Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Aliens - Translator (1980) + Bonus Singles

(Australian 1978 - 1981)
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Three of the founders of The Aliens, Danny Johnson on lead vocals, Geoff Stapleton on guitar and vocals and Greg Webster on lead guitar, were in an Adelaide band, Gold, at that time Stapleton was on drums. In 1975 the line-up of Gold also included Grant Lang on keyboards, Dave Lewis on lead guitar and Grant Lewis on bass guitar. They played local venues around the city, as well as a number of country performances. In 1976 Gold were winners of the 5KA 'Battle of the Bands'. Soon after they were renamed as Riff Raff, which had a more punk name which reflected their material. In 1977 the Riff Raff line-up were Johnson, Stapleton (now on guitar), and Webster (now on guitar and vocals), together with Rob Grosser on drums. In February 1978 Johnson, Stapleton and Webster moved to Melbourne and in April that year they formed The Aliens with Graham Lewis on keyboards and Kevin Patricks on drums.

Early Aliens: Danny Johnson, Graham Lewis, Geoffrey Stapleton, Boris, Kevin Fennesy
Kez Hood was their manager and with Premier Artists as their agent, they began playing around Melbourne at places like Martinis, Hearts, Bananas, The Tiger Lounge, The Station,The Crystal Ballroom and Bombay Rock.

Their first of many Sydney shows was at the Sydney Cove Tavern on Tuesday 27th of February 1979. They'd played in Adelaide at the Arkaba Hotel on Sunday 25th, and drove to Sydney via Melbourne in an old broken down Valliant. It was the first of many hell rides up and down the Hume Highway. In Sydney they played places like The Bondi Lifesaver, The Civic Hotel, Stage Door Tavern, Comb n' Cutter, Manly Flix, French's Wine Bar, Chequers and The Royal Antler.


By May 1979 the "full house" signs were going up all over the inner city venues of Melbourne. The band played hundreds of live shows around Australia in 1979, sometimes two or even three shows a day. They were one of the first local bands of the late 1970s to adopt a new wave uniform of black clothes and skinny, white ties.

Classic Aliens: Greg Webster, Rob Grosser , Danny Johnson, Geoffrey Stapleton
They were also being courted by a number of major record companies but eventually signed to Mushroom Records on Wednesday 20th June 1979. They sold their publishing for a dollar! They recorded their first single, "Confrontation", with producer Charles Fisher over a weekend, from 11 to 13 August 1979, at Trafalgar Studios, Sydney. The group were mid-tour supporting The Sports nationally. In December "Confrontation" reached No. 36 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. Their debut album, 'Translator', was recorded at The Music Farm, in northern New South Wales, between 24 November and 9 December 1979, with David Tickle producing.

The band performed on TV shows: Countdown, Nightmoves, Sounds Unlimited, and Hey Hey Its Saturday. In January 1980 the band toured nationally supporting United Kingdom band, Squeeze, and in March they supported The Police. The band had released its second single, "Follow that Girl", on 25 February that year, which reached No. 48. On 20 May 1980 following a performance at the Canberra Theatre, Webster quit and returned to Melbourne. In the previous sixteen-month period they had played 356 shows around Australia.

The band continued as a three-piece, working in a whole new repertoire and sound, which included keyboards from Stapleton. In September Randy Bulpin from Mondo Rock briefly joined on lead guitar until the end of October when the band relocated to Sydney. Pierre Baroni joined the band on the day they left Melbourne for Sydney. He was recruited for his voice and song writing ability, as well as his guitar arrangements. On 27 November Grosser left and was replaced by Alex Bash on drums in December 1980. On 6 March 1981 Johnson left the group leaving Stapleton as the only original member. Greg Trennery joined on bass guitar on 31 March.

The new line up of Stapleton, Baroni, Bash and Trennery recorded a third single, "I Don't Care", on 23 May at EMI Studios 301. "I Don't Care" featured Stapleton on lead vocals and the B-side "Over my Head" had Baroni on lead vocals. It was released in December 1981 on their own label, Planet X Records, through EMI. On 29 May Bash left the band and was replaced by Malcolm Fogg on 3 June. They toured Melbourne during October and November that year. Bash rejoined the band, replacing Fogg for the band's last performance on the TV show, Countdown, on 11 December 1981, performing "I Don't Care". Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, noted their "sound embraced guitar-oriented pop rock with the emphasis on 1960s melodies". Stapleton later joined a range of groups: Rockmelons (1983–85), GANGgajang (1984–87, 1995–present), Absent Friends (1990) and The Dukes (1991–93). Baroni worked in the art department of Mushroom Records.
[extracts from History of Aussie Music & The Geoffrey Stapleton Gallery]
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This post consists of FLACs ripped from vinyl (thanks to Sunshine) and includes full artwork for the album and bonus singles.  Although not a band that I really followed at the time, I have grown to appreciated their music during my later years. Their single "Confrontation" was all over the airwaves in 1979 reaching No.13 on the Melbourne 3XY charts.  I have included as bonus tracks, the non-album B-Side single "The Hyding Of Dr. Jeckyl" and their final single "I Don't Care" with it's B-Side "Over My Head".

Another highly underrated Aussie Band brought to the surface for your enjoyment !


Tracklist
01 Too Late Now 2:43
02 Follow That Girl 2:58
03 L.O.V.E. Love 3:16
04 Till The Beast Is Dead 3:30
05 Girls 3:10
06 She's So Dangerous 3:07
07 He's An Angel 3:02
08 The Boys In Black 2:36
09 Go Away 3:08
10 The Machine Wants To Know 3:24
11 Confrontation 3:47
12 Bomb Squad 5:10
[Bonus Tracks]
13 The Hyding Of Dr. Jeckyl 3:53
14 I Don't Care 2:52
15 Over My Head 2:33

Band Members:
G.I Webster - Lead Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer, Vocoder, Vocals
Geofferey Stapleton - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Danny Johnson - Vocals, Bass
Robbie Grosser - Drums

Aliens Translator FLAC Link (312Mb)

2 comments:

  1. thanks much! Saw that Pierre Baroni was a later member of The Aliens-i quite liked the band he formed in Melbourne called The Pony in the mid-80s....they had an indie LP and 45, and a further LP and 45's for Mushroom...really jangly stuff!!

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  2. I had this album back when it came out. Liked it, but at the time Aust-pop was reaching new highs of quality and these boys were just a little behind and didn't really have a firm identity. Had they held it together, who knows?

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