The Baby Animals

The Baby Animals airlie beach nusic festival

Lead singer Suze DeMarchi started singing in local Perth pub bands at the age of 17.

As Suze admits – “after the first couple of gigs, I knew that there was nothing else I would

rather do. If I never did anything else the rest of my life but record and play live, I’d be happy.”

For the next four years, DeMarchi was in England recording and writing as a solo artist, with EMI records. But disheartened by the record company’s attempt to slide her into a pop career, and missing not working with a band, together with a little encouragement from then manager John Woodruff, she returned to Australia in mid 1989. On her return she set about forming a new band, fellow Perth musician Frank Celenza recommended his best friend, bass player Eddie Parise DeMarchi approached guitarist Dave Leslie to join the band and finally, Celenza joined as the band’s drummer.

November 1989 saw the band’s first gig at the infamous Kardomah Café in Sydney, and the start of constant touring through the city’s pubs and clubs.

The Angels were so impressed with the band, that they included one of the band’s demos

Break My Heart on the B-side of their single Dogs Are Talking.

In August 1990, the band singed a publishing deal with SBK Songs (now EMI Songs). Whilst attending one of their gigs, Terry Ellis, president of the newly formed Imago Recording Company heard something special and signed them to his label. He described the experience as “the band was great, the songs were terrific and to me Suze clearly had that indefinable magic that separates one artist from the crowd and makes them a star.” Debut Album

The band flew to New York to record their debut album, and together with expatriate Mike Chapman (Sweet, Pat Benatar, Blondie ) and Kevin “Caveman” Shirley (Aerosmith, Silverchair) produced a classic album.

Their debut single Early Warning is released April 1991 and immediately reached the Top 20 on the Australian Singles charts. After the release of the single, the band flew to the United States for a series of showcases for the Imago/BMG people, to coincide with the earlier release of the album there. With the Top 20 chart success of Early Warning at home, the second single Rush You was released in August 1991.

Their eponymous debut album Baby Animals was released in September 1991. The album debuted at number six on the ARIA Charts and spent six weeks at number one, eventually going eight times platinum and becoming the highest-selling debut Australian rock album of all time (until the release of Jet’s album 12 years later).

After reportedly listening to the band’s album in his kitchen, Bryan Adams asked the band to join him on his European tour. Whilst overseas, the band picked up the ‘Best New Act’ at the inaugural 1991 Australian Music Awards. Christmas 1991 saw the band back in Australia for more touring, and the release of two more singles from the album, Painless and One Word.

The incredibly successful ‘Let Go Of My Ears’ tour saw the band playing to sellout crowds all over the country.

In 1992 the band joined the Black Crowes on a national tour of New Zealand. Baby Animals made a guest appearance on the David Letterman Show, performing the single Painless.

The band picked up a number of honours at the 1992 ARIA Music Awards, receiving awards for ‘Best Debut Album’, ‘Best Single’, and ‘Best Album’. DeMarchi was also nominated for ‘Best Female Vocalist’.

The band then toured in the opening slot for Van Halen’s ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour’ across America from January 28 to May 31, again playing to arena-size audiences.

Eddie Van Halen requested their presence after his wife Valerie heard their album, and suggested them.

Australian Rolling Stone placed Suze on the cover (noting the increased profile of women in Australian music and design reasons). It was the first time they had put an Australian artist or group on the cover on the merits of a debut album. The Editor’s letter was used to explain why Suze is on the cover despite the fact that the band insisted on a photo of the whole band or no cover at all.

Sales of Baby Animals reached 8 times platinum in Australia, and topped 800,000 worldwide. The band having played over 800 shows when they stopped touring in August.

Shaved & Dangerous.

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