1989-1992> (The Beginning)
1993-1995> (Powderfinger, Transfusion, Mr Kneebone EPs and Parables)
1996-1997> (Double Allergic)
2000-2002> (Odyssey #5)
2003-2004> (Vulture Street, These Days & Fingerprints)
2005- > (Rock and Soul, BF solo, Drag Album)
1989-1992> The Beginning:
'Powderfinger', the name of an old classic 'Neil Young' song, inspired the name of a new band formed 1989 when three high school boys from Brisbane started playing together. The original members of Powderfinger were Ian Haug, Guitar and Vocals, John Collins, Bass, and Steven Bishop on Drums.
Out of high school and studying architecture at Brisbane Uni, Ian Haug be-friended a journalism student Bernard Fanning an economics class, (which Fanning apparently subsequently failed, but Haug passed). Together both being bored out of their brains, they would talk about music only to find they had similar tastes. The band were looking for another guitarist at the time, but in Fanning they found a good vocalist rather than guitar player. Haug gladly left the duties to Fanning.
Drummer Steven Bishop later left the band to be recruited, by funny man, Jon Coghill. Jon was first introduced into the band when Steven was still playing with them, it has been told he walked in on one of their rehearsals one day and started slam dancing, the guys apparently found this hysterical and didn't forget Jon's face. After Bishop had left, Coghill auditioned for the drumming position, and joined the band shortly afterwards.
In 1992 the band decided to finally add another guitarist, Bernard and Ian found a talented, young and very energetic (Jumping on the table tops kind of energetic) guitarist playing in a local football club with a band called 'The Pirates'. Shortly after Darren Middleton was asked, joined the band, he quickly said goodbye to his previous band mates and headed off to join the Powderfinger camp.
This was to be the last line-up change in their now spanning 15 year career.
Starting out as a local Brisbane cover band, Powderfinger shared the same rehearsal areas as the then unknown 'Regergitator, 'Custard' and 'Not From There'. They played gigs at local biker clubs nearly every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights for around $200 a show. They saved up their earnings and borrowed enough from Darren's parents and Ian's new flat mate 'Paul Piticco' to make their first EP titled 'Powderfinger', which is also quite often referred to as the 'Blue EP'
The EP quickly sold out of its 1500 copies, and there was a small buzz starting to appear around the band. Polydor Records saw this and decided to give the guys a chance, giving them packaging and additional promotional money for a second EP. The release of the EP' Transfusion' showed that the guys were part of a promising band after is knocked Nirvana's 'Heart-Shaped Box' off the Number 1 position on the alternative charts. After this top, Polydor formed a contract which the guys happily signed.
In 1994 the band travelled down to Melbourne to record their debut album with producer 'Tony Cohen'. With 13 great originals the album 'Parables for Wooden Ears' was successful enough, despite it getting near no radio exposure. They did a heap of touring promoting the album, including a spot on the Big Day Out in 1995. (Bernard now refers to the Parables era as their dark dark days)
Another EP titled 'Mr Kneebone' was also made in and released 1995. The powerful songs which Mr Kneebone provided are said to of been the turning point in Powderfinger's song writing career.
1996-1997> Double Allergic
Back in the studios in 1996, and teamed up with producer 'Tim Whitten' the band had written an albums worth of new, and much more crafted songs. The single 'Pick You Up' was released first and was well accepted by radio stations like Triple J. It also got a bit of commercial airplay too, as did the next single 'daf'.
Next to be released was their second album 'Double Allergic' which was huge and sold over a quarter of a million copies. Powderfinger did a heap of touring both in Australia and overseas, they once again were at the Big Day Out in 1997, but this time they played on the main stage along side of bands like 'The Prodigy'.
The album and it's singles gained them a heap of ARIA nominations, but didn't succeed in winning them an award, also commercial radio stations weren't playing their songs on a regular basis. Powderfinger needed to make an excellent album not only gain more public appearance but to also top 'Double Allergic', it was a hard task but the five Brisbane guys did it with ease.
1998 their third album 'Internationalist', produced be American Nick Di Dia was released. 'The Day You Come' was the first single off it. Finally after years Powderfinger finally got a song on continuous commercial radio airplay- 'The Day You Come' was a huge success and got them the airplay and publicity they'd been looking for... as did the rest of the album. The band again toured overseas and in Australia, and played the '99 Big Day Out, this time with Korn and Courtney Love's band Hole.
With another 4 singles off Internationalist which all got commercial airplay, the '99 ARIA awards arrived. Despite Internationalist being such a hit the band claimed they honestly weren't expecting to get any awards. Finally after 17 nominations throughout their career, Powderfinger came home with 4 ARIAs in pocket. The Day You Come was voted 'Best Record', while Internationalist won 'Best Artwork', 'Rock Album of the Year' and 'Album of the Year'.
2000-2002> Odyssey #5
The start of 2000 saw their song 'These Days' (made for the soundtrack to 'Two Hands') voted number 1 on 'Triple J's Hottest 100 of 99' Which is a huge feat, especially seeing as 'These Days' was not an official single, or even on the band's album.
After heading back into the Sing Sing studios with Di Dia, the band recorded one of the most anticipated Australian releases of the year. After the success of Internationalist, the band were under a lot of pressure to prove that Internationalist wasn't just a 'one off'. In September 2000, the new album Odyssey Number Five was released to Australia and went Platinum within the week. It proved that Powderfinger had kept their steady tradition of going from strength to an all new strength.
With Odyssey Number Five up their sleeves, and the strength in knowing their powerful back catalogue, the band have started touring around the world, with sell out shows being played in different countries all over.
The album has gone 8x platinum in Australia, and has been selling exceptionally well around the world. They have released 'My Happiness' over-seas, and made their OS television debut on the highly respected David Letterman Late Night Show.
The band's success with Odyssey Number Five was mimicked at the ARIA awards in 2001, where they picked up 6 of the 8 awards they were nominated for. This included 'Band of the Year'. These were only a few of the many more awards the album received.
The 'New Suburban Fables' tour was one masive tour. It took them around the country, playing 3x back to back sold out shows at Brisbane's Festival Hall. 4x sold out shows at both Melbourne Festival Hall, and the Horden in Sydney . Their show in Perth saw them playing at the Perth Entertainment Centre which holds no less than 3000. Shows in Adelaide and Newcastle were also sold out.
A few months after this Bernard played the second solo gig of his entire career, with You Am I's "Tim Rogers", all money raised from ticket sales went to the Woomera Detention Centre benefit fund.
Darren Middleton and his Side Project 'Drag' released their debut EP (Gas Food Lodging) in 2002, and have played a limited number of gigs up in Brisbane. A short tour down the East Cost of Australia was unfortunately cancelled after Darren become ill with the flu after their show at the 'Splendour in the Grass' festival.
The band took their massively successful New Suburban Fables tour overseas, playing to sold out crowds in the UK and US. Audiences to these shows and a one off secret gig at the Zoo in Brisbane were the first to hear the new rocking song 'Process This' and the more mellow 'Come On'.
The band then headlined the 2002 Livid 'one day series' festival. Along with artists like Oasis, Mercury Rev, Grinspoon, Motor Ace, Morrissey, George, John Butler Trio and Giants of Science (to name a few) Livid took the band to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The band again played the new songs 'Process This', and 'Come On' and also another new one called 'Rocking Rocks' (which Bernard apologised for the bad name).
2003-2004> Vulture Street, These Days and Fingerprints
After taking a well deserved year long break, Powderfinger got back into the newly built Studio 301 in Byron Bay with now long tern mate and producer Nick Di Dia, and another American Tony Cohen who helped co-produce the new album.
After spending about 9 months in the studio, which for Powderfinger was an enormous length of time, the band walked out with a new album full of rocking, bluesy, and ballsey hits. 'On My Mind' was the first taste of the album, and was an instant hit. Vulture Street was released shortly after, and was picked up like a storm.
The band did a quick Vulture Street album launch tour down the east cost of Australia, playing these one off shows to small crowds comprised of only invited guests and official Powderfinger fanclub members.
The band then headed overseas to tour, and left Australia with several singles, which despite the boys not even being in the country to promote them, every single was huge and are now massive sing-a-longs at any Aussie BBQ.
On their return to Australia, they put on their biggest tour to date. With the awesome 'John Butler Trio' (fresh from touring in the US with the Dave Matthews Band) Powderfinger toured all over the country on their 'Live on Vulture Street tour' playing several sold out shows in most major cities, to huge crowds in the biggest entertainment complexes Australia has to offer. Crowds were near deafening, and the band were outstanding.
They then headed over seas again, tripping over Europe, America and Canada. They were even invited to play the 'Rock n Royal' concert put on in Denmark for the wedding of the 'Australian' princess Mary to her Danish prince Fredrick. The two were seen supporting Vulture Street badges urged to wear and given to them by Fanning.
2003 was a big year for Powderfinger fans, but 2004 set was to be bigger again.
With footage of the 2 massive 'Live on Vulture Street' shows at the Sydney entertainment Centre, the band teamed up with 50 50 films to make their first full-length DVD.
But before the release of the DVD, came Powderfinger's first ever live CD, taken from the Sydney LOVS show, and a bonus disk of acoustic "Low Key" songs taken from a previous channel [V] session. This was released in September with a strictly limited number of 50,000 copies to be pressed.
In October the DVD was set to go, and special first screenings were set up in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The DVD went platinum within its first month on sale. The band didn't stop there..
November came, and 'Fingerprints' , a collection of the 'Best of Powderfinger: 1994-2000' was released, featuring some of the best songs of the band's back catalogue from Parables through to Odyssey. It also included 2 new songs, one 'Process This' which was heard back in 2002 as part of their Livid Tour, and the brand new and never heard before 'Bless My Soul' written in 2004 after visiting and being inspired by their time in Spain.
Powderfinger started 2005 by touring with the Big Day Out, headlining the festival along side of the Beasty Boys and the Chemical Brothers, while also playing 3 side shows, one in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The Rock and Soul tour will be the last tour the boys do for a while, as they again plan on having year off.
Though 'having a year off', doesn't mean stopping work all together. Darren and his side-project, 'Drag' will be recording and releasing their debut album sometime this year, and Bernard plans on recording a solo album.
Hopefully we can see tours from both these within a year or 2 before the band get back together to create a new album. Who knows what direction they will lead us in then?