STUDIO 22 (1999-2003)
Studio 22 was a late-night live music program on ABC-TV that I co-hosted with the lovely Annette Shun Wah between 1999 and 2003, whose soundtrack album I also produced. Across five series we presented 69 shows, going from some of the elder statesmen of music from Eric Burdon and Tony Joe White to Dr John, Hawkwind and Jimmy Little, to some of the superstars of world music including Angelique Kidjo, to some the then-happenningest rock acts in the world, from the Cruel Sea to the Dirty Three, Mercury Rev, Ron Sexsmith, M. Ward, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and others; to one of the best bands ever, the Necks. A couple of indelible memories: Meeting the man – Eric Burdon – who sang the first record I ever owned, “Spill the Wine,” by War. I got him to sign that old 45 for me, and he put on a great performance that we later expanded out into a one-hour special including archive material and more music as well as more interviews. I remember Andre Williams recording his set and at one point he just stalked off-stage leaving the band wondering but still sitting on the groove, so I stepped up to the mic to offer a sort of excuse/outro, and I did it on the groove and made it rhyme and the band and me took it out and pulled it off and everybody smiled. There was also the time that Dale Watson and his band of strapping good ol’ Texan boys bowled up to the buffet in the green room and the caterer apologized for not having anything vegetarian on the menu – and the band just looked at her uncomprehendingly. There was the time I introduced my old friend the late Rowland Howard to Slim Dusty! And then of course there was the Henry Rollins Incident: in short, I bounded out to outro him topless, as he himself, of course, was as part of his standard stage routine. The thing was, Rollins wasn’t sure if I was laughing at him or with him – and neither was I, of course – but either way we were both immediately afterwards ushered to the furthest corners of the studio and I was told to sit still and not go near him. A magic moment in Australian television history that virtually no-one saw.
Following here is a full showiest, in order of broadcast. Watch the entire Rollins episode, complete with topless outdo, at the bottom of the page... The great shame of it all was that the ABC could never see it as viable to compile a best-of DVD to match the CD. Oh well.
Series 1, 1999: Angelique Kidjo; Robert Forster & Grant McLennan; Dr. John; Matt Walker & Ashley Davies; Renee Geyer; Kim Salmon and the Business; Wendy Matthews; Stephen Cummings; Jon Spencer Blues Explosion; Chris Wilson; Vika & Linda Bull; Louis Tillett
Series 2, 1999: Mal Eastick; Marcia Hines; the Necks; Jimmy Little; Peter Wells Band; Warako Musica; Dirty Three; Dale Watson; Mercury Rev (biggest studio audience ever); Lisa Miller; Ron Sexsmith; Red Rivers; Paul Kelly; Kasey Chambers; Glenn Tillbrook; the Angels; Dave Graney Show; Chain; Cruel Sea
Series 3, 2000: Ani DiFranco; Atlantics; Moses O'Jah; Eric Burdon; Kristina Olsen; Big Bill Morganfield & Bob Margolin; Kieran Kane & Kevin Welch; Junior Brown; Church; iOTA; Rollins Band; Barb Waters; Bernie Hayes; Deborah Conway; Andre Williams; Coloured Stone; Working Class Ringoes; Jon Cleary; Spencer P. Jones and Cow Penalty; Hawkwind
Series 4, 2001: David Bridie; Scientists; Mental As Anything; Tex Perkins; Taj Mahal; Jon Butler Trio; Died Pretty; Janis Ian; Gadflys; You Am I; Reverend Horton Heat; Wicked Beats Sound System; Felpeyu; Archie Roach & Ruby Hunter
Series 5, 2003
Michael Franti and Spearhead; Beccy Cole; Celibate Rifles; Gelbison; Ross Wilson and the Urban Legends; Skulker; Kevin Borich; Machine Gun Fellatio; Idea of North; X
DISC 1: 1. Atlantics – Bombora (3:44) 2. Jimmy Little – Shadow Of A Boomerang (2:23) 3. Angelique Kidjo – Voodoo Child (4:15) 4. Died Pretty – Brighter Ideas (3:41) 5. Matt Walker & Ashley Davies – All By Myself (4:46) 6. Dave Graney – Rock ’n’ Roll Is Where I Hide (4:42) 7. Renee Geyer – It’s A Man’s Man’s World (5:12) 8. Wicked Beat Sound System – Church Of Al Green (5:08) 9. Taj Mahal – Señor Blues (7:03) 10. Louis Tillett – Sailor’s Dream (4:49) 11. The Necks – Chemist (26:08)
DISC 2: 1. Scientists – We Had Love (4:45) 2. Spencer P. Jones – The Spy Who Drugged Me (5:42) 3. John Butler Trio – Pickapart (4:33) 4. Andre Williams – Jail Bait (3:16) 5. The Cruel Sea – Better Get A Lawyer (4:27) 6. Reverend Horton Heat – In Your Wildest Dreams (3:40) 7. Kieran Kane & Kevin Welch – Something About You (3:17) 8. Kristina Olsen – The Big O (4:43) 9. Dale Watson – Long Black Veil (3:53) 10. Kasey Chambers – Cry Like A Baby (4:16) 11. Lisa Miller – Trade (3:36) 12. Ani DiFranco – Angry Anymore (3:22) 13. The Go-Betweens – Head Full Of Steam (4:01) 14. Ed Kuepper – Everything Belongs To You (3:26) 15. The Dirty Three – Authentic Celestial Music (12:54) 16. Mercury Rev – When You Wish Upon A Star (1:38)