Entertainment

Interview: Rick Brewster – ‘Brothers, Angels, and Demons’ tells the story of Brewster Bros.

Beginning as The Moonshine Jug and String band, then The Keystone Angels before finally evolving into the classic lineup of The Angels with the late Doc Neeson, the classically trained Brewsters are celebrating 40 years by taking ‘Brothers, Angels, and Demons’ back on tour and will highlight ‘the good bits, the bad bits, and everything in between’.

brothers_angels_and_demons_brewsters_tom_rick_harry_john_sam-480x270Beginning as The Moonshine Jug and String band, then The Keystone Angels before finally evolving into the classic lineup of The Angels with the late Doc Neeson, the classically trained Brewsters are celebrating 40 years by taking ‘Brothers, Angels, and Demons’ back on tour and will highlight ‘the good bits, the bad bits, and everything in between’.

Speaking from his home in Tasmania prior to their November tour of ‘Brothers, Angels and Demons’, guitarist and co-founder of The Angels Rick Brewster is enjoying a break from a hectic tour that included a trip back to his former home of Adelaide in May, where both he and brother John were inducted into the SA Music Hall Of Fame. The Angels have been a driving force in Australian rock for decades, and now the Brewsters, including John’s three sons (Sam, Tom, and Harry), are returning with their unforgettable show that gained critical acclaim at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival several years ago.

“I don’t think there’s any real logic as to why we transitioned from being classically trained into rock, it just happened. John was learning Bob Dylan songs, I drifted over to acoustic guitar, folk & blues etc. John came up with the idea of a Jugband and we got friends together as a fun thing. Doc wasn’t in the band at this stage, as John mostly sang along with Craig Holden (brother of Mark Holden).

We were all studying, and ended up meeting Doc and the rock style came about as a result of this. This is how the Keystone Angels were formed. We found our own sound and the rest is history!” History indeed! The Angels enjoyed a string of hits during their career including a cover of ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’, ‘Take A Long Line’, and of course the iconic audience participation anthem, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?’

And it’s not looking like that history is coming to a close anytime soon, with the Brewster sons stepping up and the addition of Screaming Jets frontman Dave Gleeson, The Angels have plenty of kick left in them! “Of course the next generation, John’s sons, are fine musicians. Sam Brewster has been filling in since Chris Bailey got ill, Chris chose Sam himself, they’re all great musicians those boys. It’s fantastic playing with them. We all hit the same ‘lean’ when we play, so it’s a genetic thing this style of music. ”

In ‘Brothers, Angels, and Demons’, there’s a lot of frank and open discussions about the 40 years or so playing in bands, and there is a respectful venture into the darker side of touring. But don’t expect any mud slinging, according to Rick there’s enough to talk about without having to dredge the sewer pit as he puts it.

“The ‘demons’ aspect certainly comes into the show, but we talk more about the hairier moments including a near plane crash in the outback, and the infamous 1980 Sydney Opera House gig in front of 100,000 people which saw 2 members injured –one unconscious and the other hit by thrown debris.”

On the highs and lows of a 40 year career in showbiz, Brewster confesses that being kicked off The Kinks tour sticks out as a particular low point. ”It was in America in 1980, we started touring with them with real high hopes and we were actually drawing big crowds. The Kinks didn’t like the fact that we got such huge applause. They didn’t react well to this support band that was going down well…although we weren’t going down better than they were at all. We lasted for the West Coast leg, but were booted for the east Coast leg. Management told us in San Diego that we were off the tour.”

One can only hope that The Kinks should be forever kicking themselves, and the fact that The Angels have outlasted them serves as Karmic justice perhaps? There have of course, been many high points which Brewster lists as playing with AC/DC on the Back in Black tour and The David Bowie tour in 1978.

The main question I put to Brewster is how they’ve survived not only as a band, but having a sibling that he’s played with for 40 years. “We argued a lot in the early days, mainly constructive though- all musical differences. We’ve mellowed now, and know what each other are looking for musically. We really get on as friends too and the thing that’s kept the band going are the new songs we write, which is exactly what we did with Dave Gleeson after Doc left the band.”

On their choice of Gleeson as Doc’s replacement, Brewster said there were no other possibilities for him to consider. “He was always the first choice, and Gleeson jumped straight on board once we asked him to join. After one rehearsal we knew he was our man!”, says Brewster.

It’s fantastic to know that one of our classic bands are likely to be around for a while yet, and it will be great to hear their warts and all story in Brothers, Angels, and Demons’. It’s all about their adventures, behind the scenes experiences, and of course some fantastic live music synonymous with the Brewster brothers.

 * There has been a change of date and venue for the Brothers, Angels & Demons Adelaide show, originally planned for 13 December 2014. New show details as below:- 

Friday 30th January 2015  The Promethean, ADELAIDE SA  www.theprom.com.au 

This is show is proudly supported by the AMC and the AMC-SA Music Hall of Fame. 

For more information, please visit http://brothersangelsanddemons.com.au 

Dates:

Friday 14th & Saturday 15th November 2014. – 7pm Chapel Off Chapel, Chapel Theatre, MELB. www.chapeloffchapel.com.au | (03) 8290 7000

Friday 28th November 2014. – 7.30pm Factory Floor, SYDNEY www.factorytheatre.com.au | (02) 9550 3666

*Saturday 13th December 2014. – 7.30pm Space Theatre, ADELAIDE www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au | 131 246

For more information, please visit http://brothersangelsanddemons.com.au

Interviewed by Darren Hassan

Twitter: @DazzHassan

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