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Exclusive: Backstage At The MTV Awards
By Danny Canak,
(more articles from this author)
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The inaugural MTV Australia Video Music Awards busted out in more ways than one when it was held at the iconic Luna Park on March 3. In an Australian first, the awards highlighted the very best in music videos from both home grown and international artists, but were overshadowed by queen of controversy, Anna Nicole Smith, who exposed her prized assets while presenting the award for Video of the Year to the Dissociatives. Bemused front man Daniel Johns even received a personal ravishing from the topless widow, while wife Natalie Imbruglia looked on in horror.

But it was music that was the real winner on the night with more than 1200 guests and VIPs (and a potential 1 billion TV viewers world wide) being treated to sensational performances by artists such as Simple Plan, Green Day, Grinspoon, Eskimo Joe, The Dissociatives and Missy Higgins. On the awards front, a trio of artists dominated the night walking away with two gongs each. Delta Goodrem picked up the Best Female Artist and Pepsi Viewers Choice awards, Green Day won Best Rock Group and Best Rock Video for 'American Idiot' and the Black Eyed Peas triumphed with Best R&B Video & Sexiest Video for 'Hey Mama'. Other winners included Shannon Noll (Best Male Artist), Missy Higgins (Breakthrough Artist), Usher (Best Dance Video for 'Yeah'), Guy Sebastian (Best Pop Video for 'Out With My Baby') and Gwen Stefani (Best Dressed Video for 'What You Waiting For').

Hosted by that whacky family collectively known as the Osbournes, the event featured a number of international guests including Carmen Electra, Chingy, Brian McFadden, Ja Rule, Bryan Adams, Switchfoot and Xzibit. But it was the local talent that fired off some of the more unforgettable quotes backstage. Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon commented on the Awards giving the ARIAs a kick up the behind in the entertainment stakes. He said, "Itís all bling tonight, but at least itís fun Ė and the ARIAs should be fun, right?" He then recalled, ďOh we havenít won any.Ē

Eskimo Joe, who failed to receive any nominations, were asked just what it would take for them to be nominated. They responded by saying, "I think weíve just got to sleep with someone famous and itís all ours. So tomorrow weíll probably be nominated for something."

The man with the longest surname in Australian rock, Ray Thistlethwaight of Thirsty Merc joked about getting himself a stage name. He said, "Iím thinking if I get a stage name, I might add Griffith Smith to the end of Thistlethwaight. And I might change my first name to Trish - Trish Thistlethwaight Griffith Smith.'

Bankstown hip hop MC Figg Kidd also provided an insight into how he got his name. He said, "To tell you the truth, I just wanted a name where I could just pick any server and I could get the email address that I wanted. Now Figg Kidd is probably the most ridiculous name youíve ever heard, but the good thing is Iíve got my email and all you guys have to put 01 or an underscore or something in your name so Iím pretty happy with that."

The MTV trophy, a platypus with the MTV logo on the bottom, was also a hot topic of discussion. Delta Goodrem joked, "The platypus is a little bigger than the ARIA, but I know who would win in a fight." Daniel Johns was clearly still dazed after the Anna Nicole incident when he said, "Iíve always wanted a platypi Ė seems we only got a platypus, which is unfortunate given platypi would have been ideal." But the most memorable quote backstage had to be when Johns was asked what his band were disassociating themselves from. Johns' cheeky response was, "the rest."


Speaking of the rest, here are some other quotes that this columnist was privy to backstage:

"I think weíre all idiots equally. Itís nice to watch train wrecks." (Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong commenting "equally" on 'American Idiot' and the Anna Nicole Smith incident.)

"I think itís cool that we got to civilise the word pimp. Pimp is a very derogatory statement and we have made it a household name and Iím very proud of that." (Proud American rapper Xzibit)

"I think itís very sexy for a girl to have an Australian accent. I donít have a girlfriend, but if I have to have one, Iíd tell her you know, start practicing." (Simple Plan singer Pierre Bouvier on the Oz accent)

"Itís a pretty silly name but I guess 'The Beatles' was a pretty silly name." (Eskimo Joe commenting on their name)

"Actually itís a very silly name, ĎGrinspoon,í but itís just one we had to come up with and unfortunately it stuck, so donít hate us Ďcause weíre beautiful." (Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon - also commenting on his band's name)

"Not getting mobbed in the streets, no. I should pay people to come over here and do that." (Keith Urban comparing his success in Australia to the US)

"I donít think that weíve ever had a music competition thatís had Australian acts and American acts that are on the one competition. It feels good to beat Maroon 5." (Missy Higgins on picking up her Breakthrough Artist award).

"I definitely enjoy playing now more than I ever have." (Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong)

"If you act like an American in Australia youíll get laughed at, but an American in Australia acting like an American Ė itís just like great! No offence to our American friends." (Eskimo Joe speaking about some of Carmen Electraís backstage antics)

"I really want it to be a lot stronger. The good thing is that everyone is just up in the professionalism. Itís getting a lot stronger and which, I think, in the next year or two itís definitely going to be something thatís on the main stage." (Figg Kidd on the oz hip hop scene).

"That song is what I think is a great song, and Iím very happy to be a part of it. I think it was wonderful to get up and sing a song that I love so much." (Delta Goodrem on singing her duet with boyfriend Brian McFadden)


*Occasional road worker and former AFL star Warwick Capper provided some light entertainment backstage with some bizarre questions. Like when he asked a clearly buffed Ja Rule if he worked out much, to which Rule responded, "All the time. At least three or more times a week." Then when Nitty came backstage, there were almost fisticuffs when another journalist tried to outdo Capper in the comedy stakes, to which Capper responded, "Leave the funny stuff to me." Intriguing!

*Former Baywatch babe and model Carmen Electra revealed that her husband Dave Navarro (Janes Addiction, ex Red Hot Chili Peppers) has a new band. According to Electra, theyíre called ĎPanic Channelí and are currently recording. She said, ďTheyíve been doing a lot of shows and just working on music. I just love to see my husband happy and music makes him happy, so Iím happy for him.Ē She also talked about her own plans to get back into music. She added, "I would love to do music again. Who produces after Prince Ė heís the best. Iím definitely open to it, and I think now that I started a new group ĎThe Bombshellsí I think weíll have more opportunities to sing and perform."

*Silverchair's Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies also talked about some new projects that they're currently working on. Ben Gillies revealed a new unnamed project that will release an album this year. He said, "Itís with a friend of mine and weíve written it over the last kind of 18 months and weíve actually finished mastering it a few days ago, and hopefully it will come out in the next couple of months. Our band name has actually changed about half a dozen times so I wonít say anything right now, but itís kind of like Ď70s kind of rock. Keeping it real for the kids." Chris Joannou has also been keeping busy producing for the Mess Hall for the past six months. Expect some new material from them in 2005 as well. With all of this activity, the boys seemed in no rush to discuss the next Silverchair record. They said, "We did catch up with Dan backstage and he was in good spirits. Hopefully weíll do another Silverchair record toward the end of the year or next yearÖitís just one of those things at the moment. Weíre all quite busy so itís hard to kind of pinpoint a time."

*2004 Australian Idol runner up Anthony Callea was clearly chuffed with the news that his debut single 'The Prayer' is now the highest-selling Australian single of all time. He was even happier to talk about his debut album and its producer, Brian Jones. He said, "Heís great to work with and he really guides you through the whole recording process, and he makes you feel very comfortable and he gets the best result out of you as well, so thatís really cool." Of the album he said, "The albumís a big mix Ė thereís a few power ballads on there and thereís a few songs on there which are the same sort of genre as ĎThe Prayer,í and thereís pop tracks on there, too, so itís a bit of a mixture. From the word go with the album Iíve had a lot of an input in that Iíve chosen all the songs on there and Iíve co-written a couple. Iíve had a say in virtually everything thatís happening, so itís cool."

*2003 Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian revealed that he'd like to do some writing with Diesel. He said, "Iíve actually been wanting to hook up with Diesel. I really dig his writing so I think weíd kind of make a good combination." On a different note, he also mentioned how he has mastered the art of signing autographs. He said, "I was in a gospel band, and itís weird gospel bands signing autographs, but we did a few tours in the States. And I remember doing some record signings and I was signing ĎGuy T Sebastianí Ė like my whole name. After about 1000 I was getting some serious RSI. It was then that I looked across and it was the girl who was in the band Sam, and she was doing a little love heart and Sam. So for the rest of the signing I just did ĎLove Guyí and that kind of stuck! So itís easy. But Iíve got a little trademark with my autograph and I draw like a little smiley afro." He also talked about a lot of the urban talent that we have in this country. He said, "A lot of people have said that Iíve contributed to making urban type flavours a little bit more accepted in this country. Thereís a lot of talent in this country that we just donít look at. Thereís a lot that we just kind of donít expect. We accept it if itís from America but you know thereís a lot of feel and thereís a lot f soul in Australia."

*International urban star Nitty revealed why he had girls in uniform as opposed to the usual skimpy outfits on the clip to his #1 single ĎNasty Girlí. He said, "What I was actually trying to show was that usually when you see most rap videos you see women wearing like short skirts and tight tops and everything, and what I wanted to show was that that was not the only women that are sexy. The working class women are also very sexy. Like the nurses and the doctors and the lawyers and the teachers and everything like that. Sex appeal comes all the way across the border, and I wanted people to appreciate the other women that are working and say theyíre beautiful just like the other girls that are in the clubs shaking that thing."

*Son of Jimmy Barnes and occasional crooner David Campbell was happy to inform that he has completed a new album. He said, "Basically Iíve just finished my album. Itís taken a bloody long time. Itís coming out midyear this year. Iíve finalized everything and Sonyís cracking the whip and wants me to release it."

*Author and Big Brother host Gretel Killeen also revealed that she has a new book in the pipeline. She said, "Itís going to be about 1995 and itís called ĎStupid Cupidí. Itís coming out in October and yes it is about being a TV host but the woman gets ripped off. Itís hilarious, itís deep and meaningful. Itís one of those life changing books."



ARIA has announced that the wholesale market for recorded music in Australia is continuing to decline. In 2004, overall music sales by volume were down by almost 4% while the overall value fell by 6%. ARIA blamed this overall decline on the continuing effect of competitive entertainment products (such as digital music carriers, advanced mobile phones and non-music DVDs), the increasingly competitive retail environment and the impact that such an environment has on wholesale prices, and the significant growth over the last 12 months in the uptake of high speed (broadband) internet access in Australia, which more easily enables the illegal downloading of music. However, industry commentator Alex Malik disagrees. According to his analysis, the major record companies released a whopping 1,574 fewer albums, singles and DVDs in 2004 compared to 2003! The study suggests that consumers had less choice than ever before in available titles and that is a more likely explanation as to why they have turned to competing entertainment products and downloads. It also suggests that the major labels are investing less money in developing new artists and this trend is set to continue in 2005. On a positive note, sales of Australian artists actually increased in 2004 - helped along by massive albums from Jet, Shannon Noll, Pete Murray and the John Butler Trio.


Congratulations to Brisbane's Butterfingers who have just announced that they have signed a licensing deal with Festival Mushroom Records (FMR). And artists chasing a deal take note - Managing Director Michael Parisi gives us an insight into how the band scooped the deal. He says, ďMy ass is red raw but any band who can write a song with the lyric, `Your Mama's on the top of my things to do list' deserves a recording contract. End of story!Ē The hip hop/rock four piece plan to head back into the studio shortly to record their second album - the follow up to the 2004 debut Breakfast At Fatboys. The album will be released nationally on Valley Trash! records through FMR.


Kylie Minogue finally kicked off her 'Greatest Hits Tour' in Glasgow last month. Before hitting the stage, she told us, "Tonight means so much to me. This show has taken a year to produce, but it's been a lifetime in the making. It's a wonderful opportunity to share some great memories with the audience and a way to celebrate our relationship. Every tour we do somehow becomes bigger than the last, more of everything, including the compulsory glitter and feathers not to mention the multiple costume changes. Here's to a great night in Glasgow and to the start of an amazing tour." The tour hits Australia in May.

For more information and to contact the author, click on the authorís name at the top of the page.

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