If the myths and legends are to be believed, The Missing Links were the wildest Australian R&B; band of the entire 1960s. Just one listen to the band's recorded legacy is confirmation enough of the band's pioneering status. Certainly The Links were the first band here to play guitars `like The Rolling Stones used', the first to grow long unruly hair, the first to destroy their instruments on stage and the first to utilise feedback. The Links also issued one of the rarest Australian albums of all-time.
The band came into being at the start of 1964 when Danny Cox and Peter Anson decided to form an R&B; outfit with Ronnie Peel, Dave Boyne and Bob Brady. When one Sydney venue owner said the new band looked like a cross between man and ape, The Missing Links were named. The original line-up recorded the `We 2 Should Live'/`Untrue' single (March 1965) for EMI/Parlophone but broke up in July 1965. New Zealand-born Andy James (real name Neville Anderson, vocals) and John Jones (guitar, who had been in The Missing Links right at the end) decided to re-form the band. They recruited Doug Ford (guitar), Baden Hutchens (bass; ex-Showmen), Ian Thomas (drums; ex-Showmen) and Chris Gray (keyboards) for an even more fierce version than the first.
The band immediately signed a deal with -Philips and cut two epochal slices of R&B;/garage-mania `You're Drivin' Me Insane'/`Something Else' -(January 1966) and `Wild About You'/`Nervous Breakdown' (February 1966). Neither single charted but such is their reputation that reissue specialists Raven Records included `You're Drivin' Me Insane' on the essential Australian 1960s punk compilation Ugly Things (1980) while The Saints covered `Wild About You' on their seminal (I'm) Stranded album. Ross Wilson later included a re-working of `You're Drivin' Me Insane' on the soundtrack to Chris L�fven's 1976 feature film Oz.
Philips issued the legendary The Missing Links album, and an impossibly rare single `H'tuom Tuhs (Pt.1)'/`H'tuom Tuhs (Pt.2)' (March 1966). `H'tuom Tuhs' was the final track on the album, and was actually the five and a half minute `Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut' (also on the album) played backwards! Thomas and Baden quit to rejoin The Showmen midway through 1966 and the four-piece Links cut the rare EP The Links Unchained. By August 1966, the band had split for good with Ford and James moving to Melbourne to form The Running Jumping Standing Still (The RJSS). The original RJSS line-up comprised Ford, James, Rick Dalton (bass; ex-Pink Finks) and Ian Robinson (drums). The band members made a name for themselves as the feedback kings of the Melbourne scene, and alongside The Purple Hearts, the RJSS was one of the most exciting live acts of the day.
James quit in January 1967 in order to form the short-lived Andy James Asylum with Stewie Brian (guitar), Michael Durin (organ), Allan Jones (bass) and Doug Lavery (drums). Dennis Garcia (ex-Mixtures) replaced Durin in late 1967. A brain haemorrhage in 1968 slowed Anderson down somewhat, but he returned to performing when he took a part in the 1969 Sydney production of the American `tribal-love rock musical' Hair. Anderson returned to New Zealand in late 1971 where he joined legendary, though unrecorded, Wellington group Arkastra. Wellington at that point was the centre of a thriving underground movement which also gave rise to Highway, Gutbucket, Mammal and the Bruno Lawrence Electric Revelation and Travelling Apparition (BLERTA).
In the meantime, Peter Newing (ex-Pleazers) came in as The RJSS's new lead singer and the band issued two gritty R&B; singles on the Sunshine label, covers of `Diddy Wah Diddy'/`My Girl' (March 1967) and `She's So Good to Me'/`Little Girl' (August). By the time the second single appeared, Lavery (ex-Andy James Asylum) had replaced Robinson on drums and Jamie Byrne (ex-Black Pearls) had replaced Dalton on bass. John Phillips then replaced Byrne, but by the end of 1967 The RJSS had called it a day.
Ford joined The Master's Apprentices and Lavery went on to Doug Parkinson In Focus, The Valentines and Axiom. In the 1970s, Andy James became television actor Andy Anderson with a long-running part in The Sullivans; recently he has been seen in The Great Bookie Robbery (1986), Phoenix (1991) and Fire (1995). Of the original Links, Anson joined The Id, Peel ended up in The Pleazers, Rockwell T. James and the Rhythm Aces, La De Das and John Paul Young and the All Stars, Brady played in Python Lee Jackson and Cox joined The Lost Souls. Raven Records put out the The Missing Links (Australian Rock Archives) EP in 1980 and reissued The Missing Links album and The Links Unchained EP in 1986.
Interest in The Missing Links continued to swell into the late 1990s. Nic Dalton at the Sydney-based Half a Cow label and Nick Phillips, from the Melbourne-based Corduroy label, pooled resources in order to issue a 7-inch single, featuring �Wild About You� backed with the previously unissued �Come My Way� (November 1998). In the meantime, Dalton and a number of other Missing Links aficionados put together the ultimate CD compilation in honour of the band.
Driving You Insane came out in September 1999. That highly recommended, first-time release on CD of �the complete recordings of Australia�s wildest �60s band�, featured great packaging, a 40-page booklet and 28 tracks of R&B; tinged garagemania a la Them and The Pretty Things, with snarling vocals, fuzz-tone guitars, swirling organ and uncluttered production. All the Missing Links classics were included, from �Drivin� Me Insane� and �Wild About You� to �H�tuom Tuhs�, and covers of material by Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon (�Diddy Wah Diddy�), Leiber and Stoller (�Kansas City�) and James Brown (�I�ll Go Crazy�).