Dave Warner

Interview: Dave Warner, Writer & Actor: 9th December 2003

Dave Warner has made a great contribution to the Australian arts and entertainment business.

Media Man Australia digs below the surface of the hype and glitz surrounding Sydney's entertainment business, and speaks to an innovator in the industry.

Greg Tingle interviews Dave about how it all began, the highs and lows of the entertainment business, technologies role in promotion, and some of his current projects.

Listen here


Dave Warner official website

Garage Days official website

Media Man Australia: Entertainment News

SBS TV: The Movie Show

Mushroom Records


Dave Warner was born in Bicton, Western Australia, in 1953.

He was educated at Aquinas College and grew up an ardent supporter of the East Fremantle Football Club. Between 1971 and 1974 he attended the University of Western Australia, graduating with a B.A. (Hons.), majoring in Psychology.

In 1973 he formed Australia's first punk band, Pus, playing early versions of tracks such as Suburban Boy and Hot Crotch.

In 1975, Dave went to London and wrote many new songs which expressed a clearly-defined vision of Australia, including tracks such as Convict Streak and Oklahoma which were to become more well known through his next band – Dave Warner's From the Suburbs. Suburban Boy become the cornerstone of this new style of music, which Dave labelled suburban rock. Warner's music is probably best described as Lou Reed meets Tomas Pynchon, while Bob Dylan has referred to Dave as his "favourite Australian songwriter".

Dave formed The Suburbs in January 1977. The group developed a huge underground following, which led to Dave signing with Australia's Mushroom Records in 1978. His first album, Mugs Game, went gold within a month of release. Dave's second album, Free Kicks, was released in 1979.

After the original Suburbs disbanded, Dave followed up with Correct Weight (1979), This is My Planet (1981 - reissued as This is Your Planet in 1996), Meanwhile in the Suburbs (EP - 1989), Dark Side of the Scrum (1989), Suburban Sprawl (1990), Surplus and Dearth (1995) and Loose Men, Tight Shorts (1996).

After the release of This is My Planet, Dave Warner retired from writing and performing music full-time, turning instead to writing plays, novels and screenplays.

In 1982, he created The Sensational Sixties, an enormously successful revue which toured through large suburban hotels with Warner directing, producing and compering. After another trip overseas came comedy revues with Suburbs' stalwart Johnny Leopard, Australia's first Murder Mystery Weekends and in 1985 Warner wrote, and appeared in, the barn-storming musical The Sixties and All That Pop.

The show ran for six months, appearing at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and doing a country tour of Western Australia. Later that same year, Warner's rock musical, Planet Pres, was produced by the WA Theatre Company. One reviewer called it the "best Australian rock musical ever".

Dave then formed, wrote songs for and managed a female trio, Pleasure Principle. In 1987, Dave wrote and performed his one-man show, Australian Heroes in Sydney, and made his screen debut with a small part in Boundaries of the Heart as well as working on new songs with Greg Macainsh (Skyhooks).

His first novel, the crime opus City Of Light, was published in 1995 and won the award for Best Fiction Work at the WA Premier's Book Awards in 1996. That year also saw the release of Footy's Hall Of Shame, a humorous look at Australian Rules Football.

In 1997 Dave published another hard-edged crime novel (Big Bad Blood) and edited an anthology of Australian humorous writing called Great Australian Bites.

The first in a serious of humorous, Agatha Christie-style novels starring rock-star-turned-detective Andrew "The Lizard" Zirk, Murder In The Groove, was published in 1998, along with Cricket's Hall Of Shame and 25 Years of Mushroom Records. September 1998 saw the release of three AFL footy-related CDs, featuring tracks paying tribute to the Sydney Swans, the Western Bulldogs and the St. Kilda Saints football clubs respectively.

The final year of the 20th century saw Dave take part in a number film and TV projects, including the completion of the feature film Cut. Racing's Hall of Shame, co-written with Nicolas Brasch, was released, as was the CD Suburbs In The Seventies - a double album featuring original recordings from The Suburbs' 1977-78 period. Also released was the secolnd "Lizard" Zirk novel, Murder In The Frame. The first few months of 2000 saw the release of Dave's critically-acclaimed new novel eXXXpresso as well as the horror/comedy/slasher film Cut. He was also one of the chief writers on the daily SBS drama Going Home.

Dave has also been busy in 2001, working on the screenplay for the feature film Garage Days with filmmaker Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) and for the telemovie Balmain Boys, for the Ten Network and Columbia Tri-Star. He has written episodes for the new Channel Nine TV series McLeod's Daughters and is also working on two international television projects with McElroy Television.

Dave lives in suburban Sydney with wife Nicole and daughters Violet and Venice.

Credit: Dave Warner official website