Formed in 1980, Equal Local were a popular, albeit short-lived instrumental ‘synth’ band comprising various figures from the Melbourne post-punk scene - most notably Dean Richards and Philip Jackson who were ex-members of synth-punk band Whirlywirld. For a brief period, circa 1980 to 1981, they were the "Next Big Thing" on the Melbourne inner-city/Crystal Ballroom circuit and were referred to by Clinton Walker as "The most important band to emerge from Melbourne in the wake of the Birthday Party's relocation to London." The band's pioneering brand of post-punk jazz-rock was bright, inventive, intricate and irresistible.
Utilising a funky pulse-lie beat as a base, the band was free to lay hypnotic textures and a rich tapestry of styles over the top. The band also used as its drums a computer, designed and built by Robin Whittle, which was very likely the first programmable drum and sequencing software used live in the world, predating the fair light CMI's "page R" by a couple of years.
Missing Link issued the 12" EP 'Madagascar' and the 12" single 'Yank'/'12 Ways' in 1981. The band toured interstate and began picking up interest further afield, but having decided that the concept had run its course, Equal Local dispanded in early 1982. Richards went on to expand on his side project, the neo-big band Hot Half Hour.
Equal Local line up included: Dean Richards - Electric guitar/Bass, Philip Jackson - Synthesizers/Beat programs, Melissa Webb - Synthesizers/Piano, Bryce Perrin - Double bass, Robin Whittle - Computer drums, Mick Hauser - Saxophone, Ian Cox - Saxaphone.
Interview with Equal Local.mp3
- Main Image - Equal Local 1980 - Courtesy of Philip Jackson
Background Image -'Madagascar' EP cover - Courtesy of Dean Richards
- Equal Local 1980 - Courtesy of Philip Jackson
- 'Madagascar' EP cover 1981 - Courtesy of Dean Richards
- Dean Richards 1980/81 - Courtesy of Dean Richard
MP3 Track - Interview from 'Fast Forward' tape #5 1981 - Courtesy Spill Label
Video - 'When Dilly Gets Mad' - Courtesy Youtube
- McFarlane, Ian (1999): The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop, p.202: Allen & Unwin