Tuesday, March 31, 2015

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - The Grind: Mile Away (1981)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
What you are reading right now, and what you will soon hear, are unique achievements in Australian contemporary Rock-and-Roll. Hard Grind is a band whose name suggests the strenuousness and strength of purpose that is indeed the foundation stone of their art. Their road, as has been the case with many others, has been littered with individual success and heartache, diversion of purpose and the final flowering of this unique sound that you are about to hear.
The bands' approach to their music is perhaps best summed up by referring you to the motto that heads the list of M.R.M. Records: "Don't follow trends - make them!" The sound that Hard Grind create is the epitomy of the times we live, coloured by experience and highlighted by their unique direction of purpose.
Hard Grind formed some two years ago under the direction of lead guitarist Arnie Olbrich. The individual members came from varied and different backgrounds to combine in this creation of an original sound and rock-and-roll concept of entertainment.

Left:  Earlier band 'Tree'  Right:  'Hard Grind'
As you cast your eye on the photograph above right, the members of the band are (left to right): Bert Mattfschtk - Bass Guitar, Bret Cooper - Drums, Peter Ryan - Keyboards, and Arnie Olbrich - Lead Guitar
All members of Hard Grind provide the vocals, the leads being shared between Peter Ryan and Arnie Olbrich.
The original material makes up 90% of the band's performances is all written by Arnie. His ability to sum up the contemporary scene is uniquely reflected in the strong lyrics and music he writes and the electrifying performance the whole band gives them. ......linear notes from back cover of single

Hard Grind played a gig for the University Of Wollongong,in their Union Hall on July 30th, 1981 as recorded in the university's 1981 annual report.

'Arnie O. Connections' is the latest brainchild of local Wollongong identity Arnie Olbrich.
Most musicians in the area know Arnie as "the guy who runs Kickstart Rehearsal Studios", but he actually has an impressive history in the music industry dating back to the 70's with bands such as 'Tree', which saw them share the stage with heavyweights such as AC/DC and Johnny O'Keefe.
Arnie departed for London for several years after that, working with members of The Nashville Teens, Masters Apprentices and Billy Ocean's backing band, before returning to Australia in the early 80s to form Hard Grind which enjoyed national exposure with their top ten hit "Mile Away".
In 1988 Arnie collaborated with Leon Berger (Koo De Tah) which resulted in winning two international songwriting awards, including Best Bicentennial Song for 'The Australian Dream'. Arnie later re-recorded that song in 2009 with Lord Tim (Lord/ Dungeon) and it was subsequently entered into the National Archives, along with the associated video clip which featured rare footage of Arnie interviewing ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
This collaboration with Lord Tim proved to be so successful, Arnie approached him once again to produce and perform on the debut Arnie O. Connections album 'Piece of Yesterday' which also featured performances by a host of local Illawarra musicians, along with members of the original Hard Grind band, and included reworked versions of many of their classic songs. This album also spawned the cinematic styled video clip for the song "Lobo In Hell" which has been featured nationally on ABC TV and accumulated thousands of views on You Tube.
In late 2013, Arnie hit the studio once again for the follow-up release 'Neural Erosion'. This time the album featured performances from members of Carbon Black, Germ, The Four Kinsmen, Hard Grind and again was produced by Lord Tim, who also appeared as a guest performer.
Stylistically hard to define, 'Neural Erosion' segues effortlessly between 80's pop/rock, classic 70's rock, modern melodic hard rock, and experimental sitar-laden atmospheric grooves.
Three video clips have already been filed for the songs "Absolute Escape", "Neural Erosion" and "The Score" (the latter being a reworked, exceptionally energetic dance version of the 70s rock styled song that appears on the album)
'Neural Erosion' is available internationally via CD Baby, iTunes and Bandcamp.
So this month's WOCK on vinyl post pays tribute to Wollongong, a small seaside township located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia; which has spawned some successful (and no so successful) bands over the years.  For some great background information of some bands that have come out of Wollongong during the 70's and 80's see the following article by Mike Donaldson. from 1984.
Hard Grind is certainly an Obscure band and I recently came across this single in amongst a box of 'junk' at the flee market and was first attracted by independent record label M.R.M.
Although the A-side is OK, I much prefer the B-side track "Broken Down Machines" which sounds a lot like something that Bruce Springsteen  might have recorded.  Enjoy.

Hard Grind Link  (51Mb, FLACs)

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