It's always sad when someone passes away before their time, unless they're someone like Hitler or Churchill, and the recent deaths of Harvey James and especially Steve Prestwich have left a huge hole in Australian music that might never be filled. Even Nick The Bastard, who'd rather ram a red hot knitting needle into his ears than listen to Cold Chisel admits that the news of Prestwich's passing was indeed sad. What this means is that there are less and less left that made the music of my upbringing. From the members of Rose Tattoo, through to Dragon, Skyhooks, Mi-Sex, Sherbet, (who I hated, sorry Harvey), AC/DC, Split Enz/Crowded House, the Ted Mulry Gang, Australian Crawl and now Cold Chisel - people are still here, but the bands that I grew up with are gone in their original format. Christ, even William Shakespeare popped his clogs not that long ago, not that many people noticed, the poor bastard.
With Chisel when all the members were alive we knew that deep down they'd reform, and indeed they did last year, and suitably their penultimate gig was in a club playing to a few hundred people. Brilliant! Members of the bands remain, but once someone so integral to the sound and image leaves the band loses something - just look at AC/DC. They went from being one of the most rawkus, almost punk bands to being just another heavy metal band, and in the mid to late '80s, not a very good one at that. The AC/DC that tours today isn't the AC/DC of yesterday, same as Dragon, although I can't imagine the latter without Marc Hunter anymore than I can tolerate the former without the mighty Bon Scott.
Alas Steve Prestwich, you're now gone. Cold Chisel threw you out once and replaced you with Ray Arnott, but I don't think that'll happen this time around, although I fully expect at least one more gig, if only to pay tribute to a man who's ferocious drumming drove that band as hard as they went. Steve was one of those rare beasts, an Elizabeth boy made good. Now Jimmy Barnes can breathe a bit easier, although once he goes a pounding will be waiting for him in the afterlife, along with a hug from an old pal...just like old times.
I'm not sure where these photos came from. I was told that they were from the Last Stand show in Adelaide, but I strongly suspect that they were from a previous show, as it doesn't look like Steve, but I'm happy to be corrected one way or the other. The press release is genuine though. It's hard to comprehend that thirty one years ago East was released...time certainly flies.