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Non Incendiary rock bands/artists playing now - Deadstar - Interviews and Articles

Lee, James, 1997, 'Deadstar - I've got Something to Tell You', Punter's Club Form Guide, Issue 46, September 1997, p 28
Melbourne's very own supergroup Deadstar have released a tightly packed five track single/Ep that for fans of the band's live performances over recent months, documents their transition from the pub into the nether regions of radioland. Beginning with the slickly produced title song, the Ep then showcases songs from one of the band's live shows at the Esplanade Hotel.
    For anyone still unfamiliar with the band, if you like your pop short and sweet and your riffage big and chunky, then Deadstar have what it takes to keep your tastebuds crying out for more.

'Deadstar', 1996, Punter's Club Form Guide, Issue 31, May 1996, p 4-5
Barry Palmer, Caroline Kennedy and Peter Jones are Deadstar. Not the star that's a dog or the star that's a god or the star that's big but the star that is dead. I spoke to Barry and Caroline about their debut album and their respective record collections at White Record HQ.
"It was sort of this idea about posthumous fame, and I thought it fitted in pretty snugly with all those other names, those 'star' band names" explains Caroline when asked about the origins of the name. "It's the last word on stars, I reckon!", adds Barry. "Ringo started it, we ended it!"
    Deadstar emerged as a band out of a film score that guitarist and bass player Barry was working on for the ABC, involving drug education aimed at high school students. Says Caroline, "Barry just rang me up and he'd recorded all of these instrumental pieces for this film and I think he always wanted a singer on them, whether he knew that or not".
"Yeah! It became apparent towards the end of the project", agress Barry. According to Caroline, that was due to the fact that they were all pop song length, and were just waiting for someone such as herself to sing melodies and lyrics over the top of them. Five of the songs that appear on the album were pre-written by Barry as part of the film, while the rest of the songs were Deadstar collaborations, rather than individual efforts.
    Both Caroline and Barry agree that the lyrical density of the songs are the key element in the appeal of Deadstar. As the singer / songwriter in the Plums, Caroline was already accomplished in the field when the opportunity to write with Barry arose, although the two had never met prior to this.
    According to Barry, Caroline's approach to writing the lyrics to these songs was very much temporal. This is particularly evident on 'Dress Looks Better on Me', as it reflects a fight that Caroline had with one of her friends on the eve of recording.
"We had an enormous fight the night before I went in to meet Barry, about this dress of mine that she wouldn't give me back! I thought the song had a really punk pop sort of sound to it. I was really pissed off about the fact that I couldn't get this black dress off this woman, so I just wrote it all into this song, I mean she thinks, we both think it's really funny now, in fact she owns the dress now - can you believe it?!"
    Barry and Peter are no strangers to the Melbourne music scene. While Peter is currently drumming with Crowded House, Barry is probably best known for his work as a guitarist previously with The Crown of Thorns, and for the past few years with Hunters and Collectors. On the Deadstar album, he found himself also drawing on his skills as producer.
    In describing the recording of the album, Barry says that time and money constraints were present, but didn't hinder them for achieving exactly what they wanted in the finished product.
"You know it was probably a couple of weeks, the whole thing", says Barry. "We were doing it whenever we could, and we had a really limited amount of money. We would pick days that the studio, and we all, had a few days free, and we could use it at a cut price rate and stuff like that.
"So, even though it was drawn out over quite a long period of time, we recorded it really quickly and with a minimum of fuss. I mean our idea was never to let the thing get so perfectly honed, that you'd have this slick package of songs. It was always going to be this wonderful, loose..."
"I don't think you could make those songs slick even if you wanted to", Caroline is quick to add. "They're really quite obscure and strange, and that's because of the meeting of Barry and I, coming from different places in lots of ways, and that's we came up with".
    There are a few guest musicians on the album, which is a reflection of the atmosphere they created in the studio. The combination of having to get to know each other really fast, vast amounts of alcohol and lots of fun were all contributing factors, in attracting their friends Kim Salmon, Charlie Marshall and Nick Seymour to come and join in.
    In describing Charlie's involvement in the radio friendly duet "She Loves She", Caroline says, "I couldn't write it. I was just going fuck, this is really hard to write, so we got him to come in and we just wrote it together on an acoustic guitar. He learnt Barry's chords and we just went away and came up with it in about an hour".
    The duet with Kim Salmon, 'What's Eating You', was done in a similar way. "This is one of the great things about the band", says Barry. "It became really apparent that it turned into Kim's song, and Caroline didn't have to do the lead singer, get on her high horse and shout him down to make it her song again. She was happy to sing along with Kim.
"And Kim's guitar playing was just, Kim was around the studio quite a bit, you know having a beer and one night Caroline sorta said 'come on, give Kim a go', so I said "Yeah why not! Kim kind of got the guitar and we just wound up (with?) three songs one after the other. He just jammed. He had a couple of goes at it and we'd say 'Next!', and the next day, I'd go through it all and pull out the parts I liked. From the time he picked up the guitar we both understood that nothing is precious, do what you like with it."
    Caroline's favourite song on the album is 'Valentine's Day', which according to Barry, "Caroline did in the blink of an eye". They both recall that initially, Barry and Peter hated what she'd done to the song. Says Barry, "Caroline just dug her boots in and said 'Look this is good! You just don't understand it yet', and sure enough, she was right".
    "Yeah, I love it", says Caroline. It just makes me laugh every time I hear it without laughing!", which is a reflection of the humour running right through this record. Barry's choice selection from the record is the opening track 'Going Down', without a minute's hesitation. There is a hint of the Pixies in this song, one of Barry's all time favourite bands.
    In between Caroline's search for the elusive 'Saturday Night Fever' sound track album and starting her own band, Barry's production work with Mark Seymour and Charlie Marshall, and Peter's Crowded House committments, Deadstar have managed to complete a second album and have already begun work on a third. Both Caroline and Barry stress that Deadstar is an ongoing committment, they don't plan to play live until they feel the time is right.
"When we do start playing live, we want to actually play live in a low key way and just build it naturally", says Barry.

'Deadstar - I've got Something to Tell You', 1997, Drum Media (Syd.?),
This is riffin' Barry Palmer's application for a job in Garbage. From the chunky opening down to his self-styled, unique solo Palmer's guitar stomps all over this cool tune. The remaining four songs, all recorded live in Melbourne at the Espy, sound surprisingly full and fit well with the single. Among them are the faves She Loves She and Going Down - the fact that these tunes slot in so easily proves that this really is a live band. Sex Sell is particularly vigourous, carries on the Deadstar tradition of sweet poppy vocals and rockout guitar. Maybe the last Deadstar recordings to feature Nick Seymour on bass.

Silver Sun, 1997, 'Deadstar - I've got Something to Tell You', Beat Magazine (Syd.?)
From their Milk album (somewhere in a record company Bermuda Triangle) comes this trashy pop moment that is probably their most rockin' single to date. But if Don't it get you Down (a truly great single) didn't do the business for them, can't see this turning them into household names anytime soon.
'Deadstar - Don't it get you Down', 1997, Buzz Magazine
The new Deadstar album, Milk, is on it's way and the first taster is the new single Don't it get you Down and it's accompanying B-side My Goods. It continues the friendly indie pop sounds of the first album and its resultant singles, sounding more like Frente than Frente do these days. A very enjoyable track.

Watt, Andrew, 1996, 'Deadstar - Deadstar', Inpress Magazine
The Melbourne indie supergroup (a description they'll probably hate) is a collaboration between Barry Palmer (Hunters & Collectors and other things), Caroline Kennedy (The Plums) and Peter Jones (Crowded House and other things) augmented by the likes of Kim Salmon and Charlie Marshall.
    Why shouldn't we be surprised that it's a damn fine album?
    Damn fine it is. Recorded at the end of 1994 and beginning of 1995, this album is tight, intense and attractively ragged around the edges. It's not that lo-fi at all; in fact Barry Palmer's production is excellent, it's just that they've left things be rather than polish them to an unnecessarily high sheen. Caroline Kennedy has an exceptional voice but more importantly she knows how to use it, injecting just he right amounts of spite, sarcasm, knowing wit and, when called for, vulnerability into the songs.
    And they're a pretty sharp bunch of songs too. They'res snappy power pop tunes like the brilliant I Got your Number but equally there's a few almost spooky songs. In this respect it's not a bad companion piece to the Garbage album.
    Barry Palmer is of course probably the most expressive guitarist to exist around the Melbourne scene. He's got a great knack of playing not just the right things but the right amount of them and it's this talent of avoiding overplaying that makes him so effective.
    It's taken a while for this album to find it's way out to the ears of the public but it's been worth the wait. It's a great example of the value of collaboration; the quality of talent resident in Melbourne and the merit in making music for the right reasons.

Carney, Shaun, 1997, 'Deadstar - Milk', The Age Newspaper - Green Guide
The second album by Deadstar, the link-up between Hunter and Collector Barry Palmer, singer Caroline Kennedy and drummer Peter Jones is a pleasing, self-confident and very contained collection of 10 songs that range from the catchy pop of Don't it get you Down to brooding, atmospheric pieces such as Please and the powerful Henry and Godiva at the Bar. An outstanding feature of Milk is Palmer's guitarwork which he employs much as a painter uses a paintbrush, applying various effects and techniques to give each song a different texture.
    Thus while a song such as the country-pop outing My Goods boasts a ringing acoustic guitar foundation, the uptempo straight rock piece I've Got Something to Tell you is bolstered by a veritable orchestra of ferocious, warring electric guitars. Coupled with Kennedy's assured vocalising it makes for a sound that is always interesting.

Watt, Andrew, 1996, 'Deadstar - Alchemists Unite', Inpress Magazine
The debut album from Melbourne's Deadstar has been one of the more interesting releases to appear this year. A three handed project combining the talents of Caroline Kennedy (The Plums) with ex-Harem Scarem and Crown of Thorns members Barry Palmer (also Hunters and Collectors) and Peter Jones (also Crowded House), Deadstar is a kind of Melbourne indie rock supergroup, although it wasn't intended that way.
    The songs on Deadstar's self-titled debut album didn't start as songs at all. Rather they were pieces of music written by Palmer and Jones as a soundtrack for a local television series called The Baby Bath Massacre. The music written, Palmer decided to respond to the little voice in his head that kept repeating the words 'lyrics and vocals'. Enter Caroline Kennedy, previously known to Palmer only by reputation. Exit, a finished album. Simple really!

Well, maybe not that simple. Hearing Kennedy and Palmer in interview mode is, to say the least, interesting. Their answers to questions are refreshingly free of pre-programming (a little like the album itself) and discussing it after the event. There's many things they agree on such as an appreciation of trash pop, a desire to keep things (relatively simple) and a belief in the on-going nature of the project, but equally there's several points where they agree to disagree. It's part of the nature of the beast and a significant reason why the resultant music is rather special.
    The Deastar album stands as a monument to the value of what I choose to describe as wanton collaboration.
    "Absolutely," they chorus, before Kennedy explains,"I didn't think I'd collaborate again," she states, "I was jack of it completely after five years in the Plums. I went into this thing with Barry half interested and it just came out of it that was unusual and unexpected too. You lose an element of control but you get something else that you didn't expect and that's what I think the band is premised on in some ways."
    "The way you came in," continues Palmer, directing his comment at Kennedy, "with the music already being recorded meant that it was a collaboration one step removed. When I was putting the musical element together I didn't have to worry about pleasing the lead singer. Lead singers by nature always want you change all the bits and pieces."
    "Even on the second album..."
    Wait a minute, what second album?
    It transpires that the second Deadstar album has already been virtually completed. "Even on the second album", continues Palmer,"when we had the opportunity to complete things thoroughly we didn't ise that opportunity. Obviously there was something we enjoyed about having our own little space on the first record."
    "That's true," states Kennedy. 'I think to a large degree I hadn't had the change to do this one that I'm good at which is writing melodies on top of music. That's how I got into rock-n-roll in the first place. In the past that was eroded and we all started working together in a practice room. For me this was a chance to do something that I really get into that."
    Deadstar was introduced to the world via a series of singles consisting of Valentine's Day, She Loves She and Sister, which gained airplay on MMM and JJJ. By capturing the flavours of the band in those quick grabs it had the effect of whetting the public's appetite and at the same time creating some sort of mysterious aura, an aura now given body by the subsequent album. "Peter had this idea that he wanted to emulate The Jam by releasing one single a month for the whole album. We actually thought about that. In our own perverse way, we actually approach every song as a single."
    "Well of course we do, that's how it should be," states Kennedy.
    "Yeah I know, but it's still odd," continues Palmer. "I've got a weird understanding of singles but the difficult part about the singles is that unfortunately somebody on the radio has got to play the buggers. For some reason I think we're contemporary but somehow we sound out of our time..."
    "I don't think we have a fashion agenda at all," considers Kennedy. "I think we're au fait with types of music that were polished up in the eighties. I think we're also pretty traditionalist in some ways but we're different as well."
    Is there a mutual appreciation of the inherent trashiness of pop?
    I think it's a really trashy group," agrees Kennedy. "And I think a lot of the critics really overlooked that. That really influenced the way that we approached the whole thing. Not only the way that we crafted the songs, but the way we recorded everything, what excited us about different sounds it was all really influenced by the whole idea of trash pop. I think that's been overlooked. There's so much humour in all of it but it seems to go over everybody's heads."
    "Some of the English reviews picked up on the funny side of it," recalls Palmer. "The NME one said we were a drunken version of some band called Sleeper. I don't know Sleeper but I like the fact that we're a drunken version of something!"

Butler, Ben, 1997, 'Deadstar - Comes to life', Buzz Magazine.
Deadstar has been written up by some of the more excitable press as an 'indie supergroup'. But according to singer Caroline Kennedy, the band's just 'really approachable understandable pop music'. She spoke to Ben Butler.
Did you feed the English press misleading press releases?
No, not at all... it's bizarre to me that that would happen. I mean, it happened in Australia as well but there's a really good reason for it which is that the first ever recording that we did as an inport from England, and so people through that (thought) we were an English group because of that...
It's not like like you sing in an English accent.
No. I sing in quite an Australian accent.
So you guys had nothing to do with that - they just stuffed up completely.
Well, yeah. As far as I know I had nothing to do with it. It could have been some clever bugger at the record company or something, I don't know.
Deadstar was not originally conceived as an ongoing thing, is that right?
Well no... we were just going to play it by ear. If what up mean by that is that it was a studio band, well, yes it was. We didn't really want to play live until we had to. Now we have to, really just to promote the record. We didn't promote the first record at all, but there wasn't the interest there that there is now that actually justifies us getting it together as a live act. That's part of the lack of planning that we've had. But it's good to be a live band.
Your lack of planning seems to worked fine...
It's had a life of its own and people have been interested in the group regardless. They find it attractive for some reason - probably because of the variety of personalities in it... It's just really approachable understandable pop music - more than anything else that's probably the reason why people have taken a shine to the group.
It's easy to get into.
Yeah! As Barry (Palmer, guitarist) said about it. 'One, two, three, four, hang onto your f--kin' skirt'. It's got that quality. And people like to boogie
What were you doing after the Plums died?
I was just quietly working on getting my other group Salon Baby up and running... but we recorded the first Deadstar album when the Plums were still together. It's been around forever. The Plums were going strong after the first album was recorded - Baz was obviously touring a lot with Hunters and Collectors. He had the music sitting around for a while on tapes... and we finished the record off - that's how we met in the studio... ...Pretty hot on the heels of that we recorded another album and that's been sitting around for maybe a year waiting for the moment to release it. It always takes longer that you'd think.
Are you going to do a tour with Deadstar?
We're going to stay in London for six weeks.. there's been a lot of interest over there and we're going to see if we can get a tour there then come back and do one here and that will probably be it for a while. I've got to record a Salon Baby album at some point. I've been putting it off for months while Deadstar has learnt to play live. I'll be concentrating on that.
The other members of the band have other things they want to do as well I guess.
Absolutely. I mean Nick doesn't really live here, he lives in Dublin and Baz is in a couple of other bands. We're all pretty busy.
Was it weird learning to play live?
It was very odd! We really were a backwards band... Barry would put down chord progressions and often play bass himself, and Peter would play drums as well - so all that stuff was done prior to me even coming in and singing a melody on top of that. That didn't give me much room to move really because the music was already there. [I was] working in a confined space, really. When we played live... the songs were recorded in this particular way, they had a certain sound and we had to rediscover them, rearrange them, make them work as a song rather than as a recording.
You're supposed to be difficult to interview. Does that make any sense to you?
No. Maybe it's just because I'm articulate and intelligent. I think there's sort of a perception that people are dumb rock stars... that they don't have anything to say. We've had some interview from hell in Deadstar where people look at it really cynical kind of exercise and they come into the interview with the most tremondous attitude. I guess there is an attitude that people in bands are a bit thick. Some of them are, you know.

Zumeris, Bronius, 1999, 'Deadstar', Beat Magazine, Issue 637, p26
Put a recording device in front of Barry Palmer and Caroline Kennedy in their Deadstar disguise and they don't need a prompt cue. No spartan responses here as they veer between the verbose and tangential. The most apprpriate course is to transcribe the conversation verbatim. After all, nearly a year of inactivity and subsequent rebirth means that they have plenty to say. Syncronicity of looks and segues to responses sadly not included
Deadstar like playing with political motifs. A red star is a center-piece.
[Caroline Kennedy] I thought about that a little bit. There are elements of political connotations which are designed not to entirely express my own feelings about those particular images.
[Barry Palmer] We are not a band of mixed metaphors. One is hard enough for us [laughs].
'Run Baby Run' has crept up without the fanfare or afflictions of Milk.
[CK] And very afflicted it was.
[BP] That baby was everything. The morphine, the epidural, the lot.
It appears to have included a raunch bypass for new material.
[BP] We are de-raunched. We recorded this single in full splatter mode but Mark Opitz [producer] thought the melody deserved to be out there by itself.
[CK] It's a lament. The Milk album was about sex whereas this is very much a stripped back lament.
[BP] Mark thought a lot of the stuff was a little excessive. The end result is beautiful. It is chiming. We love the sparkling moments like The Pretenders. The other songs rock a little more, although they have not been entirely finished. I love the idea of giving the public something that will sound completely different when the album comes out.
What of the infamous cabin fever tour of England?
[BP] Well, this time we have a real band. Michael den Elzen is full-time and Anna Burley from The Killjoys joins us live. For the first time the band sounds the way it should. We weren't ready for the UK tour. It was to be a promo-run of radio but didn't turn out like that. We played places like Hull and Wolverhampton. We won't go through that again but Eurpean domination remains one of my fanciful goals.
All these new members. Is the band growing out of control?
[BP] We have reached our peak. We were on stage at The Empress the other week and if you were to make a sudden swing you would have taken out one of the other band members. So we figured that line must be drawn in the sand right now.
[CK] We always wanted to have certain instruments and it has taken a while for it all to come together. I also wanted someone to-sing with because most of the songs are really harmony laden. Before the songs were incredibly stripped back.
[BP] We are really lucky with the people who have come into the band. It will be very interesting to have Michael in the studio, because he didn't appear on 'Run Baby Run'.
[CK] We are excited about playing live. It is a position we have not been in before.
With the Caroline Kennedy Conspiracy and Barry's various committments, it seemed Deadstar would not see the light of day.
[CK] Yeah. We did our own thing, but we wrote a lot.
[BP] We just let the dust settle because England was not everything everyone wanted it to be. With Mushroom in a transitory period we did not want to start shaking the tree screaming "where is our record!" One beautiful thing about music is that all sins are forgiven if you have a hit.
[CK] Momentum from the public point of view is usually different from creative and personal momentum which goes on behind the scenes. Having the breathing space was very important for me and that time was well spent.
So how similar is the band of then and now?
[CK] I think there is certainly a link in the songwriting partnership between myself and Barry. We have improved but we ised to be a recording outfit and the hype was really destructive for us.
[BP] The way we initially came together was really comical. A film soundtrack that turns into a band.
[CK] I was still in the Plums. When that band split up I was not ready to be "Miss Girly Pop Star". Fuck that shit.
[BP] I was still in Hunters and Collectors, trying to fit Deadstar in at the side. If things had really taken off it would have been a disaster and we probably would have had to disappear.
[CK] We backed it off and it was the right thing to do.
The pedigree of the band will always shape what people expect of the band.
[CK] What shat me about that was that I had been writing songs for six years and did not want to be told how to do it. But I was being told by lots of people. I really do think that there was a perception in the public that the guys got some girl to sing a few songs.
[BP] To tell the truth, people spend most of their time trying to run away from the pedigree shit. Those things being reference points is incredibly misleading because such information can only confuse people. I mean we got Nick [Seymour] at the worst time of his life and here we where staying in Fuckville, England with no support network. We were trying our arse off for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
At least you could look at it as a bonding experience and hardening of resolve.
[CK] We did get 'Satellite' out of it. Myself and Barry became firm friends and wrote a lot of material. That was the saving grace. We also discussed whether to continue the band.
[BP] It was one of those crisis things, which if it doesn't break you it makes you stronger. In our mind we were not going to disband because of this tawdry experience. Now we just look forward to playing second fiddle for a while, not having to conquer the world and enjoy being on stage. I'd like to play without the pressure because every band can be worn down by circumstance.
[CK] I think we have learnt to dictate circumstances and how we would like things to be run. Otherwise you become a stress-head. We have turned into a really viable group because in some ways we have been fucked over and celebrated. With that type of baptism you turn to people you can trust and that is a perfect place from which to write music. We are looking forward to a very busy year.
[BP] For the first time our schedule's do not have to fit in with anything else except Deadstar. Everyone has decided that it is Deadstar time. We have rediscovered a lot our older material as well as introducing a lot of new stuff. And our old shows either great or shit with no in between will be in favour of the former.
[CK] When it was bad it was hard to articulate the songs because being a recording band it was a leap of faith to get on stage. I should re-iterate that we are really confident and in control of things now. We are better at interpreting our own material.

Horan, Anthony, 1999, 'Deadstar - Born Again', Inpress Magazine, Issue 541, p 38.
It's often amazing what comes out of a studio when you find a few musicians with spare time on their hands and a desire to do something different. The restraining shackles of the various individual's main concerns are thrown off and, for a while, another side comes out. It may sound messy, it may sound outrageous, or it may forge new musical ground; any way you look at it, though, such an unexpected meeting of creative minds has the ability, like an audio truth serum, to bring out aspects of the artists that otherwise would have remained hidden.
Up until recently, Deadstar were such an outfit. Originally assembled when Hunters and Collectors guitarist Barry Palmer scored a gig doing instrumental music for a TAC-funded cautionary film, the self-titled debut album fell into shape when Palmer ran into Caroline Kennedy - at the time making an impression with her band the Plums - and figured that his car-crash pyrotechnics might work equally well as no-holds-barred pop. And work it did; with the addition of Peter Jones on drums, Deadstar was born, managing to record the bulk of two entire albums before a note of any of it reached the ears of the public. The glorious noise - Palmer's searing, multi-layered guitars and flowing, melodic bass lines, Jones' spectular, fill laden drumming and Caroline Kennedy's sweetness-and-anger voals debuted with the anything-goes energy of Going Down and was followed by two albums sporting enough killer tunes to win the non-band large helpings of praise from the wider world. By the time the second album's mind-invading first single Don't it Get You Down caressed national radio, something was becoming clear; it was time to declare Deadstar a "proper" band and act accordingly.
    As a result Deadstar have been quiet since 1996, weathering several line-up changes and a difficult tour of England that went nowhere fast. Assembling a band to reproduce the often complex recorded songs was, as it turned out, not an entirely easy process. During 1998, though, Deadstar finally ventured back into the studio to start work on album number three; the first sign of it arrives this week in the form of Run Baby Run, an addictive summer pop song that heralds the new age of Deadstar with a less aggressive, more accessible sound. Radio, it seems, need no longer be scared.
"That's the Mark Opitz factor, I think," says Caroline Kennedy, referring to the band's new producer. "He's turned the guitars down - in fact I think he turned one of the electric guitars right off and he turned off a section of the drums as well. He's into things being very plain. He's a joy to work with - I really like the way that he produces. I mean Deadstar's not a band that needs to be told how to play - all the members of the band have really strong opinions about the way that we should proceed with the recordings - and Mark's strength, although he's fabulous from the ground up, is that he's a brilliant mixer. He has a true vision of how the song should sound eventually, and in that way he's quite unusual. I am quite aware of of his past work, and I think it's quite funny - we're a large remove from many of the bands he worked with in the '80s."
    Previous to the new single, Deadstar production duties were handled by Palmer, with increasingly sought after Kalju Tonuma engineering and mixing in his distinctive style. Run Baby Run marks the first time a Deadstar record has borne an outside production credit; this, of course, is a deliberate move.
"I think what happened," Caroline explains, "was that the band wanted to have an outside influence there, someone who could step in and interpret what we were doing. And also you've got to remember that the first two recordings were done really hurriedly and were done quite some time ago. I think the band is in quite a different position now within itself. Basically Deadstar has turned into a proper five-piece band and we can play live - we weren't really a live band before."
    A live band, mind, that still managed to play quite a few gigs during 1996...
"Yeah, we did, but I was never really happy with the line-up and felt that it should be larger. We weren't able to interpret the records appropriately, I thought, with the line-up we had - we didn't have a rhythm guitarist at all. And as brilliant as Baz is, he can't be two people. So along with Peter McCracken on bass we've not got Michael den Elzen playing guitar."
    Having now reintroduced themselves to the world as the proper band they always threatened to become, Deadstar are now keeping plenty busy with tour planning and completing that lon-awaited third album, a record that may just play out as though it was a debut - which, in a way, it is.
" It's definitely on the way," Caroline assures. "We've done probably nine songs already and we've done heaps of demoing. At this stage it's just a matter of getting into the studio and finishing it off. So you can expect an album sometime this year."
    And this in itself is an indication of Deadstar are at now - where previous records have been spur-of-the-moment concerns, this one's getting the benefit of a considerable amount of thought and planning, a luxury that's eluded the band until now.
"In some ways there was a lot of hype surrounding Deadstar originally," says Caroline, "and we were really a studio band and it was just a small project. So we were terribly surprised by the reaction that we got in the press and on radio. So in the last year-and-a-half we've intentially backed away from everythin, regrouped and tried to organise the band in the shape that we want it to be. Barry and I have really consolidated what we do as songwriters as well. So while we haven't really been in the public eye, it's been a good time for us."

LOL, 1999, 'Deadstar - Run Baby Run', Beat Magazine, Issue 638, p30
Happy Happy Joy Joy. Deadstar have discovered the secrets to the perfect pop song, and here they are blatantly flaunting it in your face. Cute little innocent girl verses before smacking into a chorus riff so catchy, it could be responsible for half the colds going around town at the moment. Song does play around lyrically too, playing with the notion of a wanted criminal too. All under three and a half minutes, Deadstar have created possibly the next cute alternative anthem. B-sides "Salon Baby" and "Satellite" seems to suggest that Deadstar could be Australia's answer to The Sundays. Or is it Frente and The Cranberries love child?

Lobaoto, Ramon, 1999, 'Deadstar - Continental Cafe, Punters Club', Beat Magazine, Issue 638, p 44
One very special moment (and there were many) during the two-night rockfest that Melbourne was graced with last Thursday and Friday, came when the new improved six-piece Deadstar, fresh from reeling off a string of the best pop you'll ever hear this side of Manchester, turned their attentions to something a little different. When the opening chords of the adrenalin-filled no-frills Plums rocker Guess What (the closing track on the last ever Plums release, the gorgoeus Heavenly EP) reared its head, it came as no surprise. In either of her current musical incarnations - the Dr Jekyll of the Caroline Kennedy Conspiracy, or the Mr Hyde that is Deadstar - to hear Kennedy dish up anything from the Plums songbook is a rare thing indeed, and it certainly didn't go unnoticed. Complete with a suitably nasty dedication (something about an ex-boyfriend and a demeaning international phone call) Guess What was an interesting inclusion in a set that varied little at either of last week's dual single launches.
    Opening both nights with the irrestible hook-heavy I've Got Something to Tell You and closing with the more pensive Henry and Godiva at the Bar, Deadstar were a real treat. With six band members on stage, including the ever-luminous Killjoy Anna Burley on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, the current Deadstar lineup is stronger, tighter and more interesting than ever - we're talking up to three vocalists (Kennedy, Burley and Pete McCracken) and no less than four guitars at once.
    Ripping through pop gem after pop gem, this particularly super-sexy sextet didn't stray too much from their well-proven formula: humble, economical, three-minute works of pop art that had your head nodding uncontrollably and your heart bouncing around in indie heaven. Don't it Get You Down charmed. Sister spellbound. Sex Sell raced along, hormone-propelled and uplifting as hell, just like Fifteen Kennedy's heartfelt tribute to "being a teenager" ("So you never asked me / Tell me what is beauty, what is truth / You say they are the same thing, waiting for you / I got neither, neither did you").
    As infectious as ebola, as memorable as your fave band's best-ever gig Deadstar were the lean, smooth rock machine that we always knew they could be. Their star maybe Dead, but it's still the brightest light around in the pub rock today.

The Commissar, 1997, 'Deadstar - Milk', Punter's Club Form Guide, April 1997, p 13
When I first put this album on I was reminded of Belly and was hopeful of some well crafted pop. After a few listens nothing sticks in the memory, it's just "nice" girly guitar pop, but it sure ain't great. Simply put, the songwriting is throwaway and performances unexceptional. There are plenty of better albums around in this genre, go and find one.

'Deadstar - Run Baby Run' ,1999, Inpress Magazine
The first audible sign of the new-model Deadstar - previewed extensively on the radio during the summer - sees the previously noisy band cutting back on the distortion pedals in favour of a sleek, muted sound that's already gaining the song wide attention, the two excellent albums to date haven't quite managed to do. An insanely catchy pop song, it's still unmistakably Deadstar, though we do miss the over-the-top audio of the earlier records. Tailor-made for radio and the wider world; produced by hit-single veteran Mark Opitz.

Warhurst, Myfanwy, 1999, 'Deadstar's Baby', The Age Newspaper - EG Magazine
A musical marriage of convenience has borne fruit, writes...
Deadstar might have started out like an arranged marriage but, four years later, the creative partnership of Caroline Kennedy and Barry Palmer flourishes. It began when singer guitarist Kennedy was roped in to provide the melody for guitarist Palmer's musical meanderings on a film soundtrack, but turned into a fecund creative collaboration.
    "When we first started interviews, we'd only known each other for a matter of months," Kennedy says. "My band the Plums, had just broken up and I was deeply depressed and Barry was still in The Hunters and Collectors. We were playing in Sydney and we were the new big thing and we were both quite shell-shocked.
    "We'd have these journalists who would ask questions and then it was on. We would argue for the rest of the afternoon. They described us both as an old married couple and that was when we first met."
    Palmer and Kennedy are from different musical schools of thought. Palmer is a self-confessed "noise merchant" and Kennedy fights vehemently for her pop sensibilities. Both want to create the ultimate pop song. The first single, Run Baby Run is evidence of this.
    They attribute their success to producer Mark Opitz, who muscled his way into the autonomous group and reined in their creative explorations. Subsequently, Run Baby Run has a pared-back purity. "A lot of producers take a scalpel to the music and in the process they f--- it up." Palmer says, "But Mark actually had the good sense to understand what the integrity of the song was and to get rid of the extraneous crap."
    The addition of Michael Den Elzen and Peter McCracken completed the lineup. "We're writing more organically than we were before," Kennedy says.
    "We're a band now. A real band," says Palmer. "Not just Caroline and I and a drummer."


Fan, Penny, 1999, 'Deadstar - Run Baby Run', The Age Newspaper - EG Magazine, p 8
The simplicity of Deadstar's latest single is what makes it so appealing.
    A cleverly packaged pop song, it conceals a message behind a catchy, upbeat tune. Caroline Kennedy's voice breathily profiles the fall of a superstar: He used to be a megastar/he used to drive a different car. And as she revels in a fellow-human's demise, the perfect harmonies of the chorus begin and Kennedy urges her baby to run.
    Backed by Barry Palmer's jangling guitar, the slick marketing of the song and band are evident.
    Both are inoffensive - they don't rock you world, but they're nice to have around.
    The high rotation of this disc on "youth" station Triple J indicates Mushroom have made a decent marketing effort with Deadstar.


Masterson, Andrew, 1997, 'I Can Hold My Alcohol', Re: Public Magazine, Issue 4, December 1997, p 19-20
She sings, she plays guitar, she writes songs, and she evendoes her own album cover artwork. Sometimes she's the siren in the internationally expanding Deadstar, and sometimes she's a solo crooner. She read Shakespeare while still at school and thought she was Nana Mouskouri for a while, but thenshe got better. The harsh light of the interrogation room in her eyes, Caroline Kennedy sits down and bares her inner secrets to the world...
What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a musician?
It was when I was about five or six, and I performed with my parents, with my brother playing guitar. Actually, it was a ukulele. I wore a long black velvet dress, skirt and a sky-blue tee shirt. I suspect I sang a Christmas Carol. I remember my other brother sitting in a basket, being baby Jesus, I was going through a Nana Mouskouri stage.
What was the first single you owned?
Probably Mama Mia by Abba
First album?
A collection of the Beach Boys favourite hits
What was the last album you bought, and why?
Either Horses by Patti Smith, or an Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons collection. I wasn't really aware of Gram Parsons' music but knew he was a countryish icon. The Patti Smith album was a long overdue posession of punk rock roots.
When you were ten years old, what music were your parents into?
It was Bob Dylan, Nana Mouskouri, Charles Aznavour, Liza Minelli. My father's favourite song was Where Do You Go to My Lovely, by Peter Sarstedt, which we heard a lot.
What books did your read as a child?
I read all the Enid Blyton books - the less surreal, more sociological ones. I read novels by Laura Engels, Betty MacDonald. I read voraciously. I read a lot of poetry, Shakespeare, Mario Puzo, Jane Austen, Christina Stead, Somerset Maugham's short stories, TS Eliot's poetry, art history books and theory. And then I stopped reading together.
What books do you read now?
Exclusively detective fiction : Ruth Rendell, Agathie Christie, Patricia Cornwell, John le Carre and occasional essays on popular culture and poetry.
If you weren't a musician, what would you like to be?
Well, I'm a painter as a musician, but beyond that I'd probably be an actress.
If you weren't a musician, what would you probably be?
A painter.
Have you ever been physically violent? In what circumstances?
In my younger days I probably slapped most of my boyfriends. And they slapped me, I think. They would be the only times.
?What are the three most important bands or musicians of the twentieth century?
John Lennon, Bob Dylan. God, it's a shithouse question. Patti Smith.
"Inexplicably sucessful" is the phrase which best describes which band or performer?
Anybody in the Top 20 in America - people like Mariah Carey and Michael Bolton. I don't get it.
Do you see yourself as a social or political commentator?
I see myself as both, very much so.
Is success overseas important?
If you want to move beyond the poverty line I think it might be. It would be nice, wouldn't it?
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Probably either living in Rathdowne Street with my boyfriend, or living in New York with my boyfriend
With whom would you most like to record a duet or co-composition?
David Bowie
Have you ever thrown up in public? Where and when?
No I'm pretty discreet about vomiting. I did it in front of a couple of friends into my boots once, just after I them off. I've only vomited twice from drinking. I can hold my alcohol.
Is there a God?
No.
Is there a point to life?
Probably, it's art.
Is there a cure for Bryan Adams?
A bullet would do the trick, wouldn't it?
Name three things you couldn't live without.
My bass player, my garden and being an artist.
Name three things you like to live without.
Cigarettes, inundations of images of kinda attractive, thin, but somehow bland-looking women, and crap music.
What would be your epitaph?
She's gone, dammit...


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