The Angels need no introduction. At the forefront of the Australian music scene for the past 40 years, the band is currently on the road to celebrate. A couple of weeks ago, I got the opportunity to sit down with John Brewster, rhythm guitarist for the band, to chat about their illustrious history and how touring around has changed over the years. As you would expect, being a band for so long there has been quite a few highs and lows throughout their time together, most recently the sad passing of Doc Neeson. Yet Brewster feels that this touring line-up is up there with some of the best incarnations they’ve had over the years.
“It’s quite astounding to think we are celebrating 40 years. Rick (my brother), Doc and I started the band in 1974 and although there has been some line-up changes over the years, it’s in a really healthy state at the moment. It’s quite unbelievable, we are selling out venues and we’ve loved it. From the moment Dave Gleeson joined the band, we’ve done two new albums and we’ve got all creative again. Doc didn’t want to go into the studio and that was very frustrating, so having Dave around has been fantastic. This period is one of the happiest times the band has ever known.”
Talk the Talk is the Angels’ twenty-second studio release and the second in the last two years. The catalyst behind the band’s increased productivity has been through the inclusion of Dave Gleeson, who is now fronting the band, and Brewster feels that this latest release is one of the band’s greatest achievements in recent years.
“Rick and I have always produced the Angels albums and what I love about Talk the Talk is that everybody has been involved with this creative process. It was very much an evolving album. We went into the album with just sketches of songs and came out with one of the best albums we’ve ever made. In a sense it’s like a return to the old days where you have five people that really want to be there, pulling together to make a team. It may sound corny but it’s a great working environment to be in at the moment.”
Over the years The Angels have etched themselves into the Australian landscape and have shared the stage with many bands. Sharing just the tip of the iceberg, Brewster reminisces fondly: “Supporting David Bowie on his first tour in 1978 (we were handpicked) was pretty memorable and something that I will never forget. Playing countless shows with AC/DC with both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson was also great fun. It’s been a great career thus far and I think we will be celebrating 50 years in 2024. There’s no signs of stopping yet and it’s still as fun as it was back in 1974.”
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the band, two box-sets have been released showcasing 40 live and 40 studio tracks – the ultimate collection for the true fan in all of us. Playing at the Gateway Hotel on July 11, Brewster cannot wait to get back to Geelong and on stage again. Having played many gigs in Geelong before, it is a homecoming of sorts for one of Australia’s finest rock acts. Expect to hear all your favourites that have become the soundtrack to our lives over the years.
When&Where: Gateway Hotel, Corio – July 11
Written by Tex Miller