Supernaut was formed in Perth (Australia) by Gary Twinn (vocals), Chris Burnham (guitar) and his brother Joey Burnham (drums), all of whom had emigrated from England with their families in the 1960s.
The Burnham boys formed a pub band called Moby Dick (after the Led Zeppelin track) which Twinn joined in 1974. Randall Murphy (bass) rounded out the line-up which was soon renamed Supernaut, in reference to the Black Sabbath song.
Supernaut began playing glam rock and built a solid reputation in Perth before heading East to Melbourne in February 1976.
The group came to the attention of Countdown compere and record producer Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, who fast-tracked them into the recording studio and by May the group had released their debut single, I Like It Both Ways. Meldrum gave the band national television exposure via Countdown and the single climbed to #16 on the Australian charts.
Ironically, the success of the single was due in part to it being banned in Sydney because of “suggestive lyrics”.
Randall Murphy left the band while I Like It Both Ways was still climbing the charts and was replaced by Phil Foxman in August. The band’s second single, Too Hot To Touch, was released soon after and reached #14 nationally.
Their eponymous debut album was released in December and it shot into the national Top 20, going gold in three days and peaking at #13. Supernaut then won the prestigious TV Week King Of Pop award for Most Popular New Talent. Three more singles were lifted from the album during 1977, the best performing being Young And Innocent (#40).
Work on a second album became bogged down as the band looked to reinvent themselves both musically and stylistically to accommodate the broader shift from the now dated glam movement to the emerging punk/new wave scene. The first product of the makeover was the 1978 single, Unemployed.
The group then relocated to Sydney, got their hair cut short, signed a new recording contract, dumped their satin and flares, added keyboardist Noel Kennedy, and completely changed their sound to emulate groups like The Stranglers, The Jam and XTC. Finally, they changed their name from Supernaut to The Nauts.
The initially highly anticipated, but now long overdue, second album was released late in 1979. Titled simply The Nauts, the LP was well received by critics but barely registered with the record-buying public. A fruitless attempt to crack the UK market led to the band breaking up just a few months later.
The band reunited for a series of concerts in Australia in 2007.