Aussie Rolling Stone mag 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time #18: Divinyls

by Ella Hooper of Killing Heidi:
I fell in love with Divinyls twice.

The first time was as a kid in the country when “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” thumped out of Rage one Saturday morning. I was hypnotised by Chrissy’s fecundity. Witnessing the swagger of a full-grown woman slice through the surrounding early Nineties teeny bops like butter activated something in my core. The song was on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer soundtrack too, which was very cool.

The second time was as a 20-something frequenting my local in North Melbourne where

Aus rock was often blasted. The harder, punkier edge of their early material was revealed to me then and I marvelled at the wildly clever song-writing. I bought a “Best Of”, as you do, and marinated.

Most of my biggest musical influences until then had come from my parents’ record collection. But not this time. I had found my band, out in the wild. Divinyls were the ultimate expression of a few of the themes I wanted to explore in Killing Heidi – the powerful, angry young woman, regional isolation, sexual frustration.

Their influence on us was never overt, which I’m happy about, but I deeply connected to their energy and theatrical attack. The use of costumes, props, the way the whole band hinged on friction, causing an incredible propulsion.

There are no boring Divinyls songs. Everything is urgent, bursting, full of motion. If there does happen to be a ballad, it absolutely slithers. Every vertebrae is accounted for in their watertight arrangements. I think they might have the best arrangements of any band ever. The opposite of a loosey-goosey jam band, even the solos are perfectly

Constructed. No fat! No pointless noodling! (Heaven!) That’s not to say they were rigid. Divinyls are famous for being one of the wildest bands in front of and behind the scenes. Chrissy and Marks’ antics, legendary.

But they struck a rare ratio of chaos and control. Very real pain and passion, held in a brilliantly strong container of conscious co-creation. That kind of “tick every box” freak thing in a band doesn’t come around often and is something to aspire to.

by Tim Rogers of You Am I:
Even her nomenclature sounded like an exclamation. Amplified, but in a more exotic language.

The term “rock star” has been ground into the earth by too many freshly bought Cuban heels, but Chrissie Amphlett arrived and persisted on stages for decades because she was truly a star – someone who you could never believe did anything dull in her entire existence, in heels or otherwise. And how I could pick up on this at the age of 12 when I was saving my cents to buy the “Science Fiction” single is a mystery, save that anyone of any age can marvel at a star if it’s blazing.

No one commanded a stage like Chrissy. She was/is THE BOSS. In her eyes was a fury, passion and intent that in some alchemical mystery didn’t juxtapose with her timeless beauty – her presence was completely magnetic, whether it was in a carpark after a show talking of a future theatre project or from two hundred metres away, as she sung in a manner that could be a cooing bird or a stealthy panther.

Watch any performance: close up or widescreen. You cannot take your eyes off her as that voice fills your veins and imagination. Joan Crawford or Eartha Kitt, Judy Garland or Marlene Dietrich, there are echoes of the greatest performers but there is only one Chrissy Amphlett.

In a car park, leaning on her walking stick, absolutely luminescent in the darkness after singing with Cold Chisel the year before she died, I was granted presence before her. We talked of writing a stage show together. As she turned to leave with her beautiful husband Charley, she fixed me with THOSE eyes and said quietly, but with intent, as a true star who had never done anything dull in her existence would: “Work on it”.

Work on it. Work on it? I would have gone into battle for her. Long Live The Queen.

It’s b&w D’s Chrissie Amphlett with little tiny pics of Ella Hooper and Tim Rogers.

Outro: included Divinyls’ at the very top of this post I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore song as named by Ella and halfwaf down Science Fiction as named by Tim. But because the only album really named is a best of, I’ve got their Greatest Hits on CD, linked here so which one do you have? Gotta have more than just a couple of songs so I’ve selected some of my most fave video clips by them at the tail end just above the pic is: Boys In Town, Casual Encounter, Back To The Wall, The Easybeats’ cover I’ll Make You Happy and off course, I Touch Myself! OK, next is couple of songs by the couple of artists who told us about the Divinyls above, I’ve picked these two:

Mascara by Killing Heidi:

Trike by You Am I:

Even more editing down by me, once again. I don’t get it why these are so bloody high but whatever RS mag and sorry to anyone who really cares about these artists because I could say it just get worst the higher we get into this but continuing to included something by everyone as listed and trying not being an asshole! They’re #21 The Wiggles, #19 Olivia Newton-John and #18 John Farnham.

Sorry, I haven’t a clue about The Wiggles because I was tooo old for them and didn’t grow-up with them plus don’t have any kids or anything but I do know they was a tribute album by real or should I say adult artists doing covers so here’s Get Ready To Wiggle by Adalita:

OK, what about for some mad reason The Wiggles covering Tame Impala Elephant for triple j’s Like A Version last week:

It’s got to be Xanadu by Olivia Newton-John:

Ending today with John Farnham’s Pressure Down, gotta say his mullet isn’t too bad in this video clip:

Cheers! 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Wow! There’s a whole lotta Divinyls here. As far as I can tell, the only song that made it this far is “I touch myself”. Fun track, that one, but I may have to check out some of these others?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Replying a bit faster today!
      Oh yeah, have a listen to their other cuts, if you can? Another great 80’s Aussie act and i would say the best studio album would be Temperamental of 1988 or the rip raw debut album called Desperate of 1983, both tied! But they’re more remember for the singles which seem to get bigger with each and peaking with I Touch Myself! so that leads to the Best of/Greatest hits comps as talked above in this re-post, I guess?
      Cheers again mate 🙂

      Like

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