The Australian band Baby Grande surely would’ve been lost to history if not for the work of HoZac Records. The label has unearthed the Baby Grande tapes, which date from the mid 1970s, but weren’t released. The group features future members of the Church, but that’s not the sole reason the material is interesting. Formed during the period when glam was on the way out, but punk wasn’t a thing yet, Baby Grande were a little of both. Their glam/punk songs are really quite good, which makes their impending album of archival recordings something to get excited about.
Baby Grande got going in 1975. Singer Steve Kilbey and drummer Peter Koppes had previously played together in another band, the Precious Little. Baby Grande were based in Canberra, and started playing area clubs, though it was hard to get the attention of attendees, who were mainly there to booze it up. Even a high profile gig opening for AC/DC didn’t result in any new fans. Not helping matters, the group found they had few contemporaries, as most of the other Canberra outfits only did covers, and Baby Grande had no connection to the sharpie movement.
Koppes eventually switched to second lead guitar and a new drummer was brought aboard, but then Koppes left the band when gigs became few and far between. The remaining four members realized they really only needed one lead guitarist anyway, with Kilbey playing rhythm guitar as needed.
Despite the fact that they didn’t have much of a following, Baby Grande got their big break, signing with EMI Records. In January 1977, they went into the studio to record what they thought was a demo, but after submitting the tapes to the label, they were dropped. Turns out, the suits were expecting a finished product and were disappointed with the results. It wasn’t long before Baby Grande had broken-up.
A couple of years later, Kilbey and Koppes reunited and formed the Church.
HoZac Records drops the album of Baby Grande studio recordings, which is entitled 1975-77, on October 5th. Pre-order your copy here. Dangerous Minds is thrilled to have the premiere of one of the highlights of the record, the exhilarating glam/punk rocker, “Zephyr.” The track was amongst those rejected by EMI for being too raw, but that quality is part of what makes this and other Baby Grande songs so exciting—what do the suits know, anyway?!
Looking back, Kilbey is more amused than anything by the Baby Grande tunes, yet even he has to concede that the upcoming record—over forty years in the making—“certainly rocks.” We totally agree, Steve.
The Church broke through in 1981 with their second 45, “The Unguarded Moment.” Here they are playing the song live on Swedish television:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Glam rockers Supernaut & their epic 70s jams about lollipops, ‘Space Angels’ & bisexuality
Alastair Riddell & Space Waltz: New Zealand’s answer to David Bowie were a teen sensation in 1974
‘I am your Pantherman!’: Sink your claws into this killer one-man band glam rocker