The Reels had bounced out of the New South Wales town of Dubbo, hardly famous for its rock groups, with an album they had put down in a mobile studio. A couple of hit singles were cut from it and the band was on its way. But, by February, 1980, all the excitement surrounding the Reels had died down and virtually nothing was heard of them until July when they cropped up again on Countdown.
"Well, we broke off with our management and we wanted to re-assess everything we were doing because we weren't very happy" singer David Mason explained. "Then we started rehearsing again in Dubbo and got our Reels by Rail tour going."
The tour took the band through eastern Australia by train and was the build-up to recording a follow-up album to their self titled debut, which, by the way, was released in more than twenty countries. And the band got itself back on track - literally - under its own management.
"We just used different agencies for the tour and we want to employ someone to handle negotiations with our record company for us" Mason said, "we can handle the image part of it pretty well, but we need someone to organise things like contracts..a money person, that's what we need. None of us is into money too much. But it's hard to get someone who will just manage those things for you and not try to take control of you. We want to be totally in control of the creative side, things like the albums covers as well as the music. We don't have our record company telling us what to do because we're commercial anyway, so we don't need a manager running that side of things."
The reels are Mason, Colin Newham and Karen Ansell (keyboards), Craig Hooper (guitar), Paul Abrahams (bass) and John Bliss (drums). And proof of Mason's statement about their ability to be commercial is in almost every song they play.
Often dismissed as simple, sometimes labelled punk by those who obviously don't know, the Reel's music, in fact, is as close as most bands ever get to producing a radio programmer's dream come true. And all that hope for the 1980's is alive and kicking. [Feature article from Countdown Annual, 1980. p54]
|The Reels 1980|
Live gigs are likely to be a rarity from now on for The Reels, with the electro-pop threesome electing to concentrate more on recording and making videos.
This fresh decision, announced by vocalist Dave Mason, is a surprise not only to the band's followers.,. "Our manager - and our bank manager - will freak out when they hear it," he said shortly after the group returned to Sydney after about five months of being "Aussie tourists" in the United States, England and Europe,
"We're just not interested in live gigs," he said, "We just want to record and make videos, and write songs.
Asked to elaborate, Dave said the trouble lay with the crowds, venue owners, the people who book venues, and the attitude of those in the industry,
"When you are in a band you have to get out there and pay your dues — but you have to play in places where people get knifed end girls get raped.
"Who wants that? We don't want to encourage that any more. It doesn't suit the band's image."
However, Dave said the group was interested in "nice gigs" with the right type of audience, and was interested in playing to kids, though he did not think a tour of schools was likely.
He recalled the days in his hometown of Dubbo. when once a week he went to see a major gig at a dance open to everyone,
"That sort of scene's just died in Australia, but it's still thriving In England." There were no venues in Australia for anyone under 17 years old. "Kids are trained in Australia to become yobbos if they want to get interested in the rock and roll scene," Overseas the rock and roll scene was the same, said Dave, but it was worse in London, especially the venues.
I think they are past caring about what audiences want. They cram in so many people you can't breathe. They turn off the air conditioning so you will buy more booze. Who cares, as long as you are making money?
"If they think that is the only way to make a buck, they have got to be kidding. "It is okay for some bands, who basically cater tor people who like that."
Dave said there was still pressure on The Reels to work in such venues "We'll just look at different ways of making money ... or we'll have to do with less money.
"We will play, but only when we want to. And when we're ready to, it will be in places we want to play in."
Dave said the "very recent" decision about live performances was voted on two to one by the group.
For exposure, Dave sees the possibilities of television "just endless"
"We have the best TV in the world here, especially with Channel 0. But television doesn't respect bands,
"Only when performers are megastars or are so old they are just about to hit the clubs do they get on TV.
"You can get on Simon Townsend's 'Wonderworld', which is great, or Countdown - but it is horrible as they refuse to have a studio audience now.
|The Reels 1984|
It was a silly thing to do, to take away the kids," in England one could get up at 7am and see a band on television - "You can see top 40 groups in the studio performing as part of the entertainment on shows."
Back In Australia, said Dave, the same old groups were appearing in outdoor concerts.
"We very rarely have an amiable line-up. The set-up is not right for us, especially when using tape machines,"
And while Australia produced the best heavy metal bands In the world, it could at the same time produce the best pop bands. "Isn't it wonderful that the Models are on the top 10 at long last.
"Rock and roll is not everybody's taste." Dave said he was not bitter nor unhappy.
"We just can't go on. We have just got to stop and concentrate. I know we can still produce records and put them out to the marketplace.
"I think we can sell records without having to go live. "But when we do go live, we want to put on a show - a spectacle.
"People pay $7 to see Return Of The Jedi and know they have seen something great, but if they pay $7 for a band, what have they seen?
"We have always tried to use visuals in our shows, but they have never been appreciated. We have been using slides for three years, and now other groups are using them." [Article by Louis Edwards. Countdown Magazine, Jan 1984. p16]
|Mason and Hooper|
Question: Shouldn't men get time off for good behavior after 30 years of marriage? Well.....shouldn't we??
01 - Love Will Find A Way
02 - Prefab Heart
03 - After The News
04 - According To My Heart
05 - Shout & Deliver
06 - Quasimodo's Dream
07 - No.3
08 - This Guy's In Love
09 - Last Night (I Couldn't Get To Sleep)
10 - Happiness
11 - Bad Moon Rising
12 - World's End
13 - Love Grows
14 - Forever Now
15 - I Don't Love You Anymore
16 - Bad Moon Rising (Filthy Lucre Remix)
The Reels were over time:
Dave Mason - Vocals
Craig Hooper - Guitar and Synthesisers
Colin Newham - Keyboards, Sax and Guitar
John Bliss, Stephan Fidock - Drums
Tony Martin, Paul Abrahams - Bass
Karen Ansell - Synthesiser
The Reels Requiem FLACs (338MB)
The Reels Requiem MP3s (126Mb)