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The Gang's all Here

The Gang's all Here

Who: GANGgajang
Where: Club Phoenix
Author: Edward O'Reilly
When: Saturday October 2, 1999

AUSSIE rock stalwarts GANGgajang will be back for one of their legendary live shows at Club Phoenix this Sunday night.

It's a rare opportunity to catch the band that have flirted between the edges and centre stage of the Australian music scene for more than 15 years.

In that time they've released just three albums, which even bass player CHRIS BAILEY had to admit last week was a far from prolific effort.

But its quality not quantity that's important, and the band have produced a string of hits as well as developing a reputation for excellent live shows.

Earlier this year there were rumours the band's long-awaited fourth album would be surfacing soon, but Bailey poured water on that when he spoke to TE.

'We're all just so busy with other projects,' he said.

'Cal's (singer MARK CALLAGHAN ) is now working as A&R manager at Festival, Buzz (drummer BUZZ BISTRUP ) is working with DIANNA Ah NAID, I'm playing with a heap of bands around Sydney and managing and producing a new country songwriter called Dave Debs .

'So the band is only working very occasionally, we've got a number of half-finished tracks that have been sitting around for years but everybody is just too busy.

'We're all fed up with ourselves saying we'll be doing another album soon, but you never know.

'It's half-finished and we may have some cathartic experience that will inspire us to knuckle down and finish it.'

According to Bailey GANGgajang has always been a project the band's members have sandwiched between other projects.

GANGgajang formed in 1984 when former RIPTIDE singer MARK CALLAGHAN, teamed up with ANGELS bassist CHRIS BAILEY and drummer BUZZ BISTRUP to write songs for the ABC television show SWEET AND SOUR. The success of that show and the response to the songs inspired them to form GANGgajang, release an album and start touring.

The first album sold more than 120,000 copies and produced the hits GIMME SOME LOVIN', HOUSE OF CARDS, GIVER OF LIFE and the classic anthem SOUNDS OF THEN (THIS IS AUSTRALIA). GANGgajang released a second album GANGagain in 1987 before management problems caused the boys to go their separate ways.

After working on some solo projects the band reformed in 1991 for a brief tour, but audience response was so great the band went on to produce the LINGO album.

Released in 1994, Lingo produced three hit singles, HUNDREDS OF LANGUAGES, TALK TO ME and Ordinary World. A year later the band first two albums were repackaged into THE ESSENTIAL GANG Gajang, which sold more than 20,000 copies.

In 1996 the Channel Nine network adopted Sounds of Then as its station promotion, sparking a revival in the band's music.

The group have also found fame in Brazil, where Bailey said they were very popular with the surfing crowd.

Bailey said the group learnt some Portuguese to entertain the natives, but found the audience just as entertaining.

'It's really weird when we play Sounds of Then and you have all these thousands of Brazilians singing This is Australia", it's a bit like Aussies singing along to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S BORN IN THE USA I guess.'

Bailey said at the moment GANGgajang were limited to sporadic live performances, but the band looked forward to each and every one. 'I've played with millions of people in my time in music, and GANGgajang has to be one of my favourite group of people to play with.'

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