The debut Baby Animals album was everywhere in Australia. Before the album was released in September 1991, they had some serious momentum over 15 months coming in to the album. The Angels was one of the biggest bands in Australia during this time and the Baby Animals was the opening act between 1990/91.
The album debuted at number six on the ARIA Album Charts and spent six weeks at number one, eventually going eight times platinum and becoming the highest-selling debut Australian rock album of all time (until the release of Jet’s album, “Get Born” 12 years later).
I saw em live at the Revesby Workers Club on the tour. An up and coming band called Judge Mercy was opening for them. They were excellent, but they unfortunately disappeared when the labels started dropping metal and rock acts in a years’ time.
And the Baby Animals rocked. Drummer Frank Celenza was huge behind the kit, laying down the foundations along with bassist Eddie Parise. Dave Leslie on guitar is so underrated, playing a chicken picking style and Suze DeMarchi on guitar rocks hard. Everyone raves about Lzzy Halestorm, but I’m pretty sure she would have been influenced by DeMarchi. And on vocals, DeMarchi is bluesy and soulful.
The album was produced by task master Mike Chapman and engineered by Kevin Shirley. The personnel alone shows the albums intention.
And my favourite track is “Working For The Enemy”, that whole break down section, lead break and build up is excellent. My second favourite is the metal like “Waste Of Time” with its energetic double kick intro and heavy blues boogie rock riffs.
“One Too Many” is “Rock N Roll Noise Pollution” in spirit and influence, while “Aint Gonna Get” is AC/DC on steroids and highway speed tempos with a Chorus that reminds me of “I Love Rock And Roll”.
And I haven’t even gotten into the singles yet.
How good is the intro to “One Word”?
But DeMarchi didn’t like the song after it was finished and asked the label to keep it off the album. The song went through a transformation, from a country-ish rock feel in the demo (which can be heard on the 25th Anniversary Edition) to the melodic rock beast it became, as Chapman kept asking them to work on it.
Guitarist Dave Leslie paid his dues in a Cold Chisel covers band called Swingshift, playing Australian pub rock classics on a nightly basis and he knew what worked with audiences. His chicken finger picked intro to “One Word” is guitar hero worthy.
“Rush You” is the opener as the power chord crashes down and the cymbals ring before it goes into a double time beat and some series riffage and how cool is that “Back in Black” walking chromatic riff just before the verse.
“Early Warning” begins with the drums while a slide guitar plays a rock riff and the music then stops while DeMarchi sings, “Too Young To Know and Too Old To Listen”.
The band kicks in again. Then the verses come and it’s like a Jimi Hendrix song, before it moves into the power of the Chorus.
“Painless” has this funk blues boogie which I like. If you haven’t heard it, today is a great day for it.
They toured hard on this album, playing all the major cities and regional towns in Australia, and once Bryan Adams heard the album, he added them to his European leg.
The Black Crowes added them to their Australian and New Zealand tour, while Eddie Van Halen, asked for them to be the support act on the “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” tour after he heard the album via his wife Valerie Bertinelli.
By the time their touring commitments ended for the album in August 1992, they had played over 500 shows.