Baby Animals are a 1990s hard rock band from Australia.
Lead singer, Suze DeMarchi started singing in local Perth pub bands at the age of 17. As Suze admits:
"after the first couple of gigs, I knew that there was nothing else I would rather do If I never did anything else the rest of my life but record and play live, I?d be happy."
For the next four years, DeMarchi was in England recording and writing as a solo artist, with EMI records. But disheartened by the record company's attempt to slide her into a pop career, and missing not working with a band, together with a little encouragement from The Angels then manager John Woodruff, she returned to Australia in mid 1989. On her return she set about forming a new band, fellow Perth musician Frank Celenza recommended his best friend, bass player Eddie Parise. Based on a referral by John Woodruff, DeMarchi approached guitarist Dave Leslie to join the band and finally after much encouragement Celenza joined as the band's drummer.
November 1989 saw the band?s first gig at the infamous Kardomah Caf? in Sydney, under the name 'Woody's Heroes', and the start of constant touring through the city?s pubs and clubs.
The name 'Baby Animals' came about after seeing an advertisement for a local TV show, Wheel Of Fortune, hosted by 'Baby John Burgess'. Another version suggests the name came from a calendar in a mall. In at least one interview, however, Suze mentioned they changed the origins of the name in different interviews as it got boring answering the same thing over and over.
The Angels were so impressed with the band, that they included one of the band?s demos "Break My Heart" on the B-side of their single "Dogs Are Talking", along with tracks from two other rock ?n? roll bands - Rob Tognoni's Desert Cats & The Hurricanes. A national tour showcasing all four bands shortly followed.
In August 1990, the band signed a publishing deal with SBK Songs (now EMI Songs.) Whilst attending one of their gigs, Terry Ellis, president of the newly formed Imago Recording Company heard something special and signed them to his label. He described the experience as
"the band was great, the songs were terrific and to me Suze clearly had that indefineable magic that separates one artist from the crowd and makes them a star."
Suze was known to have once dated fellow musicians Mark Lizotte (Diesel) and Dave Gleeson (The Screaming Jets)
The band flew to New York to record the debut album, and together with expatriate Mike Chapman (Sweet, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Suzi Quatro) and Kevin "Caveman" Shirley (Aerosmith, Nuno, Silverchair) produced a classic debut album. Suze said of the production process: "It was great. Basically, Mike left us alone to make the kind of music we know how to make; and whenever he did have a suggestion, it was always something that made the sound better. So what you hear is pure recording, the band as it really is."
Their debut single "Early Warning" was released April 1991 and immediately reached the Top 20 on the Australian Singles charts. After the release of the single, the band flew to the United States for a series of showcases for the Imago/BMG people, to coincide with the earlier release of the album there. With the Top 20 chart success of "Early Warning" at home, the second single "Rush You" was released in August 1991.
Their eponymous debut album Baby Animals was released in September 1991. The album debuted at number six on the ARIA 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 12 years later).
After reportedly listening to the band's album in his kitchen, Bryan Adams asked the band to join him on his European tour. Whilst overseas, the band picked up the 'Best New Act' at the inaugural 1991 Australian Music Awards. Christmas 1991 saw the band back in Australia for more touring, and the release of two more singles from the album "Painless" and "One Word". The incredibly successful ?Let Go Of My Ears? tour saw the band playing to sellout crowds all over the country.
In 1992 the band joined the Black Crowes on a national tour of Australia and New Zealand. 'Baby Animals' made a guest appearance on the David Letterman Show, performing the single "Painless".
The band picked up a number of honours at the 1992 ARIA Music Awards, receiving awards for 'Best Debut Album', 'Best Single', and 'Best Album'. DeMarchi was also nominated for 'Best Female Vocalist'.
The band then toured in the opening slot for Van Halen's "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour" across America from January 28 to May 31, again playing to arena-size audiences. Eddie Van Halen requested their presence after his wife Valerie heard their album, and suggested them.
Australian Rolling Stone placed Suze on the cover (noting the increased profile of women in Australian music and design reasons). It was the first time they had put an Australian artist or group on the cover on the merits of a debut album. The Editor's letter was used to explain why Suze is on the cover despite the fact that the band insisted on a photo of the whole band or no cover at all.
Sales of Baby Animals reached 8 times platinum in Australia, and topped 800,000 worldwide. The band having played over 500 shows when they stopped touring in August.
Shaved & Dangerous
In 1993, the band returned to New York (Bearsville Studio, where they also recorded their first album). Two weeks of pre-production later, they go to the Bahamas, where they spend two months recording at Compass Point Studio (AC/DC). This time around, they experiment with a more mature sound, at the hands of producer Ed Stasium (Ramones, Living Colour). Next, the band move on to Los Angeles, where Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) meets up with the band, after having previously admired their music and calling them up. He contributes his songwriting/guitar skills ("Because I Can") and produces "Life From A Distance" and "Be My Friend". He also contributes to "She Does Whatever" on the Shaved and Dangerous Tour CD.
Shaved And Dangerous is released in August, 1993 to positive reviews that applaud the maturation of their music from their simpler, high energy debut to their new-found emotional depth and daring.
Baby Animals support Robert Plant's US tour before returning home around Christmas time to prepare for a 27-date Australian tour.
Touring was cut short when DeMarchi experienced throat problems, which required her to undertake surgery for her vocal cords. In August, 1994 Baby Animals shared the stage with Extreme in a concert on the Azores island of Sao Miguel. DeMarchi and Bettencourt's wedding ceremony was also performed there. Songwriting/recording for the third record was anticipated for November.
In 1995 on the verge of their first major US tour, their US-based record company Imago Records folded after losing its distributor, BMG. Soon afterwards in early 1996 the band officially disband.
In October 1999 DeMarchi released her first single, "Satellite" as a solo artist, which was followed by her debut album, Telelove.
In June 2004 Suze DeMarchi was one of the inaugural inductees into the WAM (West Australian Music Industry Awards) Hall of Fame.
In 2007, the rumors of a reformed Baby Animals with all original members were confirmed. They released an acoustic CD of their hits titled Il Grande Silenzio on January 19, 2008, as part of the Liberation Blue Acoustic Series.
January 21, 2008, saw Liberation Records re-release their previous two albums (Baby Animals and Shaved and Dangerous remastered) as a 2 CD set. The remastered version of their first record is missing the track "Big Time Friends". The band indicated that they had such a great time recording that they wrote more songs which will be released in a future, as-yet-untitled CD. Meanwhile, the band has some Australian tour dates already confirmed for January 2008. The band also appeared live on the Australian breakfast TV program Sunrise on 22 January, 2008.
On January 12, 2009, The Baby Animals announced another Australian tour, playing 14 shows across Adelaide, Melbourne, Wollongong, Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast during April, 2009. While there is no mention of the much anticipated new album, the press release does make mention of the band having some new material to unleash on the Australian public.
Prior to embarking on this tour, it had become evident to all involved that the band could not sustain a creative partnership, owing to internal conflicts. With Frank Celenza's shocking resignation and two day later self-reinstatement and Parise's resentments bubbling beneath the surface, Demarchi & Leslie decided to continue with a couple of hand-picked Sydney musicians, Matt Cornell (Bass/ Vocals) and Mick Skelton (Drums), who shared the same passion, direction and actually appeared to enjoy playing in the band.
The tour was a great success with many happy fans attending all shows and culminated in a sell-out show at the Metro Theatre in Sydney where the band was joined onstage for a song by Richard Clapton and for the encore, Demarchi's husband Nuno Bettencourt for a version of Extreme's "Get The Funk Out" which brought the house down.
Suze DeMarchi - Vocals
Dave Leslie - Guitars
Eddie Parise - Bass guitar
Frank Celenza - Drums and percussion
Baby Animals (1991) - Australia #1, Australia (End Of Year Charts 1992) #2
Shaved and Dangerous (1993)
Il Grande Silenzio (2008)
"Early Warning" (1991) - #21 Australia
"Rush You" (1991) - #30 Australia
"Painless" (1991) - #49 Australia
"One Word" (1992) - #15 Australia
"Impossible To Fly (1992) - #48 Australia
"Ain't Gonna Get" (1992) - #?
"Don't Tell Me What To Do" (1993) - #24 Australia
"At The End Of The Day" (1993) - #60 Australia ... Double A-Side single
"Backbone" (1993) - #60 Australia ... B-Side single to: "At The End Of The Day"
"Lights Out At Eleven" (1994) - #54 Australia
^ "Baby Animals tour dates - Yahoo!7 Sunrise".
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