Singer/guitarist Sean Kelly’s first band was Spred, which he formed in Melbourne (Australia) in 1977 with his school chum James Freud (born Colin McGlinchey). The band made its live debut on New Year’s Eve as part of a festival called ‘Punk Gunk’ alongside The Boys Next Door.
After joining the independent Suicide label (a Mushroom subsidiary through RCA) they changed the name of the band to Teenage Radio Stars.
With a new rhythm section of Pierre Voltaire (bass) and Dave Osbourne (drums), Teenage Radio Stars contributed two tracks to Suicide’s punk compilation Lethal Weapons. The band also issued the single Wanna Be Ya Baby (April 1978) and appeared on TV pop show Countdown to promote its release.
The rhythm section changed again in May with Mick Prague (bass) and Mark Graeme (drums) taking over from Voltaire and Osbourne, and Freud started to steer the band in a glam-punk direction.
Sean Kelly left in August 1978, going on to form The Models. He was replaced by Tony Harvey.
By early 1979, Freud had taken over leadership of the group (renamed James Freud & the Radio Stars) with Bryan Thomas on guitar, Murray Doherty on bass, Roger Mason on keyboards, and Glenn McGrath on drums.
This lineup recorded the album Breaking Silence (1980), but there would be several shifts in personnel before they signed with Mushroom Records and released their debut single, Modern Girl, a hit in May 1980.
The single peaked at #12 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart.
The band supported British singer-keyboardist, Gary Numan on his Australian tour. Numan was so impressed with Freud and co that he offered to produce an album for them in the UK.
Because there was already a British band known as The Radio Stars, a name change occurred for Freud’s backing band, who became known as James Freud & Berlin. In October, they released Enemy Lines from Breaking Silence.
Automatic Crazy, produced by Numan, was completed in March 1981 but neither Freud nor Numan were happy with the album and it was not released. Freud disbanded the group a month later.
Freud joined The Models in 1982, reuniting with his old collaborator Sean Kelly. He remained in the band until they split in 1988.
Freud’s battle with alcoholism was well-chronicled and, on 4 November 2010, he succumbed to the disease and took his own life. He was just 51.