Ep 01: The Rise Of Triple J – Show Notes

Notes, links, videos and music from Episode 01 – The Rise Of Triple J

Show notes for Episode 01 – Triple J. Includes various interviews with people, and more background on the Whitlam stuff.

Ep 01: A Rumble In The Old Machine – The Rise of Triple J

Just Ace: A podcast about the 90s Australian alternative music scene
Just Ace: A podcast about the 90s Australian alternative music scene
Ep 01: A Rumble In The Old Machine - The Rise of Triple J

The name of this episode is A Rumble In The Old Machine, which is a lyric in the You Am I song Rumble.

So Triple J still exists, but it’s, of course, very different place to what it was in the 90s. Not worse – just times change.

The Gough Whitlam stuff

I started with the longish story about Gough Whitlam – and in fact I cut a lot more of it out. I really want to tie arts culture to politics and policy in this story – in this episode and how it affected the music. Whitlam, in particular, was an arts focused Prime Minister. The music and arts industry in Australia still benefit from his policies. He was dismissed in 1975. Here’s an ABC News video of the Whitlam dismissal. I assume they still teach this in schools, right?

Whitlam’s campaign video/song, It’s Time. There are lots of Australian celebrities here. Australia had never seen anything like this.

Here’s Blue Poles, the painting that Whitlam bought for $1.3 million in 1973. It has been referred to as the most controversial painting in Australian history, as Whitlam’s enemies didn’t believe in using government money to buy art. It became a symbol for the fight for a more modern Australia. You can visit it at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra (and while you’re there, check out the statue of the Berlin Chair).

I love it. Not only is it furiously amazing, it’s a symbol of a modern Australia, ready to put art on the walls. It was the national version of growing up and giving up the blu tack and buying frames for things.

Double J/Triple J

Here’s a video from the first moments of Double J launching in 1975. Holger Brockman on the mic.

Triple J going national wasn’t easy. Here’s a video with various people involved talking about going national in the day. Marius Webb and Andy Nehl are both interviewed. Interesting that Adelaide Triple M’s Tony Easton makes the point about supporting bands outside of Sydney. Some nice footage of Falling Joys too.


There was so much trouble for Triple J at the start of the 90s, starting with the NWA, Fuck Tha Police incident. Tyler Jenke wrote about it quite nicely in Brag.

I’m amazed I couldn’t find any photos of the Town Hall protests. Here is an article covering the day, from the very first issue of Drum Media.

We’ll get back to Triple J in a later episode when we look at The Hot(test) 100, Unearthed, the net50 (remember that one?) and other fun stuff. This is very much Triple J part 1.

Writer Toby Creswell’s book on Triple J was far enough along to have an official synopsis and is still listed on Booktopia. Slated for release in 2015, there’s been no sign of it ever since.


Songs heard:

  • It’s Time (see above)
  • Fuck Tha Police by NWA
  • Express Yourself by NWA
  • Play Me by The Welcome Mat
  • Arnold’s A Genius by Front End Loader

The background music included:

  • Idiot Box I by You Am I (from the Idiot Box soundtrack)
  • A karaoke version of Skyhook’s Livin’ In the 70s
  • Buster by Spiderbait (from the album Grand Slam)