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REWIND 1995: Andy Prieboy Starts A New Mile High Club

By Peter Holmes

Dateline: 1995.

I am at Festival Records in Pyrmont, on the outskirts of the Sydney CBD, to interview American singer Andy Prieboy, a slight fellow in the rock'n'roll mould with an impressive pile of black hair.

He wants to sit outside on the steps near an emergency exit so he can smoke.

Prieboy replaced Stan Ridgway as the singer in Wall Of Voodoo, a strange '80s band that threw drum machines, synthesisers, post-punk, garage rock and spaghetti western country into a blender and emerged with a wonky rattle and twang that was cinematic and theatrical.

Ridgway (Mexican Radio) and Prieboy (Far Side Of Crazy) each had a hit single with the band, and both went on to make very good solo albums that mostly didn't do much business.

Prieboy is best known for Tomorrow Wendy, a song about a woman with AIDS.

But he's here today to discuss his new solo album Sins of the Father.

He sucks the living daylights out of a cigarette, as if he's vacuuming up a thickshake through a straw.

I ask how he coped with the new regulations banning smoking on the 14-hour haul from Los Angeles to Sydney.

The look on his face tells me he did not cope very well at all.

So not well, in fact, that given the choice of getting in trouble for lighting up in the jumbo jet's bathroom, or eating a cigarette, he went with the latter.

Yep, he just mashed the tobacco into his airline food and chowed on down.

Andy Prieboy is not proud of what he's done, but he did it nonetheless, and there is no taking it back.

What's more, I suspect that under duress, he will do it again.


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