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So Set ’Em Up, Joe

Robert asked me to write some liner notes for the box set, G Stands For Go-Betweens: The Go-Betweens Anthology, Vol. 1 and I was happy to do that, to talk about the band's early years, 1978 to 1982. Robert gave it this title, a tip of the hat to one of my favourite Frank songs, “One for My Baby”, that perfect Johnny Mercer lyric set to the unforgettable music of Harold Arlen.
So Set ’Em Up, Joe
1978 “I just want some affection.”
from a 1978 notebook: ‘Ran through “Who are the mystery girls?” with R&G. Toowong lounge room, Thursday afternoon, tea & biscuits. Could be first time the Dolls have been played in such circumstances.’
I left this bit out, but luckily have just remembered—‘“We’re having snaggies for dinner!” (Robert claps his hands in excitement).’
It seems pointless to say that I found Robert and Grant—the preposterously boisterous, happy-go-lucky pair of them—completely fresh, particularly in contrast to the bottom of nowhere types I liked to hang around with at the t…
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Who will remember your tunes?

Photo © Bleddyn Butcher 1985

I posted this six years ago. May 6th, 2010. Later, accidentally, I deleted it, then realised I didn't have a copy. But someone sent it to me last year as if to say, look! the lost can sometimes be found. Today, it's 10 years since Grant died. A decade. A day for remembrance. 

Who will remember your tunes?

Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens died on a Saturday afternoon, May 6th, four years ago. He was sleeping. No one got to say goodbye.

The Apartments and The Go-Betweens started in Brisbane around the same time. Getting my band together was simple. Followed the classic lines for a two guitar, bass & drums lineup: arrogant lead singer/guitarist, friend from high school on bass, drug buddy on guitar. Three-part harmonies. Throw in a stranger who turned up out of nowhere to the first rehearsal & could really play drums.

In those early days, at most of our shows, I would look out from the stage into the crowd and see two silhouettes, one tall, somebo…