Anyway, this is not Animal Friday, so let’s get to the music. We will talk about Baby Animals though, and the ones I like you to remind you of today are from Australia. Better said, they were from Australia, as this rock outift has been vanishing from the music world quite a while ago.
In late 1991/early 1992, I was on a 2 1/2-month trip through the Great Southern Land, and it was then when I discovered the Baby Animals. On one of my frequent visits to a CD store, I’ve bought an all-Australian-compilation CD for the car, and the first song on it was Rush You from a band called the Baby Animals. It didn’t take long until my three mates and me started to headbang along to the tune, and when frontgirl Suze DeMarchi finally started to sing, we were impressed by the sudden mood change of the song. Of course it didn’t take very long before we got our hands on the band’s first album, and it quickly became a favourite roadtrip-soundtrack for us.
Baby Animals where founded during 1989 when lead singer Suze DeMarchi returned back home from England where she had spent the last 4 years recording and writing as a solo artist for EMI records (she quit because the record company tried to push her into a pop career… good girl!). She gathered round some friends, and soon after, Woody’s Heroes – as the band was called at first – started touring through Australian pubs and clubs.
In 1990, now as Baby Animals, the band was signed to Imago Recording Company and were brought to New York to start work on their debut album. They were very lucky to play and record the kind of sound they liked without a dozen of managers and producers telling them what to do. 1991 saw the release of the first single, Early Warning, and it immediately became a top-20-hit in Australia. In August the same year, second single Rush You was released, and just one month later, the debut album followed. It debuted at number 6 in the Australian charts and spent six weeks at number one, becoming the highest-selling debut Australian rock album of all time (until 12 years later, Jet came along and broke that record).
Tours with the likes of Bryan Adams, Van Halen and the Black Crowes followed, accompanied by more single releases, and various awards at the Australian Music Awards. DeMarchi even made it on the cover page of the Australian edition of Rolling Stone magazine – a first for a band with only one album released!
In 1993, Baby Animals returned to New York to start work on the second album, Shaved And Dangerous. The recording process also led them to Los Angeles where they met up with Nuno Bettencourt from soft-rockers Extreme who contributed and produced some of the songs for the album. Shaved And Dangerous was released in August and got quite good reviews, but failed to make a bigger impact. After supporting Robert Plant on his US tour, the band returned to Australia for further touring, but after DeMarchi experienced throat problems and had to untertake surgery, the tour was cut short.
The band took the stage again in 1994 on the Azores island of Sao Miguel, together with Extreme. It was also the time and place for the wedding of Suze DeMarchi and Nuno Bettencourt. Plans were made for recording a third album, but in 1995, Imago Records had to close down, and the Baby Animals called it quits soon afterwards, in early 1996.
DeMarchi released one solo-album called Telelove in 1999. In 2001, rumours made the rounds that she was to replace Michael Hutchence (+1997) as a lead singer for INXS, following her performance with the band at a gig in December 2000. There was talk about her and former Baby Animals-guitarist Dave Leslie getting together in 2007 to record an acoustic Baby Animals-album, but no news about that can be found.
The debut album is still a damn fine collection of catchy and cool rock songs, so I’m gonna give you the four single releases off it. There were no single hits from the second album, so I’m just posting the two I think are the best. If you thirst for more, the albums are still available at your record dealer. You might even be lucky and find some of them in the bargain bin!
Suze DeMarchi – Vocals
Dave Leslie – Guitars
Eddie Parise – Bass Guitar
Frank Celenza – Drums And Percussion