Rose Tattoo - 11/02/2007

Aussie hard rock combo Rose Tattoo was formed in Sydney in 1976 by ex-Buffalo guitarist Peter Wells; with the additions of former Buster Brown vocalist Angry Anderson, guitarist Mick Cocks, bassist Ian Rilen and drummer Dallas "Digger" Royal, the group made their public bow on New Year's Eve at the local club Chequers, which several years earlier launched the career of AC/DC. In 1978 the group signed to Albert Productions; their debut single "Bad Boy for Love" was written by Rilen, who left the lineup prior to the record's release. Anderson's onetime Buster Brown bassist Geordie Leech was recruited for Rose Tattoo's self-titled debut LP; after nearly three years of relentless touring, they issued the follow-up, ‘Assault And Battery’, in 1981.

After a tour of Europe which saw them hailed as the loudest band to play London's Marquee Club since Led Zeppelin, Rose Tattoo returned to Australia to begin work on their third album; with new guitarist Robin Riley replacing Cocks, they issued ‘Scarred For Life’ in 1982, subsequently touring the U.S. in support of Aerosmith and ZZ Top. However, over the course of 1983 Wells, Royal and Riley all left the group, with the remaining duo of Anderson and Leach recruiting guitarists Greg Jordan and John Meyer along with drummer Scott Johnston to record 1984's ‘Southern Stars’. Leach then exited to join Wells, Royal and Riley in the short-lived Illustrated Men; Anderson and Johnston continued on as Rose Tattoo, enlisting guitarist Tim Gaze and bassist Andy Cichon for 1986's Beats from a Single Drum. Anderson finally mounted a solo career soon after, as did Wells. After years of substance abuse, Royal died in 1991.


At the request of longtime fans Guns N' Roses, Anderson, Wells, Cocks, Leach and new drummer Paul Demarco reformed Rose Tattoo in 1993 to open for the Gunners on their Australian tour; the reunion proved brief, however, and upon completing the tour each member returned to his solo endeavors. The same lineup, with original bassist Ian Rilen replacing Leach, reformed yet again in 1998 for the "All Hell Breaks Loose!!" tour; by the following year, Leach had returned to the fold once more. Fall 2000 saw the release of their first ever live album ‘25 To Life’, recorded with the help from 25.000 Wacken fans. Soon after that, the band returned to Australia to compose the material for their next album, entitled ‘Pain’, which was released in 2002. Due to the heavy illness of Peter Wells, further plans for the band were put on ice, Wells passed away in March 2006. In October 2006, former bass player Ian Rilen also lost his life. But the band can take a punch and they put every kick behind them and they still had the energy to carry on and so the delivered an new quality product, entitled ‘Blood Brothers; that will see the day of light on February 16th 2007.



Recently I had the chance to ask singer Angry Anderson about Rose Tattoo’s new effort, so here we go!


Last year was a very sad year for the Rose Tattoo-family, how did you launch into writing the material for ‘Blood Brothers’, a lot of things happened after your previous album ‘Pain’?
There was no launching once we decided we were going to do a new album. Mick and I decided we would go for brand new material with the same approach as always. Trying to write the most interesting songs we can.


Are there any song or ideas from guitarist Pete Wells who sadly passed away last year  on the new album?

In a spiritual sense, Dai was the slide player that Pete thought was the most interesting, Pete’s view of Dai was that once he felt secure he would bring an exciting element to the slide guitar. Respect has been shown to Pete and Ian by going back to the first Album sound. In times of crisis it’s always smart to stick with what you know, and wanted to acknowledge this style with more maturity.


Had all the songs already been written before you entered the studio, or have there been a lot of changes during the recording sessions?

We never start an album with all finished songs. Some songs and ideas are best to evolve in the studio.


Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on ‘Blood Brothers’ ? Any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

Yes, we wanted anybody, old or new fans to feel the acknowledgement of the past, the presence of the now and the relief in the future. I feel quite that all those elements are in this album.



Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?

Decisions made are always part conscious and part…. Mmm other.


Who was responsible for writing the songs on the new album, can you tell me something how Rose Tattoo works?

Mick and I have always written the bulk of the of the songs but try to work on as many ideas that come from the other members as this keeps it interesting with fresh blood. We recorded the album at Australia’s number 1 rock  studio – STUDIO 301


Did you already receive any feedback on the new album yet and what do you personally think about this album – are you satisfied with the outcome or would you liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

No, It is what it is. Feedback so far is we are back doing what we do best!!!

Playing the blues…


Could you please describe the implications the title ‘Blood Brothers’ has for you, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it.

‘Blood Brothers’ is as much to do with the acknowledgement of fallen brothers in everyone’s lives and is not about the band. It is about friendships, bonds and oaths shared between men. ‘Blood Brothers’ is a traditional way of cementing the oath – “keep the Faith”, The fallen will always be honoured.


Who wrote the lyrics for this album and can you tell us something about them?

Mick and I have always written the bulk of the of the songs but try to work on as many ideas that come from the other members as this keeps it interesting with fresh blood.


The new guitar player Dai Pritchard has a difficult job to do by replacing a friend and band member. Can you tell me something about him?

Dai has been a friend for many years. Grew up as a Rose Tattoo freak. He is regarded highly by other Muso’s as one of Australia finest Rock Players.All things must change and Dai has this opportunity to bring something new and exciting to the band.



Rose Tattoo has a long history, I think this is your 6th studio album, you also did a live album and brought out a solo record. How do you see the future of this band and what can we expect from Rose Tattoo in the near future?

We will continue to evolve, but remain the same in our approach to music, we have always been a load blues band but may may get quieter in years to come.


What is your opinion about the Rock n’ Roll and heavy rock scene these days, do you mis something?

I miss the diversity of the 50’s – 70’s and the experimentation that ended in the 80’s. I’m sure it will come back. The dominance of American Hip Hop is boring. I don’t think they have anything new to say for 10 years. When looking for excitement all I have to do is turn on my favorite DVD - Rammstein

Thanks for you’re time and hope to see you soon onstage somewhere in Europe!!!



Rose Tatoo is:

Angry Anderson - Vocals

Michael Cocks - Guitar

Dai Pritchard – Slide Guitar

Paul DeMarco - Drums

Steve King - Bass


Previous Members:

Pete Wells – Slide Guitar

Geordie Leach - Bass

Dallas 'Digger' Royall - Drums

John Meyer - Guitar

Robin Riley - Guitar)

Scott Johnston - Drums

Tim Gaze - Guitar

Ian Rilen - Guitar


Rose Tattoo (1978)

Assault & Battery (1981)

Scarred for Life {1982)

Southern Stars (1984)

Beats From A Single Drum (1986)

Nice Boys Don't Play Rock N Roll (1992)

25 to Life (2000) Live

Pain (2002)

Black Eyed Bruiser EP (2006)

Blood Brothers (2007)