Rocking the vinyl frontier
Craig Tansley discovers a capital city that is home to one hell of a rock and record scene
OLD drummers don’t die, they just move back to Melbourne to open cafes and bars for lovers of rock ’ n’ roll.
Take Shannon Vanderwert from the ARIA-nominated Dallas Crane, who overhauled the Post Office Hotel in Coburg just so he could start his first-ever day job; and Clint Hyndman ( of Aussie rock icons Something For Kate) whose Yellow Bird Cafe plays the only rock music on its section of trendy Chapel St ( and don’t dare ask him to turn it down). In deference to the rock ’ n’ roll lifestyle, he offers breakfast until 10pm.
There’s your fair share of guitarists and singers, too; brewing espressos, buttering raisin toast and hovering around the jukebox.
Rock star Tex Perkins might pull the odd beer at the Post Office Hotel ( he owns it with Vanderwert). It’s him you can blame for the Rolf Harris albums in the jukebox mix.
Or take Handsome Steve ( Miller), from ’ 70s and ’ 80s band The Moodists ( and tour manager of The Triffids). His Abbotsford cafe, The House of Refreshment, is off limits to anyone wearing lycra, and yummy mummies can sip their soy lattes elsewhere.
‘‘ If you can’t find us, stuff you,’’ he says. ‘‘ Our patrons have a saying: loose lips sink ships. We don’t want any ( idiots).
‘‘ We’re the only coffee shop in Melbourne selling a pie floater.
‘‘ We got no soy, no skinny and definitely no tea.’’
But then Melbourne’s not just any old city. Melbourne is Rock City, the kind of place inhabitants get fit doing a class called Rock Aerobics to AC/ DC while patrons down pints at the bar of Yah Yah’s in Fitzroy.
‘‘ At times in our history we’ve had more live music venues than London,’’ says Ed Nimmervoll, who’s been at the forefront of the music scene here since the ’ 60s. ‘‘ You can go