Sydney band Buffalo was one of Australia’s pioneering heavy rock outfits, and by virtue of the band’s appearance on the Vertigo label (they were the first Australian outfit signed to the collectable label), their sound became familiar to record collectors around the world.
Formed in 1971, Buffalo was one of the loudest and heaviest Aussie bands of the day alongside Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs and Blackfeather. Their debut album Dead Forever (1972) sold over 25,000 copies and the single Suzie Sunshine also sold well.
Second vocalist Alan Milano left and Jimmy Economou replaced Paul Balbi on drums for the second and third albums, Volcanic Rock (1973) and Only Want You For Your Body (1974).
Aside from absurdly macho song titles like I’m a Skirtlifter Not a Shirt Raiser, the band’s controversial album cover designs raised eyebrows; Dead Forever featured a blood-soaked face peering through the eye socket of a skull, Volcanic Rock boasted a graphic depiction of the female form as a menstruating volcano, and Only Want You For Your Body depicted an obese, screaming woman shackled to a torture rack (pictured).
In mid-1974, Buffalo recruited Norm Roue on slide guitar but, a few months later, original guitarist John Baxter was sacked from the band. Although the group recorded two more albums, they had lost one of their most valuable and distinctive assets and the spirit of the band simply dwindled.
Karl Taylor joined and the band issued the Mother’s Choice LP, plus the singles Little Queenie (August 1975), Lucky (November 1975) and Sweet Little Sixteen (April 1976).
By the time the album was released, both Roue and Taylor had left to be replaced by Chris Turner. Colin Stead joined Buffalo for a while as second guitarist, but the line-up proved incompatible.
A new single was released in August (Rollin’), but by the end of 1976 Wells had quit to form Rose Tattoo.
Ross Simms came in as the new bass player and Buffalo supported Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow on their Australian tour before recording a new album, Average Rock ‘n’ Roller.
The album (and single, Sailor) were attempts at a more commercial sound but lacked the coherent direction of their previous releases. By the time the album came out in July 1977, Buffalo had broken up.
Tice joined English pub rockers The Count Bishops (alongside original Buffalo drummer Paul Balbi)