Pic: Mark McEntee with Jay Cortez and Malcolm Clark
A decade after their final live performance, and some five years since the passing of iconic vocalist, Chrissy Amphlett, co-founder/guitarist, Mark McEntee, has announced an Australian tour in 2019 for Divinyls, featuring Los Angeles-based vocalist Lauren Ruth Ward.
“I want to play my damn songs,” McEntee tells Around The Sound. “It’s an organic thing for a musician to want to do.”
Early this year McEntee played on a recording session in Los Angeles with Ward, a Baltimore-bred singer/songwriter. The session evolved to include a version of the Divinyls’ I Touch Myself and an idea was set in motion for Ward to join McEntee on the road playing the songs that he wrote with Amphlett.
“I never dreamed that she might be interested in doing a tour,” McEntee says, “or anything like that, which has always sort of been in the back of my mind. Then she said, ‘yeah, I’d love to do it’. And I thought, ‘well hell, that’s a good reason’.”
Another good reason is his old friend, Frank Infante, the original guitarist with Blondie, “and the best,” McEntee notes. The pair toured together back in the heyday of the Divinyls, including 1987’s Australia Made jaunt. The rhythm section on the tour will be Perth pals Jay Cortez (bass) and Malcolm Clark (drums) who have previously performed together in The Sleepy Jackson and Jeff Martin 777.
While some may criticise a Divinyls tour without Amphlett, McEntee feels that she would approve, given Ward is very much her own force of nature and identity. He says the tour will honour Amphlett's legacy.
“I don’t care what criticism I get,” McEntee states. “I don’t give a shit because it’s the real reason, you know what I mean? People can say what they want; I don’t care. It’s coming from somewhere natural. People seem to enjoy remembering what Chrissy and I have done together. I just know that Chrissy would like it.
“I’m not trying to replace Chrissy, you could never do that. But Lauren has got a really great rock/soul kind of voice - a bit like Janis Joplin. And, like Chrissy, she’s got the same sort of growl. Gutsy. But you can never replace Chrissy, so let’s do something different.”
Divinyls perform February 27 at the Wintersun Hotel, Geraldton; March 1 and 3 at Gate One, Claremont and March 2 at Dunsborough Tavern. Tickets for country shows via oztix.com.au and Gate One though showtickets.com.au.