- New studio album Prisoner of Love due for February 2019 release
- Solo catalogue to be re-released including vinyl reissues
- A two-CD career retrospective will be issued
- October tour announced
Stephen Cummings, one of Australia’s most loved and respected singers and songwriters, is returning to where his recording career started – Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.
Bloodlines is proud to announce that it will be re-releasing Stephen’s solo catalogue plus Stephen’s brand-new album, Prisoner of Love.
The ARIA Award-winning artist has indicated that this will be his final studio album.
Bloodlines will also issue a two-disc career anthology.
“I am very proud to reunite with Stephen Cummings,” Michael Gudinski says. “We had our first Top 40 hit in the US together! He is etched in Australian rock history, and Bloodlines is the perfect label for him.”
Michael also managed The Sports. “At times, Stephen could be frustrating to deal with,” he admits. “But he has always been brilliant. In fact, it’s high time that ARIA recognised Stephen’s remarkable body of work and inducted Stephen Cummings and The Sports into the ARIA Hall of Fame.”
Stephen is pleased to be reunited with Michael’s Mushroom Group, saying it “makes sense to me”.
“There is something to be said for local expertise,” Stephen says. “My recording career began with Mushroom and Michael, and in these mystifying times, Mushroom and Michael seems the right place to maintain my fanbase. I need help with stuff.
“I have had my issues with Gudinski, but I am grateful for this opportunity.”
Stephen wrote candidly about his relationship with Michael in his 2009 memoir, Will It Be Funny Tomorrow, Billy? “I have it on good authority that Michael Gudinski once asserted to an assembled group of industry types at a reception for Jimmy Barnes that after working with me in The Sports he vowed never to manage an artist again – so execrable was the experience.
“[But] even if Gudinski was an offensive and abusive bear of a man, at least he went to gigs and liked music.”
Michael Gudinski confirms: “I gave up management for 10 years because of Stephen Cummings. He was traumatic to manage. But he’s great now and in a much better space.”
After The Sports split, Stephen released his debut solo album, Senso, in 1984, featuring the hit single ‘Gymnasium’.
Stephen’s third album, 1988’s Lovetown – recorded for just $2000 – was featured in the book The 100 Best Australian Albums, and is one of the Top 40 albums of the ’80s, according to the Australian edition of Rolling Stone. The Age poll of artists and music industry representatives declared Lovetown one of the Top 50 Australian albums of all time, with journalist Jeff Jenkins writing, “Around the time he released his third solo album, Stephen Cummings was dubbed the St Kilda Sinatra. A fair description, though Cummings is a better songwriter. He’s never made a bad album, but this is his masterpiece.”
Stephen’s solo work has been issued on nine separate labels. Bloodlines have gathered his entire catalogue, which includes 17 studio albums plus two Liberation Blue albums, Close Ups and Good Bones.
The re-issue series will include vinyl releases – the first time many of Stephen’s albums have been released on vinyl.
Albums to be reissued include 2003’s rockabilly-inspired collection, Firecracker (“a complete genre-busting masterpiece”, according to Dave Graney), the ARIA Award-winning A New Kind of Blue, plus two albums produced by The Church’s Steve Kilbey – 1994’s Falling Swinger and 1996’s Escapist.
Stephen is one of the nation’s most acclaimed artists. As Bernard Zuel wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald: “He is easily one of our great storytellers, capable of creating lives in miniature.” Radio National called him “arguably the best pop vocalist in Australia”, while Toby Creswell stated: “Stephen Cummings is a master of poignant detail, the oblique image that captures a state of rapture.”
Stephen’s songs have been covered by Jimmy Little, The Whitlams, Vika & Linda, Rebecca Barnard and Weddings Parties Anything.
Stephen has also written two novels, Wonderboy and Stay Away From Lightning Girl, and been the subject of the 2014 documentary Don’t Throw Stones.
Stephen has made his new album with Billy Miller, a Mushroom contemporary from the late ’70s, who also produced Stephen’s 2009 album, Tickety Boo. Prisoner of Love will be released in February 2019, and the back catalogue roll out will start next year.
To celebrate the return of Stephen Cummings to Mushroom, watch one of his classic songs delivered live at The Forum in Melbourne below.
Stephen has announced an October tour. These will be his only shows for 2018.
Tickets onsale now
Thursday 4 October
Smiths Alternative | Canberra, ACT
Friday 5 October
Camelot Lounge | Sydney, NSW
Friday 12 October
Republic Bar | Hobart, TAS
Sunday 14 October
Wheatsheaf | Adelaide, SA
Friday 19 October
Junk Bar | Brisbane, QLD
Early show *SOLD OUT
Late show oztix.com.au
Saturday 20 October
Bison Bar | Nambour, QLD
Friday 26 October
Caravan Music Club | Melbourne, VIC