Birthday – Apr 7
Russell began his music career while still at school, forming a band called The Interrogatives. Russell was always a fan of music but never followed the fashions of the day. While everyone else was listening to Flock of Seagulls, Russell was listening to Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Russell had already released singles before turning 18 and at that age opened an underage nightclub called ‘The Venue’ where kids could go and watch all the happening live bands of the time. Russell also performed in stage musicals such as ‘Grease’. ‘The Venue’ is where Dean & Russell first met while dean was auditioning for a local band called ‘The Mockers’. Together they formed Roman Antix, which had a succession of drummers and bass players but kept the core of Russell & Dean. Roman Antix released one single – ‘What’s The Difference’ and played all over New Zealand. Also during this time, Russell started performing as ‘Eddie’ and ‘Dr Scott’ in The Rocky Horror Show, while Dean joined the show as guitarist. On arrival in Australia in 1987, Russell & Dean started busking on the streets of Sydney to earn a living. Russell split his time between writing and recording with Dean and auditioning for acting rolls. They amassed a large catalogue of songs and decided to form a full band that would go out and play them.TOFOG is the result.
Birthday – May 23
Dean grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. As it seems is the usual story in this band, Dean started playing music when he was 10. He spent a few years learning to play acoustic guitar and then, at the age of 15, bought an album that would shape his destiny…AC/DC’s Back In Black. This was the record that sent Dean running to the bank to withdraw all his pocket money to buy an electric guitar…an Ibanez Firebird. Dean then focused all his attention on music and joined his first band. Third Wave. Around the same time he met a local bloke named Russell Crowe who successfully talked him into forming a musical partnership. After only three shows, Dean quit Third Wave and the songwriting team of Crowe/Cochran began. Together they formed a band in Auckland called Roman Antix and toured together in a production of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’. Then in 1987 they packed up and moved to Australia. It was still many years before they formed TOFOG, but all during that period Dean and Russell would get together to write and record demos.
Birthday – Mar 31 Dave was playing live shows in Sydney’s pubs long before he was old enough to drink in them. At age 16 he was playing in a top 40 covers band 3 nights a week. By 18, Dave was playing in hard rock indie band ‘Ya Ya Choral’ which released two albums and did a 30 date UK tour, including a few shows in his hometown in Wales. Being a hard rock drummer places pretty heavy demands on a guy regarding hair length and Dave threw himself into the roll…stubbornly refusing to cut it even now. After YYC drifted into oblivion Dave played in several other bands, including one called ‘Space Date’ which opened for some of the very first performances of his good mates…TOFOG. Dave was also working for TOFOG as a camera man and before long found himself doubling as drummer.
Birthday – Sep 9
Stew was born in the far north of Australia and grew up in Canberra. He started playing trumpet at the age of 10 and played in numerous high school bands. Stew actually has a piece of paper that says he’s a musician…A diploma in Jazz music from ANU, Canberra. Stew has played in every conceivable area of music…big bands, session work, musical theatre, live television. He even did a stint on a cruise ship. But, when it all come down to it, Stew would sell his soul for rock and roll…well, maybe not his soul…he sold his car once to pay for some recording though. Stew has played with Australia’s best, including Midnight Oil, Powderfinger, Hoodoo Gurus and Jimmy Barnes. He joined TOFOG in 1998 when they needed a trumpet player so that they could play ‘Circus’ on live TV…and just never left. Stew is also the lead singer of his own outfit, CRACKSQUAD.
Dave Wilkins started singing at age 4 – progress has been slow. Formed a band with school friends at the age of ten – ‘Tone Deaf’, covering hard rock bands such as ‘Thin Lizzy’, ‘AC/DC’ and ‘Deep Purple’. The band played extensively throughout the bedrooms of Sydney’s northern suburbs. In 1985 Dave formed the band ‘Wrecking Crew’ who quickly developed a reputation as one of the country’s hardest working bands, regularly gigging 5 nights a week. Though album sales were strong, the band’s enormous demand for hair products was stronger. Eventually the conditioner ran out and the band went it’s separate ways. Wrecking Crew albums can still be found in discount bins throughout rural Australia. 1996 was the year that Dave founded ‘The Utopian Babies’. Their first single ‘One Of These Days’ was the highest rotated single in Aus in early 1999. The UB’s toured in support of TOFOG in 1998 and Dave, lured by the prospect of a more rewarding drink rider and his own seat on the tour bus, joined up as rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist.
Birthday – Feb 24
Garth started his life in music when he learned guitar at the age of 12 In fact, Garth was a guitarist right up until he joined up with Dean and Russell who needed a bass player much more than they needed another guitarist. Garth’s first band was a little unit called Acid Splash which played, as Garth describes it, ‘Awful rock originals’. Between Acid Splash and TOFOG, Garth played in numerous bands playing all kinds of styles, including a covers band he played in with Dave Kelly in the early 90’s, which had Penthouse Pets as lead vocalists…a career low for both musicians. In 1986, Garth decided to get his own band together and advertised for musicians. One of the first responses he got was from a young guitarist just off the boat from New Zealand…No, not Neil Finn. They played and recorded songs together for several years but never did a live show together until Russell gave them the call and enlisted them both into TOFOG, which began writing songs and recording with the help of drummer Don Brown.