Koalas and Kiwis, it’s finally arrived! The gobsmacking Music From The Home Front event – which beamed into our homes and the cockles of our hearts on Anzac Day this year – is now available in all its triple vinyl glory. Presented on vibrant green, gold and silver wax, it features 27 tracks and comes with a massive full-colour souvenir poster that’s hand-numbered and signed by the big dog of Mushroom himself, Michael Gudinski.
Speaking to the label head and chief event organiser just a day or so after the show is televised, he’s audibly still on a high. “You can tell in my voice – even though my voice is stuffed – it’s something that I will never forget,” he says. (His voice is, indeed, like an eggbeater in a bowl of gravel.) “The whole thing flowed. We went an hour and seven minutes over. They blew off Doctor Doctor.” Good decision, Channel Nine.
“I think what was critical was, we only had nine days to put it together,” he explains. And how exactly is that possible? “Well, it’s not,” he chortles. But with the help of the incredible artists and the Mushroom team – all of whom were eager to celebrate the Anzac spirit and show their gratitude to Australia’s frontline workers during the COVID pandemic – somehow, it happened. “There were a number of acts who were in like Flynn straight away – obviously Jimmy Barnes, he helped me quite a bit with it,” Gudinski says. “And I thought his vocals on the show were – it was one take, bang! The best I think I’ve ever heard him sing, to be honest.”
Barnsey wasn’t the only established icon who performed; we also saw Crowded House, Dave Dobbyn, Vika & Linda Bull, Diesel, Mark Seymour, Paul Kelly, Troy Cassar-Daley and Archie Roach give sterling performances. But Gudinski says that variety was important. “We wanted to make sure that the show appealed to a wide audience, so I was very happy that we got in a number of younger, breaking acts, like Ruel, Jack River, Vera Blue, and G Flip – she was sensational!”
A mixing of genres was also baked into the show’s flux, such as Paul Kelly with young Indigenous operatic vocalist Jess Hitchcock, and of course Kate Ceberano with hip hop dudes Bliss N Eso, the performance of which featured a sweeping camera shot that soared up to the performers on a high-rise balcony. “That whole shot with the zoom camera, the drone – that was all Jonathan’s [Notley, MC Bliss] idea. Give credit where it’s due,” Gudinski smiles.
If you’re at all sceptical about the financial side of this venture, Gudinski’s here to put that to bed. “I’m personally not getting a Project Fee – I don’t want it – but every artist got paid,” he says. And as for vinyl and CD sales? “JB has always put Australian music first; like a lot of the artists, they’ve donated money to Support Act, and have agreed to do [the release] at no profit – all the money from sales of the album will be going to Support Act,” he confirms.
“I think the Australian people, particularly in times like this, they wants to support our great artists – its been inspiring to all of us,” he says. “From when I started [Mushroom Records] in ’72 – geez, that makes me feel old – this is one of the greatest moments of my whole career. And it’s been a long, great career.”
Discover Music From The Home Front on triple vinyl and CD at JB Hi-Fi now.