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Encyclopedia entry for 'Taste' LETTER:

Formed in 1975
StyleGlam rock
 Original line-up: Ken Murdoch (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Joey Amenta (lead guitar, vocals), Michael Gemini (bass), Virgil Donati (drums)
 Cloud Nine album: We're Good Friends, So Rock On (RCA, 1974); Taste albums: Tickle Your Fancy (Bootleg, 1976), Knights Of Love (Philips/Phonogram, 1977); Texas album: Real to Reel (Festival/Infinity, 1979).

History
Melbourne band Taste was an archetypal glam-rock outfit that hedged its bets by catering to pop fans and hard rock fans alike. On the one hand, Taste scored hit singles with commercial glam-pop singles, appeared on Countdown and played suburban dances to crowds of adoring teenage fans. On the other hand, the band filled out its albums with screaming hard rock songs (in the vein of Queen and the heavier side of The Sweet), and enjoyed a strong following on the pub-rock circuit. Musical stagnation eventually caused the band's break-up in late 1977.

Taste began life as Cloud Nine, which Ken Murdoch and Michael Gemini formed in 1970 while still at high school. Cloud Nine issued its debut single on Warner Brothers, `Say Goodbye'/ `Rock'n'Roll Highway', in 1973. Virgil Donati and Tony Faramond (vocals) joined in 1974 and the band signed to RCA. Cloud Nine issued the album We're Good Friends, So Rock On and the singles `Take My Hand'/`Hi There' and Eddie Cochran's `Summertime Blues'/`Little Darlin' on RCA. In 1975, Joey Amenta replaced Faramond and the band became known as Taste. At the end of the year, Taste signed to the Bootleg label. Taste's debut album, Tickle Your Fancy (July 1976), produced the singles `Tickle Your Fancy'/`Rock And Roll Superstar' (February) and `Degenerate Fool'/`Lone Ranger' (July). `Tickle Your Fancy' reached #22 in Melbourne during June. `Boys will Be Boys'/`Love Ya Babe' (November 1976) became the band's biggest chart hit when it peaked at #14 in Melbourne during January 1977.

The band's final single for Bootleg, `A Little Romance'/`Same Old Story' (February 1977), reached #24 in April. At that stage, Taste signed a new deal with the Philips label which reissued `A Little Romance' and then put out the Knights of Love album (August). The album also included `Boys will Be Boys' and a third single, `Rebecca'/`Teenage Anthem' (July). Taste played its last gigs during October 1977 as a three-piece (Amenta, Gemini, Donati). Ken Murdoch had left to join Melbourne boogie band Texas. Joey Amenta went on to Redhouse, the Russell Morris Band, the Darryl Cotton Band, Wendy and the Rocketts, Dear Enemy and Uncanny X-Men among others. Donati joined the Peter Cupples Band, Cosy Connection, The Cutters, Loose Change, The State and Southern Sons.

Texas evolved out of Fat Daddy which comprised Tony Catz (lead guitar, vocals), Max Vella (vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica), Mick Stilo (bass, vocals) and Carl Stanley (drums). The members of Fat Daddy used the gimmick of stage costumes and troll masks until they had established their self-styled `fat funky rock'n'roll' on the Melbourne pub circuit. Fat Daddy issued one single `Roll Daddy Roll'/`Help Me' on the Bootleg label in July 1976. By the end of the year, Fat Daddy had evolved into Texas.

With the arrival of Murdoch, Texas was able to broaden its scope. Texas issued the singles `Good Morning'/`Ain't No Place Like Home' (1978), `I Wanna Dance with You'/`Life Ain't Meant to Be Easy' (June 1979) and `I Won't Say No'/`Infatuation' (November), plus the live album Real to Reel (1979) on Festival's Infinity label. By 1980, Texas had evolved into The Torpedoes with a line-up of Murdoch, Vella and Stilo, plus newcomers Mark Smith (guitar) and Vic Lamnek (drums). Ian Langford replaced Lamnek in 1981, after which The Torpedoes broke up. Murdoch, Stilo and Smith formed Primal Tears with Gary McFarlane (keyboards; ex-La Femme) and Craig Waugh (drums). Murdoch went on to work the Melbourne club and pub circuit with numerous bands. Craig Waugh went on to Uncanny X-Men and Horsehead.

In the meantime, Tony Catz had formed pub outfit the Tony Catz Band which comprised Phil George (guitar, vocals), Tony Allan (bass, vocals) and Vince Leighton (drums). By 1986, the band was known as Wildcatz. In 1984, Max Vella formed his own band, Relax with Max, which became a popular attraction on the Melbourne pub rock circuit. The band had up to 40 members pass through its ranks by the early 1990s.



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

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