Calamity Jane’s Live Radio Sessions

Calamity was a radio show which ran on 3RRR-FM from 1992-95. It was described in the program guide as “pop tunes and indie mash” and I was its erstwhile young presenter – new to radio broadcasting and sporting a very bright shade of green around my ears. However, I was determined to showcase the wonderful bands I was seeing each week on the show and even though my presentation style at the time was at best – amateur, the bands thankfully were not.

This is a snapshot of some of the artists who traversed the back stairs of the Victoria St building in Fitzroy and set up their amps and instruments to showcase their next gig or CD. Looking at the list, I have a few recollections here and there. I remember Custard’s session so well. It was very early in their career after the release of their second EP. David McCormack was a natural showman. I knew they’d be going places. Hurdy Gurdy’s session was memorable for the reason they asked me to play tambourine. Note to self: hitting the tambourine out of time does not make for good radio. They changed their name to Slurper soon after this session. I always thought Hurdy Gurdy was better. The dynamic of Mark Adams and Eva Sommererfeld was very special. I’m not sure another band has come close to that creative synergy.

All Praise Be to the GB

I loved the Lucksmiths session because their cheery tunes literally vibrated around the room. I could hear sunshine rolling on to the airwaves. Likewise, the Painstripper session had me in stitches. They revealed their song ‘Shane’ was about a sound engineer they’d had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting at one of their shows who couldn’t mix for shit. Thus, this amusing ode to the world’s worst soundie was written. I thought it was such a clever track. Painstripper struck me as a band who could have been huge… alas… Lead singer Neil Thomason left soon after to form the noisy and powerful Ricaine.

The song from Automatic was also recorded during their very early days. They had sent a demo tape to me and I loved it so much that I got them on the show. To watch their career progress the way it did to a national level was pretty inspiring. Like Automatic, my career also went national and in 1996 I started broadcasting on Triple J where I would stay for the next three-and-a-half years before heading to the UK and finding other broadcasting adventures.

Hearing these tunes is like reading an old diary again. It’s good to remember where I started and the people I met along the way, and the artists who soundtracked my Sundays in that studio in Fitzroy. I have a deep gratitude for the music they made and a fond affection for each and every one of them. – Jane Gazzo, October 2021

Released November 5, 2021

Curated by Scott Thurling
Cassette digitisation by Simon Grounds & Scott Thurling
Mastering by Simon Grounds & Ernie O

Thanks to RRR