Sunnyboys Celebrate 40 Years!

Sunnyboys Celebrate 40 Years!

sunnyboys oz rock

Sydney's much-loved Sunnyboys continue their remarkable comeback with the announcement of a 40th Anniversary tour in February, and the forthcoming release of Sunnyboys40, which compiles the four tracks from their iconic 1980 Phantom Records EP – the record that overnight brought them national attention – with four hotly anticipated new tracks. Before those come around though, next week sees the release of a limited edition blue vinyl pressing of the band's classic first album from 1981 – featuring "Happy Man", "Alone With You" and more - it comes with a limited edition black t-shirt specially for #AusMusicTshirtDay with $5 of each sale going to Support Act. Get it here. 

Sunnyboys came out of Sydney's electric post-Radio Birdman scene, in the peak period of Australia's pub rock explosion. Indeed not only was that first EP released on a label run by Birdman's original manager, but Radio Birdman frontman Rob Younger had played drums for the band when they first started rehearsing! You could hear Birdman's influence in their sound as well, but what gave Sunnyboys the edge over other groups working the same style at the time was a lightness of touch, a distinct and undeniable melodic sense, a youthful exuberance, and of course the songwriting of teenage frontman Jeremy Oxley.  
The band, which played its first show August 15  1980, opening for the Lipstick Killers (on a bill with other local luminaries including Slaughterhouse 5, featuring future AC/DC biographer Murray Engleheart on drums and Celibate Rifles/Eastern Dark legend James Darroch on bass) went from 0 to 100 in the space of twelve months. Their much-loved self-titled debut for Mushroom stands as a testament to not only their enduring success but their enduring appeal.
Produced – as had been the Phantom EP – by early Australian rock icon Lobby Loyde, the album provided a crisp, full-bodied and textured outlet for Jeremy Oxley's great songs. And "Happy Man" and "Alone With You" were the figurative tip of the iceberg; look a bit deeper and you find gems like "I'm Shaking", "Tunnel of Love" and "I Can't Talk To You". There's a freshness of sound and an incredible honesty to these songs. Written by a teenager, they tell of social anxieties, and an awkwardness with the opposite sex that countless kids no doubt identified with. "Trouble in My Brain" suggested something even deeper, and took on greater resonance when Jeremy's profound mental health issues became known years later. While the songs were for the most part catchy and upbeat – reflecting the band's 60s and punk era influences - the likes of "My Only Friend" and the majestic "Let You Go" had a sombreness that again reflected an overlooked aspect of Radio Birdman's influence on Sydney at the time. (Compare these Sunnyboys songs to Birdman's "Love Kills", and "Miss You Too Much "by Birdman songwriter and guitarist Deniz Tek's short-lived band the Visitors, whose bass player Steve Harris played keyboards on Sunnyboys' first album and who were posthumous label mates with Sunnyboys on Phantom).  

The long-awaited vinyl reissue of Sunnyboys will be followed at the end of November by Sunnyboys40 – a new record - and in February by the Sunnyboys40 tour. The record, which will be released on all formats (the limited edition vinyl edition will come with a hardbound photo book), features the four songs from the aforementioned Phantom EP – the band's first release – together with four new recordings.
The four EP tracks are gems one and all, and only a rerecorded "Alone With You" would appear on that first album. Opener "Love To Rule" is one of the band's best tough pop tunes and could easily have been a hit single, while "What You Need" is a great 60s-style cruncher, and "The Seeker" combines sombreness with a heavy desperation that makes it a singular song in the band's catalogue and one of their best.

Of the new recordings, Jeremy Oxley says "These new and revitalised songs take it back to the reason behind the band in the first instance. The 40 years in between is nicely depicted in the change in voice while the energy and craftsmanship is still there in the sound, albeit a little fuller and rounder. I guess, it's just like us too really… " Amongst the four are two previously unrecorded tunes. There is also a new version of "Lovers (On Another Planets Hell)" from the band's third album Get Some Fun, and thrillingly, a new version of the great lost Jeremy tune "Can't You Stop". "Can't You Stop" was originally recorded by Jeremy's short-lived outfit the Fishermen in 1986, and is likely unheard by most Sunnyboys fans.

Sunnyboys (Limited Edition Light Blue Vinyl) is out November 1 and can be pre-ordered here.

Dates for the February Sunnyboys40 tour as below, and presale and other details are here.

Torquay Hotel, Surf Coast, Vic
Friday 7 February 2020
special guests Painters and Dockers
The Forum, Melbourne
Saturday 8 February 2020
special guests Painters and Dockers
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Friday 14 February 2020
special guests Painters and Dockers
Twilight at Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Saturday 15 February 2020
special guests Rocket Science
The Shed, Aussie World, Sunshine Coast
Friday 21 February 2020
special guests Painters and Dockers
Miami Marketta, Gold Coast
Sunday 23 February 2020
special guests Painters and Dockers

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