Rose Tattoo were an important chapter in Australian music history. The band formed in 1976 after the break-up of Angry Anderson’s previous band Buster Brown. Anderson formed Rose Tattoo, Buster Brown drummer Phil Rudd went on to AC/DC.
There was so much cross-over traffic around ’77 in Australian rock. The newly formed Tatts signed with Alberts. So did AC/DC. Both bands were produced by Harry Vanda and George Young. AC/DC’s bass player was Mark Evans who is now Rose Tattoo’s bass player. Across the studio at the time of the creation of Rose Tattoo and AC/DC, Alberts other new rock band The Angels were creating their first music. Rose Tattoo were opening for The Angels tonight.
The cross-over continues. One time Angels guitarist Bob Spencer is the current guitarist for Rose Tattoo. Bob also joined his old band The Angels for their encore at this show.
The point is at the time Alberts was a family and for tonight, some of those family members were also honouring their mentor George Young who passed away earlier in the week. Angry dedicated the Vanda and Young penned ‘Black Eyed Bruiser’ to its original singer the late Stevie Wright (another member of the Alberts family) and ‘Uncle George’ (Young). Stevie and George were previously members of The Easybeats.
The Australian music industry is a small world.
Over one hour Rose Tattoo only played songs from the first three albums. Those three albums inspired Guns N’ Roses. Gunners even once covered one of their song ‘Nice Boys’, which Angry acknowledged at the show.
I think of Rose Tattoo as a Sydney band. They are, but Angry was originally from Melbourne. Buster Brown were a Melbourne band and the song ‘The Butcher and Fast Eddy’ is very Melbourne, now name-checking Fitzroy Street and Frankston that weren’t mentioned in the original song.
With Rose Tattoo, The Angels and AC/DC all forming at the same time, all signed to the same label and all produced by the same team of Vanda and Young, a unique flavour of Australian rock was created.
Getting two of those three bands and the bass player from the third all together for one night was not a deliberate move, but it was a great one.
Rose Tattoo setlist, Melbourne, 27 October 2017
One Of The Boys (from Rose Tattoo, 1978)
Juice On The Loose (from Scarred For Life, 1982)
Assault and Battery (from Assault & Battery, 1981)
Tramp (from Rose Tattoo, 1978)
Rock and Roll Outlaw (from Rose Tattoo, 1978)
The Butcher and Fast Eddy (from Rose Tattoo, 1978)
Black Eyes Bruiser (Stevie Wright cover)
Rock and Roll Is King (from Assault & Battery, 1981)
Scarred For Life (from Scarred For Life, 1982)
Bad Boy For Love (from Rose Tattoo, 1978)
We Can’t Be Beaten (from Scarred For Life, 1982)
Nice Boys (from Rose Tattoo, 1978)