Christine Amphlett - vocals; Mark McEntee - guitars; Rick Grossman - bass; Bjarne Ohlin - guitars, keyboards; JJ Harris - drums
A few weeks after writing their first songs together, the Divinyls, the basis of which is singer Christine Amphlett and guitarist Mark McEntee, were formed in the heart of Sydney's "sin capital," or the district known as Kings Cross. Augmenting Amphlett and lead guitarist McEntee were keyboard and guitarist Bjarne Ohlin, bassist Richard Grossman, and drummer Richard Harvey. By September of 1980, they were bouncing from one sleazy sin capital bar to the next. It was the Divinyls' "pay your dues" period, but it also provided an adequate environment whereby Amphlett could develop her now legendary stage presence and, as songwriters, she and McEntee could draw upon numerous inspirations for their urgent rock 'n' roll.
The band caught the eye of cutting edge film director Ken Cameron, who hired them to do the music for his gritty expose of heroin addiction, Monkey Grip. He cast Amphlett in the film, and her performance earned the equivalent of an Oscar nomination for the 1983 Australian Film Awards. The soundtrack became a hit and the Divinyls were on their way to stardom.
In 1982, they signed to Chrysalis records for America, who put them in the studio to make Desperate. That album exploded with new versions of "Boys In Town," "Only Lonely," and several other Divinyl classics from the Monkey Grip soundtrack. The band received rave reviews, but radio didn't quite know what to make of them. The launched a tour of the States in the spring of 1983, which included this show, as well as a triumphant appearance before 300,000 at the US festival. But when the dust had settled, Desperate failed to ignite any mania at cash registers. Still, the Divinyls had made an impact. The group returned home in the fall 1983 and immediately began recording the follow up to Desperate, but the sessions were strained, and in the end three platinum producers would be involved. Eventually, Amphlett and McEntee journeyed to Los Angeles, where they managed to convince acclaimed pop producer Mike Chapman to return to Australia with them and finish the album (which took two years to complete), now dubbed What A Life!
They toured in 1986 to support What A Life! from which this show was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. They returned again in 1988 with Temperamental, but again failed to provide any big commercial breakthrough despite critical raves from music writers. In 1989, the Divinyls left Chrysalis Records, and temporarily moved to France where they fit in comfortably in the "red light" district of Paris. Eventually, the duo returned on another label with their first bona fide U.S. hit single, the controversial "I Touch Myself," a vaguely veiled ode to the joys of masturbation. The single, and its accompanying LP, diVINYLS, went Top 10 everywhere, thanks largely to a controversial MTV video.
In the mid-1990s, Amphlett pursued an acting career (she played Judy Garland in the Aussie production of The Boy From Oz), and McEntee pursued various solo projects. The Divnyls remain a touring band today when both Amphlett and McEntee are in between their own projects. They recently headlined the Australian "Homegrown" tour of 2006.