The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - IAIN SHED­DEN spin­doc@ theaus­tralian. com. au

TEARS were shed, toasts were toasted and rock ’ n’ rollers led a merry old dance around Syd­ney’s Hopetoun Ho­tel last week as a small posse of like- minded souls saluted — at a pri­vate func­tion — the out­go­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of EMI Mu­sic Aus­trala­sia, John O’Don­nell. A for­mer mu­sic ed­i­tor of Rolling Stone and ed­i­tor of Juice mag­a­zine, O’Don­nell is leav­ing the trou­bled la­bel af­ter seven years in the top post. The EMI group has been shed­ding staff at an alarm­ing rate world­wide in the past few years. As a mea­sure of the re­spect Aussie mu­si­cians and the in­dus­try in gen­eral have for this self­con­fessed rock tragic, a smat­ter­ing of O’Don­nell’s sign­ings and sta­ble sta­ples turned up to pay trib­ute in song. Tim Rogers from You Am I was there, as was Paul Kelly. Singer Kevin Mitchell was able to ac­knowl­edge O’Don­nell’s shrewd judg­ment in sign­ing him twice, first to the Mur­mur la­bel with his band Jebe­diah, then to EMI as his glo­ri­ously poppy solo al­ter- ego, Bob Evans. The high­light, how­ever, was all three mu­sos pick­ing up gui­tars and wel­com­ing Sil­ver­chair’s Daniel Johns to the stage, where­upon the four­some launched into a spir­ited ver­sion of Neil Young’s Long May You Run. While the per­for­mance and the song’s ap­pro­pri­ate sen­ti­ment struck a chord with the au­di­ence, the few sea­soned journos in the room couldn’t help no­tice the ching ching of cash reg­is­ters and dol­lar signs hang­ing in the air as the in­dus­try’s movers and shak­ers tot­ted up just how much dosh could be made from th­ese four ami­gos do­ing their Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rou­tine on a more per­ma­nent ba­sis. Johns, Evans, Rogers and Kelly. ‘‘ Ladeeez and gen­tle­men . . . are you ready for . . . JERK?’’ Stranger things have hap­pened. SPIN Doc­tor wasted way too much time this week locked in a room with noth­ing more than Garageband and a su­per­mar­ket jumbo pack of An­zac bis­cuits, toil­ing away on a mat­ter of na­tional im­por­tance. The navy, as in the Royal Aus­tralian Navy, with the ships and stuff, needs YOU. More specif­i­cally, it needs you to write a song about how great it is to be in the navy ( ex­cept you can’t call it that ’ cos it’s al­ready taken by Vil­lage Peo­ple, al­though it has of­ten struck me that they might have been tak­ing the piss). Any­hoo, The Navy Song Bat­tle is the ini­tia­tive in ques­tion and is open to any­one who thinks they can write a song that ‘‘ evokes the emo­tion, ad­ven­ture and the ca­ma­raderie of a navy ca­reer’’. The lucky win­ner, who will be an­nounced in Novem­ber, will have their tune splat­tered all over a tele­vi­sion and ra­dio re­cruit­ment cam­paign next year. One of the judges, James Young, who owns Mel­bourne’s late- night rock ’ n’ roll wa­ter­ing hole the Cherry Bar, says the comp of­fers ‘‘ a rare chance at the big time’’. It couldn’t get much big­ger. If you don’t be­lieve me, go to www. mys­pace. com/ navysong­bat­tle. Now, what rhymes with swal­low the an­chor?

Il­lus­tra­tion: Tom Jel­lett

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