Music magazine, 'RAM', paper, printed by Eastern Suburbs Newspapers, used by Festival Records, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1980
This copy of 'RAM' magazine has significance as an example of how rock music magazines helped to promote Australian recording artists. Australia has enjoyed a healthy supply of magazines documenting the local and overseas rock music scenes. 'Go-Set' (1966-1974) provided news, gossip and interviews. Soon after its demise, there emerged successors aspiring to be the leading rock music trade paper. 'Sound Blast' had been running for several years before 1975 when it was joined by 'RAM' (Rock Australia Magazine). Started by Anthony O'Grady, a former 'Go-Set' contributor, and publisher Philip Mason, 'RAM' was modelled on English papers such as 'New Musical Express' and 'Melody Maker' and quickly flourished. It was the era of Skyhooks, the early 2JJ and 'Countdown', and 'RAM' enhanced the sense that something was really happening with contemporary music.
The magazine also has significance as visual evidence of the image and profile of the shock-rockers Jimmy and the Boys. Formed in the mid-1970s, Jimmy & the Boys were billed as the 'kings of outrage rock' on their bio. The band approached rock music as a form of theatre. Their performances featured politics, simulated sex and violent humour. Their stage antics involved the use of props, such as setting fire to dolls and maiming an effigy of Malcolm Fraser. The band recorded for John McDonald's Melbourne-based Avenue Records, an important independent label. Formed in 1979 to handle Jimmy & the Boys, it rapidly became a force, signing up Mondo Rock, the Monitors, the Bushwhackers and blues guitar virtuoso Kevin Borich. For a couple of years Avenue's records were manufactured, distributed and marketed by Festival Records, which was therefore responsible for promoting Jimmy and the Boys' music. This often involved liaising with rock music magazines to gain coverage.
As an Australian record company, Festival Records was for over 50 years a significant force in the music recording industry. It financed, recorded, manufactured, promoted, marketed, distributed and published a huge range of local and overseas music, from classical to popular, under an equally vast number of labels. Although a major record company, it was independent of the five multinational companies that dominated the industry worldwide.
Festival Records manufactured vinyl discs in Sydney for 40 years. At the height of production in the 1980s Festival's factory was buzzing with 26 record presses pumping out 25,000 records per day. In addition there was a cassette duplicating plant, an art department, a printing department for album covers, plus a huge warehouse for packing and distribution.
Festival Records provided a home to a vast array of musical styles and many independent labels, not readily identified with the Festival brand. For over fifty years its existence as a major independent record company, competing with the multinationals, helped to create a healthy environment for Australian music.
Edited by Anthony O'Grady. Published by Philip Mason. Printed by Eastern Suburbs Newspapers.
Festival Records kept a collection of rock music magazines. This magazine remained in Festival Records' collection until donated to the Museum. It was displayed in the Museum's exhibition 'Spinning Around: 50 Years of Festival Records', from 2001 to 2003.