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The Models

From Academic Kids

Models were an alternative rock group from Melbourne, Australia, formed in August 1978 and splitting in 1987. Although often referred to as "The Models", the group's correct title was simply "Models".

They formed from two earlier Punk/New Wave bands: Teenage Radio Stars (singer & gutarist Sean Kelly); and JAB (Ash Wednesday, Pierre Voltaire and Johnny Crash, keyboards, bass and drums respectively). Their early style was a spiky, distnctive blend of New Wave rock, dub and pop. Their first album alphabravocharliedeltaechofoxtrotgolf was well received by audiences on the live pub circuit but commercially not a hit. Their second album Local And/Or General and the EP Cut Lunch their follow-up fared similarly, although both releases helped to widen their audience nationally, thanks to regular radio exposure on Triple J in Sydney and on community stations in other cities, as well as national TV exposure through their innovative music videos on programs such as the ABC's Countdown.

After signing with the MMA management company (which also handled INXS), the group attempted to create a hybrid of their alternative roots and a more commercial sound. Ferrie and Stiggs left after the release of the Cut Lunch EP (which included tracks produced by Split Enz keyboard player Eddie Rayner and they were replaced by Freud and Price. Freud had previously been a member of the pop group Teenage Radio Stars with Kelly.

When James Freud (real name Colin McClinchey) joined the band they released the highly regarded 1982 LP 'The Pleasure of Your Company, produced by Nick Launay; it was critically acclaimed but failed to sell strongly, although the single I Hear Motion was a national hit. Keyboard player Andrew Duffield later explained that the song's distinctive keyboard part had been inspired by the riff from the Stevie Wonder classic Superstition.

At this point (under pressure from management), the band reassessed their direction and moved towards to a more radio-friendly format. Duffield -- a crucial part of the band's earlier sound -- was forced out under acrimonious circumstances and replaced by Roger Mason on keyboards and James Valentine (sax). For touring, the group was regularly augmented by backing singers including Kate Ceberano and Zan Abeyratne (who had been the singers in popular early Eighties pop-funk band I'm Talking) and Canadian-born singer Wendy Matthews; Matthews and Kelly later married and formed the band Absent Friends.

The band released their most successful work with the singles Out of Mind, Out of Sight and the James Freud tune Barbados, off the album Out of Mind, Out of Sight. Their follow-up album, Media, was less successful. The Models featured on the Australian Made Tour of 1986 with INXS and Jimmy Barnes.

In 2002 Harper Collins Australia published Freud's memoir, I Am The Voice Left From Drinking; the title is taken from a line of his song Barbados and alludes to his problems with drugs and alcohol.

Mason has since composed soundtracks for various projects including ABC-TV series MDA. Valentine later worked in children's TV and is a popular radio host on station 2BL in Sydney and has recently published a successful series of children's books.


Original members

  • Sean Kelly, guitar and vocals
  • Ash Wednesday, keyboards
  • Peter Sutcliffe aka Pierre Voltaire, bass
  • Janis Friedenfelds aka Johnny Crash, drums

Replacements

  • Andrew Duffield, keyboards
  • Mark Ferrie, bass
  • Buster Stiggs, drums
  • Graham Stone, drums
  • James Freud, bass, vocals
  • Roger Mason, keyboards
  • Barton Price, drums
  • James Valentine, saxophone
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