The Blackeyed Susans
Formed in Perth in 1989, The Blackeyed Susans are renowned for their moody romanticism and op-shop stylings. Declared national treasures by Rolling Stone magazine, they have toured the world, played with the likes of Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Wilco, Marianne Faithful, Jackson Browne and INXS and released numerous albums of occasional beauty.
Yet none of this was by design – at least not at the beginning, when members of The Triffids (David McComb, Alsy MacDonald), Chad’s Tree (Rob Snarski), Martha’s Vineyard (Phil Kakulas) and maestro Ross Bolleter formed a holiday band to play a handful of shows one particularly hot Western Australian summer.
The group endured, long after that summer was gone, relocating to Sydney and then Melbourne as it galvanized around Snarski and Kakulas, along with a swirling array of famous friends. Boasting members of The Cruel Sea, Dirty Three, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Jackson Code, Augie March, The Drones and Hungry Ghosts, the group’s credits read like a who’s who of Australian alternative music.
As the line up solidified in the mid to late 90s, The Susans enjoyed success, in Australia and abroad, on the back of albums All Souls Alive and Spin The Bottle. Songs such as A Curse On You, Smokin’ Johnny Cash and Blue Skies, Blue Sea became classics and affirmed the group as impressionistic storytellers with a bent ear for melody and atmospherics.
Much touring into the next decade ensued before the band returned to a more ‘project’ based approach in the mid 2000s. Along with Snarski and Kakulas, the current group features long time members Mark Dawson (drums), Kiernan Box (keyboards) and Evil Graham Lee (pedal steel).
The Blackeyed Susans released their 7th album, Close Your Eyes and See, in 2017.