Vale Doc Neeson

Doc Neeson by Kathleen O'Brien
Doc Neeson by Kathleen O’Brien


The rock world was saddened this week to hear of the death of The Angels frontman, Doc Neeson, aged 67. If you never saw Doc Neeson perform live, you missed out on something pretty special. His band mates said it best.

‘Doc became one of the great frontmen of all time, a dynamic, demonic, artistic and imposing performer who would give it his all night afer night, totally spent at the end of each show.’ (John Brewster)

“He would dress up in that morning suit in the late 1970s, looking like someone going to Ascot races and during the show, he would lose the jacket and the tie and end up this sweaty, gritty rock guy.” (Buzz Bidstrup)

The Performing Arts Collection has recently digitised a series of 100 rare live performances shots of Neeson in action during the late 1970s which capture some of the passion, theatricality and raw energy Neeson put into his performances. The photographs were taken by Kathleen O’Brien, a freelance photographer for the Australian rock journals, RAM, JUKE and Rolling Stone.  The Kathleen O’Brien Collection takes us deep into the dark, sweaty, smoky clubs of Melbourne and Sydney during the late 1970s and early 1980s where Australian performers The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Dragon, The Sports, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, AC/DC, Skyhooks and international acts such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Brian Ferry, Lou Reed and Blondie worked their magic.

This week seems like a perfect time to revisit some of those old haunts and to see one of the best showmen in rock ‘n’ roll strut his stuff.

Published by

Performing Arts Collection

Arts Centre Melbourne's Performing Arts Collection is the national leader among specialist performing arts collections in Australia. Established in 1975, it is formally recognised as a State collection and encompasses the history of circus, dance, music, opera and theatre. The Collection features over 640,000 items including costumes, designs, photographs, set models, puppets, props, posters, programs and archives.

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