|Born||Johanna Paton Pigott
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Other names||"Alligator Bagg"|
|Education||Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney
University of Sydney
|Occupation||musician, singer/songwriter, screenwriter|
Johanna Paton Pigott (born ca. 1955) is an Australian musician, singer/songwriter and screenwriter. Her best known hit songs are Dragon's "Rain" which peaked at #2 on the Australia singles charts in 1983 and John Farnham's "Age of Reason". "Rain" was co-written with partner Dragon's Todd Hunter and his brother Marc Hunter. When "Age of Reason" reached the top of the charts in July 1988, Pigott became the first Australian woman to have written a #1 hit. It was co-written with Todd Hunter.
Scripts by Pigott for TV include Sweet and Sour (created with Tim Gooding), Heartbreak High (also co-wrote theme with Hunter and other songs) and Mortified (created by Angela Webber). Films include: Broken English (co-written with Gregor Nicholas and James Salter) and Alex (original music with Hunter, and lead vocals on soundtrack).
Pigott was educated at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney in Croydon together with schoolmate Angela Webber. Following matriculation from high school in the 1970s, Pigott studied Architecture at the University of Sydney.
XL Capris was an indie-punk band formed in 1978 by Johanna Pigott (bass guitar, vocal, keyboard, guitar) aka 'Alligator Bagg', Tim Gooding (guitar, vocal) aka 'Errol Cruz', Julie Anderson (drums) aka 'Nancy Serapax' and Kimble Rendall (guitar, vocal) aka 'Dag Rattler'. Early practice sessions were in the front room of a Birchgrove house where Gooding (and later Rendall) lived. Their first single was a punk version of Tommy Leonetti's "My City of Sydney" (1979), which had a promo video showing the four in bed together. Pigott was lead vocalist and bass guitarist in the video. The single received some radio airplay but was not a commercial success. Second 1979 single "Skylab (Son of Telstar)" was written by Rendall but had even less success.
Their next single, "World War Three" (October 1980), produced by Todd Hunter and was written by Pigott and Hunter. Rendall left to form Le Hoodoo Gurus, became a music video director and then a second unit director for the latter two Matrix series movies. He was replaced by Hunter (guitar), Michael Churnside (bass) joined, Anderson left to be replaced by Barry Blackler (drum), Michael Farmer (drum) also joined.
First album was Where's Hank? (March 1981, produced by Hunter). Gooding wrote ten songs including two with Pigott: "Red Bikini Runaway" (single, April 1981) and "Hi Rise Heart". Pigott also wrote "Evelyn". 'Hank' was a German shepherd owned by Rendall: "Hank went to live on a farm at Nambucca Heads". Based on Rendall's and Pigott's recollections, the album title Where's Hank? is a pun on a 1980s TV ad for a chocolate bar: 'Where's George?' The response is ... 'gone for a Tosca!'
For the second album Weeds (October 1981, produced by Hunter) Pigott and Hunter wrote six songs including the single "Igloos", Pigott wrote "Please Excuse Me" and Gooding also wrote six songs. Hunter returned to Dragon late in 1981 and XL Capris dissolved in 1982.
Street poster art featuring XL Capris include: Toby Zoates' 1978 screenprint, XL Capris for the B-side of 1981 single "Red Bikini Runaway" called "K-Tel City" (Gooding) and has the band on the bonnet of a car crashing into a TV game show; and Paul Worstead's 1979 screenprints, Settlement Dance - Scarlet, XL-Capris and XL-Capris, Settlement - Beginning of School Holiday Dance.
Sardine v and Scribble
Pigott briefly joined Sardine v on bass guitar (1982). Video for their 1982 single "Sudan" shows Pigott heavily disguised in a burqa-like black costume strumming bass to Stephanie Rilen's plaintive vocals and Ian Rilen's guitar.
Scribble (1983–1987) was a post punk synth pop band based around Pigott (vocals, guitar, keyboard) with session musicians / band members including Hunter, Mark Bell, Lee Borkman, Mike Caen, Bill Heckenberg, Geoff Lungren and Tim Powles. They released Scribble (a seven track mini-LP) in 1983 including single "Silly Girl" (Pigott) / "Mr Calico" (Pigott, Hunter). "Silly Girl" video showed a wistful Pigott singing and playing guitar. "Adaptability" aka "Cartoon Connection (theme)" (Pigott, Hunter, Gooding) was a 1984 single. Two albums were: So Far 1983-1985 (LP 1985) and Pop Art (LP 1986), which had ten tracks, including singles: "Sunday School", "Don't Give Your Heart Away" and "Alligator" (all by Pigott, Hunter). "Alligator" was later performed by Fleur Beaupert on Heartbreak High episodes #133 & #145 (Series 6, 1998). Pigott's nickname from XL Capris had been 'Alligator Bagg'. The Pop Art cover depicts a stylized version of Pigott. Although achieving some cult interest there was little commercial success for Scribble.
Solo and with Genni Kane
In 1984, Pigott and Hunter wrote Pigott's "Turn It Up" on various artists' album The Nine O'Clock Muse.
In 1993, Genni Kane (of the Flying Emus) and Johanna Pigott released "Starlight Hotel" (Genni Kane, Pigott, John Kane, Hunter) as a CD single.
In 2005, Pigott sang a verse of "ComeDown" by KingJustice on their album What the World Needs Now.
During 1983, Pigott and Hunter wrote Dragon's come back hit single "Rain". Pigott remembers, "I went from a little underground band to finding myself up the back of the Entertainment Centre hearing 10,000 people sing the chorus of my song." The song reached #2 but was blocked by Austen Tayshus' #1 hit "Australiana". Pigott sang "Rain" with Rockmelons on their album Form 1 Planet (1992) with Hunter (and Rockmelons' Bryon Jones) providing backing vocals. Hunter and Pigott co-wrote other Dragon songs including "Cry" and Pigott was a session musician on Dragon's 1989 album, Bondi Road. Re-formed in 2006, Dragon perform acoustic versions of their earlier work including "Rain".
John Farnham had asked Hunter and Pigott to write him a song, they provided a number one hit single, "Age of Reason" (30 July 1988 for four weeks) also on his Age of Reason album which debuted at number one (July 1988). The demo version had been recorded with Todd's brother Marc Hunter singing lead. Pigott became the first Australian woman to write an Australian number one hit.
Screenwriter and songwriter
During 1983-1984 Pigott and Gooding created the ABC TV series Sweet and Sour (1984), they also wrote episodes. Shared experiences in the music industry lent authenticity to their scripts. Pigott also wrote (or co-wrote) four songs for the two soundtrack albums.
The theme song for TV series, Heartbreak High (1994–1999) written by Hunter and Pigott was nominated for the 1994 Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) 'Television Theme of the Year' award. Hunter was the composer for the series and, with Pigott, wrote over 20 songs for the series (mostly performed by Abi Tucker, Fleur Beaupert or themselves). Pigott also wrote episode scripts. Episode 61 featured six songs written by Hunter & Pigott: "Down to the River", "Rest in Peace" and "Second Chance" performed by Tucker and Terry Serio; and "You've Changed", "Only You" and "Whatever I Had with You" by Tucker alone. Hunter and Pigott performed their own songs: "I'll Be There" in episode #70, "Gravity and Psyche" #92, "Love Is Here to Stay" #125.
In 1995 a combined American Broadcasting Company and Australian Broadcasting Corporation production, ABC's World Of Discovery: Australia's Outback: The Vanishing Frontier, featured music by Pigott, Hunter, Stacey Widelitz and Lee Holdridge.
During 2006–2007, TV series, Mortified episodes # 1.7 Flag Fall and # 1.12 Being Me were written by Pigott. Her close friend and former schoolmate, Angela Webber, created the TV series and Gooding also wrote scripts for some episodes.
In 2008, Pigott co-wrote the Title Theme (with Hunter) of the new BBC/Southern Star TV Serial Out of the Blue.
The Girl Who Came Late aka Daydream Believer (1991) had original music by Hunter and Pigott. Pigott performed "I'll Stand By You" for the soundtrack and, with Hunter, wrote: "The Love Theme", "The Polo Factor" and "Nell Rides Out" for the film score. "Daydream Believer is their first major feature film as composers". End titles song performed by Sam Brown, "With You" (Hunter, Pigott, Brown) involved exchanges of tapes and long-distance phone calls.
Alex aka Alex: The Spirit of a Champion (1993) had original music by Hunter and Pigott. "Alex (theme)" aka "Aotearoa" written by Hunter and "For The Rest Of My Life'" by Hunter and Pigott.
Broken English (1996) was co-written by Pigott with director Gregor Nicholas and James Salter. The New Zealand film won six awards and is a Romeo and Juliet for Māori Eddie, and an immigrant Croatian Nina.
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