Band in Garden Shot (2)
From their beginnings back in 1981, Hunters & Collectors were always something of an anomaly. In their earliest forms the band was a loose, ambitious musical collective

who, in the words of Rolling Stone, “filled an art-rock void in Melbourne”. Their rise from cult status to suburban beer barn favourites through to the top of the charts was

gradual and decisive. Throughout their career, the only thing that remained constant with the band was their insistence that they would do things their own way, in their

own good time. In their initial phase, the Hunters & Collectors enjoyed critical acclaim and adoration from the inner city rock fraternity. By the time they came to the attention of mainstream Australia in 1986, with the release of “Human Frailty”, the band had been through several line up changes, toured overseas several times and worked the Australian live scene relentlessly. With this album they enjoyed their first commercial radio support, but their commanding, powerful and intense live performances continued to be their greatest strength.

In the ensuing eight years, the band cemented their reputation as one of Australia’s most successful and credible live acts. They released six albums and built on their commercial success, culminating with a #2 chart debut for the 1994 album “Demon Flower”. Each successive album reinforced Mark Seymour’s reputation as a songwriter whose lyrical perception of human relationships and the urban landscape was razor sharp and uniquely Australian. When they called it a day in 1998, Hunters & Collectors was a multi-platinum selling band, with five top 10 albums to their credit and a ferocious live reputation. Throughout their career, they managed to be a conflicting mixture of power, sensitivity, sexuality and social conscience, carving a unique place for themselves in our musical landscape.

Checking the stats 

The band released 13 albums in 16 years, between 1982 and 1998.

They had five Top 10 albums, with 10 albums in the Top 50.

They amassed seven Gold, one Platinum and four Double Platinum albums.

They had nine Top 40 singles, despite being considered an ‘album band’.

They are ARIA Award winners, multiple nominees and Hall of Fame inductees (2005).

During their career they played approximately 1350 shows across 15 countries.

Covering the albums

World of Stone (19/1/1982). The first vinyl release from Hunters, this three track EP was produced by the band and engineered by Tony Cohen. It reached #50 on the charts.

Hunters & Collectors (26/7/1982). The self-titled debut double album introduced Australia to the band and contained the haunting single “Talking to a Stranger”. It
delivered the band their first ever Gold record – in NZ – and went on to match that in Australia, reaching #21 on the charts. The video for “Talking to a Stranger” was made
by Richard Lowenstein.

Payload (29/11/1982). A three track EP, it had an accompanying video by Richard Lowenstein for the track “Lumps of Lead”. It reached #31 on the NZ charts and the EP
was combined with the self-titled album for release in the UK, Europe and North America.

Fireman’s Curse (5/9/1983). Containing the single “Judas Sheep”, the album resulted from the band’s first trip to the UK and Europe and was produced by Conny Plank (Brian Eno, Kraftwerk). The album peaked at #77 on the charts and went on to be certified Gold. Subsequent to this album, a three track EP, recorded live to two track was released overseas and contained “Throw Your Arms Around Me”.

Jaws of Life (6/8/1984). Recorded with Conny Plank, after a North American tour, the album debuted the new line up and featured the single “The Slab”. Although it only made it to the lower reaches of the charts (#89), this album also went on to achieve Gold sales.

The Way to Go Out (6/5/1985). Accompanied by a home video, the album was recorded at The Venue in Melbourne and provided a record of the band’s awesome live power. It also contained a live version of “Throw Your Arms Around Me”, a song that was fast becoming a Hunters classic. The live footage was well received by TV, with the album reaching #76 on the charts and achieving Gold status.

Human Frailty (7/4/1986). Produced by Gavin MacKillop, the album containing the band’s first bona fide hit single “Say Goodbye” (#24) and was hailed by many as one of the all time great Australian albums. It peaked at #10 and was supported by extensive touring, here and overseas. On release, it was certified Gold in Australia and New Zealand and went on to sell Double Platinum.

Living Daylights (13/4/1987). A three track EP recorded in Melbourne with American producer Greg Edwards, it reached #41 nationally and saw the band head to the US for a 35-date tour.

What’s A Few Men (16/11/1987). Produced by Greg Edwards, the album reached #16 on the charts, was certified platinum and contained the singles “Do You See What ISee” (#25) and “Still Hangin’ Round”. The album was released overseas under the title “Fate” and contained an alternative track listing, including “Back On The Breadline”,which was released in Australia as a single, reaching #37.

Ghost Nation (27/11/1989). Produced by the band (with Clive Martin) and mixed in ‘ET’ Thorngren (Talking Heads, Robert Palmer, Eurythmics), it went to #7 nationally and was certified Double Platinum. The album yielded several singles, including “When The River Runs Dry” (#23) and “Blind Eye” (#42).

Collected Works (19/11/1990). An anthology tracing the band’s path from art band to serious chart contenders, the album reached #6 on the national charts and sold over two x Platinum. It included the reworked version of “Throw Your Arms Around Me” and was accompanied by a long form video.

Cut (6/10/1992). Produced by Don Gehman (REM), it went to #6 and spent 96 weeks in the charts and was another Double Platinum album. “Cut” yielded two Top 20 singles,“Holy Grail” (#20) and “True Tears of Joy” (#14). It was the longest charting and highest selling album from an Australian band for 1993.

Demon Flower (16/5/1994). The highest charting album of the band’s career, “Demon Flower” debuted at #2 and was certified Gold. Produced by the band and Nick Mainsbridge, and mixed by Mark Freegard (The Breeders) it yielded two hit singles –“Head Above Water” (#20) and “Easy” (#38).

Living In Large Rooms and Lounges (27/11/1995). This double album captured the live power of the band during Live Demons Tour of April/May 1995. It reached #45 on the national charts and was certified Gold. Disc one was recorded with by Ern Rose and Matt Thomas at various venues across the country and mixed by Kalju Tonuma. Disc two was also recorded by Ern and Matt, live at Melbourne’s Continental Café and mixed by Tony Cohen.

Juggernaut (26/1/1998). The band’s tenth and final studio album was recorded in Melbourne and produced by Kalju Tonuma and Mark Opitz. With a single “Suit Your Style” (featuring Paul Kelly on b/v’s) and promo release “Higher Ground”, the album reached #36 nationally. The band launched the twelve week farewell “Say Goodbye” tour, which finished in Melbourne in March 1998.

A number of Hunters & Collectors compilations and boxed sets have also been released:

Skin, Bone & Bolts (July 1991). A 4 disc set made up of Jaws Of Life, Fireman’s Curse & The Way To Go Out album with a bonus disc of B-sides and rarities.

Under One Roof (November 1998). Live compilation from the band’s final tour.

Natural Selection (October 2003). A complete and updated collection of all of the band’s hits, released on both CD and DVD. Initial copies of the CD came with ‘Unnatural Selection’, a collection of classic album tracks.

Mutations (September 2005). A companion piece to the Natural and Unnatural Selection albums, Mutations brought together 17 of the band’s best rarities and B-sides Horn of Plenty (November 2008). One for the true believers, a box set containing 16 albums (including live performances) and two DVDs.

Crucible – The Songs Of Hunters & Collectors(September 2013). A tribute album featuring 15 classic Hunters tracks reinterpreted by the likes of Birds of Tokyo, Oh Mercy, Something for Kate, Abbe May, Cloud Control and The Avalanches. A second disc includes the original Hunters & Collectors recordings.

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