Friday, April 17, 2009

Number 399 - Dragon


Number 399

Dragon

"Are You Old Enough"

(1978)
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398 ........Genre: Rock......... 400
Who's your Teddy? Legendary story about Dragon when they did their first [& last] tour of America by calling the audience full of Texan's faggotts and it sort of goes like this ...
"I remember seeing someone standing holding a pistol and shouting 'Im gonna kill you, you son of a bitch'... I didn't know it but by this point the rest of the band had left the stage. I was still singing because I could still hear the music in my head. It took ages to clear the pile of debris on the stage - broken glass, bottles, chairs, half a table - but I was totally unaware of this, I thought I was going over really well and I'm standing there in a crucifixion pose with my arms out, really gone, with heaps of eye make-up on, looking like some sort of twisted priest. And apparently Johnny Winter was taking bets on the side of the stage as to how long it would take before somebody shot me. Then I turned around and saw no one was on stage so I realised I wasn't going over too well after all and I went back to the dressing room and everyone was just standing there... I said 'We went great, weren't we terrific?' At that stage of the band I was really a shocking sod. And all the record company people were just staring at me like I was an insectoid from Mars. And so that was it for us for that trip to America." —[Marc Hunter , 1994] Don't ya love rock stars? ... classic.
Marc Hunter 1953 to 1998
During the 1970s, the notoriously decadent Dragon was among the biggest rock bands in New Zealand, gaining even greater success on the Australian circuit. Dragon's history begins with brothers Todd and Marc Hunter, natives of the North Island town of Taumarunui; from childhood on the siblings performed professionally in their parents' jazz band, with Todd learning guitar and Marc picking up the drums. As the years passed, both Hunter brothers played in a variety of local bands, both together and independently; Dragon emerged in 1973 from the remnants of Staff, a group featuring Todd on bass in addition to singer/pianist Graeme Collins, guitarist Ray Goodwin and drummer Neil Reynolds. Personality conflicts quickly emerged, and soon the clean-living Collins was sacked by his hedonistic bandmates in favor of keyboardist Ivan Thompson. That left Dragon without a singer; however, the situation was quickly solved when Marc Hunter signed on as lead vocalist.
Todd Hunter & Dragon
With new drummer Kerry Jacobsen, a reeling Dragon returned to the road with a vengeance, and spent the next two years touring almost non-stop, eventually conquering the all-important Aussie audience. In mid-1977 they issued the LP Sunshine, scoring a hit with the single "Get That Jive"; by the end of the year Dragon was the most popular band in Australia, resulting in a U.S. deal with the Portrait label. Their next LP, 1978's Running Free, went double-platinum down under, notching a massive hit with "April Sun in Cuba." A massive tour followed; fueled by smack and champagne, Dragon was out of control, leaving destroyed hotel suites and dressing rooms in their wake. Still, they remained enormously popular, and their third CBS album O Zambesi was their biggest yet, with a number one single in "Are You Old Enough?" A subsequent American tour proved disastrous, however, and as Marc Hunter's drug problems worsened, he was dismissed in early 1979. He was replaced by singer Billy Rogers and violinist Richard Lee.
Their classic collection
Seemingly overnight, Dragon fell out of commercial favor; their next single, "Love Is Not Enough," failed to chart, and their first New Zealand tour since 1975 was a washout. When the 1979 LP Powerplay bombed, Dragon disbanded; however, in 1982 the group's nucleus reformed to pay off their debts. The lineup -- the Hunters, Taylor, Hewson and Jacobsen -- fared so well during their reunion tour that they soon released a new single, "Joanne." Its follow-up, 1984's "Rain," was a massive hit, and many fans agreed that its accompanying LP Body and the Beat was among their best ever. When the old personality conflicts soon arose, only the Hunters were left. (Tragically, just hours after quitting the band, Hewson was found dead.) The next Dragon LP, 1986's Dream of Ordinary Men, was produced by Todd Rundgren; after 1988's Bondi Road, the band finally called it a day once again. ~ [Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide]
Reformation & other tid-bits
Dragon Force
Todd Hunter (bass) reformed Dragon in 2006 with a line-up of Mark Williams (vocals, guitar), Bruce Reid (guitar), and Pete Drummond (drums). This new Dragon line up released Sunshine to Rain under the Liberation Blue Acoustic Series Label. Dragon is currently touring Australia. On 1 July 2008, Dragon were inducted by Richard Wilkins into the ARIA Hall of Fame, Dragon were joined on-stage by James Reyne and Ian Moss to perform "April Sun in Cuba" and "Rain": Dragon's performance featured Ian Moss and James Reyne on vocals, alongside founding member Todd Hunter. During a fiery version of "April Sun in Cuba", the late Dragon singer Marc Hunter was incorporated into the chorus via a stirring performance video shown on a huge screen behind the band. Reyne said: "I used to go and see Dragon play in the mid to late 1970s before I even had a proper band, so it's great to be able to do this. I'm a big Dragon fan, and did tours with them when Marc was alive, and I knew him quite well. He'd think this is a blast." According to Todd Hunter, Dragon has had, at last count, 35 members and umpteen reincarnations. "Well, Wikipedia says 35 members so far," he said. "We had a long break as a band, but we started doing acoustic shows a couple of years ago. But we couldn't be heard above the crowd because they were singing so loud, so now we're back doing electric shows." ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For James Reyne see Australian Crawl Number 968
For Ian Moss see Cold Chisel Number 485
What does Rolling Stone think about Dragon?
Don't be stupid! They have never heard of New Zealand ... Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they?, Nothing, Who are they? ~ [Source ~ Off a toilet wall]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '399th Song of all Time' was "Enter Sandman" by Metallica. Metallica has appeared in The Definitive 1000 @ #408 & #484
Other songs with reference to Dragon #538, #993
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Everyone knows Australia & NZ can't make music) and the Album ranked at (Shall we mention Rolf Harris?)
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 78.5 out of 108

Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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