No Fixed Address’s Roots Rock Reggae
It’s the early 80s, and into a largely white Australian pub rock scene, No Fixed Address kick down the doors with their roots-rock-reggae sound infused with stories of Indigenous rights, rebellion and survival.
The five-piece came out of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music to cut their way through the country, and make a name for themselves in a scene unfamiliar with Aboriginality.
Donald Robertson’s biography simply called No Fixed Address, paints a bold picture of these trailblazers. Fantastic accounts from the band and those around them, of run-ins with bureaucrats and cops, and their supports for Cold Chisel on the band’s East tour, and The Clash promoting Sandanista! locally, make it a thrilling step back in time.
Robertson also follows the journey of Wrong Side of the Road, a rag-tag doco about the band as it gets nominated for Best Film at the Australian Film Institute Awards, running against, in many ways, Gallipoli, a film about the founding story of modern White Australia.
It’s just one example by Robertson, how every No Fixed Address tour, every gig, every interaction the band had confronted audiences and the industry alike about their own personal, pre-conceived notions of our First Nations people.
But perhaps more important than pushing white boundaries, No Fixed Address created a foundation for indigenous audiences desperate to hear their stories played loudly and proudly. Songs like ‘We Have Survived’, ‘Get A Grip’ and ‘Sunshine’ reflected Aboriginal Australia; equal parts an ancient culture, and young and restless arts and music scene.
As a result, No Fixed Address, both the book and band, are great reminders of the power and passion of rock n roll, its role in creating change and fighting the good fight..