REUNITED: Les Graham Kelly, Bart Willoughby and John Miller at the Share the Spirit festival in Melbourne on January 26.
REUNITED: Les Graham Kelly, Bart Willoughby and John Miller at the Share the Spirit festival in Melbourne on January 26. Contributed

The band is back together! Emotions run high as No Fixed Address returns

THEY were pioneers of Australian "blackfella reggae”, using rock to challenge the racist world around them.

Now No Fixed Address are getting back together, nearly 40 years after they first began and nine years since they last reformed, and Bundaberg's Ricky Harrison is filled with emotion.

As the band's lead guitarist and songwriter, he said he was thrilled to get back on the road and share how the group's sound has grown.

"It couldn't be better. After all these years, (the sound has) matured.

"The vibe is still there.”

BACK IN THE DAY: John Miller, Bart Willoughby, Ricky Harrison and Les Graham Kelly in the early days of No Fixed Address.
BACK IN THE DAY: John Miller, Bart Willoughby, Ricky Harrison and Les Graham Kelly in the early days of No Fixed Address. Contributed

The original four members, Les Graham, Bart Willoughby, John Miller and Harrison, were inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame last year.

They then performed on NITV, at the Share the Spirit Festival in Melbourne and the Gov in their hometown of Adelaide.

Last month the band met Mushroom Records boss Michael Gudinski and recorded songs for a possible upcoming EP, Harrison said.

At a time when most contemporary Aboriginal music was country, No Fixed Address broke the mould by drawing on reggae and punk.

They reached great heights in the 1980s, from mainstream success on the likes of Countdown to touring Europe and helping make the award-winning film, Wrong Side of the Road.

BACK IN ACTION: Ricky Harrison does his thing at the Share the Spirit festival in Melbourne on January 26.
BACK IN ACTION: Ricky Harrison does his thing at the Share the Spirit festival in Melbourne on January 26. Contributed

The band used music to send out a political message.

"(Reggae) was used by Jamaicans as a political tool,” he said.

"We used it to talk about deaths in custody and surviving; how we saw things as young people, through our eyes.

"Peter Garrett said, 'middle class Australia didn't know what hit 'em'.”

The band has always kept in touch but for Harrison, "it's a relief... to know we're all back together again”.

The guitarist has lived in Bundaberg since 2005 with his wife.

MUSIC LEGEND: Ricky Harrison of No Fixed Address with his South Australian Music Hall of Fame medal. The band is reforming and set to tour Australia this year.
MUSIC LEGEND: Ricky Harrison of No Fixed Address with his South Australian Music Hall of Fame medal. The band is reforming and set to tour Australia this year. Eliza Goetze

They had five children, one of whom died from muscular dystrophy in 2015.

The tragedy hit Harrison hard, and seeing his music influence on others touches him now more than ever.

He recalled meeting a young fan after the band's performance at the Gov.

"They said 'Ricky, come and meet Colin'.

"I grabbed the wheelchair, pushed it into the room, we took photos and talked.

"Afterwards he said 'Thanks, that meant a lot', because he only had two weeks to live.

"I'm grateful knowing our performances bring happiness and lift the spirit of the people.”



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