A night with Mental As Anything and Dave Warner at UQ Refec (1979)

Among the 800+ images contained in the Paul O’Brien Collection, a series documenting Brisbane’s music scene from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, are two photographs of Sydney band Mental As Anything, just prior to their mainstream success, and Dave Warner, singer and songwriter, formerly of Dave Warner’s From The Suburbs. These photographs were most probably taken during a 4ZZZ Joint Effort concert on the night of April 6, 1979, at the University of Queensland Refectory. Also on the bill that evening were two popular Brisbane bands, The Riptides and Razar, as well as Sydney singer James Griffin.

Advertisement from The Telegraph, April 6, 1979

Advertisement from The Telegraph, April 6, 1979

Mental As Anything, University of Queensland, 1979. From 29127 Paul O'Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (CC-BY)

Mental As Anything, University of Queensland, 1979. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (CC-BY)

Prior to this concert, Mental As Anything had performed at the Modern Music Club in Charlotte Street, in Brisbane’s CBD on April 4 and at the Sands Hotel in Cleveland on April 5. Later that year the Mentals would achieve mainstream success with the release of their debut album Get Wet and single The Nips Are Getting Bigger, both cracking the Australian Top 20 charts. Mental As Anything’s success would continue throughout the 80s and 90s with hits such as If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?, Too Many Times, Spirit Got Lost, Live It Up, He’s Just No Good For You and Mr Natural.

Mental As Anything, University of Queensland, 1979. From 29127 Paul O'Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (CC-BY)

Mental As Anything, University of Queensland, 1979. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (CC-BY)

Dave Warner formed the group Dave Warner’s From The Suburbs in Perth in 1977. They would achieve success the following year with the release of the group’s first album, Mug’s Game. Warner is probably best remembered for the song Suburban Boy, which was released in 1978. The song appeared at No.94 on 4ZZZ’s Hot 100 chart in 1980. An interview with Dave Warner held just after the concert was published in Brisbane’s non-commercial community magazine Time-Off.

Dave Warner, University of Queensland, 1979. From 29127 Paul O'Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (CC-BY)

Dave Warner, University of Queensland, 1979. From 29127 Paul O’Brien Collection 1970-1987. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. (CC-BY)

The Paul O’Brien Collection can be browsed online through our One Search catalogue.

Do you have any materials (old flyers, posters, stickers, reviews, tickets, recordings, films, videos, photos, letters and other memorabilia) from Queensland’s music scene gathering dust at home? This material has a valuable place in our music history and cultural heritage and should be looked after and preserved for current and future generations.  Please contact our Queensland Music Curator, Laurel Dingle, about any material you think should come to the library.

Further reading

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Lbrary of Queensland