Last updated: 09/08/2005
The name "GANGgajang" comes from the idea of the band being a collective of creative individuals, a..."GANG" and the sound of a guitar being strummed -"gajang"
The story so far...
GANGgajang was formed in 1984 after several songwriting sessions for the ABC TV program Sweet & Sour. Some of the songs were used in the show but Mark "Cal" Callaghan from The Riptides, former members of The Angels drummer Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup and bassist Chris Bailey, together with Kayellen Bee and Marilyn Delaney, decided a brand new band would best showcase their songs.
After adding former Aliens guitarist and keyboard player Geoffrey Stapleton and Adelaide born guitarist Robert James, "GANGgajang" became their self titled debut album. With sales in excess of 120,000, it spawned the hit singles Gimme Some Lovin, House of Cards, Giver of Life, The Bigger They Are and the now unofficial Australian national anthem, Sounds of Then (This is Australia).
In 1987, GANGgajang's music was featured exclusively in the Quiksilver surf movie Mad Wax. The film became a cult surf classic and introduced the band to a worldwide audience. GANGgajang was named "World's Best Band" two years in a row by the World Pro Surfers' Association.
A second album, gangAGAIN in 1987, completed the first phase of the band as everyone took some time to pursue individual projects.
Over the next few years Cal released a solo album, Buzz played sessions, produced albums and movie soundtracks, Chris worked with artists as diverse as Jimmy Barnes, Alannah Miles and Nathan Cavaleri, Geoff formed The Dukes with Sean Kelly and Rob wrote a book, "The Second Best Book of Disunderstandabilism" and recorded his songs with Wendy Matthews.
In 1991, the band reformed (without Kayellen and Marilyn, who had gone on to successful careers in the film industry), and took to the road for one brief tour.
The audience response was so overwhelming it encouraged the band to record the 3rd album, Lingo which was released in 1994 on Rooart and chalked up another three hit singles, Hundreds of Languages, Talk To Me, and Ordinary World. Lingo is now available on BMG records.
In 1995, the first two albums were repackaged into The Essential GANGgajang, which has now sold over 30,000 on the Shock label. The GANG also toured Brazil for the first time, playing to over 60,000 rapturous fans in ten concerts through nine cities and in 1996 the Nine TV Network adopted Sounds of Then (This is Australia) for its 1996 year promotion, sparking a revived interest in the band's live dates around Australia.
The GANG continue to perform across Australia and beyond and in February 2001 they completed their third tour of Brazil, performing to enormous crowds . When not performing or recording together as GANGgajang each member is otherwise occupied.
Singer Mark Callaghan is General Manager of Shock Music Publishing, drummer Buzz Bidstrup has managed Australian music legend Jimmy Little since the release of his 1999 ARIA award winning CD "The Messenger", while guitarist Robert James released his first solo album Suzannah Suite and is now recording a second in between touring Australia in solo mode and with Australian icons Yothu Yindi.
Keyboard player and resident artist Geoffrey Stapleton is now living in Adelaide and preparing his next exhibition of paintings to be called "Oceans and Deserts" while maintaining and developing www.GANGgajang.com. Chris Bailey is working in a wide variety of music cultures in Sydney and has produced an album for singer/songwriter Dave Debs. Chris also plays in Jimmy Little's live band.
The steady requests for GANGgajang live appearances at events across Australia gives them the valued opportunity to continue doing what they do so well. The band has played together for over twenty years and every live performance is as special as their last. They love what they do and so does the audience. The GANG played the Sydney Opera House and Darling Harbour as part of the Corroboree 2000 celebrations and during the Olympics the band was in demand for concert appearances around Sydney as part of the Olympic Arts Festival.
A single, "Nomadsland" was recorded and mixed by the 2000 ARIA producer of the year Steve James . The CD also featured an orchestral version of "Nomadsland" written by guitarist Robert James. The orchestral version was used as the soundtrack for the Perth Skyshow spectacular on January 26th 2001.
October 2002 saw the release of the long awaited fourth album, "Oceans and Deserts" to critical acclaim and extensive airplay across Australia on ABC radio. A live concert featuring a selection of new songs and some of the classics was filmed for the ABC's "Live At The Basement" series for screening on 25th May 2004.