| ||Original line-up: Caroline Kennedy (vocals, guitar; ex-Plums), Barry Palmer (guitar, bass; ex-Soul Twisters, Harem Scarem, Crown of Thorns, Hunters & Collectors), Peter Jones (drums; ex-Harem Scarem, Crown of Thorns, Kate Ceberano's Septet, Crowded House)|
Towards the middle of 1996, deadstar emerged as one of the most highly feted and individual bands of the decade. The band came about soon after Barry Palmer and Peter Jones (who had played together in the blueswailing Harem Scarem) were asked to write the score for a projected film called The Baby Bath Massacre. The pair recruited Caroline Kennedy in August 1995 and recorded an album.
The film never eventuated, but deadstar was born. Quickly signing to White Records, deadstar issued the CD singles `Going Down', `She Loves She' and `Sister', plus an eponymous debut album (April 1996). The album's mix of trashy pop and indie guitar rock found a ready-made market. There were plenty of loose arrangements in the songs, with Palmer's guitar and Kennedy's quavering, imperfect vocals laid down rough and raw.
In November 1996, ex-Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour joined deadstar, and the band began playing live. deadstar appeared as part of the Big Day Out tour in January 1997, and issued Milk (another album of garagey pop gems) in August. Milk produced the CD singles `Don't It Get You Down?' (September 1996) and `I've Got Something to Tell You' (June 1997). In between her deadstar commitments, Kennedy performed with her other band, Salon Baby. At the end of 1996, Palmer produced the Hunters & Collectors' Mark Seymour's debut solo album, King Without a Clue.
At the end of 1997, Peter McCracken (ex-Plums) replaced the departing Nick Seymour on bass. With deadstar on hold for the early part of 1998, Caroline Kennedy toured with her new band, The Caroline Kennedy Conspiracy: Peter McCracken, Ted Cleaver (guitar) and Seamus Goble (drums; ex-Plums). Respected guitarist Michael den Elzen (ex-Schnell Fenster, Rebecca’s Empire) joined deadstar mid-year, and the band set about recording a new album. The first CD single, the addictive summery pop gem ‘Run Baby Run’, came out in January 1999. By that stage, Killjoys member Anna Burley had joined deadstar for gigs as auxiliary keyboard player.
The band’s new album, Somewhere over the Radio, came out in September 1999. Produced by Mark Opitz (INXS, Cold Chisel, Divinyls etc), it was one of the finest Australian pop records of the year. The band had also followed up ‘Run Baby Run’ with an even better single, ‘Deeper Water’ (June 1999). Interestingly, the single did not chart until January 2000, when it made its debut at #43 nationally; it eventually peaked at #28. ‘Deeper Water’ logged the #74 placement on the 1999 Triple J Hottest 100 list. ‘Run Baby Run’ also came in at #96 on the Top 100 Most Played Songs on Australian Radio for 1999 list. The album’s third single, ‘Somewhere over the Radio’, appeared in May 2000.