Corner Hotel, Richmond
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (July 2012)|
|The Corner Hotel|
|Address||57 Swan St, Richmond, VIC 3121|
In 1871, the pub was licensed to David and Jane McCormick. It thrived because of its close proximity to the Richmond railway station. In 1881 it was renovated by William Malone, who improved both the accommodation and the liquor quality. Malone owned the pub until 1895. Between 1895 and 1929 the pub changed hands seven times. From 1929 to 1935 it was operated by Nelly O'Connorand her husband.
It is thought to have started hosting live music during the 1940s jazz era. During the 1950s it was owned by the Melbourne Cooperative Brewing Company, an offshoot of Carlton and United Breweries. This was the peak time of an Australian custom known as the six o'clock swill, where venues were forced to stop serving alcohol at 6pm. This law was a hangover from World War I and operated from 1915 until it was abolished in the mid-1960s (1966 in Victoria). It meant that workers would rush to pubs after finishing work and consume as much alcohol as possible before the bar closed.
In 1966 the pub was demolished and rebuilt in a slightly shifted location, to make space for the widening of the railway lines.
The years 1984 -1993
In 1984 Wayne Gale was approached by Brian Hartung from Carlton United Breweries and asked if he could start music at The Corner Hotel. At that time he was running the music at The John Barleycorn hotel in Collingwood, The Tiger Lounge (Royal Oak in Richmond) and The Prospect Hill Hill in Kew.
The first bands to play were The Adventure and Big Music Works on the Friday night 28 February 1983 and Big Pig on the Saturday night. At first there was only live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
During the period Wayne Gale was the owner the cream of Australia's music industry played there and at one point he achieved 15 full houses in 16 days. This was an outstanding achievement because the Melbourne music industry was very strong and the competition fierce.
Bands like Johnny Diesel, Spy v's Spy, Baby Animals all used the venue to build their profile in Melbourne. One of the best bands to have come out of that time was Serpentine who were achieving music industry accolades but sadly they called it a day after the drummer had a motor bike accident. The Corner during this period became the home of the best musicians around who all came to see each other play and great friendships were formed.
Today many of Australia's major bands have members who met at the Corner during this period.
In 1995 current[update] owners Tim Northeast and Matt Everitt took over and made a host of further improvements and renovations. In 2005, they celebrated their 10th anniversary of owning the pub as it remains an iconic and respected institution of the local music scene.
Bands that have played there
During 1988 Mick Jagger toured Australia, supporting his solo album Primitive Cool. He played two stadium shows at the (now) Rod Laver Arena, but also wanted to perform an unannounced gig at a grungy pub. News of the "secret" gig was hinted at in the street press magazine Inpress and over 3000 people turned up to a venue only licensed to hold 700. The police attended and women fainted, but the show went ahead. The gig is now part of local legend. Every Bottle shop in the area sold out of cans of beer at the end of the night, the street was covered in green and gold cans of VB. which had to be cleaned up by the Corners staff with help from Ian "Molly" Meldrum. Mick Jaggers original song list from the night was given to Alan Evers-Buckland The Corner's Media/PR guy by Jagger which was featured in The Ages Newspapers history of the Corner Hotel. Blues legend Charlie Musselwhite was headline act for the night, he ended up as Micks support act.
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour also played an unannounced show at the venue in 1988, with all-star band The Fishermen. 45 loyal Corner regulars turned up on the night and paid $6.00 only knowing that that Fisherman had to be good as they were playing the Corner, did they get a pleasant surprise. The whole of Pink Floyd got up and played and that was another one of those nights that happened that no one knew about. The list of bands that played during the "Golden Period 1984 -1993" include The Zep Boys, Southern Sons, Jimmy The Human and Spectre 7, Nick Barker and the Reptiles, Wayne Gale bought the business back with his share of the proceeds.
It was an opportunity to indulge his own passion for hard-rock guitar: Gale’s own band, "The Party Animals", use to play every Monday Night. “Gale would pay all the real musicians to be in the band for a night,” says a former staff member. “They did it for the money, $200 cash each on a Monday night. It was horrid, horrid guitar solos. ”The Party Animals" the myth started by Gale was that half of the Australian & International artists got up as guests with him, but the truth is these guys never played in the Party Animals Billy Cobham, Billy Joel, Canned Heat, Spencer Davis, Allan Holdsworth, Johnny Diesel.
Other Artist that did special shows included Jimmy Barnes and Charlie Sexton, Billy Joel, Charlie Musselwhite, Lonnie Brooks, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Concrete Blonde, Dinosaur Junior, Junior Wells, Baby Animals and the list is endless.
Local band TISM have played there frequently, including during their "motormower phase", where they would run lawnmowers on the stage. After one gig in 1988, one of the mowers was stolen from their bandroom.
The late Elliott Smith played two shows during his only tour of Australia with Quasi at the Corner Hotel in 1999. Joe Strummer of The Clash played one of his last tours there before passing away in 2000.
Crowded House played one of their last gigs there, before their famous farewell show at the Opera House. They also played a Sunday night show for a small fee ($2,500.00AU) their last Aussie Show before they went Top Ten in the USA.
The Living End also performed their famed Retrospective Tour at The Corner, playing 12 shows over 13 days. They performed each of their albums in full, one per night, and then re-played a couple of albums including their self-titled debut album and Roll On. Each show was sold out, and the band broke the record for the most number of consecutive shows at The Corner.
Selected international acts
Selected Australian acts
House of rock, Chris Johnston. Published in theage (melbourne) magazine, Issue 13, November 2005.