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Encyclopedia entry for 'Machinations' LETTER:

Formed in 1980
StyleDance pop
 Fred Loneragan (vocals), Tim Doyle (guitar), Tony Starr (keyboards, vocals, drum machine)
 Albums: Esteem (White/Mushroom/Festival, 1983), Big Music (White/Mushroom/Festival, 1985), The Big Beat (mini-album, White/Mushroom/Festival, 1986), Uptown (White/Mushroom/Festival, 1988).

History
Original line-up: Sydney band Machinations was one of the most popular outfits working the mid-1980s independent scene. The band's music successfully melded pop smarts and rock cool to a dance-funk backing. Starting out as a three-piece electro-pop outfit on the Sydney inner-city circuit, Machinations soon added Nick `Nero' Swan on bass. In late 1980, the band entered the studio with producer Lobby Loyde, which resulted in the single `Average Inadequacy'/ `Arabia' (September 1981) and the four-track, 12-inch EP Machinations (`Jets', `Arabia', `John Wane', `Edge') on the Phantom label (December).

`Average Inadequacy' created enough interest for Mushroom's White label to sign the band and reissue the single with a new B-side, `Machinations of Dance' (March 1982). A year later, Machinations issued a new single, `Jack'/`Be Double' (February 1983), followed by `Pressure Sway'/`Pushbike' (June). `Pressure Sway' became the band's first national mainstream charting single when it peaked at #21 during July. Both singles had been lifted from the album Esteem (April 1983), as was the next one, `Jumping the Gap'/`Terminal Wharf' (October). With the album's release, and an Australian tour support slot to English visitor Joe Jackson, Machinations added Warren McLean on drums. The band entered Rhinoceros Studios with English producer Julian Mendelshon, emerging with the smoothest and most fully realised album of its career, Big Music (July 1985).

The album produced four hit singles, `No Say in It'/`Man Overboard' (September 1984; #11 in October), `My Heart's on Fire'/`Spark' (May 1985; #18 in June), `You Got Me Going Again'/`I Ain't Waiting for No Train' (August) and `Execution of Love'/`Dusted Down' (December). Naomi Star sang backing vocals on most of the album, although Inez Anthony was featured on `No Say in It'. In 1986, White issued the mini-album The Big Beat, a collection of dance remixes of singles like `No Say in It', `Execution of Love', `Pressure Sway' and `You Got Me Going Again'. That year, Warren McLean left Machinations to join Melbourne funk-pop outfit I'm Talking. Henry Downes took his place on drums. Downes was then replaced by John MacKay (ex-Sea Monsters) in early 1987. The band was back in the studios soon after with American producer Andy Wallace (Prince, Run DMC), recording a new album.

Uptown (October 1988) produced four singles spread out over 18 months: `Do to You'/`Looking Out for You' (August 1987, #18 in October), `Intimacy'/`Hit by a Missile' (May 1988) `Do It to Me'/`Normal' (October) and `Cars & Planes'/`Cars & Planes' (February 1989). By that stage, Machinations had established themselves as a popular band on the Australian touring circuit. Unfortunately, the band's activities were curtailed in early 1989 when a hit-and-run accident left frontman Loneragan unconscious and with a broken back. He spent several months recuperating in hospital. The band intended writing while Loneragan recovered from his injuries, but eventually the other members decided to go their separate ways. Swan toured with the James Freud Band. In early 1997, Machinations with Loneragan reconvened for a tour which they hoped would lead to new recordings.



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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