Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons
It's nearly 30 years since Camilleri originally joined the Falcons of Wayne Burt and Jeff Burstin (both ex-Rock Granite) on guitars, John Power (from the Foreday Riders and Company Caine) on bass and former Daddy Cool drummer Gary Young - to record a version of Run Rudolph Run as a Christmas single produced by Ross Wilson.
Even by that stage Camilleri was a local veteran, having played with mid-60's R&B band the King Bees, then the Adderly Smith Blues Band (which allegedly sacked him for sounding too much like Mick Jagger), Lipp and the Double Dekker Brothers, The Sharks and The Pelaco Brothers (with Stephen Cummings).
After recording the albums Don't Waste It and Whip It Out, the mini-albums Loud and Clear and So Young (the title of which was covered by Elvis Costello) for Oz Records, the band - and its shifting cast of players - found themselves at Mushroom Records. By this stage Wayne Burt, one of the nations' great songwriters even then, had left - to be replaced by Tony Faehse (who had played in Alvin Stardust's band) - and the composing duties were thrown over to Camilleri and his colleagues. Soon afterwards, the ebullient Wilbur Wilde, who had been an integral member of Ol' 55, also joined the band.
The label move also teamed Camilleri up with producer Peter Solley who oversaw the hit singles Hit & Run, Shape I'm In and All I Wanna Do and the albums Screaming Targets (1979), Hats Off Step Lively (1981) and the Dexterity mini-album (1981). The band toured overseas and even got to play at the Montreux Jazz and Blues festival.
But by this stage the sound of the band was changing and by 1982's sophisticated Cha album and its hit single Taxi Mary it was just Jo Jo Zep, minus the Falcons and plus Jane Clifton, Joe Creighton and others. Even a tour of America (which by all accounts was a disaster) failed to stop the eventual demise of the group. Ironically, Camilleri soon got back to his roots and went on to form the even more successful Black Sorrows.
A brief national tour to support the 1984 compilation saw the Camilleri/Wilde/Burstin/Faehse/Power/Young line-up appear for the last time until that famed reunion in 2001 and the brand new album!
Jo Jo Zep are inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2007
Mike Kundaeli in Switzerland has produced a remix of JoJo Zep's "Sweet Jesus" - here's the clip on YouTube.
Don't Waste It (1976)
Whip It Out (1977)
Loud And Clear (1977)
So Young (1978)
Let's Drip Awhile (1979)
Screaming Targets (1979)
Takin' The Wraps Off (1980)
Hats Off Step Lively (1981)
Sound Of Jo Jo Zep and The Falcons (1983)
Shape I'm In - Live (1984)