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ENCYCLOPEDIA

Encyclopedia entry for 'Big Pig' LETTER:

Formed in 1986
StyleFunk, rock
 Original line-up: Oleh Witer (vocals, percussion; ex-Bang), Sherine (vocals, percussion; ex-Editions, Bang), Nick Disbray (vocals, percussion), Tony Antonaides (vocals, harmonica), Tim Rosewarne (vocals, keyboards; ex-Bang), Neil Baker (drums), Adrian Scaglione (drums)
 Albums: Big Pig (mini-album, Mushroom/Festival, 1986), Bonk (Mushroom/Festival, 1988), You Lucky People (Mushroom/Festival, 1990).

History
Melbourne band Big Pig burst on to the scene with a unique style and image. The band's percussion-driven funk sound was almost entirely rhythmic based, with harmonica, a smattering of keyboards and Sherine's smouldering gospel-infused vocals providing the melody. The band wore distinctive leather aprons which enhanced the austere/semi-industrial nature of the music.

Big Pig was the brainchild of percussionist/ singer Oleh Witer. Dispensing with the Grace Jones-styled funk of his previous band, Bang, Witer took Big Pig down a more avant-funk-meets-disco route while still retaining a feel for pop economy. The band issued an independent, self-titled, 12-inch EP containing the thumping, wailing `Hungry Town'. Mushroom reissued the record in October 1986 as a double 12-inch EP which included extended dance mixes of `Hungry Town' and `Money God'. Coupled with a striking film clip directed by Richard Lowenstein, `Hungry Town' scored the band immediate attention. It reached #14 on the national chart in December. Yahoo Serious included `Hungry Town' on the soundtrack to his feature film Young Einstein.

Englishman Nick Launay (Public Image Ltd, Midnight Oil, Models) produced and engineered the band's second single, `Boy Wonder'/`Hellbent Heaven' (April 1987) and the debut album, Bonk. The album yielded the singles `Breakaway'/`Hell-bent Heaven' (February 1988), `Big Hotel'/`Fine Thing' (June) and `Iron Lung'/`Iron Lung' (December). Launay was renowned for pioneering the huge drum sound that was prevalent in mid-1980s rock productions. It tends to make the records sound dated, but Bonk was successful at the time and reached #4 on the national chart in July. Big Pig's cover of Chuck Jackson's `Breakaway' also became the band's biggest hit single when it peaked at #4 in April. Later it was used on the soundtrack to the American feature film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Big Pig toured constantly, at home and overseas, but things were quiet on the recording front until 1990. Over the next year, the band put out three 12-inch singles `Justifier'/`Taste' (August 1990), `Hanging Tree' (January 1991) and `King of Nothing' (April) and a new album You Lucky People. Big Pig enlisted the services of Daddy O (Stetasonics) and Femi Jaya (Prince) on the album in its quest for the ultimate in dance grooves.

As part of its extensive 25th anniversary celebrations, Mushroom Records reissued Big Pig’s ‘Hungry Town’ as a CD single (July 1998).



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

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