Radio Birdman were one of those hugely influential bands that never saw much in the way of commercial success but whose influence registers on the Richter scale. Lasting a mere four years (’74 – ’78) in their original incarnation, they basically bootstrapped the Aussie ’70s pub rock scene into existence, cross-pollinating it with the nascent punk movement to generate a unique vibe that can still be heard in Australian indie music today. Now, at last, their story is being brought to the big screen by filmmaker Jonathan J Sequeira in Descent into the Maelstrom: The Radio Birdman Story.
Speaking of the project, Sequeira said, “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. 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.”
Arguably even more exciting, depending on whether your sense of choice is sound or vision, is the Funhouse Jukebox soundtrack, which will recreate some of the actual jukebox playlist found in Radio Birdman’s infamous club, the Funhouse, circa 1977. Featuring tracks from the likes of The Saints, The Easybeats and The Ramones, it’s a brilliant snapshot of a crucial time and place in Australian music history.
Expect Descent into the Maelstrom in cinemas later this year via Umbrella.