Models were formed in 1978 and developed from an environment of numerous punk and new wave bands, two of which were Teenage Radio Stars which included singer and guitarist Sean Kelly and bass guitarist Peter Sutcliffe (aka Pierre Voltaire); and JAB which included Ash Wednesday on keyboards, Sutcliffe on Bass and Janis Friedenfelds (aka Johnny Crash) on drums and percussion. They were more pop influenced than the earlier punk bands and had a wider appeal.

The initial version of the group did not stay together for long as Sutcliffe was soon replaced on bass guitar by Mark Ferrie (ex-Myriad), then in August 1979, Wednesday was replaced by Andrew Duffield, formerly of Whirlywirld on keyboards. Their first release in October 1979 was a give-away, shared single, 'Early Morning Brain (It's Not Quite the Same as Sobriety)' backed with The Boys Next Door's 'Scatterbrain'. Friction within the band led to their break-up in November 1979, however ex - The Easybeats members, Harry Vanda and George Young, who were now record producers and songwriters, asked Models to cut some demos – so they reformed at the end of December 1979. Their second single, 'Owe You Nothing' appeared in August 1980. Both singles were released on independent labels and did not chart on the Top 40 Australian singles chart according to the Kent Music Report.

Models' early style was a spiky, distinctive blend of New Wave, glam rock, dub and pop: which included Kelly's strangled singing voice, Duffield's virtuoso synthesizer performances (he used the EMS Synthi AKS), and the band's cryptic, slightly gruesome, lyrics which were mostly written or co-written by Kelly. Between 1980–82 Models performed extensively both locally and interstate, supporting bands such as the Ramones, The B-52's, XTC, The Vapors and Midnight Oil on national tours. Rather than signing immediately to a record compnay, the group financed the recording of their first album to guarantee creative control, and in November 1980 released their first album, 'Alphabravocharliedeltaechofoxtrotgolf'. They then signed to Mushroom Records and, as a sign of its respect for the band, the label agreed not to release any singles from the album, which peaked at No. 43 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart.

Early in 1981, following a support slot for The Police, the group signed an international deal with A&M Records. Friedenfelds was replaced on drums by Mark Hough (aka Buster Stiggs) from New Zealand band The Swingers before recording commenced on their international label release. Friedenfields went on to play with Sacred Cowboys, Beasts of Bourbon, The Slaughtermen and Tombstone Hands. In June, the demo sessions for the new album so impressed the band that they were released as a 10" album, 'Cut Lunch', which were produced by Tony Cohen and Models except one by Split Enz keyboard player Eddie Rayner. 'Cut Lunch' peaked at No. 37 on the albums chart and at No. 38 on the singles chart. In October, their second full-length album 'Local &/or General' was released. It had been recorded in the United Kingdom with Stephen Tayler producing and peaked at No. 30. Both albums helped widen their audience nationally, thanks to regular radio exposure on Triple J in Sydney, as well as national TV exposure through their innovative music videos on programs such as pop music show Countdown.

During 1982, further line-up changes occurred with Ferrie and Hough leaving early in the year. Ferrie went on to form Sacred Cowboys with Garry Gray and Terry Doolan, and Hough became a graphic artist, art director and designer. James Freud (ex-Teenage Radio Stars with Sean Kelly, James Freud & Berlin) joined the band on bass guitar and vocals, with John Rowell on guitar and Graham Scott on drums (both ex-Curse). Rowell and Scott left Models in May 1982, with Duffield following. New Zealand drummer, Barton Price (ex-Crocodiles, Sardine v) joined on drums, and the band recorded a single 'On', which was produced by veteran rocker, Lobby Loyde, and released in August. It had no mainstream chart success, but peaked at No. 1 on the independent charts. Gus Till (ex-Beargarden) briefly joined on keyboards until Duffield rejoined in December. Models officially lasted until 1988 with several more line-up changes and several mainstream hits under their belt. They are one of the major success stories to emerge from from the early Melbourne Punk scene.

Models line-up included: Sean Kelly – Vocals/Guitar/Clarinet, Pierre Voltaire (real name Peter Sutcliffe) – Bass, Johnny Crash (real name Janis Friedenfelds) – Drums/Percussion, Ash Wednesday – Keyboards, Mark Ferrie – Bass, Andrew Duffield – Keyboards, Mark Hough aka Buster Stiggs – Drums, James Freud – Vocals/Bass, John Rowell – Guitar , Graham Scott – Drums, Barton Price – Drums , Gus Till – Keyboards.

 Click HERE to view the full Models discography


Models - Early Morning Brain.mp3


  • Main Image - Models 1982/83 - Courtesy Retro Universe
  • Background Image - 'Early Morning Brain' single 1979 - Source required
  • Sean Kelly 1979 - Photo by Anne Jordan
  • Johnny Crash 1979 - Photo by Anne Jordan
  • 'Early Morning Brain' single sleeve - Courtesy of Timothy Hughes
  • Models line-up mid 1980 - Courtesy Retro Universe
  • Models line-up mid early 1981 - Courtesy Retro Universe
  • 'Alphabravocharliedeltaechofoxtrotgolf' album cover - Courtesy Retro Universe
  • Sean Kelly, Gus Till , James Freud, Barton Price 1982 - Photos by Debra Mineely  
'Two People per Sq Km' 1980 - Models first ever video to promote their debut album 'Alphabravocharliedeltaechofoxtrotgolf' - Directed by Ray Argall - Source: Youtube