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| 12 March 2024 | Reply


JAMES BAKER, the legendary drummer and Perth punk pioneer and co-founder of the Hoodoo Gurus, Beasts of Bourbon, Scientists, Victims and more, celebrates 70th birthday with 6-song mini-LP BORN TO ROCK on esteemed Los Angeles label In The Red Record

Released to coincide with his actual birthday (March 7), the new record is James’s swan song, as he is living with terminal cancer.

Record and birthday will be celebrated with a JAMES BAKER’S 70 – BORN TO ROCK show in East Fremantle.

Limited edition t-shirt also available.

“Born to Rock is a tour de force of garage punk. James Baker is an undisputed master of the genre.” – Guy Maddison – Mudhoney, Lubricated Goat

“…When I first met James in 1977 I knew immediately that here was a stylish person with impeccable taste. He just had an aura about him. 45 years later and my opinion hasn’t changed one whit.” – Dave Faulkner – Hoodoo Gurus / The Victims

“James Baker is an Australian rock n’ roll legend! The man was a founding member of the Victims, Scientists, Hoodoo Gurus and the Beasts Of Bourbon! Track records don’t come much better than that. We are proud to announce the release of this six-song twelve inch record that is a celebration of the garage/punk/glam rock that James has been playing his whole life.” – In The Red Records, Los Angeles


James Baker, the legendary Perth punk pioneer who was a founding member of the Victims, Scientists, Hoodoo Gurus, the Beasts of Bourbon, the Dubrovniks, the Painkillers and more, and who turns 70 tomorrow (March 7), is releasing a new 6-song mini-LP on esteemed Los Angeles label In The Red (Kid Congo, Dirtbombs, Jay Reatard, Reigning Sound, Osees etc).

The new magnum opus is called Born To Rock, and it is only the second solo release by the man who has played such an important role in so many pivotal Australian bands, following his 1985 Red Eye Records solo single “Born To Be Punched”. The new record is a celebration of the glam, garage and punk rock that James has always loved and played. It is also a swan song, because James is now living with terminal cancer.

Recorded with backing band The Groundbreakers (aka guitarist and co-writer/producer Wayne Smith), the record’s half a dozen tracks beat not only with the man’s thumping drums, but with his rock’n’roll heart. Loud and primitive, it contains echoes of all of James’ old bands, along with those of old favourites like the Troggs and the New York Dolls.

In the tradition of previous Baker classics like the Geeks’ “I Like Iggy Pop” and the Painkillers’ “Rock’n’Roll Heart”, songs like “Memories”, “Green Bag” and the album’s title track are love letters to music listened to and played, and times had, from a one-time teenage dreamer who saw it all come true.

With his unrecorded early ’70s bands, the Stooges-inspired Black Sun and Dolls-inspired Slink City Boys, and his 1976 travels in the US and the UK – where he saw the Ramones and Johnny & the Heartbreakers and met a pre-Sex Pistols Sid Vicious, Joe Strummer & Mick Jones of the fledgling Clash, and members of the Damned – James was Perth’s ultimate punk tastemaker from the start. Having formed one of Perth’s first two punk bands, the Geeks, upon his return home, he then connected with a fledgling punk singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave Faulkner to form the Victims in 1977. The Scientists, with Kim Salmon, followed in 1978.

Baker saw the ’80s in with an appearance on Countdown with the Scientists before following Faulkner to Sydney, where they formed what was originally called Le Hoodoo Gurus in 1981. A couple of years later, together with members of the Scientists and the Johnnys and a teenage frontman named Tex, he formed what was only meant to be a short-lived muck-around band, the Beasts of Bourbon.

Some forty years later and having completed one last go around with the Victims late last year, James is set for another run with the Beasts in April. And that is likely to be the end of the touring road for James, so do not miss those shows!!

Before then, James and friends will celebrate the release of Born To Rock – and his 70th Birthday – with a James Baker’s 70 Born To Rock show at the Duke of George in East Fremantle, from 5-10PM on Sunday March 17, with special guests Big Boss Man, Abbe May, Datura4, Luke Dux and Joe Bludge.

A strictly limited-edition t-shirt of the James Baker’s 70 Born To Rock show will be available to pre-order on the morning of March 7 from Buttercup Records, with all profits going to James.

“Wow, 70 years on Planet Earth, 54 years committed to Rock & Roll. I bought my first drum kit when I was 16 years old.

“I’m really happy to Present in my 70th year, my first Solo Album – Born to Rock. I think Rock was always what I was meant to do. As many of you know it’s not the easiest path, but I’ve had a blast and that will be my way till the very last. As you know I’m heading towards the end of the show but hey I’ve made my music for me and all of you, I really hope and almost know you will all continue to enjoy and love Rock & Roll as much as I have.

“The support my friends, R&R Family and the Industry have shown during this chapter of my life and career in the Australian Alternative Music Industry is truly incredible. I will never have enough words to thank you all.”

– James & Cathy Baker

JAMES BAKER & THE GROUNDBREAKERS’ ‘BORN TO ROCK’ is available to pre-order now from In The Red’s exclusive Australian distributor Strangeworld Records:

A limited-edition T-shirt (70 shirts for 70 years) featuring the James Baker 70 poster artwork is available to pre-order from Buttercup Records

5:00pm, Sun 17 March, 2024
The Duke of George, East Fremantle,
with guests Big Boss Man, Abbe May, Datura4, Luke Dux and Joe Bludge



Category: Aussie Tour News

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