“A band that changed Australian music forever” – Jimmy Barnes
This is it, folks, over the top!
Is there a more Australian experience than seeing The Angels perform their debut single, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, with the crowd chanting in unison:
No way, get fucked, fuck off!
The irony is The Angels have never gone away. As the book The 100 Best Australian Albums points out, “The Angels can lay claim to being Australia’s longest-lasting band.”
The Angels have a storied history. And it’s a story that’s still being written.
In May 2023, founding members John and Rick Brewster announced
an exciting new era for the band. Closing in on The Angels’ 50th anniversary, they unveiled a new lead singer, with Nick Norton replacing Dave Gleeson, who stepped aside after fronting the band for 12 years.
The fans were already very familiar with Nick – he’d been the band’s drummer since 2011.
“Nick is an incredible musician and a great singer and songwriter,” John Brewster said. “He obviously knows the songs like the back of his hand and the fans already know and love him, so he’s the perfect fit.”
As well as his vocal prowess, Nick adds a third guitar to The Angels’ famous wall of sound. “Nick’s a fantastic guitarist and what he brings to the mix is very exciting,” Rick Brewster said.
Replacing Nick on drums is John’s son Tom, meaning the band now has two sets of Brewster Brothers – John and Rick on guitar, and Sam (who joined in 2013) on bass, and Tom on drums.
As Ian McFarlane, the author of The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop, noted: “The Angels helped re-define the Australian pub rock tradition.” And John Brewster, Rick Brewster, Sam Brewster, Tom Brewster and Nick Norton are giving it another twist.
Thirteen studio albums, eight Top 10 albums, 17 Top 40 singles … but that’s only part of The Angels story. It’s the relationship with the audience, built via thousands of gigs, that means everything to the band. An exhilarating exchange of energy. As Rick says, “The hour-and-a-half onstage is what makes it all worthwhile.”
“The Angels had a profound effect on live music in Australia. Their shows raised the standard expected of live music” – Toby Creswell, former Rolling Stone Australia editor
“A guaranteed great time anywhere” – David Fricke, US Rolling Stone
The Angels formed in 1974 in Adelaide, where their first big gig was supporting Cheech & Chong. The audience threw Minties at them. But the famous Brewster-Neeson-Brewster songwriting partnership was established and a string of hits followed.
Producer Mark Opitz knew The Angels had found their sound when he heard John Brewster playing the distinctive nic-nics guitar for ‘I Ain’t The One’. Opitz dubbed it sophisticated punk – sophisto-punk.
“The revolution was here,” Opitz later reflected. “Pub rock would now sound good on record. Just as Nirvana would kill the hair rock bands, Face To Face spelled the demise of glam pop in Australia. Rock had arrived, and The Angels were the new kings.”
“I’ll never forget the first time I heard Face To Face. That was a breakthrough album in the evolution of Australian music” – Ross Wilson
Following the success of Face To Face and No Exit, The Angels signed an international record deal and toured the US and Europe, influencing young bands around the world.
“One of the main reasons this band [Guns N’ Roses] got together was a song called ‘Take A Long Line’” – Axl Rose
“I grew up on No Exit and Night Attack. That is the Australian music that meant so much to me” – Mike McCready, Pearl Jam
Nearly five decades into their remarkable journey, The Angels remain fierce and uncompromising. They have always done things their own way. As rock historian Ian McFarlane observed, “The Angels were often seen as a punk/new wave outfit, yet the high-energy sound, powerful guitar riffing and muscular yet supple rhythm section took the band beyond such easy categorisations.”
Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes calls The Angels’ sound “powerful, aggressive and joyous”, adding, “I hope they do it for many more years to come.”
That’s the plan.
This is it, folks, over the top! remains an irresistible rallying cry to rock ’n’ roll.
Yep, this is it, folks – an exciting new chapter in The Angels story. Stay tuned for news of new music and plans for the 50th anniversary.
Let the night roll on!