Listen to track sample

STEVE CHEERS

SOUNDS OF THEN (THIS IS AUSTRALIA)

from the SINGLE album.

DD26 – STEVE CHEERS – SOUNDS OF THEN (THIS IS AUSTRALIA)

Cutting my musical teeth in the ‘80s meant that I spent my weekends out seeing the great Australian bands of the era, and spending all my available cash on their albums. I remember buying GANGgajang’s first album with great excitement, as they were a supergroup formed from other bands like The Riptides and The Angels. I was fascinated by what their name meant, and also by the fact that what I considered the best song on the album, THE SOUNDS OF THEN, didn’t get a run as a single until number five. They didn’t even bother doing a video for it until years later, well after it had become an anthem for the Aussie culture.

 

A few years back I was working at my children’s school fete, and I was challenged to sing a song at the karaoke stall. Knowing that Mark ‘Cal’ Callaghan from GANGgajang was around somewhere (his kids went to the same school) was too much for me to resist, and so I chose SOUNDS OF THEN.  Almost as soon as I started singing Cal came running out of the canteen behind me (as I remember it carrying a scone, but Mark disputes this). The whole fete literally stopped and held their breath waiting for a reaction - who was this upstart who dared to sing a karaoke version of a classic song in front of the bloke that actually wrote and sang it? What blasphemy! In a moment of awkwardness during the lead break, I may have even declared to the world over the microphone that I preferred my rendition! As it turned out Cal was just fascinated there was a karaoke version of his song - he laughed, threw nopunches, and we have been mates since.

 

I brought the song to a few Cowpoke rehearsals over the years, but we never could quite make it work for us. So when I started working on songs for my own album one of the first things I did was to get out the 8 track and throw down a new version of the song. Same melody, but with different chords and feel. I had joked for years to Cal that one day I was going to cover his song, but I’m sure he never really believed me. So I think he was surprised with my demo - mainly surprised that he actually liked it!

 

When I started throwing songs at my producer Herm to consider for the album, he loved it too! Herm’s theory is that if you start with a classic song you can’t go wrong. So with the benefit of a great band, we tracked it with the new feel and sent it to Cal who gave us the ‘thumbs up’. I couldn’t be happier with the end result. And being a great Australian Heritage song, it just seemed an easy choice as the first single off the album.