Another untimely death in the rock world this week, as Cold Chisel’s drummer Steve Prestwich died from a brain tumour on Sunday, aged just 56. While I’m not a huge Chisel fan, no one can deny that they were/are one of the great Australian bands of all time, and deserved greater recognition than they ever achieved outside of Australasia. Prestwich wasn’t their main songwriter, but did contribute some significant numbers to their catalogue, most notably the stunning When the War is Over.
Following Chisel’s split in 1983 Prestwich soon joined another key Aussie group, the Little River Band, joining for two thirds of their all-too-brief (and sadly overlooked) John Farnham-fronted era, appearing on Playing to Win (1985) and No Reins (1986). The latter album includes a remake of When the War is Over, which features an absolute tour de force of a vocal performance from Farnham. It’s no surprise that it has been a mainstay of his concert performances ever since, below is a performance from 2007 that I bring to you in tribute to it’s writer,– enjoy (oh, and skip most of the audience banter at the start and go to approx 2.40…). Sadly No Reins was completely ignored upon its release and both Prestwich and Farnham were long gone from LRB by the time of 1988’s patchy Monsoon album.
Don Kirshner also passed away this week, albeit at a more respectable age of 76. Most famous for his work with the Monkees and The Archies, Kirshner had a long and varied career in the music industry. His signing of Kansas to his own Kirshner label (with whom they recorded from 1974-1984) will forever remain his greatest contribution to my collection and I can’t thank him enough for it.
RIP Don, RIP Steve, RIP it up Mr. Farnham…