Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Magic Dirt - Life Was Better

Magic Dirt is an Australian rock band. Formed in 1992 in Geelong, Victoria and continuing to this day, they have become one of the longest running - while far from the most commercially successful bands to come out the Australian Music scene in the 1990s.

The group was formed in 1992 by Adalita Srsen, Dean Turner, Daniel Herring and Adam Robertson. Adalita told a fanzine in 1996, "The way we formed was that Dean and I used to be going out together, and before we used to be in a band before Magic Dirt called Deer Bubbles. Dean knew Daniel from skating, and then he moved in with us, and we'd play like one song for forty minutes, we just loved it. Then we wanted to find a drummer, and we went through about five, then we found Adam through a mutual friend and that was it. We only used to have three songs we used to play for an hour." Originally known as The Jim Jims, the first recording Magic Dirt ever released (as The Jim Jims) was a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Heroin" on Check This Action, a compilation CD of local Geelong bands in 1992. In the first half of 1993, the band supported Sonic Youth and Pavement on their Australian tours, and recorded its debut single, "Supertear", for Fellaheen Records. However, by the time of the 7" single's release in July 1993, the band had broken up. It wasn't long before the band regrouped and signed with Au Go Go Records in November of the same year. Their first EP, Signs of Satanic Youth appeared in December, with the catchy "Redhead" making an impact on Triple J radio.

Early in 1994, the band broke up once again. Adalita and Dean's relationship had come to an end, and the band imploded with it. Thankfully, the pieces were put back together and 1994 turned out to be a huge year for the band with the release of their second EP, Life Was Better in November. It debuted at #1 on the alternative chart, (thanks to radio friendly tracks such as "Ice" and "Amoxycillan", despite the latter boasting 10 minutes of feedback at the end of the track) and continued to stay in the chart for 75 weeks, eventually selling 20,000 copies.

1995 started with the band joining the Big Day Out festival tour across Australia, with the likes of Hole (who they also supported on non-Big Day Out shows) and Silverchair. The success of the Life Was Better EP had attracted international attention. Geoffrey Weiss of Warner Music in the US, saw potential in the poppy hooks of songs such as "Ice" and "Redhead", and was interested in signing the band to Warner. This prompted interest from other major labels. The band's then manager Gavan Purdy flew to Los Angeles to negotiate a deal.

Founding member guitarist Daniel Herring left the band on August 15, 1995. The last recording with Daniel Herring was the 10" vinyl single, "I Was Cruel", which featured the words "Thankyou, Daniel. Goodbye" etched onto the vinyl.

Dave Thomas, of fellow Geelong band Bored! (who had managed Magic Dirt at the early stages of their career) was recruited as Herring's replacement, and the band signed to Warner for a two album deal (though, in Australia, they remained with Au Go Go).


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