Rock­ing the vinyl fron­tier

Craig Tans­ley dis­cov­ers a cap­i­tal city that is home to one hell of a rock and record scene

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - MUSIC MELBOURNE -

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

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