Melbourne independent label Chapter Music will reissue the lone LP from Melbourne band Whadya Want?, a band comprising underground synth specialist David Chesworth (Essendon Airport), Phillip Jackson (Equal Local, Whirlywirld) and Warwick Bone. Skippy Knows will be available on vinyl and digitally on Friday, 14th April.
Whadya Want? formed in 1985, a couple of years after Chesworth put the formalist art rock band Essendon Airport to bed. Together with Jackson and Bone, he forged Whadya Want?’s stylistic identity out of post-punk, art pop and club-oriented dance music.
Whadya Want?: Skippy Knows
The origins of Skippy Knows lie in a show Chesworth played at the Paris Autumn Festival in 1983. The idea was to write a bunch of songs that commented on various archetypes of Australian culture. This was a time in which Men At Work’s ‘Down Under’ topped the US charts and David Bowie shot the music video for ‘Let’s Dance’ in Sydney, Carinda and Warrumbungle National Park.
Chesworth toyed with the apparent international fascination with Australia by creating a slideshow of clichéd Australian images to accompany his performance, superimposing cryptic messages onto shots of kangaroos, koalas and idyllic coastlines.
After the material’s Parisian debut, Chesworth returned to Melbourne and connected with Jackson and Bone, the latter of whom wrangled studio time at a facility that housed a Fairlight CMI and a Yamaha DX7.
Along with the core trio, Skippy Knows features contributions from Essendon Airport’s Robert Goodge and Ian Cox, Mick Hauser (Equal Local), Paul Schütze (Laughing Hands), and Max Q’s Michael Sheridan and Bill McDonald.
The album came out in 1985, but made only a shallow splash upon release. It’s since become a coveted item of divergent 1980s pop music.
The Chapter reissue will include three digital-only bonus tracks, liner notes from Chesworth and a reproduction of the original slides from the Paris Autumn Festival performance. You can pre-order a copy now.