Sunday, 24 April 2016

Ward 13 - 1981 - See Venice And Die

See Venice And Die/Cold Hearted Lover

Sydney band Ward 13 started out as a brash, 1960s influenced, hard rock'n'roll band. Later on, the band eschewed the raunchy rock stylings of its onstage sound for a more textured, varied approach on record. Of the original Ward 13 line-up, only Leigh Johnston had any amount of experience, having been a member of the nascent Rose Tattoo. Original line-up: John Arthurs (lead vocals), Ron Roberts (lead guitar, keyboards), Leigh Hamilton Johnston (rhythm guitar, vocals; ex-Rose Tattoo), Peter Mullens (bass), Stephen Walls (drums)

Ward 13 worked the Sydney pub circuit for 18 months before issuing the five-track, 12-inch EP Robot Wizards in mid-1980. Issued on the Survival label (through EMI), the EP consolidated the band's live following. With tracks like `Star System 5' on the EP, Ward 13 was unjustly accused of emulating Mi-Sex, who had just hit with the album Space Race. Undaunted, Ward 13 returned with the album Flash as a Rat (April 1981) and its two punchy singles `See Venice and Die'/`Cold Hearted Lover' (March) reached #31 in Sydney and `News for You'/`Idle Chatter' (July). Ward 13 ended the year with a third single, `Slow Dancer'/`Time We Live' (November). 

In early 1982, Ward 13 signed a new deal with Mercury/PolyGram which resulted in the single `Midnight Caravan'/`Private Eye' (June). By the time the band came to record the mini-album Too Much Talk, only Arthurs, Roberts and Mullens remained from the original line-up. Newcomers Steve Lunn (guitar, sax; ex-Tigers, Think), Andrew Ross (keyboards, sax; ex-Kid Royal, Marcia Hines Band) and Tim Powles (drums; ex-Flight X7) completed the new line-up. Too Much Talk (December 1982) produced the single `Drift Away'/`Can't Say No' (also October). Ward 13 broke up in 1983. Tim Powles joined The Venetians.

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