Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 has been a big year at RocKwiz. Shows at Byron Bay BluesFest over Easter, another 12 episodes in the can,  DVDs of the first 3 series released, a Christmas album out, a Christmas tour, and a festival appearance at Pyramid Rock to close the year out. 

Next year we will be recording 12 new episodes and presenting RocKwiz Live at several festival events, including celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Zoo. 

We're also planning another national tour for later in the year.

Thanks for all your support in 2011 and our very best wishes to you for the new year. Rock on in 2012!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

RocKiwiz on CTV

We've long wanted to have our friends across the Tasman to be able to watch RocKwiz on one of the broadcasters there, but unfortunately none of them have ever picked it up, so we've decided to gift-wrap and give six episodes, each one featuring at least one Kiwi musical guest, to the most worthy of causes.

At lunchtime on 22 February 2011 a devastating earthquake struck Christchurch rupturing roads and bringing down buildings including the six story CTV building that housed an English Language school and provided offices and a broadcast base for the Canterbury region's popular community television station. 

Sixteen CTV staff lost their lives that day and the community lost it's heart and some of it's most recognisable faces. By April the station was back on air and we have offered this support to them as they continue to rebuild their station and approach the first anniversary of that tragedy while still enduring major aftershocks.

The six episodes we have chosen each feature at least one Kiwi musical guest and will premiere on Saturdays at 9.30pm and repeat the following Wednesdays at 10.30pm.

14 JANUARY  2012
Tim Finn and Lilith Lane

21 JANUARY 2012  Don McGlashan and.
 Jenny Morris 

28 JANUARY 2012
Jess Cornelius and Mike Rudd
4 FEBRUARY 2012 
 Ben Salter and Kimbra 
11 FEBRUARY 2012
Hayley Mary and Jon Stephens
18 FEBRUARY 2012 
 Dave Dobbyn and Anika Moa

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 12

One of the first artists to lock into this series was Amy Findlay from Stonefield, although we did have to do a bit of a date juggle to make it work because between the time Amy was booked and her scheduled appearance, Stonefield had played Glastonbury and things began to move rapidly for them.

Nick Barker has been on the whiteboard for a long-time but it was when Brian Nankervis started working with him on Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be - The Bon Scott Story that things started to firm up. Nick and Amy had met together before at a songwriting workshop so it seemed a natural fit, and the results were outstanding!

This episode also featured The Dirty Dozen Brass Band who just happened to be in town from New Orleans and Brian managed to convince them to come along to be Fan's Choice.


Amy Findlay - Through The Clover
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Blackbird

Stonefield MySpace
Nick Barker Website
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band  Website

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 11

One of the legends of Australia's 60s music scene was Ronnie Charles. He was lead singer of The Groop, a band that featured Brian Cadd, and they won the prestigious Hoadley's Battle Of the Sounds in 1969. Ronnie spent a long time in England making music before returning to Australia in the late 70s. He still plays around Melbourne fronting Ronnie Charles and The Retro Bandits.

Described as having a sound combining PJ Harvey, Cat Power, and Joni Mitchell, Tasmanian-born Lucie Thorne came to our attention when her album "Black Across The Field" was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize in 2009. Her next album "Bonfire Of The Vanities" was shortlisted again for the 2011 AMP so we just had to get her on the show. The duet was suggested by Ronnie, and their mutual love of Dylan is evident in this wonderful cover.


Ronnie Charles: Woman, You're Breaking Me

Lucie Thorne Website

Ronnie Charles Website

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 10

We have had the beautiful and talented Kate Miller-Heidke on RocKwiz before, way back in 2007, and we just had to have her back on the show.  Eagle and The Worm have been playing their fun party sounds round Melbourne for a while now and bat-eared fans of the American TV series Bored To Death may have recognised their song All I Know on an episode. So we put the wonderfully humble Jarrad Brown with Kate and they chose to cover Beyonce's Crazy In Love. Jarrad bought the Eagle and The Worm horn section with him as well, so we fully exploited the situation and had all horn Million Dollar Riffs for this show!

Jarrad Brown - Too Young

Eagle And The Worm Website
Kate Miller-Heidke Website

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 9

The Jezabels had only just touched down back in Australia when this episode was recorded in early October. Hayley Mary and James Black and Jon had had a lot of chat on the email about choice of duet before settling on the Kylie/Nick song, which is appropriate because tomorrow night Kylie is inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. Julia prepared Hayley's ABBA questions personally!


Hayley Mary: Endless Summer
Jon Stevens: Testify

The Jezabels website
Jon Stevens website

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Releases

The RocKwiz Christmas Album will be available on November 25th on iTunes and on CD. It's a great collection of songs form the 2007 and 2009 Christmas shows at The Palais in St Kilda.

Pre order from the CD from here
Pre order from Tunes here

Track listing for the CD is below...

The Christmas Album Has Arrived!

It's been a busy month at RocKwiz HQ with script read-throughs and final arrangements all coming together for the Christmas Tour, but all stopped today when a very special box was delivered containing copies of the vinyl version of the RocKwiz Christmas Album. Naturally Brian was very excited about it and could't wait to take it out of the shrink-wrap and inspect our first ever vinyl release!

Pre-order the vinyl record here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 8

David Bridie has been on our wish-list for a long time and the opportunity to pair him with Leah Flanagan was too good to miss so  they joined us for this episode.

Rockhampton duo Busby Marou performed as our Fan's Choice, our special guests. Brian is the fan, and it's his choice.


Leah Flanagan: September Song
David Bridie: Great Expectations
Duet: Shipbuilding

Busby Marou: Underlying Message

As always the RocKwiz Orkestra provided sublime backing for all four songs, with Peter Luscombe featuring prominently on backing vocals.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RocKwiz Top 20 playlist

Just for old time's sake, here are the 20 most played clips from the old SBS RocKwiz website, 
and for your convenience, we've linked them to the same clips in the new SBS VOD player. 

1   Patience Hodgson and Broderick Smith cover 

2   Jess Cornelius and Mike Rudd cover
Roy Orbison's CRYING

3   Holiday Sidewinder and Andrew Stockdale cover 
Stevie Nicks and Don Henley's LEATHER AND LACE

4   Tina Arena and Jeff Martin cover 
Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush's DON'T GIVE UP

5   Sarah Blasko and Dan Crannich cover 
Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris's HEART'S ON FIRE

6   Rockwiz Ep 100 Special - Dan Sultan and Ella Hooper cover 

7   Dash and Will and Kav Temperly cover 
Tom Petty's  I WON'T BACK DOWN

8   Kram and Elana Stone cover 
Fleetwood Mac's MONDAY MORNING 

9   Dan Sultan and Ella Hooper cover 

10   Jack Ladder and Loene Carmen cover 
Suzi Quatro's STUMBLIN' IN

11   Vanessa Amorosi and Ashley Naylor cover 
The Rolling Stones  GET OFF MY CLOUD

12   Billy Miller and Stephanie Dosen  
cover Len Barry's 1-2-3 
13   Liz Stringer and Dan Wilson cover 
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's KILLING THE BLUES 

14   Chrissy Amphlett and Chris Cheney cover 
The Rolling Stones' STRAY CAT BLUES

15   Suzannah Espie and Brian Cadd cover 
The Rolling Stones' OUT OF TIME

16   Christmas Special 09 - Tex Perkins and Paris Wells cover 
Elvis Presley's BLUE CHRISTMAS 

17   Max Merritt and Catherine Britt cover 
Max Meritt's SLIPPIN' AWAY

18   Kate Miller-Heidke and Paul Dempsey cover 

19   Serena Ryder and Lior cover 
Neil Young's HEART OF GOLD on iTunes

20   Christmas Special 09 - Adalita covers 
The Pretenders 2000 MILES

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 7

Always a pleasure to have the coolest daddy in the country on RocKwiz. Ross Wilson really is a legend and has been inducted twice into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 1989 and 2006 (for his work with Daddy Cool. Shellie Morris is a member of the Black Arm Band and is a stunning singer. There was the normal amount of to and fro between them with duet suggestions before they finally settled on one of the most covered songs in the history of modern music. Louie Louis was written in 1955 and is ranked at #55 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
Shellie Morris: Swept Away
Ross Wilson: Chemistry

Ross Wilson's Website
Ross  with Waleed Aly on The Late Session

Shellie Morris's Website
A profile of Shellie from SBS

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 6

Kimbra first came to our attention late last year and we knew immediately that she was one to watch, so when we started to book artists for this series she was very near the top of the list. Who to put her with was going to be fun and we started making a list of likely candidates and checking their availability. As we got closer to the record date of 16/8, Gotye's song "Somebody That I Used To Know", featuring Kimbra, started to become a massive hit so we naturally tried to get Wally but just couldn't make the dates work. We'd also been listening to Ben Salter and trying to find a place for him on the show as Brian and Julia had worked with him during their Queensland Country Comfort shows earlier in the year. Chance and fate ensured that the stars aligned and Ben and Kimbra were confirmed. The choice of the Supergrass song Moving as the duet was Kimbra's and the resulting performance is one of the highlights of the series.

Ben Salter: The Coward
Duet: Moving

Kimbra's website
Ben Salter's website

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 5

The Wolfgramm Sisters, Eliza, Talei and Kelly, have been a part of the RocKwiz Family since they first joined us for the 2007 Christmas Special. Talei joined Tim Rogers for a great version of The Small Faces Tin Soldier as a Fan's Choice on an episode in Series 5 but for this episode the quite pregnant Talei joined visiting American singer, songwriter, author, and poet former Felice Brother, Simone Felice, who had previously been booked as a guest but was unable to join us because he was having heart surgery!


Talei Wolfgramm: King 
Simone Felice: Radio Song

Simon Felice Website
The Wolfgramm Sisters Website

Monday, October 24, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 4

The Grates singer Patience Hodgson joined us again for this episode of Rockwiz and we were finally able to get Jae Laffer from The Panics onboard. Putting them together was a real treat and their choice of covering The Pixies was inspired. As broadcaster and author Tony Wilson tweeted on Saturday night  "Is the chorus riff in 'Here Comes Your Man' the most exhilarating, uplifting thing ever?" He's probably right!

This episode also featured the beautiful Brooke Addamo, who is better known as Owl Eyes.


Patience Hodgson: Sweet Dreams
Owl Eyes: Wait

More info on The Grates
More info on The Panics
More info on Owl Eyes

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 3

This episode was recorded on 2nd August and Black Joe Lewis joined us direct from his appearance at Splendour in The Grass. We'd seen his dynamic performance on David Letterman and were excited to have him in the Gershwin Room. And it was time for LInda Bull to come back and join us as well. Her first appearance was back in 2006 with UK Squeeze legend Glenn Tilbrook  and memorable for their fantastic cover of the William Bell/Judy Clay duet, Private Number. 


Black Joe Lewis: You Been Lyin'

Black Joe Lewis will be back in Australia in November for Meredith
For more info visit his official website
For more on Vika and Linda Bull visit their website.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Series Nine - Episode 2

It was great having Lanie Lane and Alex Burnett on the show. That episode was actually recorded on the first night of the new series so we were all still getting used to being back in the Gershwin Room.

If you recognised the song Lanie sang, it's the theme from the ABCTV drama 'Crownies', and Alex sang his fabulous song 'Mary'. 


Alex Burnette: Mary
Lanie Lane: What Do I Do 

Lanie Lane Website
Sparkadia Website

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Suzi Quatro - Update

If you want to see Suzi while she's still on tour in Australia, dates are here

If you want to watch the whole of tonight's episode again, go to the SBS page.


That's me on the right
I’m an Australian visiting Melbourne from California. I have been addicted to RocKwiz, a quirky, Australian TV music quiz show for years.  I have come 10,000 miles to try and be a contestant on the show.  And now I stand, nervously excited, in the Gershwin Room of the legendary Esplanade Hotel, where two tapings of the show will be completed tonight.  There is electricity in the air.  It’s the buzz of anticipation of those wondering who the musical guests will be, mixed with the racing adrenaline of those daring enough to want to try out for the show.

I’m standing at the bar close to the stage, elbow to elbow with a friendly, and so far, very civil crowd. Looking around, I see a sprinkling of 20 year olds thinking RocKwiz is the coolest thing going and they would be right. RocKwiz aims for cross generational appeal with its mix of established artist pitted against a young up and comer.

Wandering through the growing crowd I get the feeling that everybody here wants to tell you their special music story. Wants to tell you about an album they recently heard that excited them. I overhear snippets of stories and music chat everywhere in this room. "You were at Sunbury?" "No way!”  And "I saw Split Enz at the Sundowner mate! ‘75 I think. They were bloody incredible.” I even hear a woman remark, "Brod Smith’s harp sound is so unique." Against a wall some guys are having the inevitable guitar god argument, “Andrew Pendlebury is the best.” “What about Mossie? He’s the real deal”. I'm reminded how passionately Aussies take their music and how California has made me soft in the head. I'll be lucky if I get one question right.

 The women are all great looking, music smart, with great haircuts and mighty handshakes. One thing is for sure, everyone here has one aim in mind. To have as much fun as is humanly and legally possible, that will combine generous amounts of alcohol, great music, unadulterated nostalgia and silly and smart music trivia, courtesy of the co-creator and co-host of the show Brian Nankervis … a charismatic, former primary school teacher, Julia Zemiro … the host, a magnetic presence, or as one patron described her “the thinking man’s ideal woman” and the crème de la crème of Australia’s musicians … James Black, Mark Ferrie and Peter Luscombe.

I’m on my third gin and tonic and I’m getting a little buzz on. I start chatting to some couples seated at one of the rare tables at the venue. They like my story of coming to Melbourne to be on RocKwiz and nominate me as their representative. All of a sudden I see Brian Nankervis stride to the mic to begin warming up the enthusiastic audience. He has an easy going manner and an unassuming banter with the crowd. He’s done this warmup a thousand times before but you smile and take notice. Within minutes he has the crowd under his control. He explains that four contestants out of a possible twenty-four will be chosen for the first show. I am in the first round of tryouts. Think positive, I say to myself, as I take a huge gulp from what is now my third or fourth gin and tonic and bound on stage, slightly tripping a bit. I hope that will be the only humiliation for the evening.

I take my seat, adjust the mic slightly. I try not to remember there are probably a couple of hundred people watching me now. It is much more comfortable watching the show from one’s own living room. I look sideways for a second. There’s a really good-looking woman seated at the other end of this panel. I wonder what she’s doing after the show. Focus you idiot. Focus!

Already Brian is saying “Are you ready?” I barely hear the first question before someone has buzzed in. I miss the second question. A question about some obscure local band I’ve never heard of. Fortunately, I get the next question right “The song ‘Green Onions’ was made famous by what group?” “Booker T”, I blurt out. Brian says “And?” “The M.G.’s,” I reply. The next question is, “The album ‘Rattlin’ Bones’ is associated with what artists?” “Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson” I confidently say. “Right” Brian says. Then there’s a musical segment. A riff is played from a pre recorded CD. “25 or 6 to 4, Chicago”, I say with confidence. “That’s right, he’s on a roll ladies and gentlemen”, Brian says to the crowd. I’m sure I’m the only person in the building who listened to Chicago’s second album. 1971, I’m guessing.

I’m feeling good … but whatever good karma I had suddenly disappears. There’s one of those super cool guys, looks like a young James Reyne, spiky blonde hair, probably surfs and reads Proust in his spare time. He has a different girlfriend every week and has 40,000 songs on his iPod. I hate him. He answers about four questions in a row, two of which he guessed and then laughed about it. I panic. The next question is “James Brown had a hit in the Seventies with a song about a brand new  what?” I’m so ruffled by mister super cool that I say “Brand New Key”, which I immediately recognize as the Melanie song. Brian says something like “Interesting answer, but wrong”. I’m shattered. The good-looking woman at the end of the panel answers the next few questions. Then it’s over.

As I step off the stage the good looking woman says, “You were really good”. I smile a halfhearted smile. I just know I’m doomed So much for that drink after the show. I return to the bar and down my drink and order another. I’m so angry with myself. Could it be possible that Melanie has ruined my chance at getting on the show? Of meeting Julia? Melanie! I didn’t even like her and that damn cutesy song. I see Brian coming to the mic, he’s got a RocKwiz tea towel in his hand as a consolation prize.

I miss by one question. Like a kid who’s been picked on I retire to the back of the Gershwin Room. Deflated, sulky. With my tea towel. There are more tryouts and two shows to do still. This is going to be a long night. I watch the monitor in the back and get caught up in the entertainment on the screen in front of me. Suzi Quatro is bashing out that old chestnut ‘Devil Gate Drive’. I smile. Then I’m laughing at the banter between Julia and Suzi. Then someone tells a dirty joke. I laugh again. I look at the people around me. They are laughing to. And that’s the beauty of Rockwiz. It makes you feel happy. Then I run into old, dear friends and life is good again.

The show is over. People start filing out. I stay behind for a while. Happy drunk and totally drained.  My friends understand. Then I steal off into the St.Kilda night, needing to be alone with my feelings. There’s always next year. I even start whistling that damn song, ‘Brand New …’ What?

Santa Monica

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Christmas Album in the works

The RocKwiz Christmas Album.. ...coming soon to a turntable near you! 

The best of the songs from the 2007 and 2009 RocKwiz Christmas Specials recorded at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda on vinyl. 

This is a quick snap of the album art work in progress. 

The album is due for release in December and will be available to pre-order.