GAGA MK 2
Biography by Mark Robinson.
The year was 1991; drummer Mark
Robinson and bass player Brett Carson
had just had a break after leaving 'Big Bam Boom' some months
earlier. They were keen to get back on the road, call it fate but bass
player Leo Della Grotta and drummer John Davies were leaving 'Radio
GaGa'. Mark and Brett were ideal replacements having played previously
in other bands with the guys, including 'The Globes', 'Bob Hanley
Band' and 'Kooka Bros'. From memory we had two unplugged rehearsals
and Ross Melville said see you at the Delany
Hotel Saturday night!
I had already seen the band and knew they had something special to offer
other than what was happening around town at the time. That was entertainment
with a capital E!
As the name suggests, we were doing radio format from the 80's and 90's.
New F-M in fact and T V commercials, using classic remakes of past hits.
With 52 weeks in the year we were working 51 of them at one stage. If
you didn't see us at the Delany one week you could be sure to catch
us at the Beaches the next week.
I remember one New Years Eve we played the Beaches and ended up down
at the wharf road regent, (Fanny's), going on stage at 3.30 am in the
Other gigs included The Casbah, SJ'S and corporate functions. We even
did a couple balls, one being on the South Steyne, (the old Manly Ferry),
moored just up from 'Fanwah's'. But the biggest gig we ever did without
a doubt was one of the first Darby Street Fairs.
We were outdoors on this massive stage and we had a support act. Ross
worked the crowd into a frenzy; there was footballs and frisbees flying
through the air. Admittedly Ross supplied the balls, but it was an absolute
hoot! After we did our second encore we had left the stage as night
was falling but the crowd were a little bit intoxicated and weren't
keen to leave. Apparently later there was some sort of a minor street
riot, consequently we didn't appear next year.
Another memorable gig was at the Beaches. One Sunday night when a punter
was going to hit his girlfriend in the face, Larry hit the guy with
the back of his guitar. All of a sudden this guy dives onto the stage
grabs Laz and falls through the drum kit. I pull him off Laz, then somehow
I'm on the floor and he's on top off me! Eventually the cops are called,
the stage is trashed, and he's removed. We like true professionals managed
to pull it back together and finish the gig, it just made us more popular!
Apart from posters our 'Radio GaGa' merchandises included an
array of T-shirts, caps, windcheaters and even coasters, (Hotel Delany).
We would go and hit the venues up for sponsorship. They were more than
willing to get their hotel on our merchandise, at the 'Del' we even
ended up with a drink rider beside the stage!
At the peak of our career we went in the recording studios and recorded
our version of 'Viva Las Vegas', a big stage favourite at the
time, it came out on a cassette single.
Two weeks later 'Z Z Top' bought out their version.
Not long after that Brett called it quits and we pulled in Greg
Dawson on bass. After another 14 months or so, Ross's day gig
was getting a little bit demanding, and didn't want to play Friday night
gigs. Larry Greg and Michael formed another band with John Davies and
Anne Orett. But it wasn't long after that Ross announced he was leaving.
I decided I needed a bit of a break as well. The last gig of the Mark
2 lineup was off course at the legendary Beach Hotel Mereweather, on
a Sunday afternoon in mid 1995. Ross Mark and Brett got back together
in 'The Swell'.
'Radio GaGa' continues on even to this day, and just recently
made a return to the Beaches after an 8 year hiatus. It is my belief
they may hold the record for longest band being continually together
in Newy! (Other's may have got back together, but 'Radio GaGa' has
never given up!)