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Weddings, Parties, Anything

With their name "borrowed" from a Clash song ("Revolution Rock"), and influences such as Woody Guthrie, Tex Morton, and the Rolling Stones, one gets the idea that it is not easy to categorize the Australian band Weddings, Parties, Anything (W.P.A.). And it isn't. One part rock, one part punk/alternative, one part country, and one part whatever strikes their fancy. With experience including solo performances, and playing in Australian "bush bands," principal writer (and leader of the band), Michael Thomas, formed W.P.A. in 1985, initially with drummer, Marcus Schintler, and later recruiting accordionist Mark Wallace, guitarist Dave Steel, and bassist Janine Hall (formerly of the band the Saints). An independent E.P. and constant touring of Australia caught the attention of WEA Australia, who signed the band in 1987 and promptly released their debut album, Scorn of the Women. Janine Hall left the band following the release of the album, and was replaced by Peter Lawler. It was that lineup that produced 1988's Roaring Days. Dave Steel left the band following a tour of North America, citing exhaustion as the chief reason. He also noted in several interviews, that at the time of his departure (1988), he was feeling frustrated about not getting a lot of his material on the W.P.A. albums. He released his debut solo album, through WEA in 1989. He was replaced by Richard Burgman for 1989's Big Don't Argue and accompanying tours. The band spent a great deal of time touring over the next three years, and managed to release only one EP in 1990, titled Weddings Play Sports (and Falcons), featuring cover versions of the bands Sports, and Falcons. The band resurfaced on CD in 1992, with yet another guitarist, Paul Thomas, replacing the departing Richard Burgman. This lineup (Michael Thomas, Paul Thomas, Mark Wallace, Marcus Schintler, and Peter Lawler) remained in tact for another two years, producing one more CD, King Tide (1993). Following the world tour to promote that release, Peter Lawler, and Marcus Schintler left the band for unknown reasons, although Peter Lawler pursued a solo career. Thomas re-formed the band, and by 1996, the new lineup of W.P.A. were ready for their first release, the independently produced Donkey Serenade. For that album, the band included Jen Anderson (violins, mandolin) (formerly of the band, Black Sorrows); Michael Barclay (drums) (formerly with two of Paul Kelly's bands, the Coloured Girls and the Messengers); Stephen O'Prey (bass), and Michael Thomas, Paul Thomas and Mark Wallace. The music style shifted somewhat from folk to a more alternative country sound. The band decided at this time to concentrate on the Australian market, and did less touring outside of the country. W.P.A. ended 1997 with a new release, Riveresque on their new label (Mushroom/Sony), and by 1998, the band decided to take a break and work on several solo projects, including Michael Thomas' musical Wide Open Road. A band with a unique mix of influences and sounds who have demonstrated the ability to grow, explore, and be creative with new additions, while maintaining their own style of music. ~ Aaron Badgley, Rovi
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