Through four decades, Rick and John Brewster, The Angels guitarists, co-founders and its most prolific songwriters, have seen lineups change and the band’s musical styles rearrange, but through it all they’ve maintained the pure Australian rock guitar sound that’s driven The Angels most legendary songs.
With Dave Gleeson (from The Screaming Jets) upfront, The Angels have been storming rock stages right around the country. They’ve even notched up a festival in Japan. Two years of blowing away new and old Angels fans at sold out show after sold out show. All the hard work has paid off. The Angels with Dave Gleeson are now widely known as the best live rock band in Australia today.
Now The Angels are heading for the heartland.
“It’s a bit like time-traveling for us,” says Rick Brewster, recently named of Australia’s five best guitarists, alongside Angus Young. “We’re doing some shows in theatres and towns we haven’t been to in decades, but the band is playing with the same kind of energy and passion again now that that shot us to the top in the late 70s.”
“We must be doing something right,” says Dave Gleeson, of The Angels’ recent successes, “I just wanted to give all these classic Angels songs I grew up with the justice they deserve live onstage.
“Now after 60 shows together,” says Dave, “Songs like ‘Long Line’, ‘Marseille’, ‘Be With You’, ‘After The Rain’, ‘Shadow Boxer’ and ‘Mr Damage’ are inside me, I feel them, and I can let them out onstage. Our audiences get that. They know we mean it.”
In recent months, The Angels have headlined sold-out music festivals and released a new album, Take It To The Streets, which debuted at No. 7 on the ARIA Australian Albums chart. They’ve seen new songs like Waiting For The Sun become FM radio hits, they’ve released their first live album in 24 years, ‘The Angels: Live At QPAC’ and they’ve published a book of stunning live photos taken by professionals and fans during their 2011 Waiting For The Sun tour.
“The Angels have always been about giving fans the best show they’ve seen from us yet,” says John Brewster. “With Dave Gleeson tearing up the stage now, and the whole band playing at the top of its game, that’s exactly what Angels fans who haven’t seen us for a long time are going to get.
“We’re having an absolute ball,” says John, “and everyone in the audience can feel it. This kind of energy is always infectious.”
While many Australian bands have abandoned the grind of life on the road required to take their shows to regional and country towns, for The Angels it’s never been about anything else. You make your music, says John Brewster, and then you take it out there and you play it to the people.
“We’re wandering troubadours,” says John, “always have been. That’s part of this thing we’ve always done. My brother Rick and I are still driving the same highways we’ve been travelling for 38 years. We’ve always been happy to play live to more of this country than most bands ever do.
“The fact we’ve been around so long as The Angels, that we’ve made so many fans and we play so many of our most famous songs live means we can keep doing that.”