In this interview between Scott Young and Choirboys’ Mark Gable, Mark discusses the history of the band and the stories behind some of their most recognisable songs!
You can see more interviews etc at Scott’s channel here
Roseville Circa 1979
This shot was taken outside our first rehearsal room in Roseville around 1979. It was an old boarded up shop next to the servo at the top of the Roseville Bridge, that for some reason still had power and we had access? (Lindsay might have had something to do with getting in there)
Mark is looking a little like a 70’s porn star. The rest of us look like deadbeats, thong wearing, northern beach inbreds!
Who would have thought!!!
Choirboys were in a position where we had come up with something to equal the monstrous hit “Run to Paradise,” this was in hindsight very hard to do but still we endeavoured.
This offering as a single from Big Bad Noise along with Boys Will Be Boys was swinging towards everyone in the band contributing in the song writing.
How the lyrics came about was as it should be, I was visiting Lindsay’s parent’s house in Canberra just around the time Paradise was at the top of the charts. Lindsay was arguing with me about socialism and the demise of the modern world, when his dad tried to calm things down a little by suggesting ‘that we all go to ‘Struggle Town’. I said “Struggle Town, what the hell is that?” Mr Tebbutt (as I knew him) explained that he was actually talking about Canberra’s neighbouring town of Queanbeyan…… I thought ‘really! was it that tough in Queanbeyan?’
After a few visits to good ‘ol Queanbeyan out came the lyrics. I still had trouble with the description, but to date I had not heard that term before. That catch phrase of ‘whoa- whoa-whoa-whoa’ in the choruses has been a crowd favourite for almost three decades. So, long live Queanbeyan and long live Struggle Town.
You’re With the Big Boys Now (Carrie)
I love this song. We still do it today.
Carrie was shot in Woolloomooloo, Sydney at a garage in Forbes St. Strange thing is that the garage location now houses our agent….. so we end up at these meetings in Forbes Street where we shot Carrie planning tours and shows and the memories come flooding back!
If I recall correctly the A&R guy from the record company (Alberts) was trying to hit on the girl in the clip. She was an Australian Playboy Centerfold and he fancied chalking her up on his expense account. I think he ended up taking her to the only casino in Australia at the time…in Hobart, Tasmania. ON OUR EXPENSE ACCOUNT!!!!
Never Gonna Die
This one was called ‘I Like Your Eyes’ in the beginning of the 80s and so many of our earlier fans were very upset that we changed the name and lyrics of the song to ‘Never Gonna Die’. (It’s on the latest release of our self-titled album and you can get it here, along with the original demo)
It was Choirboys first single from the our very first album of the same name, the year was 1983. We released this through the Alberts label and recorded it at the same studio also owned by Alberts located in King Street, Sydney. This was the legendary studio 1 that AC/DC, The Angels and Rose Tattoo recorded their first albums in down the back of the building. If you looked out of the tea room window you could see ‘Sydney Tower’ doing just that towering over you. This building is now long gone and so has Alberts having been acquired by the German conglomerate BMG in September 2016.
During the production of our first album we had so much fun. Jimmy Manzie the bass player from the iconic 1970s Australian party band Ol’55 was the producer this album and our first single ‘Never Gonna Die’.
Choirboys at this time never took anything seriously (one of our major faults) and Jim got caught in the middle of this constantly and here is one example ‘The Hump-stack’. Jim asked to talk to me outside the studio one day and said “can you get the band to respect me please Mark?” “I feel the producer needs to be respected by the artist?” I said “sure, no problem mate”.
Once back inside and sitting on the black leather couch on the back wall with my 3 band mates and Jim back in the producer’s seat in front of the recording console I yelled “HUMP-STACK!” this was the signal to drag Jim off his chair and everyone to jump on him. So much for respect, poor Jim who went on to produce music for all kinds of movies in Los Angeles and successfully as well.
Our kind of humour didn’t work that well with Alberts Productions. I think our lack of respect was not appreciated in organisation that stretch back over 100 years. However, I will always remember my association with Albert’s and Choirboys recording there with enormous amount of fondness. One of the highlights of my life and the bands career.
Talk Big was shot in the underground car parks around Wynyard Station in Sydney. I had no idea but there’s miles and miles of these underground roadway/car parks twisting and paralleling the train lines under the middle of the city.
Now when your on a film clip shoot, part of the mandated process is that there needs to be food supplied for all the production crew. It takes the best part of a day to do the whole process as you set up for each shot and change locations.
For this clip the A&R dude brought in whole lot of pre made sandwiches on a plate. Maybe it was a couple of plates, but I have this image repeating on me of the record co. exec walking around offering sandwiches from this plate he was carrying around. So Talk Big represents a plate of sandwiches to me!