in the track ´One For All (1854)`, which tells the story of the ´Eureka-Stockade-rebellion` of the miners from Ballarat in November 1854, the only armed rebellion in Australian history. This was the rebellion where the community who demanded a democratic reform were crushed by the British military and local police force on December 3rd 1854. With all these songs Rose Tattoo prove: With all this traditional infl uence they really are one of the most unusual rock formations in rock history.

Biography

It was the year of 1976, as Peter Wells, former bass player of the Sydney band, Infamous Buffalo, went on the search for partners to start an aggressive new Street Rock´n`Roll band. The only condition: All members had to have tattoos, short hair and the same clothing style. At the same time in Melbourne there was a singer by the name of Angry Anderson, who’s voice reminded you of a young Rod Stewart. Anderson met with Wells and the chemistry between them hit off straight away.

With a blues-rock type sound, which reminded of the Stones and Faces, Rose Tattoo performed their fi rst gig on the evening of New Years Day in 1976 and shortly thereafter signed their fi rst deal with Albert Productions, the fi rm known as the Australian Hard Rock label where bands such as AC/DC and the Angels had also found their home. The in-house producers of the fi rm were the legendary Harry Vanda and George Young who had made their name with the Easybeats. The fi rst Tattoo single ‘Bad Boy For Love’, hit the radio like a rocket. In 1978 followed the self titled debut album, that in the meantime has been re-named Rock’n’Roll Outlaws.

In the early years of their career, the band spent all of their time on the road until 1981 where they released their second album Assault and Battery. Rose Tattoo had meanwhile developed into a form of Rock’n’Roll-Samurai: Angry regularly lost consciousness on stage or just stood whilst covered in blood and emotionally overwhelmed in front of the crowd. Fitting to this the band released their third album Scarred for Life (1982), where the title spoke more than a thousand words. After tours with Aerosmith and ZZ Top, in 1983 everything came to a halt. It was only ten years later that they got back together when their faithful fans Guns N’Roses, who had in the meantime covered ‘Nice Boys’, asked them to re-form and open their 1993 Australian tour.

On the evening before their performance at Calder Park in Melbourne Slash and Duff got together on stage with Anderson & Co. In 1999 Rose Tattoo fi nally presented themselves in Europe, playing several spectacular concerts under the motto ´Songs like a Hurricane 3` (feat. Böhse Onkelz, Saxon & Danzig). Something similar happened just a year later when the band made an appearance at the Wacken Open Air festival in 2000 showing the many young metalheads how real Rock´n´Roll is forged.

The musicians used the excellent atmosphere with over 25,000 Wacken fans to record songs for their live album 25 To Life. „We were a little nervous, but at the same time totally motivated to give our best“, Anderson remembered. „We went out on the stage and said: No matter what happens, today we are going to give everything. The atmosphere was really overwhelming.“ Anderson & Co. had already hit German stages in the previous summer with great club shows.

Finally they returned to Australia to compose the material for the highly praised album Pain which was then released in 2002. Due to the heavy illness of Peter Wells, further plans fort he band were put on ice, Wells passed away in March 2006, in October 2006, the former Bass player of the band Ian Rilen also lost his life.


2002

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There have probably been more sophisticated explanations in the annals of rock music as to why a mature and experienced musician may feel that he has a vocation for rock ‘n’ roll, but here’s Pete Wells’ reply: “What else can you do in Australia but write rock songs?” he asks with amusement. “People always think everything’s so exciting over here, when in fact it’s dead boring. There are no crocodiles here, with the exception of Angry Anderson perhaps, and I’ve never run into Crocodile Dundee.”Pete Wells is the guitarist and songwriter with Rose Tattoo, one of the hottest temptations since the invention of the electric guitar, while the above mentioned Angry Anderson is the group’s vocalist. Anderson, the band’s visual and acoustic focus thanks to his conspicuous appearance, is a real live wire. His raw, whiskey-soaked voice releases pure adrenaline, lending expression and ferocity to Rose Tatttoo’s straightforward material.

“My voice is a gift from God,” Anderson comments on his talent. “That’s nothing to do with me, I owe it to a higher power.” Together, Wells, Anderson and their colleagues, Rob Riley (guitar), Steve King (bass) and Paul DeMarco (drums), have just come up with their new studio album, entitled Pain. The record consists of almost sixty minutes of pure, undiluted joy of playing, and one of the current song titles – ‘No Mercy’ – highlights the record’s uncompromising attitude.

Rose Tattoo don’t hold back in other respects either, seeing that numbers like ‘Someone To Fuck’, ‘Hard Rockin’ Man’, ‘The Devil Does It Well’ or ‘One More Drink’ require no further comment. As Anderson roars out his down-to-earth rock prose in no uncertain terms, Rose Tattoo’s musical style is equally blunt and honest. They don’t waste any time beating about the bush but overlay pulsating rhythms with loads of steaming hot guitar riffs, while the bass generally grooves away stoically on one basic note, accompanied by slide guitars and earthy solos.

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“That’s the great thing about our music: there’s no faking it, on our albums you get that authentic, pure rock ’n’ roll feel,” Pete Wells explains the prevailing direction on Pain. “That’s precisely what we’re known for and what people expect from us.” The 16 tracks on Pain were produced by Rainer Haensel at the Karo Studios in Brackel outside Hamburg, with former Victory guitarist Herman Frank (Saxon, Nostradamus, among others) in charge of the mix.

It was in 1976 when Peter Wells, erstwhile guitarist with Infamous Buffalo from Sydney, set out looking for some like-minded spirits to found an aggressive new street rock ‘n’ roll group. His conditions were that all members had to sport tattoos, short hair and dress in the same style. At that time there was a vocalist in Melbourne whose voice was reminiscent of a young Rod Stewart. Anderson met up with Wells, and the chemistry between them was dynamic from the word ‘go’. Featuring a blues rock sound which brought back memories of early Stones and Faces, Rose Tattoo performed their debut gig on New Year’s Eve 1976 and went on to sign a contract with Albert Productions, home of Australian rock acts of the tougher persuasion, like AC/DC and Angels. House producers were the legendary Harry Vanda and George Young, both of Easybeats fame.

The first Tattoo single ‘Bad Boy For Love’ was an instant radio smash, followed by an eponymously titled debut album in 1978, later rechristened Rock ’n’ Roll Outlaws. The band toured tirelessly during the first years of their career and brought out their second recording Assault And Battery in 1981. By this stage, Rose Tattoo had become something of a rock ‘n’ roll samurai: Angry frequently lost consciousness on stage or stood in front of his audience, overcome by emotions and covered in blood. “There used to be a lot of drugs and alcohol involved, but luckily that’s all behind us now. We’re much wiser. Or at least I hope so,” grins Wells.

Suitably, their third album was called Scarred For Life (1982) – a title that says more than a thousand words. After tours with Aerosmith and ZZ Top, the Rose Tattoo story ground to a temporary halt in 1983. It took another ten years before the band, on request of their faithful fans Guns N’Roses, who had recorded a cover version of the Rose Tattoo standard ‘Nice Boys’, got together again, appearing as opening act during the Gunners’ 1993 tour of Australia. During the show at Calder Park in Melbourne, Slash and Duff joined Anderson & Co. on stage for the first time.

In 1999, Rose Tattoo came to Europe at long last, performing a number of spectacular shows during tours like ‘Songs Like Hurricanes 3’, featuring Boehse Onkelz, Saxon & Danzig. This feat was repeated one year later at the Wacken Open Air 2000, where the band proved to the – in sections extremely young – festival crowd what real rock ‘n’ roll is made of. The musicians used the fantastic atmosphere generated by the almost 25,000 punters to record their live album 25 To Life at the Wacken Open Air. “We were a little nervous at first, but at the same time we felt incredibly motivated to really do our best,” Anderson recalls. “We went out on stage and said to ourselves: no matter what happens, we’re going to do the best we can. The atmosphere was really awesome.”

The following summer Angry & Co. set out for another assault on German stages, causing a major stir with their impressive club performances, before the musicians returned to Oz to compose the material for their current album Pain, which is about to be released.


1999

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ROCK THOSE BLUES WITH ROSE TATTOO
Achtung Rock’n’roll Outlaws! The bad boys of rock, Rose Tattoo are heading  your way. The Tatts will be touring Australia in June prior to jetting off  to Europe. This tour sees Geordie Leach returning to the Rose Tattoo fold of  Angry Anderson, Pete Wells, Mick Cocks and Paul Demarco. Geordie replaces bassplayer Ian Rilen who perfored on last year’s national “All Hell Breaks loose” tour.

Sydneysiders will still get the chance to see Ian when his own lassic band “X” supports Rose Tattoo at the Metro. After a short warm up run blasting Australian ears, Rose Tattoo will turn their speakers towards Germany. There they’ll be performing at the premier outdoor festivals with Germany’s most successful band Böhse Unkelz with guests such as Danzig and other international rock icons. The shows include Mannheim, Dortmund and Berlin and for a finale the Tatts will be special guests for German Bike Week, Europe’s largest bike rally and bike show. Obviously, since reforming a year ago Rose Tattoo is slowly rebuilding its international following. Germany is the first big step. Others will follow.

“We’ve got a strong following in Germany, news filtered over there that we’d reformed, when a German promoter approached us to co-headline at the summer festivals how could we refuse!”. explains lead singer Angry Anderson.

Take some time out this June to cure those winter blues with the intensity of the hard rocking Rose Tattoo remedy.


1998

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Over the last few years the sentiment for Rose Tattoo’s classic, Nice Boys as proven to be disturbingly rophetic. There’s no real rebel stance, no attitude or aptitude for that matter. here’s nothing tribal, nothing rotherly or sisterly in terms of group ohesion. Everyone just looks at their eet and moans and wouldn’t know huck Berry from Frank Zappa.

But the remedy is at hand with the return of Rose Tattoo, the loudest, meanest most lock up your entire extended family rock n’ roll band to
ever stalk this earth. And the reunited Tatts are hitting the road for a joint national tour with The Angels in July. But this is not just any lineup of the Tatts, we’re talking the original band with Angry Anderson, Peter Wells, Mick Cocks and for the first time in two decades Ian Rilen who left in 1977 to join what was to become X. Rilen last played with the Tatts on the closing night of Sydney’s hallowed Bondi Lifesaver in 1980 but doesn’t remember a thing about it. The truly missed piece will be original drummer, Dallas “Digger” Royall who passed away in 1989. Big Paul DeMarco is admirably handling the swing in his absence.

“There’s only ever really been three great hard rock n’ roll bands that this country has ever produced.” says Angry Anderson. “There’s been lots of great rock bands but the top of the heap are AC/DC, The Angels and Tattoo and you’ll never see the three of them together on the same bill. The next best thing is to see two of them on a bill together. That makes this tour a really historic event. It hasn’t happened since the early eighties and who knows if it’ll ever happen again? And this is virtually the original Rosie Tatts’ brotherhood.” 

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“I think the world needs a band like Rose Tattoo again in a very real physical sense and in a romantic sense. We never walked away from or were ever embarrassed by or uncomfortable with championing the underdog. You’ve just got to read our lyrics and not only what they say but what they mean to realise that and those sentiments have as much flesh, blood and heart today as they ever did. And so does the band itself. We got together recently for a photo shoot for his tour and it was scary. The bond and the affection was clearly still there after nearly twenty years.”

Rose Tattoo was a matter of destiny from the outset. In 1976 Peter Wells, former bassist with Sydney’s infamous Buffalo who by that point was playing slide guitar was looking around for players for an aggressive new street punk band he was putting together. Each member had to be tattooed, have their hair cropped and dress for unity. Ian Rilen from Band Of Light was Wells’ first recruit.

In Melbourne a singer by the name of Angry Anderson who at times sounded like a young Rod Stewart was looking to get his old band, the notorious Buster Brown back together or at least recapture some sense of it. He met up with Wells and the chemistry was instantaneous. Mick Cocks, a Melbourne cohort of Angry’s joined on rhythm guitar soon after. Dallas “Digger” Royall, another buddy of Angry’s took the drumming stool.

With a sound that proudly owed much to the blues, The Stones and The Faces, the Tatts played their first gig on New Year’s Eve 1976 at Chequers, the same site AC/DC debuted on a few years earlier.

The band’s alien look coupled with the ferocity of their sound and brain busting volume inspired drop dead horror in many and plenty of attention from the boys in blue who had never seen anything like the Tatts on any beat, anytime, anywhere. But that reaction was never the main game. Where the Tatts really struck an artery was in the souls of the real rock n’ roll crowd, the punters who were also tired of the crap on the radio and having to sit through a disco for hours to hear just one song that spoke to their gut. These folks instinctually understood the Tatts and didn’t require anything to be explained to them. The outlaws had their band. Finally.

The Tatts were signed up by Albert Productions, the home of Australian hard rock n’ roll who also had AC/DC and The Angels on their books. On top of that the organisation’s house producers were the world famous legendary duo Harry Vanda and George Young of Easybeats’ fame.

Tattoo’s first single, Ian Rilen’s Bad Boy For Love was an instant radio hit though Rilen departed before it was released. It was followed by the Tatt’s debut self titled album in 1978 which featured Anderson associate from his Buster Brown days, Geordie Leech on bass. The next few years were spent tirelessly touring the country driving publicans crazy with their decibel hunger and fans nuts with their no bullshit, death before dishonour stance.

Their second album, Assault and Battery came in 1981 at which time the Tatts went on a search and destroy mission across Europe. They were rightly hailed as the new metal gurus and everyone from ZZ Top to Iron Maiden came to check out their live savagery and to steal a line from The Who’s Pete Townshend “get their ears raped”. The band were front page material in the highly influential English music weekly circuit and critics were raving about the first album which was retitled Rock n’ Roll Outlaws and the Assault and Battery effort. They even had the distinction of being the loudest band since Led Zeppelin to play London’s famed Marquee Club. Mick Cocks left at this point and was replaced by former Dallimore guitar beast, ‘Rockin’ Robin Riley. Tattoo were now like some rock n’ roll samurai. Angry regularly passed out on stage and bloodied himself from the emotion of it all. The third album, 1982’s Scarred For Life said it all.

The next stage of their world domination (or should that be world deafenation) was America where they toured extensively with Aerosmith and ZZ Top. One show in Indiana was caught by a mesmerised kid called William Bailey who later went by the name of Axl Rose. Wells called time and left in 1983 as did Royall.

A decade later following an approach from arch fans, Guns n’ Roses who had recorded the Tatts’ Nice Boys the band reunited with Paul Demarco on drums and opened for the Gunners on their 1993 Australian tour. The night before they played Calder Park in Melbourne Slash and Duff from Gunners joined the Tatts on stage at the Palace. It was a meeting of two rock n’ roll generations but it was the Gunners who were awestruck. Now the Tatts are spreading their unique rock n’ roll fever and fervour again.

“It’ll be good to get really rowdy with some sex, drugs and other people’s amps to blow up” grins Tatt’s founder, Peter Wells. “It’ll be ugly and loud. Some of us more than others.”

Ray Martin and charity challenges? Nah, forget it. Angry curls a lip and exposes what were once literally chiselled teeth.

“It’s like waking up a dragon” he smiles knowingly. “Everybody knows that dragons always have fire.”

And all hell will break loose. Fact.

MURRAY ENGLEHEART


1993

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Rose Tattoo began as a dark, brooding vision conjured up by Peter Wells, the imposing figure who had played bass with Sydney street punks, Buffalo. What he wanted to create was the loudest, most aggressive rock ‘n’ roll outfit the planet had ever seen. Inspired by Ry Cooder’s work with Frank Zappa associate, Captain Beefhart, Peter switched to slide guitar and set about forging a brutal, slashing style.
This move created a vacancy in his monster band vision for a bass player and Ian Rilan was drafted. A tiny howler of a vocalist from Melbourne by the name of Angry Anderson who had fronted the notorious Buster Brown – which featured later AC/DC drummer, Phil Rudd and bass player Geordie Leach who would end up on Tattoo’s rank – and a young guitarist, Mick Cook’s were looking for just the sort of band Peter was working on. On one of Angry’s recruiting trips to Sydney he and Mick got together with Peter and Ian and blasted out in a basement in Petersham and Rose Tattoo was born.

The band were round off with another Melbourne dweller, Dallas “Digger” Royal on drums. The band’s first “official” show was on New Year’s Eve 1976 at Sydney’s Bondi Lifesaver and it wasn’t just the volume and aggression that drew attention.
For the first six months or so their existence, Tattoo were a sullen glare of cropped fluoro pink and orange hair in denim and black with tattoos that gave them an almost tribal look. Guns ‘n’ Roses took on a similar look almost a decade later. The police force who were yet to hear of the Sex Pistols reckoned they had stumbled across a gang of aliens and kept the band under close…er…scrutiny. Pub owners were terrified that booking the band would just invite rioting and violence. For sometime their only two haunts in Sydney were the Bondi Lifesaver and Chequers. Soundwise, Tattoo played a skull crushing mutation of Litte Richard, The Rolling Stones, The Faces and Chuck Berry all driven by Wells’ gutteral slide, Angry’s field holler vocals and a ferocity that made audiences as pals as the skin of the band themselves. Bon Scott and Angus Young regularly joined the band on stage and it was on their recommendation that former Easybeats and production legends for the famed Albert label, Harry Vanda and George Young first went to see them. The pair liked what they witnessed and produced the band’s first single for Alberts, the 1977 true classic, Bad Boy For Love. Ian Rilen who wrote the song left just after the release of the single which much to everones surprise was a hit.

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By the time the band recorded their first album in 1978 which was filled with living, breathing and often bleeding tales of street gang violence, drug dealers and the simple, soul saving joy of rock ‘n’ roll, Geordie Leach had been recruited to consolidate the linup.

Guns ‘n’ Roses later recorded the album’s Nice Boys and subsequent single were Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw and One Of The Boys which got the band banned on the Countdown programme after Angry and Mick Cooks “kissed” during the song (they were on fact swapping chewing gum).
A version of The Kinks’ You Really Got Me was recorded but never released. Around 1979, Mick and Georgie took leave of absence and the band continued on as a tour piece with guitar godfather and the early seventies’ leader of Melbourne’s infamous Coloured Balls Lobby Loyd on incredibly loud bass.
That lineup went to went to the U.S. in 1980 and recorded in the Hollywood studios of expatriot Australian hard rock king, Billy Thorpe. Those sessions which included the use of synthesisers and backward guitar techniques were the advance blueprint for the 1982 album. Scared For Life have never been released and remain in the vaults. In 1981, the band regrouped, recorded the Assault And Battery album and carried out a search and destroy mission on Europe and the U.K. to capitalise on the glowing response imported copies of the first album had received in those parts.
The Tatts were greeted as metal’s new gurus despite the fact they were closer to the Stones then to Judas Priest. They played at London’s legendary Marqee (the club’s manager reportedly reakoned the only band to eclipse Tattoo’s volume was Led Zeppelin), terrified a television studio audience in Bremen, Germany with their onslaught and made it into the cover of the then prestigious music paper, Sound. The tour highlight had to be an unforgettable set at the Reading Festival during which Angry headbutted the amp stacks until blood poured from his forehead. Mick Cooks left the band during the tour and mountainous former Dallimore guitar beast, Rockin’ Rob Riley was hastily flown to Europe.
Back in Australia in 1982, the band recorded the Scarred For Life album once more with producers, Vanada and Young, before heading off to America for dates with Aerosmith and ZZ Top. When they returned the band again hit the Australian traps but Peter Wells, Dallas Royall (who died of cancer a few years ago) and Rob Riley left soon after, Angry carried on with Georgie Leach and recorded the slightly more reflective Southern Cross album in 1984.
Since that time the Rose Tattoo legend has expanded to massive proportions. From Texas with a band called Poison 13 who not only sounded like the Tatts but looked like them as well to Mexico and of course Los Angeles with the likes of Johhny Crash and Guns ‘n’ Roses, the spirit of Rose Tattoo is a magical aura. I never expect to see the like of them again.

Linernotes for the “Nice Boys don´t play Rock´n´Roll” Compilation 1992 by Murray Engleheart

 

1982

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“Imagine if the Dirty Dozen or The Wild bunch ever traded in their artillery for guitars and you’ll have some idea of the rock dream we’re being hauled into. Swaggeringuntamed rock’n’roll desperadoes with hearts of gold, brawling barbarians putting the frighteners on rock’s Artypretenders but never hurting nobodywho don’t deserve it.”
Garry Bushell – Sounds (UK)Theirs was indeed a baptism by fire. Assaulting the battered stage of Sydney’s celebrated Bondi Lifesaver on December 31st 1976, ROSE TATTOO made their debut. New Years Eve. By the time they’d crashed back-stage, they’d been hailed as the true contenders for the hard rock crown.Enough of the pretenders. It was time for a rock ‘n’ roll band with all the swing of a fence paling in a street fight to conquer the boards. And from that first hot ‘n’ sweaty summers night, this menacing outfit, this band of rock ‘n’ roll outlaws, this feared and revered specter of the ROSE TATTOO was in control. It had to happen, of course, when some of the heaviest elements Oz rock has ever celebrated banded together.

On vocals (or “throat” as the credits go): Angry Anderson. The street-fightin’ product of Melbourne’s working class gang wars, the five foot two inch tattooed lizard had fronted BUSTER BROWN, one of the rawest, most fearsome rock ‘n’ roll bands the skins and the sharpies had ever paid homage to.

On slide guitar: Pete Wells…..or …H.G. as he’s reverently referred to. A six foot plus man-mountain of tattooed tapestries. An accomplished tattooist and a guitarist of ill-repute having come through the embattled ranks of BUFFALO – one of the dirtiest heavy metal bands Australia ever produced.

On drums: Dallas ‘Digger’ Royall – a former Army chopper pilot who’s spent the past fifteen years thrashing the kit & the bottle. A drummer with power, precision and accuracy of a commando – even after a 32 hour binge – innocents tend to avoid him. The eyes say it all.

Bass: Geordie Leach. A killer bassist who works hand in fist with ‘Digger’. He too was the product of Melbourne’s infamous BUSTER BROWN.

Guitar: Rob Riley – a blues based guitarist who’d concreted his reputation with Sydney heavy metal merchants DALLIMORE in the late seventies.

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Catch any members of ROSE TATTOO – and recognition will be immediate. Sure, they’ve probably spent as much time behind bars as they have under them, but that ain’t necessarily the unifying factor. When it all comes down what really counts is the attitude – and the tatts. The indelibly imprinted ring on the middle finger of their hands, the Rose Tattoo : Rock’n’Roll tatt on their arms. The ultimate (and ever-lasting) symbol of true identification with a bunch of people you love and respect. As Angry explains it, it all comes down to Ying and Yang – the masculine violence of the tattoo coupled with the feminine beauty of the rose. And that respect…….. it don’t come easy.

From the first performance during the dying moments of ’76 until the present day, ROSE TATTOO have proven themselves to be one of the hardest, heaviest, toughest rock ‘n’ roll bands that’s ever stalked the boards. In Australia, they worked the pubs for three years, driving the followers into terminal euphoria. They clobbered the charts with songs like Bad Boy For Love. They were banned from appearing on Countdown (a show with three million viewers every week and a format similar to Top Of The Pops) because of a controversial incident that exploded when Angry planted a passionate kiss on one of his guitarists in a spontaneous display of affection. The incurred the wrath of the law at least once a week and still they turned in the most exhilarating hard rock ‘n’ roll.

Pirates of the highways, their live reputation was astounding. It was a reputation that was reinforced with the release of their magnificent debut album. Featuring songs like Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘n’ Roll), Astra Wally, The Butcher And Fast Eddie (the true story of a fatal Melbourne gang war), Stuck On You, Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw, One Of The Boys and Remedy that first LP was a killer. Recorded in Alberts famed rock ‘n’ roll studio number one by producers Vanda & Young, it was acclaimed as possibly the most “live” studio album ever recorded. Vanda & Young, former Easybeats, had recorded such artists as Stevie Wright, John Paul Young and AC/DC, but it was on this album that they reached their hard rock peak. Turn it up and you could swear you were there, rocking between the stacks, bleeding into the monitors, giving everything you’ve got while The Tatts hurtle into the maelstrom.

Following the Countdown incident and various other controversial situations that only added to their outlaw status, Rose Tattoo were virtually banned by Australian radio. In short, they were not considered “safe”. Undaunted they continued to rock the pubs, sending fans into a frenzy ‘most every night of the week, covering the territory from Perth to Mooloolabah, building upon that fanatical legion of followers.

By 1980, they’d secured European release for their debut album Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw and had scored chart positions in Germany and other territories with songs like One Of The Boys. In the wake of recording their second album Assault & Battery in Sydney (again with Vanda & Young) The Tatts took off to launch their first offensive on the European market. Based in London, they conducted significant and successful headlining tours of Europe (also co-headling with such established bands as ZZ Top). In England, they followed up a monumental tour as support to Rainbow with their own headlining tours of the British Iles. It was that tour with Rainbow that gave The Tatts the support they deserved. Critics hailed The Rosies. Said Brian Harrigan of Melody Maker, “In Angry Anderson they possess potentially one of the more charismatic front men in hard rock.” Other reports were equally as enthusiastic.

In the wake of that tour, Rose Tattoo clobbered the British charts. Magnum Maid reached 14th place on the Oi charts while Out Of This Place hit fifth position on Record World’s Heavy Metal Chart. Over the next few weeks, following their appearance at the famed Reading Festival (third on a bill of eleven on Saturday night), they continued to dominate the British charts. On the heavy metal charts, the Assault & Battery album reached number one (following in the footsteps of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw LP which had taken out the honours a few months earlier). Hailed as the best heavy metal album on 1981, (Sounds) Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw has sown the seeds of mayhem to follow.

By the time The Tatts had really started swinging, the British heavy metal charts looked like their territory, with number one positions notched up for Bad Boy For Love and Assault & Battery while Remedy and Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw single clobbered the top ten. From the day of their arrival in the UK (when they did the first of two successive sell-out gigs at London’s infamous Marquee Club – scoring a widley – viewed spot on the Old Grey Whistle Test in the process) to their last UK date – a headlining appearance at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on Dec 19, The Tatts took Europe by storm. The fact that they had the grip was undisputed. Even on one of the toughest tours of the years, the reviewers had “the new steamy heavy metal excitement” of Rose Tattoo up-staging the “lacklustre” Rainbow.

In December 1981, Rose Tattoo returned to Australia to commence work on their third album. America, they figured, could wait until 1982. But even without touring, they’d already made a severe impression on the American psyche. In Recommended Trax, a reviewer for the influential Gavin Report summed it up: “Crawl into your bomb shelters, here comes Rose Tattoo. After a couple of rounds of AC/DC and Angel City (Australia’s) sending Rose Tattoo over to finish us off.” Obviously he’d read the British live reviews; one of which claimed that Rose Tattoo make Motorhead look like chorus line in a ballet.

Back in Australia, The Tatts ran into trouble. Touring plans were aborted when guitarist Rob Riley lost control of his motorcycle and thrashed his arm. In six months, the band managed only one live appearance, playing to a capacity fanatical audience at Sydney’s Horden Pavillion (fans, upon hearing about the impending event, flew in from as far away as Perth – a distance of some three thousand miles – for that one). Backed up by a massive 42,000 watt sound system, Rose Tattoo decimated the venue.

By July ’82 they were ready to hit the studio again to record their third album with Vanda & Young……..titled Scarred For Life. In the midst of the recording sessions (again at Alberts) the band prepared for a monumental Australian pub tour arranged under the banner of Never Too Loud!

With world-wide release of the third album planned for late September/early October, Rose Tattoo are already planning for their first live assault on America before resuming their European offensive. As Angry said during a UK interview, “We were formed to be the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll band.” The Tatts, hailed as The Best New Band Of The Year by the readers of Kerrang! (the mass circulation British heavy metal magazine), are ready to conquer the world. ‘Cos with this band there is a belief, a commitment, and a conviction. As Angry stated when another dose of hep threatened at strike him down, “No filthy disease is gonna kick me out of this band!”

It’s that no-compromise that has cemented Rose Tattoo’s reputation. Fashion is irrelevant; the combination is bonded in blood and ink and this outfit was born to reign. And if Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King then it’s The Tatts who wield the blade of power. Galvanised and vulcanised, that blade is as dirty as their denims, hard ‘n’ fast as their music and as sharp as their street-wise skulls.

Believe it: The Night Of The Rose Tattoo Is Coming Down…..

OCTOBER 1982

 

1981

Image
On stage, Rose Tattoo look like nothing on earth but Rose Tattoo.
They stand out from the mass of bands in satin pants like a raw steak in a vegetarian restaurant. All those words like raw, uncompromising, savage – they all apply, but they´re not enough. Rose Tattoo have something more than that.
Not only the way they look, although that´s damn riventing. Four tall, gaunt men with unnaturally spikey red hair and the fifth out front stocky and furiously shaven headed aren´t an average sight, even in the realm of Rock´n´Roll excesses. Kohled eyes smeared with sweat, black t-shirts chewed off at the shoulder sticking to their wet torsos, pants that were probably once jeans now so worn-in they´re only hanging onto their wearers out of mutual admiration …. Even that´s not all. Rose Tattoo are really tattooed; they all had tattoos of their own design before they decided to seal the band´s fate with their intricate and oddly beautiful rose tattoos, all based on the theme of a rose and rock´n´roll. Each has an equally intricate ring permanently drawn on one finger, and a pierced ear ring as well.
The band gives an impression of overwhelming masculinity, a totally urban, night time jungle maleness that if considered objectively, would be awe inspiring, making an audience afraid rather than irresistibly drawn to go along with the band. It has something to do with having more than a hint of humor. You get the feeling that if some rich dame accosted them in twenty yards of mink they´d look at her straight in the false eyelashed and say: “What mug shot all the rabbits for ya?”.

All this, and nothing about their music yet. The music is what makes the looks work. If Rose Tattoo looked like that and didn´t deliver, they´d be ridiculous. As it is, they do deliver; in spades.

Read more
Their rock´n´roll pedigrees are excellent. Slide guitarist Peter Wellls spent time with Buffalo, a band of hardnosed rockers who missed out by being both just after and before their time. Ian Rilan played his Mack truck bass with Band Of Light. Singer Angry Anderson of the shaven head spent years with Buster Brown, as did drummer Dallas “Digger” Royal;  the band was renowed for its maniacal intesity. Michael Cocks on second guitar is the youngest member, but in this context this youth means vitality rather that inexperience.

Together, they turn rose Tattoo into tough, hard driving, full on band that barely gives you time to breathe. Angry´s voice is a harsh roar capable of instant reversal into surprising sweetness. Ian Rilan´s bass and Digger´s drumming hurtle the sound along so fast and hard you expect to see steam rising from the bass. Sparks flying from the drumsticks. Michael Cocks guitar fills and runs are always more than just rhythm guitar; he provides the link in an already solid, complete three piece unit for Peter Wells to take off from, sending knife shrap slide slicing down your spine, creating that plummeting elevator sensation in your stomach. And Angry, standing with his legs spread wide, totally caught up, sings rage and fury in a voice like a clenched fist.

Rose Tattoo´s original material varies widely, from the realistic loving tang of “Sweet Rosetta” to the hard, life worn viciousness of “Astra Wally” and “Bad Boy for Love”. They really shine covering the Stones´ “Streetfighter”, sung a la Rose Tattoo: “What can a poor boy do `cept sing with Rose Tattoo”. And it´s not just a bunch of nice middle class kids they´re convincing; Rose Tattoo have played in jails. The prisoners were impressed enough to ask them back; those guys aren´t going to take some naughty boy pose from a pack of phonies.

Rose Tattoo have a single together “Bad Boy for Love”/”Snow Queen” that´ll convince you better than any flat words on paper can. Rose Tattoo live will take you one higher – right out of your head.

“Rose Tattoo are currently so hot it all but scorches the tongue just saying the name.” Gary Bushwell – Sounds Magazine

Such is the acclaim that Rose Tattoo have received in the few months that they´ve beeing britain. They arrived in april to play two sold out shows at London´s Marquee. Their first album “Rock´n´Roll Outlaw” had been reased throughout Europe during the second half of 1980 to favourable response but it wasn´t until january, 1981 that the LP was released in France, the things really started to move.
After six week the album had sold nearly 50.000 copies which gave the group a solid foundation to tour Europe on. After being turned downed by several UK recording companies, the album was finally released by Carreere UK in april which started the buzz going around about some outrageous Australian band covered in tattoos, with a five foot bald lead singer, but as a live act they were an unknown quantity, however any doubts that Rose Tattoo were just another Aussie band following in the way of AC/DC were allayed the moment the band took to the stage.
Angry Anderson described recently by being harrigan of Melody Maker as of the most charismatic front men in hardrock. He is without doubt in a class of his own when it comes to live performance. He struts about the stage living his name to the full excess and harrasing the audience and delivering songs with such forcefullness, that you cannot take your eyes of him for fear of missing something.
The bands music is totally uncompromising and the brilliance of Pete Wells slide guitar playing provides a unique soucre of new energy. The songs are based on real events and because of the nature of the bands respective backgrounds tend to tell of street gangs and scenes of violence the perfect example being the haunting bluesly ballad “Butcher and Fast Eddy”, and also of the “nasty” image that the band have acquired with songs like “Nice Boys”, “One of the Boys” and the album title track “Rock´n´Roll Outlaw”.

Rose Tattoo were formed on december 31st, 1976 a meeting that has been described by both Angry and Pete Wells as a imagical moment. The two of them had been playing in bands at opposite ends of Australia, Angry in Melbourne and Pete in Sydney and both their bands had “bad boy” reputations. Both were trying to form bands that played the music they wanted, until fate threw them together and they discovered that what they were looking for was one another, they recruited Dallas “Digger” Royall on Drums, Geordie Leach on bass and Michael Cocks on guitar and have never looked back.

Rose Tattoo enjoyed considerable success in their native land with a top ten hit, “Bad Boy for Love”. However, although physically enormous, Australia is still a small place in terms of success and having gone as far as they could. They decided to boaden their horizons and set sail for Europe. The first album was selling well and the band were achieving cult status. Within weeks of their arrival on British soil they were topping heavy rock charts doing a sell out tour of the UK and had an album and single in the national charts and were special guest on the massive rainbow tour.
Rose Tattoo´s second album “Assault and Battery” will be released on september 4the, a week after they play at this years Reading Festival.

 

1977

Image
On stage, Rose Tattoo look like nothing on earth but Rose Tattoo.
They stand out from the mass of bands in satin pants like a raw steak in a vegetarian restaurant. All those words like raw, uncompromising, savage – they all apply, but they´re not enough. Rose Tattoo have something more than that.
It´s not only the way they look, although that´s damn riventing. Four tall, gaunt men with unnaturally spikey red hair and the fifth out front stocky and furiously shaven headed aren´t an average sight, even in the realm of Rock´n´Roll excesses. Kohled eyes smeared with sweat, black t-shirts chewed off at the shoulder sticking to their wet torsos, pants that were probably once jeans now so worn-in they´re only hanging onto their wearers out of mutual admiration …. Even that´s not all. Rose Tattoo are really tattooed; they all had tattoos of their own design before they decided to seal the band´s fate with their intricate and oddly beautiful rose tattoos, all based on the theme of a rose and rock´n´roll. Each has an equally intricate ring permanently drawn on one finger, and a pierced ear ring as well.

The band gives an impression of overwhelming masculinity, a totally urban, night time jungle maleness that if considered objectively, would be awe inspiring, making an audience afraid rather than irresistibly drawn to go along with the band. It has something to do with having more than a hint of humor. You get the feeling that if some rich dame accosted them in twenty yards of mink they´d look at her straight in the false eyelashed and say: “What mug shot all the rabbits for ya?”.

All this, and nothing about their music yet. The music is what makes the looks work. If Rose Tattoo looked like that and didn´t deliver, they´d be ridiculous. As it is, they do deliver; in spades.

Their rock´n´roll pedigrees are excellent. Slide guitarist Peter Wellls spent time with Buffalo, a band of hardnosed rockers who missed out by being both just after and before their time. Ian Rilan played his Mack truck bass with Band Of Light. Singer Angry Anderson of the shaven head spent years with Buster Brown, as did drummer Dallas “Digger” Royal;  the band was renowed for its maniacal intesity. Michael Cocks on second guitar is the youngest member, but in this context this youth means vitality rather that inexperience.

Together, they turn rose Tattoo into tough, hard driving, full on band that barely gives you time to breathe. Angry´s voice is a harsh roar capable of instant reversal into surprising sweetness. Ian Rilan´s bass and Digger´s drumming hurtle the sound along so fast and hard you expect to see steam rising from the bass. Sparks flying from the drumsticks. Michael Cocks guitar fills and runs are always more than just rhythm guitar; he provides the link in an already solid, complete three piece unit for Peter Wells to take off from, sending knife shrap slide slicing down your spine, creating that plummeting elevator sensation in your stomach. And Angry, standing with his legs spread wide, totally caught up, sings rage and fury in a voice like a clenched fist.

Read more
Rose Tattoo´s original material varies widely, from the realistic loving tang of “Sweet Rosetta” to the hard, life worn viciousness of “Astra Wally” and “Bad Boy for Love”. They really shine covering the Stones´ “Streetfighter”, sung a la Rose Tattoo: “What can a poor boy do `cept sing with Rose Tattoo”. And it´s not just a bunch of nice middle class kids they´re convincing; Rose Tattoo have played in jails. The prisoners were impressed enough to ask them back; those guys aren´t going to take some naughty boy pose from a pack of phonies.

Rose Tattoo have a single together “Bad Boy for Love”/”Snow Queen” that´ll convince you better than any flat words on paper can. Rose Tattoo live will take you one higher – right out of your head.