Wednesday, 19 January 2011

We're losing everyone...

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…


  1. Sad to hear of Prestwich's death as I'm a fan of both Cold Chisel and LRB. I have both the LRB albums that Prestwich was on. I think No Reins fell flat because Farnham had already left the band by the time of the album's release. It's kind of hard to tour to promote and support and album when the "voice" of that album has flown the coop so to speak.

  2. I'm not sure of the exact timeframe, but there's quotes from Farnham in the liner notes of 'Reminiscing: The 20th Anniversaty Collection' where he states that he was devastated by the non-response 'No Reins' received and decided that as he was giving everything he had he might as well do something under his own name - the album's in a box in NZ so I can't provide the exact quote I'm afraid! Both albums came out in '86 so he may well have had that as a backup plan (PTW didn't exactly sell in great numbers and I believe they lost money on the US tour for that, a first for them)