Formed in Perth in 1989, The Blackeyed Susans have built a reputation for their moody romanticism and op-shop stylings. Declared national treasures by Rolling Stone magazine, they have toured the world, played with the likes of Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen and released numerous albums of occasional beauty. A retrospective box set entitled ‘Reveal Yourself’ was released in 2009 charting the band’s illustrious history.
Yet none of this was by design – at least not at the beginning, when members of The Triffids, Chad’s Tree and Martha’s Vineyard formed a holiday band to play a handful of shows one particularly hot Western Australian summer. The group endured, long after that summer was gone, relocating to Sydney and then Melbourne, galvanising along the way around the voice of singer Rob Snarski and the songs of bassist Phil Kakulas, along with a swirling array of famous friends. Boasting members of The Cruel Sea, Dirty Three, The Jackson Code, Augie March, The Drones and Hungry Ghosts, the group’s credits read like a who’s who of Australian alternative music.
The line up solidified in the mid to late 90s as The Susans enjoyed success, in Australia and abroad, on the back of watershed albums All Souls Alive and Spin The Bottle. Classic songs such as A Curse On You, Smokin’ Johnny Cash and Blue Skies, Blue Sea affirmed the group as impressionistic storytellers with a bent ear for melody and atmospherics.
Much touring into the next decade ensued before the band returned to a more ‘project’ based approach in the mid 2000s. Along with Snarski and Kakulas, the current group features long time members Mark Dawson (drums), Kiernan Box (keyboards), J.P. Shilo (guitar/accordion) and Graham Lee (pedal steel).
In recent years The Blackeyed Susans have been proud to join forces with The Triffids in celebration of the work of Triffids’ singer/songwriter and Susans’ co-founder David McComb. The acclaimed shows have been staged in sold-out seasons across Australia and Europe.
The Blackeyed Susans new album Close Your Eyes and See (released March 2017) is the band’s 7th studio album and their first collection of new material in over ten years. A single called Lover or the Loved was released from it in December 2016.