Come see the rebooted Divinyls before bagging it.
That is legendary Oz rock guitarist Mark McEntee’s message to late singer Chrissy Amphlett’s widower Charley Drayton, who criticised the founding guitarist’s decision to tour with a new vocalist.
Drayton, who played drums with Divinyls and is now a member of Cold Chisel, lashed out on Facebook last month when the national tour with American singer Lauren Ruth Ward was announced.
“Anyone who would front the band Divinyls who’s (sic) name was not Chrissy Amphlett should seek some trustworthy advice as soon as possible,” he wrote.
Arguably Australia’s greatest rock singer, Amphlett died in 2013 aged 53 after a long battle with breast cancer.
Speaking yesterday during rehearsals with Ward plus fellow new recruits, drummer Malcolm Clark and bassist Jay Cortez of Perth band the Sleepy Jackson, McEntee invited Drayton to any of the 18 shows starting in Geraldton next month.
“Nobody can be Chrissy. Chrissy was so unique.”
The new-look band also includes former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante, who played with Divinyls on the Australian Made tour in 1986-87.
“He’s welcome, it might change his mind,” said the 66-year-old Perth musician, who started the ARIA Hall of Famers with Amphlett in 1980 before co-writing hits such as Pleasure and Pain, Boys in Town, Science Fiction and Back to the Wall.
“He doesn’t own the Divinyls, and he certainly doesn’t own my f...ing music.”
McEntee met Divinyls’ new singer while holidaying in Los Angeles last year with fashion designer wife Melanie Greensmith.
I Touch Myself co-writer Billy Steinberg invited the guitarist to a studio where Ward was recording a cover of the 1990 hit. “As soon as I laid eyes on her I knew she was a great rock singer,” McEntee said.
“We clicked. I thought she had a fabulous voice and did an incredible interpretation (of I Touch Myself) in the studio.
“It got me thinking.”
Before meeting Ward and despite many lucrative offers from concert promoters, McEntee believed he would never again play Divinyls’ much-loved songs on tour.
The musician emphatically stated that the young singer from Baltimore was not replacing Amphlett.
“Nobody can be Chrissy,” he said.
“Chrissy was so unique, God bless her, and I really want to take this out as a bit of a tribute to Chrissy because we wrote all these songs together.
“It’s a mission to play my music again and have Chrissy’s lyrics sung again.
“I find it rather touching.”
Divinyls play a warm-up show in Geraldton on February 27 before shows at Gate One Theatre in Claremont on March 1 and the Dunsborough Tavern on March 2.
The tour then continues around the rest of Australia until a concert in Darwin on March 25.