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Thirteen tonne theory : life inside Hunters…
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Thirteen tonne theory : life inside Hunters and Collectors

by Mark Seymour

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I found this both fascinating and hilarious. I was laughing so hard at money man that people moved seats in the train to get away from me. BWAHAHAHAaaaahahahahaha

Beyond that it is a touch mind-bending to read someone who clearly was (is?) quite narcissistic, arrogant and insecure give an account of a group of people whose internal band politics must be pretty usual for most bands and still feel some sympathy and warmth for them all.

Even with the generic names given to them all: the Doctor (drummer) the Bass Player, the Trombonist, the Mixer etc - it's still possible to feel a warm sense of what these people were like and care for them individually as well as collectively as The Band.

I missed Hunters & Collectors but I grew up in "their time" so I had a sense of them only from a distance. Great live with a really mundane image does really capture it for me.

Reading this I also dragged out the "Living in Large Rooms and Lounges" 2CD set that also gave a really helpful insight into their slightly earlier and slightly later material. ( )
  wodfest | Feb 25, 2012 |
Wonderful account of life within Hunters and Collectors, one of Australia's premier, iconic rock bands from Mark Seymour, their oft maligned frontman. Mark Seymour was the face and the voice behind this legendary group, creating music that reached anthem-like popularity. This brilliant songwriter offers an insight into the turbulent machinations of the rock band he occasionally drove and equally was dragged behind. If you grew up with or listen/ed to Aussie rock of the 80's and 90's era this is an absolute must read. ( )
  AlexStirling | Jul 6, 2009 |
Mark Seymour's recent memoir of his time in Hunter's and Collectors: I saw this book at work and picked it up, curious to learn more about a band whose music I had mixed feelings for.

My earliest memory of this band was seeing the excellent videoclip of "Talking to a Stranger' on TV, Their earliest recordings were quite adventurous and avante garde. Driving bass, spidery guitar riffs, interesting percussion plus a horn section made their sound very distinctive.

Their better known work though smacked of a band desperately looking for commercial success. Towards the end of the band's duration they seemed to be perenially touring the country; interest had waned for their newer songs but they still had a substantial back catalogue of tunes that people would still pay to see them play live at some beer barn.

I saw them twice in the early nineties, paired up with Died Pretty. The first gig, at Wollongong, I thought was great but the second one I saw a couple of years later in Sydney, they seemed pretty flat. Died Pretty blew them away.

The book answers some of the questions that I had regarding them abandoning the adventuristic bent of their initial recordings and their turning towards using more simpler song structures. Dynamics within the band were altered when one of the original members was asked to leave. And Seymour admits that he tired of creating abstract music, that he wanted instead to write love songs.

'Thirteen tonne theory' is mostly a chronolgical journey. It is written in an almost fictional manner. The band members are given only generic names such as 'the bass player' or 'the doctor' (I think he was the Drummer - I'm not sure) so though you are given a sense of the band's collective experience a lot is held back and the reader can only see the rest of the band in the most foggiest sense.

Seymour of course is the character most revealed. The reader is given his viewpoint only. And in such a big band (they had up to 6-8 members at any one time) he comes across as quite an insecure character. One section of the book is devoted to a tour Hunter and Collectors did supporting Midnight Oil in America and how inconsolable he felt whilst doing it, feeling (correctly of course) that the punters in the crowd were more interested in the headlining act rather than his own band. And earlier in the book he recalls a conversation with a promoter who mentions his brother Nick who was playing bass in a much more internationally sucessful band called Crowded House.

All this insecurity on Seymour's part makes Thirteen tonne theory a humourous read. Seymour, 'The Singer' does not dominate his band, rather he seems engulfed by it. What relief he must have felt when the band finally came to a grinding halt. ( )
  bhscholz | Sep 19, 2008 |
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"Music autobiography of Hunters & Collectors, Australian band 1980-1998."--Provided by publisher.

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