Rose Tattoo Survives 31 Band Members and Still Rocks For 42 Plus Years

The Rose Tattoo 2018 Blood Brothers European Tour is selling out quickly. So fast, in fact, that additional shows are being scheduled just as quickly to accommodate ticket requests. Currently led by Angry Anderson, the hard rock band with the blues rock edge continues to flourish regardless of its impermanent line-up. The legendary players are assembled together with loyalty to rock and roll and Rose Tattoo’s incredible legacy. They are, as Angry so aptly described them; the finest, worthiest rogues to gather together as musical brothers.
What keeps a Rose Tattoo rocking? Sheer energy. Coupled with pure playing joy, the band is uncompromising in its straightforward approach to its own rock sound. They consider themselves to be Aussie rockers. What does that mean? To Rose Tattoo, it means rockin’ it with complete commitment to passionate playing every moment. Offering up “100% adrenalin fueled” rock ‘n’ roll is what they do. Add that to fierce Aussie pride, and you get Rose Tattoo.

Since Rose Tattoo first began in 1976 Sydney, the revered Australian rock and roll band has enjoyed a devoted following. The cult band debuted at Chequers, on New Year’s Eve and their sound is what captured fans. Peter Wells, slide guitarist led the group. It was first formed with lead vocalist Tony Lake, rhythm guitarist Leigh Johnston, drummer Michael Vandersluys, and bass guitarist Ian Rilen. Rilen was the most notorious as he had taught himself how to play guitar while he was doing prison time. Eventually, Johnston was replaced with Mick Cocks and Dallas “Digger” Royall and Angry Anderson substituted for Vandersluys and Lake. The hard-rocking sound Rose Tattoo sound was what attracted AC/DC band members to them, and eventually led to a record label recommendation.

Rose Tattoo earned success with their album Rose Tattoo. It reached the top 40 in Australia in 1978, and until 1982 the band toured and performed in the United States and Europe. The band also broke up and reformed several times with new band members along the way. Ian McFarlane, rock music historian, wrote that Rose Tattoo, aka The Tatts, were “peerless in their heavy blues street-level” playing. McFarlane noted that they are among the most revered rock bands ever, as evidenced by the many covers of their songs. Keel, L.A. Guns, Motosierra, The Knight’s Nigh, Nashville Pussy, Pud Spuke Helen Schneider and Guns N’ Roses are among them.

Six Rose Tattoo members have died. Four of those were original members: founder Peter Wells and Ian Rilen died in 2006. Wells had prostate cancer and Rilen had bladder cancer. Lobby Loyde died in 2007 of lung cancer, and Mick Cocks died in 2009 of liver cancer.
In recent years. Rose Tattoo toured the Australian leg of Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy Tour. They also supported the Australian tour dates of Motörhead. Rose Tattoo also appeared at major music festivals such as New Year’s Day at Mount Druitt, New South Wales, the Wacken Open Air 2000, Tripe J’s Impossible Music Festival 2006, and the 2008 Download Festival, England.

What’s coming up next? The Blood Brothers European Tour begins in June 5, 2018, and Angry Anderson, for one, can’t wait. It’s their first tour since 2008, and they’re ready to go. The band will include plenty of club shows along with festival appearances along the tour. Tickets are on sale now.



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