From David Williams:
The best memory of the Tatts was in early 1980’s, they played a gig
at Newcastle’s Jolly Roger (a night club usually dedicated to disco
wankers, but on this night there was a presence of black T-shirts, &
would be mullets in the crowd). I had only met Angry once or twice
previous, but I was at the bar where he asked me “where’s all the kids?”
I explained that the club traditionally catered to over 25’s: “f***en
great…” he responded.
Anyway, after putting up with KC & the Sunshine Band & Bee Gees disco
tracks for an hour or so, we finally got the feeling the Tatts were about
to lob on stage, with tune ups & checks coming from the stage area; I was
particularly anxious this night as I had brought along my new girlfriend
for her first Tatts gig. I can remember some faggy disco song coming out
of the PA, with the added embarrassment of the DJ interrupting with stupid
hissing noises & comments during songs, then there was an almighty crunching
guitar power chord from behind the black curtains, which signalled the start
of the show, and soon there were several dancing, prancing John Travolta
wannabes scurrying for shelter; as the curtains started to open, the disco
song still trying to finish, but with Pete’s black Gibson going through the
warm up stage the music was soon drowned out. Finally the Tatts were visible
on stage, with the usual clouds of smoke (from Pete & Mick) the blood red Marshall
stacks, the old Tatts logo behind Digger, and the familiar uniform of tight blue
jeans, cut off black T-shirts and those great Tatts style mullets, which gave the
impression that most of the band could have been brothers, (just imagine the
photo from the back cover of the first album, and you get the picture). Pete
was chomping down on his cigarette, Mick was launching into One of the Boys
(if my memory serves me correct), Geordie had already started the side to side
head shake, Digger was getting set behind his kit & Angry was already having
trouble with that bloody mike stand…
The night was great, and included most of the first album, some covers (You Really Got Me,
Street Fighting Man) and Rosetta (which would have been No.1 if released.
My girl was impressed, our ears were ringing, and most of the disco queens had bailed
out to find another mirror ball; I’ve been to countless shows, but this was text book stuff.
Not long after was the last show ever at the Bondi Lifesaver, so if you were around at the
time, you know how on fire they were at this period (only difference there being Ian Rilen
playing at Bondi instead of Geordie).
It was about 15 years ago, me and three of my mates saw Rose Tattoo
live at a club called "Headliners" in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. They
were supporting Pat Travers. Obviously, the crowd was there to see
Travers, cuz when the boys took the stage no one had a clue who these
ugly aussies were except us. When the band took the stage we rushed it
and went crazy, and after numerous efforts of the bouncers trying to
get us to sit down, they couldn't control us. The coolest thing was
when Angry pointed to us and said "I'd like to dedicate this next song
to you, you, you and you." And they broke into "One Of The Boys".
After the band was done, we told Pat Travers to fuck-off, tore down
the "Scarred For Life" promo posters and split. My only regret was
not sticking around and having a drink with the band. Rose Tattoo was
the baddest, toughest, kickass, rock-n-roll band that ever lived.
Rose Tattoo......the most awesome live band anywhere, anytime. Saw
them the first time at the Antler in '80. I was a skinny catholic
school kid standing around with huge biker dudes getting our ears
completely blown off. Mick Cocks hand was almost invisible as he
played. All in all saw them 50 or so times. What a way to grow up.
I seen the Tatts in concert some time ago, about 15 years ago, Angry
can sure rock. I actually have a tattoo on my shoulder from there
very first album, 2 snakes around a rose.
The only thing I remember about the Tatts is a televison rock'n'roll french
show called 'Chorus' presented by Philippe de Caunes (a French guy who, later
in the beginning of the 1990's presented 'Rapido', a program about musical
news, on the BBC, speaking english with a terrific french accent) where
bands were playing live, a mini concert of 30 minutes. So, I remember
Angry, precisely during the song Astra Wally he was yelling so much that
after may be 12 'Thin(g)k' he fell on the floor, guys arrived from
backstage, they took him away and put Angry's face in an oxygen mask,
under the eyes of the cameras. The band continued to play and temporized
on this song. After a while (3 to 5 minutes), Angry came back on stage...
and start yelling out again as if nothing had happened. Very impressive.
I'm not a big Tatts fan and don't have any of their albums but I did
see them live at Jindabyne Pub (in the Australian snowfields) in
about 1982-I think my ears have just stopped ringing! Great gig by
a good Aussie rock band!
At a time when new wave,punk & disco played by pretty boys was the In
thing...Tatts were UGLY Rock'n'Roll at its BEST. The only time I ever
saw them SUCK was in 83..Geordie & Angry were the only original
members ...A mere shadow...didnt deserve to use the name.
My favourite Tatts memory is one night in 77 when my band supported
them at a local club.After the show I hung around to talk to Digger.
We shared a few beers & some pot & as I was leaving the road crew could
be heard abusing Angry & Pete from the back of the truck.I had a glimpse
inside to see what the problem was.
Angry & Pete were holding up the load out while they took advantage of a
young ladies offer to get their own load out!!! That my friend is
They did their warm up shows for the Guns n Roses support at my local
club. They were almost 20 years older (except Digger of course) but
played like men possessed.
The drummer was Paul De Marco...EXCELLENT & very modest...He wouldnt sign
a 1980 tour poster out of respect for Digger...a nice gesture.
I recorded this gig..AWESOME...My only dissapointment was they decided not
to use RRR.
When the gig was first mentioned the band was gonna include Rob as well as
Coxy & Pete. Unfortunately Rockin Rob hasn't mellowed AT ALL & certain
short bald band members didnt want to unleash him on a national tour. My
opinion....LOSERS!!!!I guess thats what happens when you become a day time
In 1990 when Angrys band supported Aerosmith Rob blew everyone off
stage...there are tapes getting round of these shows as well...not
the same as being there though.
For your interest Tatts were never as popular here as in UK. ..They were
always pretty much considered second rate AC/DC. Just shows how wrong
folks can be.
I certainly lost track of the number of times I saw Rose Tattoo
over the years, but a few shows alway stood out in my mind.
One was the free show they did in early '82 at the Horden Pavilion
in Sydney. It was big, loud and showed the guys were so much more
than just a pub band. Sydney radio station 2MMM broadcast the show
a little later on. I've got the tape somewhere.......
A few months later I got to see them at the Family Inn at Rydalmere in
Sydney. A full on show that left hearts racing and ears ringing. My
mate who was with me nearly lost his job the next day for "pretending"
to be deaf ! The PA and lights croaked halfway through "Suicide City",
but they got it going and the band finished the show.
I experienced (you just didn't see them or hear them) Rose Tattoo Live
about 60 times between 1980 and 85. They were the most powerful and
devastating band I ever heard live. They delivered aural onslaughts
with ruthless precision and created mayhem in the process. I shall
never hear or see the likes of them again.
© 1997-2007 by Peter Gormley
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