The rise and fall of legendary Australian band Radio Birdman will be charted in a forthcoming documentary, Descent Into The Maelstrom, set to screen in cinemas "soon", according to the film's creators.
Directed by filmmaker and ex-ABC TV editor Jonathan J Sequeira, Descent Into The Maelstrom — which takes its name from the band's track of the same name on their 1977 debut full-length, Radios Appear — is a thorough, warts-and-all exploration of the band's highly influential, chaotic, and all-too-brief original tenure from 1974-78, during which time they developed a dedicated following and blazed the trail upon which several latter-day indie icons followed in their footsteps.
They have been cited as direct influences for the likes of Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel, while their frenetic, DIY shows laid the template for the abundant self-determination of so many significant Aussie acts of the past 40 years. Having been ejected from a laundry list of venues in their home town of Sydney, the band started their own live music space — The Funhouse — and became a paragon for anti-establishment, disaffected youth the nation over.
"Descent Into The Maelstrom isn’t just the story of Radio Birdman; it’s the story of a scene, a movement, in Australia, started by the band," Sequeira said of the film in a statement. "It’s about doing your music, and your art without compromise, when everyone tries to shut you down. Radio Birdman inspired the outsiders in Australian society to do their own thing.
"Like the band, the film is a completely independent production — the band’s take-no-prisoners attitude fed into the making of it. The intensity of the music and the individuals is still there, coming off the screen, and it insists that you too settle for nothing less than the best."
While we wait for news on the documentary's cinematic release, true diehards will at least be partially sated by the arrival of the accompanying soundtrack, Funhouse Jukebox, out on Friday 9 June through Stop Start.
The 15-track album includes not only Radio Birdman greats such as TV Eye, Snake and Burned My Eye, but tunes from iconic fellow acts such as The Saints ((I'm) Stranded), The Easybeats (Friday On My Mind), Sire Records label-mates the Ramones (Blitzkrieg Bop) and Flamin' Groovies (Shake Some Action) as well as songs from pre-Birdman projects TV Jones (Monday Morning Gunk) and The Rats (Personality Crisis), among other songs that actually featured on the venue's real jukebox in 1977 — hence the album's name.
And, of course, don't forget that the band are also on tour this June and July with fellow indie heroes Died Pretty, taking in some epic double-headers in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne. The tour kicks off at the Enmore Theatre on Friday 16 June, and you can hit theGuide for full details of the run.
Subscribe to the website's mailing list for updates on the film's release, and check out the trailer and soundtrack listing below.
Descent Into The Malestrom: Funhouse Jukebox Soundtrack Track List
- Funhouse intro dialogue
- Radio Birdman — Descent Into The Maelstrom
- The Saints — (I’m) Stranded
- Radio Birdman — TV Eye
- Masters Apprentices — Wars Or Hands Of Time
- Radio Birdman — Snake
- The Easybeats — Friday On My Mind
- Flamin' Groovies — Shake Some Action
- Richard Hell & The Voidoids — Blank Generation
- Radio Birdman — Burned My Eye
- The Rats — Personality Crisis
- TV Jones — Monday Morning Gunk
- Ramones — Blitzkrieg Bop
- Funhouse outro dialogue
- Radio Birdman — New Race
Enmore Theatre, Newtown
The Tivoli, Fortitude Valley
The Gov, Hindmarsh
The Croxton, Thornbury
The Croxton, Thornbury