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Encyclopedia entry for 'James Freud' LETTER:

 James Freud solo albums: Breaking Silence (Mushroom/Festival, 1980), Step into the Heat (Mushroom/ Festival, 1989); Moondog album: Postcard to Hawaii (TWA, 1997); James Freud and the Reserves album: Today’s Legends of AFL Football (Sony/Columbia, 1999).

It has been a long, diverse career for singer James Freud (born in 1959 as Colin McGlinchy). Although rarely accepted in supposedly `hip' circles, Freud has enjoyed chart and live success in four different guises: as a solo artist, as a member of Models, with dance-pop act Beatfish and most recently with surf-pop outfit Moondog.

James Freud (lead vocals, guitar) got his start with glam-punk band Teenage Radio Stars, which he formed at the end of 1977 with school friend Sean Kelly (guitar, vocals). The band lasted until the end of 1978. At the start of 1979, Freud took a young band called Colt and formed James Freud and the Radio Stars. The line-up was Bryan Thomas (guitar), Roger Mason (keyboards), Murray Doherty (bass) and Glen McGrath (drums). Tony Lugdon (guitar, keyboards; ex-Steeler) replaced Thomas mid-year. Freud signed to Mushroom and began recording an album. By the time the album was completed at the end of 1979, James Freud and the Radio Stars comprised Freud, Mason, Peter Cook (guitar, vocals), Mick Prague (bass) and Tommy Hosie (drums).

In May 1980, Mushroom issued James Freud and the Radio Stars' debut single, `Modern Girl'/ `Tragic Tales', which reached #12 nationally and Top 5 in Melbourne. That same month, the band supported UK synth wunderkid Gary Numan on his Australian national tour. The album Breaking Silence (credited to James Freud on the cover, but to James Freud and the Radio Stars on the record label) followed in June. It reflected Freud's carefully cultivated, new wave, glam-pop image and his ready grasp of the three-minute pop framework. Numan had been so impressed that he invited Freud to record an album in the UK under his aegis. Neither party was happy with the result, and the album has never seen the light of day. While in London, the band became known as James Freud and Berlin due to the fact there was already an English band called The Radio Stars. When Freud and Berlin returned to Australia at the end of 1980, Randy Bulpin (ex-Mondo Rock, Aliens) replaced Cook. The next single taken from Breaking Silence `Enemy Lines'/`Only the Young' (October 1980) was credited to James Freud's Berlin.

The Gary Numan-produced `Automatic Crazy'/ `While We Worship Oxygen' came out in March 1981 credited to James Freud and Berlin. (The band had recorded the single in Sydney with Numan prior to the English trip.) One month later, Freud broke up Berlin. He and Mason returned to England and formed a band called Orient-R. The band played one London gig before Mason joined Gary Numan's touring band. At the beginning of 1982, Freud returned to Australia with the express purpose of rejoining his old partner Sean Kelly in his band Models. After much success, Models broke up in June 1988, and Freud relaunched his solo career. He travelled to New York and recorded Step into the Heat with Chic/Powerstation mastermind (the late) Bernard Edwards at Powerstation Studios. Step into the Heat yielded three singles, `Hurricane'/`Everything's Alright' (March 1989), `One Fine Day'/`Holy War' (July) and `Let's Get It On'/`The Long Good Friday' (November). Of the three singles, only `Hurricane' reached the national Top 20 when it peaked at #15 in June.

Freud formed a touring band which comprised Steve Williams (guitar; ex-Wa Wa Nee), Paul Williamson (sax), Lee Borkman (keyboards; ex-Pink Slips, Scribble), Nero Swan (bass; ex-Machinations), Warren McLean (drums; ex-Machinations, I'm Talking, Divinyls) and Sandi Chick (backing vocals), who was replaced by Toni Mott. Step into the Heat was reputedly the most expensive album Mushroom Records ever issued. It managed to peak at #16 on the national chart in June, but swiftly dropped out of the Top 40 a few weeks later. With his solo career at a low ebb, Freud played bass in Kylie Minogue's backing band during 1990. At the end of 1990, he formed a partnership with Mental as Anything's Martin Plaza as dance-pop duo Beat-fish. The duo scored a couple of minor hits, after which Freud began writing and producing music for television commercials.

In January 1996, Freud started recording a new solo album, Big Mouth, which he eventually scrapped. Only one track, the summery surf-pop `Postcard to Hawaii' met his expectations. With the aid of collaborator Phil Ceberano (guitar), Freud formed Moondog and completed a whole album in the `Postcard to Hawaii' vein. `Postcard to Hawaii' was issued as a single and became one of the most played tracks on the Australian regional commercial radio network over the 1996 Christmas period. The Postcard to Hawaii album came out in January 1997, and Moondog played a month of shows around Sydney. The Moondog line-up was Freud, Ceberano, Colin Bloxsom (lap steel guitar), Tony Hunt (acoustic guitar), Greg Royal (bass) and Warren Trout (drums).

By 1999, James Freud was working as a songwriter/sound engineer at the Melbourne-based studio of Les Gock’s Song Zu organisation. Freud came up with the idea of celebrating the impending AFL record-breaking, goal kicking mark (1300) of the Sydney Swan’s Tony Lockett by re-writing the Spanish folk song ‘Guantanamera’ as ‘One Tony Lockett’. Issued as a single by James Freud and the Reserves (May 1999), it sold well.

Freud followed that up with the full length James Freud and the Reserves album, Today’s Legends of AFL Football (July), which featured songs dedicated to various AFL players. These included ‘The Long Road’ (Michael Long, Essendon), ‘Rocca Brothers Rock’ (Anthony and Saverio Rocca, Collingwood), ‘Buddah’ (Gary Hocking, Geelong) and ‘SoS’ (Stephen Silvagni, Carlton).

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


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