In December of 2020, Rolling Stone Australia released a special edition issue which looks at the 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time, paying tribute to the best and most impactful artists in Australian music history. While it would have been easy for the editors and writers of the publication to profess their love of the listed artists, the decision was instead made for those who found themselves inspired by these world-renowned names to share their own testimonials of why these artists deserve to make the list.
In celebration of the issue’s release in December, we’re counting down the full 50 artists and their accompanying testimonials in this ongoing online feature. If you want to get your hands on an physical copy of the magazine, be sure to subscribe now to experience the double-length edition featuring some of Australia’s best and brightest discussing the finest names in local music.
50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time – #42: The Beasts Of Bourbon (by Adalita of Magic Dirt)
The first time I encountered the Beasts of Bourbon I was a young uni student, just initiating myself into the alternative music scene after a steady teenage diet of American Top 40 and Eighties mainstream pop. I fuelled my musical about-face with their excellent cover of hillbilly murder ballad “Psycho”, which then led me to their thick and oozy third album Black Milk – both very important musical stepping stones, opening my eyes and ears to heavier sounds and tougher music which I was really starting to crave.
What I love about the Beasts of Bourbon is the authenticity. It’s real, they’re real, the real fucking deal. The fuel behind the fire has been exhaustively researched with real people, moving bodies, endurance tests, living. It’s all been deep-dived, survived and then tabled and brought to you. You’re basically getting pure chthonic information, life blood. Not only are they authentic but they’re exceptional at what they do. They have the killer skills.
“We could hold our own but under their black and sticky wing we became willing and gleeful rock‘n’roll initiates once more.”
Tex is one of the greatest front people ever and Brian (RIP) and Spencer (RIP) are two of my favourite musicians ever. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with the Beasts on many occasions, one of them being a national tour with Magic Dirt and Rowland S Howard in 2007. We could hold our own but under their black and sticky wing we became willing and gleeful rock‘n’roll initiates once more.
Watching them every night was a wakeup call. All thunder, power, danger, exhilaration. Intimidating and awesome, at times liver-splittingly hilarious, this is how you fucking do it. They work hard to bring the music into being and to deliver it with the passion that they do, but the Beasts don’t need to try, they just are. That’s what makes ’em so damn cool.