Fraternity (band)

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Fraternity (Australian band).jpg
Fraternity: (L–R) Bruce Howe, Mick Jurd, John Freeman, John Bisset, Bon Scott
Background information
Also known asFang
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, boogie rock, blues rock
Years active1970 (1970)–1973, 1974 (1974)–1975
LabelsSweet Peach, Raven, RCA
Associated acts The Valentines, AC/DC, Cold Chisel
Past membersBruce Howe
Mick Jurd
John Bisset
Tony Buettel
Bon Scott
John Freeman
John Eyers
Sam See
Mauri Berg
Peter Bersee
John Swan
Jimmy Barnes

Fraternity were an Australian rock band which formed in Sydney in 1970 and relocated to Adelaide in 1971. Former members include successive lead vocalists Bon Scott (who later joined AC/DC), John Swan (who also played drums and later had a solo career), and his brother Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel). Their biggest local hit was a cover version of "Seasons of Change" which peaked at No. 1 in Adelaide, but nationally it was overrun by the original Blackfeather version. The group won the 1971 Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds with the prize being a free trip to London. Fraternity went through various line-ups and was renamed as Fang (on british tour), Fraternity (again). In the late 70s some Fraternity former members created the bands Some Dream and Mickey Finn. Mickey Finn disbanded in 1992.



Fraternity were formed in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in early 1970 by four ex-members of the recently split Levi Smith's Clefs, John Bisset on keyboards and vocals, Tony Buettel on drums, Bruce Howe on bass guitar and vocals, and Mick Jurd on lead guitar. [1] [2] The band recorded their debut single, "Why Did It Have to Be Me" which was issued on the Sweet Peach label in October. [1] Howe was looking for a lead vocalist and called on Bon Scott, whose group The Valentines had just disbanded. [3] They signed with Nova Agencies who also managed Sydney rockers, Blackfeather and their guitarist John Robinson would often jam with Fraternity. [3] Early gigs were at Jonathon's Disco on Broadway in Sydney. [3]

Scott was invited to play recorder on the Blackfeather track "Seasons of Change" for that band's debut album, At the Mountains of Madness. [3] John Freeman (Levi Smith's Clefs) replaced Buettel on drums and Fraternity recorded their debut album, Livestock , which was produced by Doug Ashdown and Jimmy Stewart. [1] By the album's release in early 1971, Fraternity relocated to Adelaide and lived on a farm. [4] They signed with a new manager, Hamish Henry, and issued a new single, "Livestock" in January. They followed with their cover of "Seasons of Change" in March. [3] The song sold well and became a No. 1 hit in Adelaide – it reached No. 51 on the Go-Set National Top 60. [3] Upon learning of Fraternity's success in Adelaide, Blackfeather quickly released their version, which overran Fraternity's and reached No. 15. [1] [5]

John Eyers (ex-No Sweat) joined on harmonica, recorder and vocals in May. [1] Fraternity won the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds – a national performance competition between the best bands representing each state – with the prize being a free trip to London. [1] Scott's previous band, The Valentines, had been a finalist two years earlier. [6] By September, Fraternity were touted as "The Next Big Band" by teen magazine, Go-Set. [7] In 1971, Fraternity performed live versions of "Seasons of Change", "Summerville" and "Raglan's Folly" on GTK (TV series). Sam See (Sherbet, The Flying Circus) joined on piano and slide guitar. [1] They recorded their second album, Flaming Galah, produced by Grape Productions, which appeared in April 1972. [2] [3] The same year, Fraternity performed live "Love 200", a Peter Sculthorpe composition, featuring Jeannie Lewis and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. By that time, the band had taken their trip to London and attempted to crack the United Kingdom market. [1] Bisset left to return to Australia and was followed out of the band by See who rejoined The Flying Circus (now based in Canada).

Fraternity were renamed as Fang in early 1973, but the band had stalled and was gradually disintegrating, with the remaining members returning to Australia by the year's end. [1] Some members joined the loosely knit Mount Lofty Rangers project with fellow Adelaide-based Headband members. Scott recorded a couple of songs with Mount Lofty Rangers after being seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in early 1974. [1] When Scott had recovered, he joined heavy rockers AC/DC in Sydney.

Late in 1974, Fraternity reformed with Eyers, Freeman, and Howe joined by Mauri Berg (Headband) on guitar, Peter Bersee on violin and John Swan (Hard Time Killing Floor) on lead vocals. [2] In mid-1975, Freeman left and Swan switched to drums with his younger brother, Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) joining on lead vocals. [1] [2] Late in 1975 Barnes returned to Cold Chisel and Fraternity disbanded. John Swan, under the name Swanee, had a solo career. [1] Some Fraternity former members created the bands Some Dream and Mickey Finn. Mickey Finn comprised Eyers, Berg, Howe and Freeman. By 1980, a second guitarist, Stan Koritni, was added. They cut a self-titled album in 1980 for the Eureka label.



Studio albums

List of albums, with selected chart positions
TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart
  • Released: 1971
  • Format: LP
  • Label: Sweet Peach (SP 113)
Flaming Galah
  • Released: April 1972
  • Format: LP
  • Label: RCA (SL 102038)

Compilation albums

List of compilations albums, with selected chart positions
TitleAlbum details
Complete Sessions 1971–72
  • Released: March 1996
  • Format: 2x CD
  • Label: Raven records
Seasons of Change
  • Released: 2003
  • Format: 2xCD
  • Label: Delta records
Seasons of Change - The Complete Recordings 1970-1974
  • Released: January 2021
  • Format: 3x CD
  • Label: Cherry Red records


List of singles, with selected chart positions
YearTitlePeak chart
[8] [3]
1970"Why Did It Have to Be Me" / "Question"-
1971"Seasons of Change" / "Summerville"51
"The Race pt. 1" / "The Race pt. 2"-
"If You Got It" / "Raglan's Folly" / "You Have a God"66
"Livestock" /" Why Did It Have to Be Me" / "Cool Spot"-
1972"Welfare Boogie" / "Getting Off"-

Other songs

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  4. Kent, David Martin (September 2002). The place of Go-Set in rock and pop music culture in Australia, 1966 to 1974 (PDF) (MA). Canberra, ACT: University of Canberra. pp. 74, 243. Archived from the original (Portable Document Format (PDF)) on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2010. Note: This PDF is 282 pages.
  5. Nimmervoll, Ed. "Go-Set Australian charts – Top Records for the Year of 1971". Go-Set . Waverley Press. Retrieved 28 December 2010. Note: Go-Set published its national charts from October 1966 until August 1974.
  6. Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Performances – Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  7. "Fraternity – The Next Big Band". Go-Set . Waverley Press. 18 September 1971. p. 1. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  8. 1 2 Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 18. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.