Highly touted blue-collar hard rock band The Screaming Jets were one of the most successful outfits to emerge from Newcastle (NSW). Fronted by loud-mouthed rock'n'roll bad boy Dave Gleeson, the brash, young five-piece grew out of the ashes of high school band Aspect. Gleeson and Grant Walmsley joined forces with Richard Lara, Paul Woseen and Brad Heaney to form The Screaming Jets in January 1989.
The Jets drew capacity crowds in their hometown, and in November 1989 won the inaugural National Band Competition. By early 1990, The Jets had relocated to Sydney where their brand of no-frills, hard blues rock attracted a good deal of industry attention. A national tour supporting The Angels followed, and by May 1990 The Jets had signed a deal with the rooArt label (home to Ratcat, The Hummingbirds, Wendy Matthews, Absent Friends). The band entered the studio with producer Steve James (Sex Pistols, Mental as Anything) in mid-1990 to record its debut album. The Screaming Jets' debut EP, The Scorching Adventures of . . . The Screaming Jets (`C'mon'/`Sister Tease', `Shine on') was issued by rooArt in December 1990.
The album, All for One (April 1991), was a cogent and energetic release, one of the strongest debuts from an Australian hard rock band. Reference points for the album's gritty rock'n'roll included the flash of early Van Halen mixed with the traditional thunder of AC/DC and The Angels. As well as containing the three tracks from the Scorching Adventures EP, the album produced the singles `Better'/`Rocket Man' (February 1991), `Stop the World' (May) and the remixed `Shine on' (September). `Better' took the band into the national Top 10 (#4) for the first time. It went on to become the #20 biggest selling single in Australia during 1991.
By that stage, The Jets had earned a reputation as the local music industry's enfants terrible, mostly due to Gleeson's loose tongue onstage. The band was dropped from its support slot on the Divinyls' national tour `officially' because of Gleeson's repeated onstage swearing, but `unofficially' due to unsavoury comments he made of a sexual nature regarding Chrissie Amphlett. Gleeson was also known to voice his negative opinion about gays and Asians, which alienated more potential listeners. The promotional-only live Stealth EP contained the onstage favourite `F.R.C.' (`Fat Rich Cunts'), which Gleeson would dedicate to the likes of Michael Gudinski or Russ Hinze on any given night.
At the end of 1991, The Jets travelled overseas for a lengthy tour of the USA and Europe. While in Los Angeles, The Jets recorded 16 demo tracks at Frank Zappa's famed Joe's Garage Studio. Gleeson also returned to Australia sporting a freshly cut mohawk hairstyle. The Jets started 1992 with the Kill Your Idols national tour. The band's third EP, `Living in England' (June 1992), included covers of Johnny Cash's `Folsom Prison Blues' and AC/DC's `Ain't No Fun (Waiting to Be a Millionaire)'. The EP confirmed the band's standing in hometown Newcastle when it remained at #1 on the singles chart for more than 20 weeks.
In July, the band embarked on the Living in England tour of Australia, supported by highly rated UK group The Almighty. `Living in England' appeared on the second album, Tear of Thought (October 1992), which also produced the CD singles `Think' (August), `Shivers' (January 1993) and `Here I Go' (July). The band's cover of The Boys Next Door's `Shivers' peaked at #19 on the national chart. Just prior to the album's release in Australia, The Jets toured Europe and the UK with British blues-rock band Thunder (including three nights at London's legendary Hammersmith Odeon).
The Jets returned to the UK in April 1993 to support roots-rockers The Quireboys, and then to headline their own shows throughout May. UK heavy metal magazines like Metal Hammer and Kerrang! showered The Jets with rave reviews, declaring the band to be one of the best new outfits on the UK scene. `Here I Go' featured four live cuts recorded in the UK. While on tour, Brad Heaney was dismissed from the band. British drummer Dave Holland (ex-Judas Priest) filled in on the final leg of the band's European tour supporting US brat-rockers Ugly Kid Joe. New drummer Craig Rosevear (ex-B.B. Steal, Angry Snuff Puppet) joined the band in July 1993, just in time for a lengthy US tour supporting Def Leppard and Ugly Kid Joe. The Jets returned to Australia in December 1993, which coincided with the release of a new CD single, `Helping Hand' (from Tear of Thought), and the video compilation Insanitary.
In January 1994, Richard Lara left the band to be replaced by Jimi `the Human' Hocking (ex-Spectre 7). The unexpected Top 5 success of `Helping Hand' reactivated interest in the 18-month-old Tear of Thought album. During June, the album peaked at #3 on the national chart, eventually attaining platinum status (70000 copies sold). RooArt issued a remixed version of `Tunnel' (from Tear of Thought and `Living in England') as a single during August 1994. Under the direction of producer Robbie Adams (U2), the band completed its third album, The Screaming Jets (September 1995). The Screaming Jets made its debut at #5 on the national chart, and produced the CD singles `Friend of Mine' (October) and `Sacrifice' (May 1996). The Jets continued to tour, recording a fourth album, World Gone Crazy, at the end of 1996. By the time the CD single `Elvis (I Remember)' appeared on rooArt/BMG during June 1997, Hocking had left The Jets to return to the Melbourne pub circuit. Ismet `Izzy' Osmanovich (ex-Judge Mercy) replaced Hocking. World Gone Crazy reached #18 on the national chart in August 1997. The album's second CD single, a cover of Barry McGuire's `Eve of Destruction', followed in September.
The Screaming Jets� first CD single for 1998, �Cunnamulla Fella� (September) was lifted from the Slim Dusty tribute album, Not So Dusty (on EMI). It had been chosen as the lead off single from an album that also featured Troy Cassar-Daley, Midnight Oil, Karma County and The Kernaghans.
The band recorded its upcoming, fifth album, Scam, in Melbourne. Produced by Ross Wilson, mixed by Kevin �Caveman� Shirley and engineered by Kalju Tonuma (Mavis�s), it was the band�s first for the Grudge label (through Universal Music). The first CD single, �Individuality�, came out in July 1999. The release of Scam was held up when the band�s old label, BMG, issued the 18-track Best Of set, Hits and Pieces in November.
The album peaked at #13 on the national chart and sold over 35 000 units to qualify for gold status. It contained the new CD single, �I Need Your Love�, plus a Limited Edition 6-track bonus disc. The Screaming Jets saw out the year with the successful Last Great Rock�n�Roll Show of the Century Australian tour (November).