Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Sunnyboys

The Sunnyboys were one of the great bands in the 1980s Australian Music boom. A group of surfers from Kingscliff, just south of the Queensland border, moved to Sydney and christened themselves after a brand of triangular ice-block.

They were a fiery, passionate band playing the songs of prodigious songwriter Jeremy Oxley. At 18, Jeremy composed all the songs for the first Sunnyboys LP in 1981, including classics like "Happy Man", "I Can't Talk To You" and "Alone With You". Under duress he wrote all the songs for second LP "Individuals" in 1982 before Jeremy was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

There is a recent documentary based on Jeremy's struggle called "The Sunnyboy" that was shown on ABC1 on Sunday night. It is a heartbreaking story of a man who was cut down in his prime as a hugely talented musician.

In a sense he was Australia's Syd Barrett - a talent robbed by mental illness (although Syd's was arguably drug induced). Nevertheless, "The Sunnyboy" is a painful fly-on-the-wall look at one man's daily battle and the effects on his family and friends.

If nothing else it should serve as a lesson to legislators to ensure that treatment of mental illness is properly managed and funded. But that's another story...

The Sunnyboys deserve their legacy. Their music is still vital and potent and is worthy of another listen.

Alone with you:

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