Dave Warner: The Iconic Aussie Musician who invented Suburban Rock


Who is Dave Warner?

Dave Warner is an iconic Australian musician and songwriter who emerged as a prominent figure in the late 1970s and early 1980s on the punk rock and new wave scene. Born in Western Australia, Warner’s music captivated audiences with its witty storytelling and quintessentially Australian themes. It was the first time that an Australian artist dared write about his own country and Dave did it so well, audiences just couldn’t get enough of him. 

The Birth of Suburban Rock

Dave Warner gained national recognition in Australia as a musician and songwriter. He was the frontman of the band Pus, possibly Australia’s first punk band. Pus was known for their raw and energetic performances, breaking the mold of traditional Australian music at the time. Dave Warner’s music was anything but ordinary, and he coined the phrase “suburban rock” to describe his unique sound.

“I always wanted to do music. I always loved reading books and writing, and I always wanted to write books too. But in those days, they didn’t have any creative writing courses. So the English course that I did was very much just critical appreciation, and I found that a bit boring.” – Dave Warner

As the frontman of the band Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs, he achieved critical acclaim with their debut album “Mugs Game” (1978) featuring the hit single “Suburban Boy.” The follow-up album “Free Kicks” (1979) further solidified his reputation, showcasing tracks like “Half Time at the Football.”

From Psychology to Music

Despite graduating with a degree in psychology from the University of Western Australia, Dave Warner’s passion for music led him down a different path. He saw music as a way to express himself and connect with others on a deeper level. After working as a psychologist for a short period, he decided to pursue his true passion and embarked on a journey to Europe.

The Evolution of Dave Warner's From the Suburbs

During his time in Europe, Dave Warner began working on his most significant project, Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs. This concept album aimed to capture the essence of growing up in the Australian suburbs, a theme that had not been explored extensively in Australian music at the time. Dave Warner wanted to create something original and authentic, reflecting his own experiences and the world around him.

“I wanted to approach my music in this kind of conceptual basis, that all the songs were really going to be more relevant to what it was like to be growing up in the Australian suburbs, rather than dictated by the actual musical nature.” – Dave Warner

The Impact of Dave Warner's Music

Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs resonated with audiences, particularly in Australia, where it struck a chord with those who could relate to the suburban experience. The songs were a mix of different genres, ranging from country to folk to hard rock. This eclectic approach, combined with Dave Warner’s witty and satirical lyrics, made his music stand out from the crowd.

“People got it. It was just a big satirical look at the world.” – Dave Warner

The Controversy and Notoriety

Some of Dave Warner’s songs, particularly the ones with explicit language and provocative themes, garnered controversy and notoriety. One such song was “The Monster’s Back,” which caused a riot at a performance in Wollongong. Despite the controversy, Dave Warner’s music continued to gain popularity, attracting a cult following and solidifying his status as a revolutionary musician.

“We managed to create a riot at Wollongong where the Collegiate’s Rugby League Club booked us and they said you’re not to sing that song where you use all those swear words. The one where you mention all those other bands.” – Dave Warner

Dave Warner: The Author

In addition to his music career, Dave Warner has also made a name for himself as an author. He has written twelve highly acclaimed novels and has contributed to feature films, stage productions, TV shows, radio, and newspapers. His writing style reflects his unique perspective on life, often delving into the same themes he explored in his music.

Dave Warner's Legacy

Dave Warner’s impact on the Australian music scene cannot be overstated. He paved the way for future artists to embrace their own unique voices and tell stories that resonate with their own experiences. His music and writing continue to inspire and captivate audiences, proving that true artistry knows no boundaries.

“Dave Warner’s From the Suburbs was a game-changer in Australian music. It challenged the status quo and gave a voice to the suburban experience. Dave Warner’s legacy will forever be remembered as a revolutionary musician and author.” – Sandy Kaye

Future Outlook

Dave Warner’s journey from a psychology graduate to a groundbreaking musician and author is a testament to the power of following one’s passion. His ability to capture the essence of the Australian suburbs and present it in a unique and thought-provoking way has left an indelible mark on the music and literary landscape. As we look to the future, we can only hope that more artists will follow in Dave Warner’s footsteps, fearlessly embracing their own stories and creating art that challenges and inspires.

In the words of Dave Warner himself, “I’m surprised anyone wants to hear from me, but I’m glad they do.” And we are glad too, for Dave Warner has given us a Breath of Fresh Air in the world of music and literature.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Andre Fritze

    Suburbs in the ‘70’s (CD) also captures Warner’s Suburbs in flight and his other two albums of the times Correct Weight – This is my Planet should be held in high esteem also. ( repackaged as Correct Planet double CD )re: his novels, well worth the read. For a more ‘in depth’ look at the growth of the suburban messiah his Mugs Game : a suburban odyssey is well worth repeated listening. He’s Bob Dylan’s favourite Australian songwriter, an allocade well deserved.

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