THE ALLNITERS will always be remembered for their big sound, cracking tunes and eccentric exuberance. Mischievous and a little bit cheeky, they’re the most successful ska act in Australian history and they’re back: bigger, bolder and brassier than ever after over 30 years, proving once and for all that THE ALLNITERS are Allriters … and evidently ska’d for life.
It all began back in 1980 when a group of eight lads and one rude girl gravitated towards charismatic founding member Marty Fabok as the inner-city mod scene was percolating. They nattered, laughed and riffled through their favourite reggae, blues; disco, Jamaican blue beat and rock steady vinyl collections. Jaunty brass and tight rhythm sections were forged and THE ALLNITERS had officially arrived, donning their porkpie hats, braces and Doc Martens and chomping at the bit to burn up the live circuit with upbeat rhythms, walking bass-lines and contagious jocularity.
The band cut its teeth as a live act at Sydney’s legendary Sussex Hotel and went on to become one of the hardest touring acts in the country. Attendance records were broken, as were stages, with audience members sometimes storming the stage to out-number the band, egged on by those spilling out the doors, thus threatening structural collapse. Regardless, THE ALLNITERS never failed to amuse, with hysterical, quick-witted onstage banter between vocalists Peter Travis and Brett Pattinson rivaling that of The Two Ronnie’s. The band rapidly became as renowned for their energetic sense of playfulness as for their larger than life new wave sound.
Venues were rocked to their very foundations as punters skanked and laughed the night away. To see THE ALLNITERS was to party hard and the mantra ‘Allniters are Allriters’ was coined by a fast-building legion of fans: mods, punks, skinheads, and rude girls and boys. It became apparent fast that THE ALLNITERS were spearheading a new movement.
Their first single, the fast and furious ‘She Made a Monkey Out of Me’, rocketed to number one on the national indie charts, as did their second single ‘You Shouldn’t Stay Out Late’. And so it went until THE ALLNITERS hit the mainstream. Their debut album ‘D-D-D-Dance’ went gold after only two weeks and blasted to number 2 on the national charts, pipped to the post by Culture Club’s ‘Colour By Numbers’. Meanwhile, the first single lifted from the album – the upbeat, skank-inducing ‘Montego Bay’ – went top 10 nationally and became a summertime mainstay, followed by the ever-tuneful ‘Love and Affection’.
There was just one problem. THE ALLNITERS had broken the mold. Molly Meldrum scratched his cowboy hat, unsure of what to make of the extensive lineup and Jamaican infusion that was suddenly infiltrating the airwaves. He outright refused to feature the band on ‘Countdown’, Australia’s most influential chart show, but was forced to change his tune when the success of ‘Montego Bay’ was irrefutable. Meanwhile, the band was championed by ‘Sounds’, ‘Rock Arena’, the music press and radio station JJ, which would become Triple J.
All the while, the ripple effect of ‘Montego Bay’ continued, hitting Japan and Europe like a tsunami. And by the mid-eighties, chart success continued with ‘I Saw You First’ and ‘All That Easy’ both reaching the top 40. As a result, THE ALLNITERS were twice billed at the infamous Narara Music Festival and toured with the likes of The Clash, Madness, Toots and the Maytals, UB40, Sandii & the Sunsets, the Troggs, the Style Council, INXS, Split Enz and many many more.
The band took a hiatus in the late eighties until 1991, when they recorded ‘This World’ – a theme track for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie ‘Secret of the Ooze’. They then disbanded and reformed in 1999 to tour and record ‘Another Fine Mess’ which preceded a tour of Japan and China in 2000. They then re-grouped to rock the book launch of ‘Stark Raving Mod’ in 2010.
The documentary ‘Allniters are Allriters’ is currently in production to coincide with the band’s long-awaited rollicking summer tour ‘Not Like That … Like This’, which will kick off with UB40 in December 2014 and feature almost every original member, which ain’t bad going for a merry band of ten. The ‘Not Like That … Like This’ tour will cover Australia and Japan nationally.
THE ALLNITERS were seminal. They were the pioneers of Australian ska. They introduced their uniquely new wave Ska sound and delivered it with local panache. Almost every homegrown ska act since THE ALLNITERS’ inception has been a direct offshoot of the band. And as recently as 2013, ‘Montego Bay’ was voted as one of the top 100 songs of all time in Australia.
Yup, THE ALLNITERS are Alrighters … and definitely ska’d for life.