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Guru Starts His Own Reign

Guru Starts His Own Reign

Who: The Monarchs
Where: Fanny's
When: Wednesday September 1, 1999

WHEN the HOODOO GURUS got signed to the tiny Indie BIG TIME label in the mid-1980s, rock and roll was 'unfashionable' and record companies were signing electronic dance bands like PSEUDO ECHO. For former Gurus guitarist BRAD SHEPHERD, who has formed a new band THE MONARCHS, playing tonight at Fanny's, history is repeating itself.

'It was the new romantic bands that they wanted to sign back then,' he said. 'Now it's the pop dance bands - commercial doof.'

Changing fads in music however isn't deterring Shepherd from forming this new 'full-tilt rock'n'roll band', that he confesses, not surprisingly, has 'a gentler side to it as well'.

'I've tried to couple my love of high-energy rock with my love of melody,' he says.

'The Gurus were always a melodic band.

'This is probably 50% MC5 and 50% THE BEATLES.' Tonight's show is only one of a few live gigs The Monarchs has performed under its own name.

In March this year the band played its first gig at the launch of a REPLACEMENTS tribute album that Shepherd contributed to.

Guitarist GREG HITCHCOCK, who was briefly the fourth member of YOU AM I, had only been in the band for 24 hours before that gig.

'He had cheat sheets all over the place,' Shepherd recalls with a laugh.

'Hitch', a former member of seminal Aussie rock band THE NEW CHRISTS, now also plays with former CLOUDS singer guitarist JODIE PHYLLIS in a 'subdued country' sounding group called THE DEER HUNTERS. Other members of The Monarchs includes Brad's brother MURRAY SHEPHERD on drums, who was the original drummer for THE SCREAMING TRIBESMEN. Bass player ANDY KELLY, formerly of Sydney pop supremos GLIDE, completes the line up.

Shepherd spent most of last year 'knocking songs together' after the demise of the Hoodoo Gurus.

Last month The Monarchs recorded six songs which are sounding so good that Shepherd is contemplating whether to continue recording an album's worth of material.

But the one-time member of one of the country's most bankable acts doesn't hold much hope of getting signed by a record label in an industry he believes is now 'run by accountants'.

'The A&R guys are so deathly afraid of losing their jobs - they're not taking any risks,' he said.

'They've reasoned that they will hold on to their jobs longer if they don't sign anyone.'

While making a concerted effort not to recreate the sound of the Gurus, Shepherd concedes that 'you can't get away from being yourself'.

'It's not too far of a stretch from what the (Gurus) were doing,' he said.

In keeping with a harder-edged sound, tonight's gig at Fanny's features the reformed Melbourne masters of Oz-punk-pop, THE MEANIES. Also on the bill will be NUNCHUKA SUPERFLY, a prog-rock incarnation of two members of the trail blazing Oz-punk trio THE HARD ONS.

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