The great Indigenous band No Fixed Address took centre-stage before an enthusiastic audience at the Goodwood Institute, with the original line-up of legend Bart Willoughby (later also with Yothu Yindi) on drums and vocals, Les Graham (guitar, vocals), John Miller (bass) and Ricky Harrison (guitar,d vocals). The late, great multi-instrumentalist Veronica Rankine, also a member, was remembered with affection and reverence.
Band members were inducted into the Hall of Fame by John Pemberton, who encouraged them to share stories from their early days on the Koonibba Mission in Ceduna, through their time at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music in North Adelaide, then their experiences on some of the biggest stages in Australia and Europe.
The tales were often hilarious, sometimes hair-raising and always fascinating.
No Fixed Address, which has described the Hall of Fame induction as a career milestone, was the first Aboriginal band to receive mainstream exposure and acceptance, singing about issues such as human rights, the environment and social change.
Having been initially denied a major recording contract, members joined with fellow Aboriginal band Us Mob in 1980 to make the ground-breaking movie Wrong Side of the Road, directed by Ned Lander, extracts of which were shown at the beginning of the evening.
Having been initially denied a major recording contract, members joined with fellow Aboriginal band Us Mob to make the ground-breaking movie Wrong Side of the Road, directed by Ned Lander, extracts of which were shown at the beginning of the evening.
When the deadly four took to the stage at Goodwood Institute, it was all about the music and their many influences, from hard rock to reggae, with Graham’s guitar one minute churning out the rock riffs with great skill and the next creating sounds evocative of country.
Willoughby’s sticks created in an intricate array of rhythms and grooves, with strong support from the guitar and bass of Harrison and Miller. “Black, Black Man”, “Pigs”, “We Have Survived” and “Stupid System” were all enthusiastically received, with standing ovations both before and after the performance.
Earlier, following a rousing welcome to country by Stevie Goldsmith, the passionate voice, lyrics and piano of Vonda Last set the scene, with assistance from John Baker on guitar. Last pointed out how important it was for No Fixed Address to finally receive overdue mainstream recognition – especially on June 3, Mabo Day.
Emerging singer-songwriter and guitarist Corey Theatre, champion of lost Aboriginal languages, also impressed with his meaningful original songs in an impressively understated blues/reggae/soul style sung in both English and original language.
No Fixed Address is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help produce and distribute a live recording of its Hall of Fame induction and performance.