Various album cover Crucible COVER hires



1. Birds of Tokyo – Talking to a Stranger

2. Eddie Vedder & Neil Finn – Throw Your Arms Around me

3. Matt Corby & Missy Higgins – This Morning

4. Oh Mercy  – The Slab (Betty’s Worry)

5. Alpine – Hear No Evil

6. The Living End – Say Goodbye

7. Paul Kelly & Emma Donovan (featuring Jimblah) – True Tears of Joy

8. The Rubens – Holy Grail

9. Husky – Blind Eye

10. Something For Kate – When The River Runs Dry

11. The Panics – Alligator Engine

12. Abbe May – Dog

13. British India – Do You See What I See?

14. Cloud Control – Still Hanging ‘Round

15. The Avalanches – Stalking to a Stranger – Planets Collide Remix


When making your own records you can’t help but have some awareness of “who” you are, so one way or another you’re working with that space in mind. However, this was a totally different exercise. We had a starting point that was a long way outside anything we’d normally attempt and that pushed us to reach for things that we wouldn’t normally attempt. Of course, we ended up dragging the song into our own new world in terms of textures and tones but the jagged rawness of the original is still lurking underneath in a way that’s hopefully true to the song’s spirit. Thanks to Mark Seymour for helping us with translations and we hope he and the band can forgive us for taking their song off to this other place! This was a first for us and was really refreshing. Birds of Tokyo


When we first started singing ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ with Crowded House I was a bit loose with the lyrics, preferring to sing “I will kiss you in 165 places” because that’s how many erogenous zones I have discovered. The thing is when Eddie first heard the song it was from a live tape of us, so he picked up that lyric too, maybe even kissing a bigger number of places! It’s nice to get a chance to sing this great song with Eddie and get the lyrics more or less right for a change. Neil Finn


Yes I was in love. Yes, it was summer. And YES she did call out my name. But she’s gone now… Here’s to the ones that stay! Eddie Vedder


The track is a powerful, free flowing, energetic rhapsody and I had no clue how to go about tackling such a song. Throughout the day in the studio everyone brought interesting sonic flavours to the table and it became something we were all quite surprised with. Missy was in New York so I sent her the track with breathing room for her to do her thing with it. Matt Corby  


I’ve always loved Matt’s voice so I loved the idea of singing with him on this, especially as it’s a Hunters & Collectors song, who were living legends in Melbourne when I was growing up. Missy Higgins


Krautrock pioneer, Conny Plank produced The Jaws Of Life album.  ‘Betty’s Worry Or The Slab’ was the single from that album. Hunters & Collectors went on to write and produce wonderful albums but their early recordings, musically mathematical and commanding, lyrically clever and tongue in cheek greatly appeal to me. ‘The Slab’ could be a Betty Davis song. It is not. The film clip contains some choreographed dance moves to rival ‘Single Ladies’ as well as some footy. Footy is good. Mick McGuane once took 7 bounces and kicked a goal for Collingwood. Listen closely, that made the cut. Alexander Gow, Oh Mercy


There was a other-worldly eeriness about the original which we wanted to capture in our interpretation. The lyrics are beautiful and powerful. We didn’t want to change much really. We slowed it down and got carried away with the vocoder in the studio and we put the melody a little off the beat – imagine an out of sync regiment march. Christian O’Brien, Alpine


Hunters & Collectors are a truly unique band. They don’t sound like anyone else and they sound so Australian, which I love. They had the tough-as-nails pub rock thing but they were also capable of writing incredibly heartfelt, beautiful songs. How many bands are there that can do that and do it so well? So much passion, so many great songs, so many people in one band! What a mighty band they were. Respect! Chris Cheney, The Living End


‘True Tears of Joy’ is one of my favourite Hunters songs so I was glad it was available. I’d collaborated with Tim once before and wanted to renew the connection.  I’d also worked with Emma on the Black Arm Band shows and was keen to sing something with her. Tim suggested Gus to arrange and co-produce the music and, when I mentioned I wanted a hip hop element, sent me Jimblah’s record Face The Fire. I liked his rough/sweet soul voice and rhythm. We all got together in Sydney and nutted things out.  After Jimblah had added his rap we decided the song didn’t need the third verse. Gulp! Time to ring the songwriter. First, check before you hack! “Hi Mark …um… we’ve added some new words and were wondering about chopping the third verse.” “Go for it,” came the generous reply. “It’s unnecessary anyway.” With his blessing we added the final dressing. Thanks, Hunnas, for the song.  Paul Kelly


At first we were absolutely over the moon to hear that we could record ‘Holy Grail’. We should have been terrified! We’d been given the task of covering one of the greatest and most iconic Australian songs ever written so it was pretty unnerving to say the least. After a week of rehearsing we came to the conclusion that there was no point in trying to play it the way Hunters did. So, out of respect for the original, we had a crack in our own style. Hopefully we didn’t piss too many people off! Sam Margin, The Rubens


One of the first songs I learnt to play and sing when I was a kid was a Hunters & Collectors song. I only learnt later how important they were in the pub rock scene in Australia and in the history of Australian music in general. So we were really interested in being a part of revisiting some of their iconic songs. I think ‘Blind Eye’ has a simple beauty about it, and a kind of mysterious darkness, which we tried to bring out in our version of the song.  Husky Gawenda, Husky


Hunters & Collectors were one of the first bands I ever got into thanks to my older sisters who were completely obsessed with them and used to follow them to shows all over the country.  I remember hearing the albums Human Frailty and What’s a Few Men? at quite a young age (to which point I had only really been exposed to pop chart stuff) and experiencing something of a revelation about how gripping and exciting and transforming ‘real’ music could be – a revelation I would experience anew a couple of years later when I first heard ‘When the River Runs Dry’. It’s a propulsive and powerful song and a personal favourite, featuring all the hallmark intensity and raw, pleading honesty of one of Australia’s greatest ever bands. Paul Dempsey, Something For Kate


Hunters & Collectors are of the great lineage of hard touring Australian bands that we have deep respect for and in recent years we’ve found ourselves referencing the band more and more when working through our own material. Mark Seymour was, and is, one of the great Australian lyric writers of the time. The records were intense and raw and he could scream and get angry, but also soft and from the heart when need be – it’s a template we greatly admire. Looking back through the band’s albums for this project we are floored again by the volume of great songs. They could pen a great pop song when they had to and that we could appreciate; the admirable mix of ambition and artistic merit, radio songs that kept the poetry and the noise and came across as played by real, regular fellas you had something in common with. Jae Laffer, The Panics


I like the intensity of meaning behind the lyrics of ‘Dog’. The protagonist has been caught in the act of probably-harmless … stalking. He/she is ‘in love’/fixated/obsessed … and vulnerable; likening his/her experience to that of a dog being caught somewhere it shouldn’t be. Abbe May


We had originally planned to play a direct cover of ‘Do You See What I See’, straight ahead rock & roll – a great song, why change it? But we started jamming this feel and we literally built it up in the recording studio on the day. It was a lot of fun. Declan Melia, British India


‘Still Hanging ‘Round’ was recorded deep underground the Yorkshire Dales in an ancient limestone cave system called White Scar Caves. We wanted to experiment with the unique acoustics of the caverns, and although it was rather drippy and we had to dodge tour groups, the experience of singing into that space and setting off the natural reverberations was incredible. Heidi Lenffer, Cloud Control

Firstly, Mark Seymour is a Western Bulldogs fanatic and us Footscray lifers have to stick together! At a fundamental level, it was both an honour and incredibly daunting to be asked to remix such an incredible song.

What a stunning and risky way to announce your presence as a new band. Hunters & Collectors pulled it off though. We loved the Conny Plank and krautrock influences, the Hunters really were ahead of the curve with this track. There’s a sense of dread and darkness that you can’t quite put your finger on, which we tried to maintain, while fucking it up a bit to make it appealing to leftfield DJs and music lovers. Robbie Avalanche, The Avalanches


In the court of media opinion, Hunters & Collectors were always strangely invisible. The band never successfully cultivated an image as such, at least none that was marketable. Even at the height of its success, in the early ’90s, the band’s music was thought to have something to do with lots of bellowing blokes in pubs. “They’re just a pub band” was a common reference.

And yet, in the beginning Hunters & Collectors was lauded as the next big thing, playing a kind of uber-fashionable industrial funk which garnered interest in London. But the band quickly fell from grace when it returned from a disastrous encounter with Thatcherism in ’83, dispensed with the trappings of new romance and headed out into the suburbs to become an Australian pub-rock band.

Hunters & Collectors became enormously popular as a live band, in the pubs. So much so that commercial radio finally succumbed to its charms in ’89, eight years after it started. There was unity, there was pride and a total lack of bullshit.

And the suburbs were, as they still are, invisible.

As a writer, I’ve learned two things: songs are meant to be performed, to people who care. I’ve also learned not to be frightened of where I come from.  Most of us are suburban people. Back in ’83 it felt truthful and right to turn our backs on the rat race of ‘chic’ and head out into the great Australian emptiness, looking for an audience. And you know what? It still does.

Australia has limitless potential. In a way we are all travellers, looking for a place to sing our songs, because that’s what the songs are about. ‘Place’..  They were all written somewhere… and everyone who was there gave them meaning.

Playing songs is a transaction between all of us. I look out at the crowd and I don’t question who they are or why they’ve come. They are there and they are the same as me, ready to engage in a feeling, from euphoria to sadness, and that feeling comes from the songs, songs whose source and inspiration springs directly from this shared experience. Songs will never work if they do not lift us all together, however briefly, before we once again, spill out into the night.

And I have to say, it is deeply rewarding for me as a writer to know that beyond the years and all the hard work that was done in the crucible of the Australian suburbs, the songs of Hunters & Collectors have reached the cream of Australia’s talent, great singers and bands young and older… who have stepped up to record the best of what we delivered in those pubs so many years ago. I am honoured by the respect they have shown.

Songs are what we share, and sharing itself is crucial to our identity as a people. Mark Seymour


It was May or June in 1981 when one of the great Mushroom A&R guys,

Neil Bradbury, demanded I come and see an underground musical collective from suburban Melbourne that he was keen to sign. For some inexplicable reason, I was hoping for something truly unique and left the show totally mesmerised. Sadly Neil is no longer with us, but his spirit lives on.

And the band etched into our memories as Hunters & Collectors has had a profound impact on me personally and professionally ever since.

From the very beginning, they would resist any mould. We had to create the ‘White Label’ to accommodate their music, their vision, and occasionally their eccentricities because even an independent Australian rock label like Mushroom was way too mainstream.

Anyone who knows me would understand the sickness I have for loyalty, and the fact that the Hunters & Collectors and I have been in the trenches together from day one makes me as proud as any other milestone during my life in music.

Now I, along with the cream of great musicians from all around this country and beyond, have been given a wonderful opportunity to come together and pay our respects.

And what an utterly amazing legacy it is, re-visited and re-interpreted by their admirers more than 30 years from where it began and for the generations of music fans that will follow. Michael Gudinski. Chairman of The Mushroom Group.    

During the 1980s and ’90s, Hunters & Collectors took me on an incredible journey as they evolved from an experimental post-punk/agit-funk collective with up to a dozen members into a streamlined and visceral rock & roll outfit that made a profound connection with audiences across the country. Breaking up in 1998, the Hunters left behind a stunning and pioneering body of recorded works and memories burnt into my brain of countless blinding, primal, sweat-soaked live shows.

Over the past eighteen months it has been my privilege to curate the album Crucible – The Songs of Hunters & Collectors. It has been an exhilarating journey of reinvention and rediscovery as a wildly diverse range of artists have stepped forward with passion and creative zeal to record interpretations of fourteen equally diverse Hunters songs. From the more obscure corners of the band’s catalogue such as ‘Alligator Engine’, ‘The Slab (Betty’s Worry’, ‘Dog’ through to the classics like ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’, ‘Holy Grail’ and ‘When The River Runs Dry’, established artists like Neil Finn & Eddie Vedder, Paul Kelly, The Living End and Something For Kate have paid respect while newer acts like The Rubens, Alpine, Matt Corby and Abbe May have gone digging for their own truths in these amazing songs.

Whether you’ve worshipped at their altar in the past or were too young to have witnessed them live, Crucible – The Songs of Hunters & Collectors is a revelation and a proud tribute to this great and important band. John O’Donnell


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