BLAST FROM PAST

RE­LIVE ICE­HOUSE’S GREAT­EST HITS THIS WEEK­END

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - Ice­house per­form at The Star to­mor­row and Satur­day night. Tick­ets avail­able from star.com.au CAMERON ADAMS

Iva Davies may be Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful re­luc­tant song­writer. His band Ice­house are cel­e­brat­ing their 40th an­niver­sary this year, and re­main one of the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful tour­ing acts.

In 1977 they started as cov­ers band Flow­ers, play­ing songs by the Sex Pis­tols, David Bowie, Lou Reed and T-Rex. Flow­ers’ Ice­house al­bum came out in 1980, giv­ing Davies a new name for the band when an­other group was al­ready trad­ing as Flow­ers and hits in­clud­ing Can’t Help My­self, We Can Get To­gether and Walls.

More chart suc­cess fol­lowed – Love In Mo­tion, Hey Lit­tle Girl (a ma­jor hit in Europe) and the an­themic Great South­ern Land, now in­cluded in the Na­tional Film & Sound Ar­chive’s Sounds of Aus­tralia archives.

Davies says the 1984 bal­lad Don’t Be­lieve Any­more is the one “di­ary” mo­ment in Ice­house’s cat­a­logue, writ­ten af­ter a bit­ter break-up.

“The songs on the first Flow­ers al­bum were the first songs I ever wrote. I con­sciously went to great pains to not put my­self in any of the songs. The re­sult was they’re ex­actly about me.

“Only Don’t Be­lieve Any­more is def­i­nitely about me. It was a re­ally bad time for me. That is a very good doc­u­ment of a very bad time.”

Ice­house’s sound mor­phed dur­ing the ’80s, em­brac­ing rock for 1987’s Man Of Colours, home to US top 10 hits Crazy and Elec­tric Blue. It re­mains the high­est-sell­ing al­bum by an Aus­tralian band in ARIA his­tory. The be­lated fol­low-up, 1990’s Code Blue, only scored one top 20 hit with Miss Divine, while 1993’s Big Wheel was a com­mer­cial dis­ap­point­ment and Davies froze Ice­house to en­joy fa­ther­hood to son Evan and daugh­ter Brynn. “I ba­si­cally re­tired af­ter six weeks of the Big Wheel tour when my first child was six weeks old.”

Davies was fi­nan­cially sorted. Un­like most mu­si­cians, he owned his own songs and would li­cence them to record com­pa­nies, in­creas­ing his in­come.

Davies of­fi­cially re­formed Ice­house for 2009 char­ity show Sound Relief, the first chance his chil­dren saw him as a mu­si­cian. “They didn’t know any­thing about me in that world un­til they were around 13, un­til Sound Relief. We hadn’t played, the whole of their lives.”

Ice­house are once again a reg­u­lar tour­ing act, but this time on their own terms and with­out the gru­elling sched­ule of the past.

Their con­certs are still at the high-end of pro­duc­tion for a lo­cal act, some­thing Davies picked up early on. Flow­ers in­vested in sound and light­ing as soon as they started out.

“We were in­vest­ing in stuff that made us look like a big band when we weren’t. Even to this day, that still un­der­scored to me the value of pro­duc­tion.”

Iva Davies and the rest of Ice­house will per­form at The Star to­mor­row and Satur­day night.

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