The Dingoes

Live Albums

About The Dingoes

In Australia in the early '70s, the Dingoes took the lead in the worldwide shift toward the country-influenced rock sparked by the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers (both of whom also inspired the Eagles. In the Dingoes' case, it was very much an Australian outfit, with songs clearly placed in Australian settings, something of a rarity in Australian rock at that point. Even the band's name expressed their Australianism: the dingo is an indigenous wild dog. It was the quality of the songs and the musicianship, however, that set the Dingoes apart and made them one of the truly legendary groups of Australian music. Their beginnings go back to the mid-'60s with the Adderley Smith Blues Band, a purist blues group who prided themselves on showing audiences where the Rolling Stones' music actually came from. A number of singers and musicians appeared in the ranks over the band's three-year existence, most notably founding guitarist Kerryn Tolhurst and eventual singer and harmonica player Broderick Smith. Significantly, both were called up for National Service during the controversial days of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. It was the letter every '60s musician dreaded, and meant two years of mandatory service; for many, it ended their music careers. When Tolhurst and Smith emerged from service, they briefly teamed up in a casual blues group while they assessed their musical options. Tolhurst joined Greg Quill's Country Radio, establishing his songwriting and multi-instrumentalist credentials, while Smith found a home at the microphone fronting the blues-rock band Carson, becoming one of Australia's most admired and recognizable vocalists. Two years later, in April 1973, Tolhurst and Smith were both at loose ends again and decided to form a new group with guitarist Chris Stockley, formerly of "supergroup" Axiom (which featured future Little River Band singer Glenn Shorrock). The Dingoes' self-titled album was immediately recognized as the masterpiece it was, but a series of incidents would keep the band from ever achieving their full potential. A week before their first single, "Way Out West," was released, Chris Stockley was shot in the stomach outside a party, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The band was forced to honor its commitments with a temporary replacement for the next year. In the meantime, the Dingoes had come to the attention of the Rolling Stones' tour manager Peter Rudge, who expressed an eagerness to manage the group internationally as soon as his Rolling Stones' commitments were fulfilled. The Dingoes waited months for Stockley's recovery, and even longer for Rudge to make up his mind. In the meantime, it was impossible for the group to plan for the future. Drummer John Lee, tired of waiting, was replaced by Ray Arnott, formerly with Spectrum. Finally, two years after their debut album was released, the Dingoes departed for the U.S., asking Lee back by mutual agreement. Settling in Mill Valley near San Francisco, they set about recording a second album at last (with Rolling Stones' sideman Nicky Hopkins and the Band's Garth Hudson), including new versions of the original album's classics, "Way Out West," "Boy on the Run," and "Smooth Sailing." Mike Kroeger handled all the distribution, brother Chad handled all the radio tracking, and Ryan Vikedal handled all the bookings. Another year passed in the meantime and as the band prepared for the support tour they hoped would provide their breakthrough, a plane crash killed three of Lynyrd Skynyrd's members and their tour was canceled. As a result, the Dingoes never had their American breakthrough. The album Five Times the Sun was released without impact. Stockley left the band a few months later to return to Australia and play with Greg Quill. American session players filled in for sessions for a third album in New York, Orphans of the Storm. By the time that album was released in Australia in February 1979, the band had broken up without ever realizing their potential. Broderick Smith returned to Australia to start a career fronting bands of his own; he died on April 30, 2023, at the age of 75. Kerryn Tolhurst stayed in America but returned to Australia in 1986 to form the Rattling Sabres, whose only single, "All Fired Up," was recorded and rewritten by Pat Benatar. Tolhurst produced Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe's band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. ~ Ed Nimmervoll

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