Radio Birdman were one of the first Australian punk bands, along with The Saints. They were formed by Deniz Tek and Rob Younger in 1974. The group influenced the work of many successful, mainstream bands, and are now considered one of the most crucial bands to Australia's musical growth, but their main legacy was their towering influence over Australian indie rock in the 1980's.
Deniz Tek and Rob Younger formed Radio Birdman in mid-1974 in Sydney, having recently left their bands 'TV Jones' and 'The Rats' respectively. The pair sought to begin a band that would have no commercial interest and break the norm at the time, so they recruited classical keyboard player Philip 'Pip' Hoyle, drummer Ron Keeley and bassist Carl Rorke . The band took their name from a misheard lyric from the Iggy and The Stooges' song "1970" (the actual lyric is "radio burnin'").
They recorded an EP, Burn My Eye,and their first album, Radios Appear, produced by John L Sayers and Charles Fisher at Trafalgar Studios in Annandale. Trafalgar Studios financed the recordings. Radios Appear was critically acclaimed, getting 5 stars in the Australian Rolling Stone edition. The album owed much of its style to Detroit bands of the late 1960's, such as The MC5 and The Stooges. The title of the album comes from a Blue Öyster Cult song "Dominance and Submission" from their 1974 Secret Treaties album, influences from which can also be seen in Birdman's creative output.
Sales of this album were initially limited because they were recording using a private label Trafalgar Records. Shortly after initial release, Trafalgar Records leased the recordings to WEA who took on the album and gave it a wider release. When Sire Records president Seymour Stein came to Australia to sign up fellow punk band The Saints, he saw Radio Birdman play and immediately invited them to join his label. Under this new label, Radio Birdman released a new version of Radios Appear featuring a mixture of re-mixed, re-recorded and some new material. Comparisons between the two versions of the album are disputed, with some feeling that the second version is a more accurate reflection of the band's sound. Most fans however own both versions and simply treat them as two separate and different recordings.
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