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Thorny Bunch of Roses

Thorny Bunch of Roses

Who: Rose Tattoo, The Angels
Where: Newcastle Panthers
When: Thursday August 6, 1998

ROSE TATTOO, is the real deal, the fair-dinkum stuff of hard rock - less bullpuckey and maximum volume.

When the group played its first official gig at the Bondi Lifesavers Club on New Year's Eve in 1976 it was 'volume and aggression' that drew attention, according to rock history.

Hard rock historian MURRAY ENGLEHART, who was there, writes that it was the Tatts' 'skull-crushing mutation of LITTLE RICHARD, THE ROLLING STONES, THE FACES and CHUCK BERRY' that writ the group's name in large red letters.

'(Guitarist PETER) WELLS'S gutteral slide (guitar), Angry's field holler vocals and ferocity . . . made audiences as pale as the skin of the band themselves,' he wrote.

It will be the first time many will have the chance to witness Rose Tattoo next week, when the original line-up gets together at Newcastle Workers Club on Thursday, August 6, with THE ANGELS. Lead singer ANGRY ANDERSON is excited to be back together.

'It's a very romantic thing to do,' he told TE. While the band was 'not the romantic type by nature', Angry says it made sense for the group to reunite especially with bass player IAN RILEN, who left when the band cracked its first VANDA & YOUNG hit with BAD BOY FOR LOVE. '(Bass player) IAN (RILEN) and Peter started the band and I got the job as singer because they didn't have a full-time band,' he said.

Angry reckons there were plenty of musoes lined up to be in the band because of Rilen and Wells who, together, form one of the world's most formidable rock 'n' blues duos.

The stamp of Rilen on the band is a subtle thing, Angry says.

'It's like chalk and cheese, there's no-one else like Ian Rilen and there's no-one else like Pete Wells either,' he said.

Asked to define Rilen's bass sound Angry pauses, then responds slowly, with an ever-widening smile.

'It's like, you know the first time you hear the Tyrranosaurus Rex howl in JURASSIC PARK? It's like that!

'He's got all that low sting in it, but its almost like you expect it to go into this blood-curdling shriek, but it never actually gets there, it threatens to do that all the time.'

Metal mega stars of the 1980s GUNS 'N' ROSES recorded NICE BOYS (DON'T PLAY ROCK AND ROLL) and requested the Tatts come out of retirement for their Australian concert at Eastern Creek.

But this is the first time four of the five members have reassembled since the beginning of the 1980s. (Drummer DALLAS ROYALL has since passed away).

BILLY THORPE once told Angry if you're one of the best in Australia, then you're one of the best in the world, and he reckons it's true.

Whether or not the band is still the best in the world will be for the audience to decide next Thursday night, but one thing's for sure, the music still stands the test of time.TE

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