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Daryl Braithwaite makes it safely back from the edge
IT'S A long way back up to the
top if you want to rock and roll. Five years after Sherbert called it a day, lead singer Daryl Braithwaite is now doing quite nicely thankyou in his quest to
re-establish his career with his al bum Edge. But it comes after six months of singing lessons, a peri od working in a piano bar and even 12 weeks on a council road
And Braithwaite has been back on the road with a band. He esti mates that the ratio of original to new fans is about halfand naif.
He spoke from Melbourne last week, a few'hours before appear ing as the support act for Huey Lewis and the News — he accom panies the band for their entire Australian tour. Then he's got a month off, which gives him time to write some material — he hopes to record another album this year, and then it's on the road again, performing in Queensland and northern NSW. He appeared at the Ainslie Football Club late last year, but there are no more Canberra gigs planned immedi ately.
Touring hasn't changed in his five years' absence, he says. The motels and pubs are still the same. But he thinks the hire cars he gets now are more modern.
It is a little more comfortable generally these days, too: "We used to rough it a bit more".
braithwaite is considering a trip to Europe later this year to promote his album there, 13 years after Sherbert's 1976 visit, part of a wave of 1970s Australian bands to look for international success. Sherbet had the hit single Howzat in their favour, the first Australian-made record to chart well in Britain since the Mixtures' Pushbike Song, back in 1970.
Now Australian bands like INXS and Crowded House regu larly tour overseas but in 1977, Sherbet, with a string of monster hits at home, supported The Hol lies on a European tour at its own expense, for the benefit of appear ing with a headline act.
Several other bands — Sky
hooks, LRB, Split Enz and ACDC — were trekking to Europe and the United States at the same time, but ACDC is the only one of that crop still going and still en
Daryl Braithwaite ... After 12 weeks on a road gang decided
there was more to life than shovelling dirt
joying a strong international fol lowing.
After the demise of Sherbert in 1983 — the farewell concert was on Great Kcppel Island — Braithwaite sang with a band called Missing In Action. He also worked in a piano bar for a year in a duo with pianist and singer
And the man who sang Sum mer Love and Magazine Madon na has also made a brief appearance in the title role of a rock version of Macbeth.
The production was put togeth er in 1985 and gave two perform ances in Melbourne but failed to attract backers. He hopes the pro ject will still take off. "It's a great story and they haven't bastard ised it at all — and set to music it can be quite daunting."
Then there was the road gang.
"I thought I'd turn the other check and sec what it was like."
After 12 weeks he decided he didn't want to shovel dirt for the rest of his life, but it made him realise how many people had to work in boring jobs, and how lucky he was in his position.
Six months before he began re cording last year he started inten sive singing lessons. After five years, he says, he had to learn to sing again.
He chose as his album produc er Simon Hussey, who co-wrote Reckless for Australian' Crawl, and much of the material on Reyne's new. album. The core of the album band were actually the members'of James Reyne's band, who are now. recording with Reyne in England. .
Braithwaite was pleased to get them. "I think, ultimately it was
more beneficial doing it this way with a band that had been playing together as a unit instead of just getting in session musos. It just had more of a feel," he said.
Edge is about to dip out of the album top 50 after two months while the single As The Days Go By charted well.
It's a deliberate departure from the old image of platform shoes and bubble-gum music for the man who has just celebrated his 39th birthday. The lyrics are seri ous, as are the album photos of the singer, looking thoughtful in a severe jacket and shirt. Definitely closer to Macbeth than Magazine
As a child in the early 60s, Braithwaite liked all the "British invasion" acts — the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Small Faces and The Who — and always wanted to be a singer, so "to me it just seems normal now what I
He first sang in the school choir and went on to front three long forgotten bands, Bright Lights, House of Bricks, and Samael Lil ith, before joining Sherbet in 1969. It's a toss-up whether Sher bert or Skyhooks were the 1970s Australian act. Sherbet won the TV Week award for most popular Australian band five years in a row. Releasing 15 albums and more than 30 singles, they had 19 hit singles and nine hit albums, and countless adoring, screaming fans. Braithwaite also hit the chart jackpot with his number one cover of the 60s Cilia Black hit, You're My World, in 1974, and three other solo singles made it into the top 10.
He, is not keen to categorise Edge, except to say that it's var ied in its appeal. "It's the best piece of work I've ever done and I really can't put a tag on it."
It's called Edge because he liked the sound of the name. It suggested the cutting edge, and it
also conjured up "standing on the . edge of a precipice, not knowing whether you're goi,ng to succeed
— JEANNIE ZAKHAROV J