We never had no car in our family when I was a boy. We lived in a thriving country town where it was possible to walk or ride your bike everywhere a kid wanted to go. The only sense of social disadvantage came when we had to go on school or footy trips to nearby Victorian towns. Even then, it was cool to ride with your friends parents in their wagon. Not being used to riding on four wheels at high speeds my mind was always conscious of the hard road running just inches from our feet and there was sometimes a weird temptation to open the door.
As I got closer to the world of adults I had a different view on cars. In South Australia at the time you were eligible to get your licence to drive at the age of sixteen. Driving a car meant drive in bottle shops, drive in movies, laps of the main drag and impressing the sheilas. South Australia was then, as now, blessed with much looser roadworthy laws than operate in NSW and Victoria. As such, it was the home of the hotted up, lowered and wildly sprayed street car. Old EH Holden station wagons and panel vans were the ideal vehicle in which to be seen cruising the main street with your arm out the window , casually lifting a 740 ml bottle of beer to your lips. That was the image of a young man in a complete state of grace. Ready for any event, on the move. Older model Holdens such as the FB, FC and EKs were also plentiful. (Even in the early seventies, FJs and FXs were becoming a rare sight and even the most tasteless street driver would prefer one in mint stock standard condition). The bench seats were ripped out and replaced with those of the bucket style, the column shift was considered daggy so a floor shift was installed, preferably with an eight ball for your grip and, most importantly, the large, ungainly steering wheel was replaced with a bulbous racing wheel the size of a beer coaster. Fat tyres and mag wheels were a must, the front should be lowered and for the serious driver, a spoiler at the back. Actually, you couldn't help but notice that the more serious hotted up cars were always driven by blokes who were always alone. It seemed that they must have forgotten to put a passenger seat in or that the car was only perfectly balanced with the one occupant. Or perhaps it was the last stages of a real obsession and the driver could not bear to share the car with another person and, he could only risk taking it out of the garage for a weekly drive around the town and even then, only after a thorough waxing. Other raised lowered, sprayed and overhauled looks favoured by the seventies boy/man included the Mini panel van, the Morris Minor panel van (Stuart Perera tells me its called the traveller) and the Bedford van (with dope smoking thrones in the back). Only the top of the range could afford the Ford Falcon GTHO's and the SL Toranas. Even with these production line Hoon mobiles the emphasis was on power at all costs and the idea of brakes being able to restrain the beasts was not all that cool a subject to bring up.
Ultimately this heady cocktail of booze, runaway hormones, rough sex and tricked up V8 vans that had inferior brakes led to a horror road toll. I don't know how I made it through my teenage years and knew many people that didn't. I always seemed to be a passenger in fast cars driven by people who were pissed or were doing a great job of pretending they were pissed in order to be in the same car as their mates. Fear sobered me up very quickly and all I did was hang on. A big night out was a trip to the Speedway where fights would break out all over the place randomly and the whole misty night stank of booze, spew, blood, petrol and burnt tyres. I remember riding back once at high speed bouncing around in the back of a hot FJ panel van. I kept yelling above the sounds of Black Sabbath that were belting from the tape player that it "felt a little bumpy " on my side of the car. Eventually, the car was stopped and, by torchlight on a twisting country road, we saw that the back wheel was holding on by the last thread of one solitary nut. There is one road I could have really gone down.
Those were of course, in the early years of legal limits for alcohol in the blood of drivers. People really resented it at first but the carnage on the road would be horrific if we still put up with the action that was considered reasonable only twenty years ago. Still, I would rather see a hotted up muscle car than a stock standard, clean as a whistle museum relic. Perhaps the Seventies individualised street rider will become a mainstream collectors item for tomorrows business tyro with some cash to drop before the tax year ends. It's good to see that South Australia and Queensland are still home to lurid street chariots that would never be allowed past the Roadworthy certificate testers gaze before he or she even ordered it up onto the hoist.
- dave graney
- WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Charlie Christian or Grant Green -but not in this lifetime, I know.
2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail
you've been in my mind
June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp
SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL
also available as a digital album
Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20
available as a digital album too
We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album
Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release