The Lonelyhearts was my first band. Here's how it all started...
…while being raised on a diet of Motown and '60s pop, the thing that really turned me on to plugging a guitar in was my first taste of The Ramones. I remember listening to a bunch of records on a Saturday morning with friends when The Ramones double live album hit the turntable. After being confronted with the sound of "It's Alive", my buddy John Rooney (Coronet Blue) and I headed down to Roger's music store in Fairfield and pooled what money we had to purchase a white Ibanez Les Paul copy for $165…(without case). Neither of us had mastered the barre chord yet but with the sound of Johnny Ramones' guitar still ringing in our ears we knew it had to be.
Owning one half of that guitar was what got us into a band. 3 friends of John's older sister - Steve Dowse, John W and Stephen Rawle (the original drummer in The Lime Spiders) who had just finished their BA’s were putting a band together. They heard that we owned a guitar between us, liked the idea, and decided to ask us to join their group. The fact that none of us could actually play was unimportant. We rehearsed that weekend and learnt around 30 covers (and wrote 2 songs...'Special $1 Disco' & 'Rubber Cat') for our first gig, a 'Battle of the Bands' the following Tuesday night at "Louie's Loft" in Liverpool. Also playing that night were The Pop Tops (who later became punk popsters, The Assassins). Our show ended up a perfect rock'n'roll shambles. We refused to turn down the volume, our rather drunk singer Dowsie got into a slanging match with Louie (the owner of the venue), and the 'Battle of the Bands' in its first week, was canned. Our debut show was a screaming success and The Lonelyhearts were born.
A few line-up changes down the track and with a song list chockfull of pop staples like Badfinger's "No Matter What",The Troggs' "With a Girl Like You",The Bee Gees' "Spicks and Specks" and "Tin Soldier" by the Small Faces, (we also did a version of the theme from the TV show Gidget and a punk version of America's 'A Horse with No Name') it wasn't long before we found ourselves with a booking agent playing a few gigs a week. It was the heyday of Sydney's live music scene, every pub had live music and everyone went to see rock'n'roll. Our sped up fuzzy versions of '60's and '70's pop classics made for some pretty sweaty shows and strongly influenced the few original songs we had. The Lonelyhearts went on to play hundreds of gigs and developed a strong live following. The band never recorded an album but did go on to release a string of singles in the first half of the '80s until that line-up folded in '85. A few years later a number of those Lonelyhearts tunes made it on to the self-titled album, 'Coronet Blue'. The album was recorded & mixed by Mitch Easter (Let's Active), at his "Drive In" studio in North Carolina. The record features Mitch on guitar, Jamie Hoover (The Spongetones) on bass, Eric Marshall (Let's Active) on drums and a guest appearance by Esta Hill(Lava Love) on backing vocals. John Rooney sang the lead vocals and I sang the harmonies.'Coronet Blue' was the first release for local independent Laughing Outlaw Records.
The Lonelyhearts reformed in 1989 and recorded a single, "The Spell" with Regular Records. An album was talked about but never eventuated. We played live till 1993 and then called it a day. The band has reformed a couple of times since to do a few live shows. All the singles and demos the band recorded as well as some live tracks are currently being hunted down for a compilation CD that's in the works. The track ‘The Spell’ has been included on a compilation, ‘Glory Days of Aussie Pub Rock’ Volume 1 out through Festival Records - loads of Australian acts from that era including Cold Chisel, The Angels, Midnight Oil, Divinyls, Skyhooks, Split Enz, The Reels, Icehouse, The Sunnyboys and many more.