Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mental as Anything...Australia has gone Mental


An old schoolmate of mine ( G'day Scotty) saw this blogaroo's subject matter on Australia Day at Cronulla Beach...some 37 years since they came into existence...SO.....

Sometime late late last century, I found myself a LOOONG way from my home stomping ground of Punchbowl at, and I cant remeber why, The exceedingly famous Annandale Hotel, the only reason I can think of was that someone told me it was a crash hot pub for live music and I should have a look...

so I did and the first band I saw was Mental as Anything, now, to be fair, they werent playing my fave kind of tunes at the time..I was more ya Rosey Tatts, TMG and Angels kinda fella....BUT, I musta enjoyed 'em cause I ended up with a few of their albums + a, to the might mighty Mentals

The boys formed Mental As Anything (or Mentals to fans) at an art school in Sydney in 1976

 Its most popular line-up (which lasted from 1977-1999) was Martin Plaza (birth name Martin Murphy) on vocals and guitar; Reg Mombassa (birth name Chris O'Doherty) on lead guitar and vocals; his brother Peter "Yoga Dog" O'Doherty on bass guitar and vocals; Wayne "Bird" Delisle (birth name David Twohill) on drums; and Andrew "Greedy" Smith on vocals, keyboards and harmonica.

Formed on a whim by a group of bored art students in search of free drinks, Mental as Anything have gone on to a career spanning several decades, their tongues remaining planted firmly in cheek throughout the duration of their existence.

 Debuting in 1978, the Sydney-based group included singer/guitarist Reg Mombasa (born Chris O'Doherty), his bassist brother Peter O'Doherty, lead guitarist Martin Plaza, keyboardist Andrew "Greedy" Smith, and drummer Wayne Delisle; their first gig was held at the Annandale hotel, with a pool table serving as a makeshift stage. 

Their early shows proved surprisingly successful, and soon Mental as Anything had earned enough of a cult following to record a single, 1979's "The Nips Are Getting Bigger"( one of my personal faves); it was a Top 20 hit, and when their debut LP, Get Wet, achieved similar success, the group was off and running with a fury

Mental as Anything resurfaced in 1980 with Espresso Bongo, which generated two more hit singles, "Come Around" and "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet." After 1982's Cats and Dogs achieved platinum status on the strength of the smashes "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" and "Too Many Times," Mental as Anything began attracting worldwide notice, and in 1982 they mounted their first tour of the United States. Fan Elvis Costello produced the single "I Didn't Mean to Be Mean," issued later that same year, and in 1983 the group issued its fourth LP, Creatures of Leisure, another Aussie Top Ten hit. Also in 1983, 

Mental as Anything launched their first group art exhibition, featuring works from each of the bandmembers; among the buyers was Elton John. In 1985 they returned with Fundamental as Anything, their biggest hit to date; the single "Live It Up" was a smash throughout much of the globe, reaching the Top Five in the U.K. and Germany.

After their 1986 collection Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 fell just shy of topping the Australian charts, Mental as Anything returned the following year with Mouth to Mouth; after 1989's Cyclone Raymond, they mounted a touring art exhibition that traveled across the country, but for the most part, the quintet was out of the limelight for the early part of the next decade, instead focusing on personal lives and the occasional side project (including the O'Doherty brothers' collaboration Dog Trumpet). 

A Mental as Anything B-sides collection, Chemical Travel, appeared in 1993, and in 1995 the band's first new studio LP in six years, Liar Liar Pants on Fire, returned them to the Top 40 on the strength of the hit "Mr. Natural." In 1997, Mental as Anything celebrated their 20-year anniversary with the original lineup still intact; the LP Garage appeared the following year.

Their original hit songs were generated by Mombassa, O'Doherty, Plaza and Smith, either individually or collectively; they also hit the Australian charts with covers of songs by Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.

Their top ten Australian singles are "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" and "Too Many Times" (both from 1981), "Live it Up" (1985) and "Rock and Roll Music" (1988). Internationally, "Too Many Times" made the Canadian top 40 in 1982, and "Live it Up" peaked at No. 3 in UK,  No. 4 in Norway, and No. 6 in Germany,[ after it featured in the 1986 Australian film "Crocodile" Dundee. 

All of the original members are visual artists and have had combined studio displays, some have had solo studio displays 

And I along eith a stack of other Aussies wear Reg Mombassa's artwork , cause it is on our Mambo boardies & t-shirts. The majority of the group's record covers, posters and video clips have been designed and created by themselves or their art school contemporaries.

 On 27 August 2009, Mental As Anything was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little Pattie and John Paul Young.

Current members
Martin Plaza (Martin Murphy) – guitar, vocals (1976–present)
Greedy Smith (Andrew Smith) – keyboards, harmonica, vocals (1976–present)
Mike Caen – guitar, vocals (2002–present)
Zoltan Budai – bass guitar (2011–present)
Jacob Cook – drums (2011–present)

Past members
Reg Mombassa (Chris O'Doherty) – guitar, vocals (1976–2000)
Steve Coburn – bass guitar (1976–1977)
David Twohill (Wayne de Lisle) – drums (1976–2004)
Peter O'Doherty (Yoga Dog) – bass, vocals (1977–2000)
Mike Gubb – keyboards (on tour) (1986–1987)
Murray Cook – guitar (2000–2002)
David Barraclough – bass guitar, vocals, guitar, keyboards (2000–2011)
Robbie Souter – drums (2004–2011)

1979 - Get Wet aka Mental As Anything
1980 - Espresso Bongo
1981 - Cats & Dogs aka If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?
1983 - Creatures of Leisure
1985 - Fundamental
1987 - Mouth to Mouth
1989 - Cyclone Raymond
1995 - Liar Liar Pants on Fire
1998 - Garàge
2000 - Beetroot Stains
2002 - Road Case
2005 - Plucked
2009 - Tents Up

Compilation albums
1986 - Greatest Hits Volume 1
1993 - Chemical Travel
1999 - Best of
2009 - Essential As Anything 
( 30th Anniversary Edition)


Feb 2014
Fri 21 – VAT 2 Bunbury (WA)
Fri 28 – Twilight concert series @ Taronga Zoo

March 2014
Sat 1 – National Museum of Australia (Canberra)
Sat 15 – Beaches Hotel Thirroul

April 2014
Fri 4 – Lizottes Newcastle
Sat 5 - Lizottes Central Coast
Fri 11 – Lizottes Dee Why
Sat 12 – Asquith Leagues

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