Australian hard rockers Rose Tattoo made their live debut on New Years Eve 1976. In 1977 they recorded their debut single for Alberts with producers Vanda and Young.
Bad Boy For Love was released in October – by which stage Ian Rilen had left the band to form the infamous Australian punk outfit X.
The single peaked at #13 nationally (and #10 in Sydney) setting the Tatts up as a solid rock drawcard, competing with the likes of Cold Chisel, Dragon, The Angels and Kevin Borich Express on the (at the time) lucrative Oz pub circuit.
The group’s self-titled debut album was finished in November 1978 and remains one of the classic Australian rock albums.
Heavy on the slide guitar, heavy on the aggression and heavy on the attitude, the album was brimming with street anthems like Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw, One Of The Boys and The Butcher And Fast Eddy.
Rose Tattoo changed line-up several times in the coming years despite signing international record deals with Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw reaching #5 in Germany and #2 in France.
Unfortunately, in the UK the Tatts were viewed as a punk band but still managed to sell out two gigs at the Marquee Club and appear at the Reading Festival. Most of 1981 was spent touring Europe and the UK.
The band’s fourth single, Rock and Roll Is King, and their second album, Assault And Battery, reached #1 on the UK’s heavy metal chart. The band’s third album produced three singles, including the mighty We Can’t Be Beaten. The Tatts did not slow down, embarking on a three month US tour supporting Aerosmith and ZZ Top.
1984 brought the fourth Tatts album, Southern Stars, and more line-up changes. The new line-up’s first single was a cracking version of Steppenwolf‘s biker anthem Born To Be Wild.
The final Rose Tattoo album started out as an Anderson solo album and was a more polished recording.
It produced four singles including the ballad Suddenly which was played during the wedding of Charlene Mitchell (Kylie Minogue) and Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) in the popular soap opera Neighbours. The single reached #1 on the Australian charts in August 1987.
By the end of 1987, Rose Tattoo had broken up. When Guns N’ Roses toured Australia in 1993 they insisted that Rose Tattoo re-form and act as their support act for two gigs. Accordingly, the line-up of Anderson, Wells, Cocks, Leach and drummer Paul DeMarco (replacing the late Dallas Royal) re-formed.
Angry Anderson nurtured a successful TV career, becoming the housewives and grandmother’s friend on the Australian Mid-Day Show.
Pete Wells passed away on 27 March 2006.
Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson
Dallas ‘Digger’ Royal