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Fabulous Flip Sides interview with Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo

Australia hard rock band Rose Tattoo have re-recorded their 1978 debut with their current lineup, including original AC/DC bassist Mark Evans, and a new album title, "Outlaws."
Rose Tattoo Outlaws album cover

GOLDMINE: Hello Angry. This is Warren from Goldmine.

ANGRY ANDERSON: Hello Warren! In Australia, anyone named Warren we call Wazza (W-A-Zed-Zed-A).

GM: Well, you can call me that. I like it! I also like Outlaws. Congratulations on this new recording.

AA: Outlaws, ah. I enjoy being one, ha ha.

GM: At Goldmine we did the video premiere of “Nice Boys” from the album and it is great. The opening number on the new album, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw,” to me, has so many potential influences, AC/DC, of course with Mark, plus Nazareth, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and has a wonderful call to freedom at the beginning. There is so much to this seven minute song.

AA: Wow! That’s a very interesting observation. I think what you just alluded to, and I am going to pass this on to the boys, the influences you are hearing are more apparent in the playing because those influences are very strong with both of the guitar players, Dai Pritchard and Bobby Spencer. One of the great things about us coming to America for our U.S. tour in May, apart from Rose Tattoo not playing in America since 1983, is that neither Dia or Bobby have never been to America so they are very much looking forward to going there where we will have multiple shows in California, Texas, Ohio, New York and elsewhere, which Goldmine readers can check out on our website. They are hoping to have some connection with some of their favorite players. I would love to catch up with the guys in ZZ Top and Aerosmith as we did big tours with both of them years ago.

GM: Speaking of Aerosmith, that is who I am reminded of with the original flip side of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw,” your song “Remedy,” which is very up-tempo, like Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic.”

AA: Yeah, yeah, yeah! The interesting thing that some people are surprised about is that on the original record Mick Cocks played rhythm guitar and here Bobby, who doesn’t usually play rhythm, really stepped up to play Mick’s parts. He doesn’t play like Mick but he plays beautifully. An interesting story about Mick’s style is largely a result of his collaboration as a rhythm player with all kinds of rock and roll bands before Rose Tattoo. Having a rhythm player and a lead player is a great combination. A perfect example are The Black Crowes, one of my very favorite bands. When Mick was jamming with the early Rose Tattoo lineup, he had a very slow right hand, much like Peter Wells on lead guitar for us. With two slow strumming right hands you get a sound like The Rolling Stones or Creedence Clearwater Revival or those classic rhythm guitar playing bands. Of course there are exceptions to the rule with AC/DC where Malcolm Young had a wonderful style of a punching rhythm guitar playing. Ian Rilen, our original bassist, was always saying, “Play faster, Mick,” which is the case with “Remedy.”

Rose Tattoo flip side

Rose Tattoo

Flip side: Remedy

A side: Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw

Debut: 1978

Peak position: No. 68 (Australia)

Albert Productions / EMI (Australia)

GM: In addition to re-recording the original album, there are a few new tracks, too.

AA: I hope that the re-recording speaks for itself. This new lineup brings new life to the original songs, celebrating forty plus years of Rose Tattoo. The three extra tracks are not necessarily straight ahead rock and roll. We were all influenced by 1950s rock and roll by Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. I am happy that “Rosetta” made the cut as that is one of the first songs that I ever collaborated as a lyricist. I thought it would have made the original cut in 1978, but it didn’t.

GM: It is quieter, but very nice, reminding me of Rod Stewart.

AA: Thanks. I think so too. Rod Stewart and The Faces are my all-time favorite band. In fact, after the Rose Tattoo tour, I will be getting back to The Angry Anderson Band, modeled after The Faces. When we did “Rosetta” with the original lineup it was a bit more rock and roll. We recorded a couple of versions of it that way this time. I listened back to it and told the boys that I always imagined it as an acoustic song, we tried that, and it came out so sweet.

GM: There are more songs on the album that remind me of The Faces. “Stuck on You” is on the quiet side and then “One of the Boys” has power like “That’s All You Need,” the energetic closing number from their classic 1971 album A Nod is as Good as a Wink…To a Blind Horse.

AA: You are the first person who has noticed the link to The Faces with me in Rose Tattoo. If there is any male singer who has had the most influence on me, it is Rod Stewart, because, as I said, The Faces are my all-time favorite rock and roll band. Before I was in Rose Tattoo I was in another band where I played drums and we did “Stay with Me” from that album.

Rose Tattoo Faces wink
Rose Tattoo Faces horse

GM: The flip side of “One of the Boys” in 1978 was “T.V.” That is another favorite of mine on the album.

AA: Ha ha. I remember sitting there watching television and I was jotting down lines for potential lyrics. What I wrote was pretty caustic, about telling lies. That was television in the mid-1970s. Now there is even more rubbish, and I don’t think I was prophetic, but it is even more relevant now than when I wrote it.

GM: In the video for “Nice Boys,” you sound great, which would indicate that you can hear the music just fine, yet when I look at you, I see tape across your ears. Does that help with hearing loss, if I may ask?

AA: I have succumbed to deafness over the years, like any singer in a rock and roll band, and it comes with age as well. Our sound guy suggested that I try in the ear hearing aids, but because I sweat so much, being physical on stage with banging my head, they would fall out, so now we tape them in, and it gives me the freedom that I desire. The guys said that I look like a fighter with my ears taped up with the waterproof tape, so we like the look of it as well.

GM: My wife Donna sends her sympathy for all the fires and loss of animals in Australia.

AA: Bush fires are nothing new in Australia. This is not the first year of extremely savage bush fires. Eucalyptus trees are very combustible. Thank you, Donna, who in Australia we would call Donna, ha ha ha ha.

GM: I want to wish you a wonderful U.S. tour this May. Rose Tattoo has a lot of dates throughout our country.

AA: Thank you, brother. It will be so much fun.

Related links:

Goldmine video premiere Nice Boys-Rose Tattoo