Doc Neeson Tribute

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Doc Neeson Tribute

There have been many great frontmen throughout the years of Australian rock and roll. Few, however, came with more grit and rock menace than Doc Neeson. It only seems appropriate that Cherry Bar will play royal host to a tribute show for the late, great frontman. Rock… thy will be done.
Hey Alton, thanks for taking the time to talk with Forte about the upcoming Doc Neeson Tribute at Cherry Bar. Obviously the passing of Doc is still fresh, particularly for fans. What role did Doc play in your life?
Okay, so I’ll begin by just expressing exactly what Doc and The Angels mean to me and the other guys in the band. We come from what I believe to be a special time (’70s/’80s). You had Countdown on Sunday nights and rock was king. You had so many great Aussie bands at the time, but for me personally, The Angels stood apart. You had this raw energy that was so typically Aussie and up the front you had Doc, a madman with an amazing presence. He had this stare that would cut through you. To me, he was what a frontman should be.
I don’t think we have frontmen like that anymore, who are commanding in every way. Without sounding too wanky, The Angels really were the soundtrack to my formative years. They were also the very first band I ever saw live as a 15-year-old.
Tell us about the ‘one-off local band’. Is it comprised of Angels fanatics?
The band for this gig came about as a group of mates that have played together since high school in 1990. We actually put together an Angels tribute show some 10 years ago. We played some great gigs here in Melbourne and interstate. When we heard of Doc’s passing, we thought we can’t let this just go by without doing something to honour Doc and to be part of something special.
How did you find the members and establish the correct mix? Also, how has the rehearsal and preparation been so far?
Rehearsals are coming along easier than expected. When we decided to do it, I thought ‘Oh shit, I can’t remember any of these songs’. But when we got together and starting jamming them, it really was like riding a bike. My hands just naturally knew where to go. And it was the same for the other guys. And as we as a band have played together for some 20 years, it really was just a case of blowing out the cobwebs.
Is there a bit of pressure paying tribute to Doc, or is it just about getting together and having a beer and paying homage?
Yes, the night for us is about getting together, having a beer and celebrating someone I believe to be the greatest Aussie frontman. But at the same time, there is a lot of pressure, cos if there’s one dude in that crowd who is as passionate about The Angels as we are, you want to do it right. You want to do it justice. You want that person to walk away at the end of the night saying “Fuck yeah dude!”
It is not only a tribute to Doc, but also a fundraiser. Tell us more.
Of course this night came about as a tribute to Doc and The Angels, but if we can pack that joint and raise as much money as we can for the Cancer Council, then we can walk away at the end of the night knowing that we actually did something special. It wasn’t just a group of mates jammin’ The Angels to a bunch of pissheads in a bar. It actually meant something.
There are some other bands including the Black Aces playing on the night. Can you take us through how the night will unfold?
The night’s gonna kick off with the Black Aces playing a set of their favourite Angels numbers and then we’re gonna do the same, with some special guests getting up to sing along. Who those special guests will be… well, I suggest you come along as it will not disappoint.
At what stage of the night will we be hearing “No way, get fucked…” bellow out from the crowd?
To answer your question on when you will be hearing the chants of “No way, get fucked, fuck off”, I don’t think there is any question. What other way would there be to end the night?
For those who are stuck in the uggs and trackies this winter, particularly where there might be a drive from regional areas involved, why should they get out to this event?
For those who are stuck in their trackies and uggies, sitting by the heater watching the footy and wondering whether they should go out – fuck yeah, they should get off their arses and come down. Yes, to have a beer. Yes, to raise money for a worthy cause, but also to see what great Aussie rock ’n’ roll is all about and what it represents to our culture.
We need to keep what Doc and so many others represented alive cos I think in the modern day a lot of people have forgotten. Yes Doc may be gone, but we can’t let his legacy and Aussie rock ’n’ roll be buried with him.
Anything you would like to add?
No way, get fucked, fuck off!
When&Where: Cherry Bar, Melbourne – August 16