Angry Anderson

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Angry Anderson
Anderson with Rose Tattoo at Wacken Open Air 2022
Anderson with Rose Tattoo at Wacken Open Air 2022
Background information
Birth nameGary Stephen Anderson
Born (1947-08-05) 5 August 1947 (age 76)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresHard rock, blues rock, rock and roll
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • television personality
Years active1971–present

Gary Stephen "Angry" Anderson AM (born 5 August 1947) is an Australian rock singer, songwriter, television personality and actor. He has been the lead vocalist and the last remaining original member of the hard rock band Rose Tattoo since 1976. As a solo artist, he is best known for his international hit "Suddenly" (1987).

On Australia Day 26 January 1993, Anderson was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his role as a youth advocate. According to rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, "over the course of a lengthy career, [the] gravel-throated vocalist ... has gone from attention-grabbing, rock'n'roll bad boy to all-round Australian media star." Rose Tattoo were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2006.


Gary Stephen Anderson[1] was born on 5 August 1947[2] in Melbourne, Victoria, to an Anglo-Australian father and Mauritian mother. He has a brother Rodney living in Melbourne. Anderson's nickname of "Angry Ant" developed "during his youth after his aggressive and volatile nature got the better of him."[3] According to Anderson, his father "was a deeply troubled man... I've dealt with my rage, my pain... I was a very angry boy... When he was around he was a very explosive person."[4] Anderson used his uncle, Ivan, as his role model: a cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking, leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding drummer in a swing band.[4] Anderson grew up in suburban Coburg and attended Coburg Technical School before working as a fitter and turner in a factory.[5] Initially he wanted to be a blues guitarist, "I wanted to be like all the great blues guitar players, then I wanted to be like Bob Dylan, then of course... John Lennon."[5] Anderson found himself in a band with three possible guitarists and "[t]he other two were much better than me, so the only other thing we needed was a singer... [we] had to sing 'Twist and Shout' without accompaniment. I just happened to be the best one at it."[5]

From 1971 to 1973, Anderson led rock group Peace Power and Purity and came to wider public notice as the lead vocalist with Buster Brown.[3][6] He fronted the hard rock and blues rock band from its foundation in 1973, the original line-up included Phil Rudd on drums, who left in 1974 to join AC/DC.[6] In 1975, Buster Brown released an album, Something to Say, on Mushroom Records/Festival Records before disbanding in November that year.[6]

In 1976 in Sydney, Rose Tattoo was formed by Peter Wells of the heavy metal band Buffalo.[7] Anderson had relocated to Sydney and replaced the group's original singer Tony Lake. When their drummer Michael Vandersluys departed soon afterwards, he was replaced by Dallas Royall, who had been Rudd's replacement in Buster Brown.[7] Their most popular single on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart was "Bad Boy for Love" from 1977, which peaked at No. 19.[8] Rose Tattoo's 1981 tour of Europe included an appearance at the Reading Festival, where Anderson repeatedly head butted the amp stacks until his scalp started bleeding.[9]

Anderson's debut as an actor was a minor role in Bullamakanka (1983).[3] Later, he appeared as the character Ironbar Bassey in the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).[3] Filmink magazine later wrote that Anderson "appeared in surprisingly few acting roles for someone with such renown as a presenter."[10]

Anderson joined as a guest vocalist with The Incredible Penguins, for a cover of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", a charity project for research on little penguins, which peaked at No. 10 in December 1985.[8][11] In 1987, he played Lenin in the musical Rasputin, composed by David Tyyd, at the State Theatre in Sydney.

Anderson led Rose Tattoo through five studio albums until disbanding the group in 1987, by which time he was the only member remaining from the early line-up.[7] During 1986, as Rose Tattoo was winding down following the recording of Beats from a Single Drum, Anderson joined The Party Boys for an Australian tour, but never recorded with them. By this time Anderson had established himself as an advocate on social issues and made regular appearances on the Channel Nine programs The Midday Show with Ray Martin and then A Current Affair as a human interest reporter.[3]

In 1987, Anderson had his biggest hit, when the uncharacteristic ballad "Suddenly" from the album, Beats from a Single Drum, was used as the wedding theme for the Neighbours episode in which the popular characters Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell married.[3] Robinson was portrayed by Jason Donovan, while Mitchell's character was portrayed by pop singer, Kylie Minogue, who had issued her debut single in July as a cover version of "Locomotion."[3] "Locomotion" was at number one on the Australian charts preventing "Suddenly" from reaching the top spot.[8] Beats from a Single Drum had been planned as Anderson's debut solo release, but had initially been billed as a Rose Tattoo album due to contractual obligations; however, after the success of "Suddenly", it was re-released in 1988 as an Angry Anderson solo album. In November 1988, the single reached number three on the UK Singles Chart after the episode aired there.[12]

Anderson in Wagga, New South Wales, January 1993

With the dissolution of Rose Tattoo, Anderson pressed on with his solo career, releasing the album Blood from Stone in 1990 which provided the No. 11 hit single "Bound for Glory."[13] He performed the song during half-time at the 1991 AFL Grand Final between Hawthorn and West Coast, after jumping out of a vehicle resembling the Batmobile.[14] According to The Punch's Michael Phelan, Anderson's performance was "a teeth-gnashing, eyeballs-bleeding, nails-scratching-down-a-blackboard rendition" and rates it as the worst pre-game display in Australian sporting history.[14] Fellow guest Robert de Castella believed Anderson struggled with Waverley Park's poor acoustics,[15] while Anderson himself claimed that he could not hear himself over the engine noise of the "Batmobile".[16] In 1992, Anderson acted in the Australian arena-style revival of Jesus Christ Superstar as Herod. On Australia Day (26 January) 1993, Anderson was made a Member of the Order of Australia with the citation, "In recognition of service to the community, particularly as a youth advocate."[17] Also that year, Rose Tattoo reunited to support Guns N' Roses on the Australian leg of their Use Your Illusion Tour, Guns N' Roses specifically requested The Tatts to support Them in Australia. However the reunion was short-lived and the band's members returned to their solo projects.

From 1994, Anderson has used his contacts in the media to organise a Challenge where a particular charity's project was completed with support of community and business groups. Examples of these Challenges include constructing a playground for disabled children within 48 hours, assisting drought affected farmers with reserve feed for their stock, organising Christmas presents for socially and economically disadvantaged children, building two respite units for people living with and affected by HIV AIDS and delivering artificial limbs for Cambodian land mine victims.[5]

Rose Tattoo reconvened in 1998 and undertook an Australian tour.[7] The group has continued to perform despite five Rose Tattoo former band members dying of cancer: Dallas Royall (1991),[18][19] Peter Wells (2006),[20] Ian Rilen (2006),[21] Lobby Loyde (2007),[22] and Mick Cocks (2009).[23] According to rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, "over the course of a lengthy career, [the] gravel-throated vocalist ... has gone from attention-grabbing, rock'n'roll bad boy to all-round Australian media star."[3] On 16 August 2006, Rose Tattoo were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame.[24]

In the early years of the 2000s, Anderson participated in and organised a string of charity events. In 2002, Anderson played with former members of The Angels at the Bali Relief concert in Perth, Western Australia, held in aid of victims of the Bali bombing. Anderson is involved in the Dunn Lewis Youth Development Foundation, which is a lasting legacy of two of the 88 Australian lives lost in the bombings. In 2003, Anderson appeared in a cameo role as the character Kris Quaid in the independent Australian feature film Finding Joy. At the end of the film, he sings his hit "Suddenly."[25]

Left to right: Hamish Rosser, Anderson, Matt Sorum, Sarah McLeod, DJ Lethal at opening of Darling Harbour's Hard Rock Cafe in December 2011

Anderson appeared in a guest role in the Australian movie Suite for Fleur (2011), as Silas, Fleur's father, a carpenter and furniture maker living in Byron Bay. In December, Anderson joined Doc Neeson – The Angels, Mark Gable – The Choirboys, Buzz Bidstrup – The Angels, Phil Emmanuel and Matt Sorum (drummer for Guns N' Roses) on-stage to celebrate the opening of a Hard Rock Cafe in Darling Harbour.[26] In January 2012, Anderson announced that Rose Tattoo would disband – he is a member of the National Party and is considering using his birth name, Gary, for "political expediency" when running as a candidate in the next federal election.[27]

In 2014, Anderson was featured on 7mate's successful television series Bogan Hunters as one of eight celebrity judges.[28] Later that year, Anderson scored a role in the motion picture Fat Pizza vs. Housos. The film was shown in Australian cinemas from 27 November 2014 onwards.[29]

Political views[edit]

In July 2007, Anderson was criticised by some after espousing his views on Muslim immigration to Australia when he told the Sydney Daily Telegraph:[30][31]

It's not ill-conceived to look at certain people and question when they come out here what they bring with them ... We have strict quarantine laws and it should be the same when it comes to cultures that do not want to integrate. We should be very careful about where certain Muslims come from and what they believe. If you come here, you should behave yourself – it's as simple as that... If people come and live in any country and their way of life is so different they need their own special laws, then possibly they have to pick somewhere else to live. The idea of any Muslim being photographed for a passport or a licence with one of those shrouds on – sorry, it just can't happen.

On 1 March 2010, he told a Federal Parliamentary Committee into the impact of violence on youth that life experience has taught him "Aussies use their fists" when they fight and that "weapons were introduced by other cultures."[32] In March 2011, Anderson declared he was a supporter of conservative politician Tony Abbott and his views against a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.[33][34] He announced in October that year that he was joining the conservative National Party, and was interested in standing for a seat in the next Australian federal election.[35] When asked whether his more 'leftie views' might be gagged (he supports same-sex marriage, for example) he replied, "maintaining some sort of order and balance is about agreement, compromise, setting rules as the head of the house. I've learnt to be a part of the family. So I'm not going to say things in public that are going to embarrass the party."[36] He was selected as the National candidate for the Division of Throsby in New South Wales under his birth name, Gary Anderson. Although he didn't win, his preferences helped the Coalition net a four-percent swing in the seat.[37]

In 2012, Anderson participated in the SBS doco-reality show Go Back To Where You Came From, in which six Australians, each with differing opinions on Australia's asylum seeker debate, were taken on a journey to which refugees have taken to reach Australia. At the outset of the series Anderson says that "boat people" who arrive in Australia illegally should be sent back to their countries of origin: "If you come here illegally, I don't care about your story, first thing you do is you turn around and go back." Later in the series, after having met with refugees from Afghanistan who settled in Melbourne as well as visiting war-torn Kabul, Anderson softened his stand on the subject: "Now I've been here and spoken to people, I don't want to turn away refugees, I don't want to turn away people who need to be reunited with their families. I don't want that. Who would want that? I don't want people to go on suffering needlessly, when we can give them somewhere safe to be. But I don't want them to come to Australia in boats."[38]

Again endorsed by the National Party in September 2014, this time in the New South Wales seat of Cessnock for the 2015 state election, Anderson withdrew his candidacy in February 2015, citing personal reasons.[39]

In 2016 Anderson was endorsed as an Australian Liberty Alliance candidate for the Senate representing New South Wales at the 2016 federal election. The Australian Liberty Alliance is a right wing group that opposes Muslim immigration to Australia.[40][41]

Personal life[edit]

In Angry Anderson's 1994 biography, Angry – Scarred for Life, the author Karen Dewey describes his life as "Sexually, physically and mentally abused he broke the brutal family pattern to become a besotted, devoted father of four."[42] Anderson described how "[t]here was physical and emotional violence in the family" and a family friend began sexually abusing him from the age of five.[36]

In 1982, prior to one of Rose Tattoo's European tours, Anderson met Lindy Michael.[5] The couple's daughter, Roxanne was born in 1983.[5] Anderson and Michael married in January 1986 and have also had three sons, Galen, Blaine and Liam.[5][36] By 2002, Anderson and Michael were divorced.[5][36] Anderson is a single father and lives in the Sydney suburb of Beacon Hill.[27] Although he does not believe in an omniscient god he attends the Baha'i temple regularly, "the spirituality I have given myself over to is the divine."[36]

Having seen cancer claim the lives of five of his Rose Tattoo bandmates (Dallas Royall, Peter Wells, Ian Rilen, Lobby Lloyde and Mick Cocks), Anderson has become an advocate for men's health. He appeared in a TV campaign promoting awareness of prostate cancer.[43]

On 4 November 2018, Anderson's son Liam was killed in an attack in a park in Queenscliff, New South Wales.[44]


Anderson performing with Rose Tattoo at the 2006 Meredith Music Festival

Rose Tattoo[edit]

Buster Brown[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Blood from Stone 35


List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Suddenly" 1987 2 31 69 3 Beats from a Single Drum
"Get It Right" 1988 - - - -
"Calling" 1989 - - - -
"Bound for Glory" 1990 11 - - - Blood from Stone
"Heaven" 102 - - -
"I've Got to Rock (To Stay Alive)"
(Saxon featuring Lemmy Kilmister, Angry Anderson and Andi Deris)
2007 - - - - Non-album single

See also[edit]



Mo Awards[edit]

The Australian Entertainment Mo Awards (commonly known informally as the Mo Awards), were annual Australian entertainment industry awards. They recognise achievements in live entertainment in Australia from 1975 to 2016. Angry Anderson won one award in that time.[49]

Year Nominee / work Award Result (wins only)
1995 Angry Anderson John Campbell Fellowship Award Won

Further reading[edit]

  • Dewey, Karen (1994). Angry – Scarred for Life. Chippendale, NSW: Pan Macmillan Australia. ISBN 0-330-27372-8.
  • Murray Engleheart. Blood, Sweat & Beers- Oz Rock from the Aztecs to Rose Tattoo . Published by HarperCollins Australia. 2010. (ISBN 978 0 7322 8935 5)
  • Edward DuykerOf the Star and the Key: Mauritius, Mauritians and Australia, Australian Mauritian Research Group, Sylvania, 1988, p. 107.


  1. ^ "The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)". ASCAP. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Angry Anderson". Music Australia. National Library of Australia. 3 April 2007. Archived from the original on 13 June 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h McFarlane, 'Angry Anderson' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 3 August 2004). Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b Fidler, Richard (23 January 2007). "Rose Tattoo's Angry Anderson". 702 ABC Sydney. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Coupe, Stuart; Donnithorne, Jacinta. "Bio: Angry Anderson – "Bound for Glory"". Rose Tattoo Pty Ltd. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b c McFarlane 'Buster Brown' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 June 2004). Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d McFarlane 'Rose Tattoo' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 September 2004). Archived from the original on 1 September 2004. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  9. ^ "ARIA Hall of Fame – Rose Tattoo" (Press release). Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 12 July 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 July 2019). "Australian Singers Turned Actors". Filmink.
  11. ^ Spencer, Chris; Nowara, Zbig; McHenry, Paul (2002) [1987]. "Incredible Penguins". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. notes by Ed Nimmervoll. Noble Park, Vic: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1.
  12. ^ "Angry Anderson". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  13. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Angry Anderson". Australian Charts Portal (Hung Medien). Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  14. ^ a b Phelan, Michael (30 September 2011). "When Mr Loaf Meats AFL Anything Could Happen". The Punch. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  15. ^ Polkinghorne, David (2 October 2015). "Robert de Castella recalls Angry Anderson and the Batmobile". The Age. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  16. ^ Barich, Adrian (2 October 2015). "Bold Hawks hope history repeats". The West Australian. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Search Australian Honours – Anderson, Gary (Angry)". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. 26 January 1993. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  18. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Rose Tattoo". Howlspace – The Living History of Our Music. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd (Ed Nimmervoll). Archived from the original on 28 January 2003. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  19. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Rose Tattoo Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  20. ^ Australian Associated Press (AAP) (31 March 2006). "Pete Wells remembered as loyal mate". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  21. ^ Brown, Jen Jewel (25 November 2006). "He Was the Goodtime Bad Boy of Rose Tattoo". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  22. ^ Baker, Glenn A (24 April 2007). "The Godfather of Australian's Heavy Rock". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  23. ^ Australian Associated Press (AAP) (23 December 2009). "Rose Tattoo Band Founder Dies". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  24. ^ Fantin, Viv (12 August 2006). "Stars Line Up for ARIA Hall of Fame" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 12 March 2012.[dead link]
  25. ^ "Finding Joy Official Web Site". Archived from the original on 14 April 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  26. ^ Sharp, Annette; Christie, Joel; Harris, Amy (7 December 2011). "Angry Anderson, Doc Neeson, Mark Gable, Buzz Bidstrup and Phil Emmanuel launch Hard Rock Cafe at Darling Harbour". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney: News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  27. ^ a b "How an Angry Young Man Took a Right Turn". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  28. ^ "Bogan Hunters – Series 1". JB Hi-Fi. 17 July 2014. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Fat Pizza Vs Housos". Hoyts. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  30. ^ McIlveen, Luke (3 July 2007). "What's Making Anderson Angry?". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. Retrieved 7 July 2007.
  31. ^ "Beware Barbie Bombers and Jumping-Castle Jihadis". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 7 July 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2007.
  32. ^ Kamper, Angela (2 March 2011). "Angry Anderson Blames 'Other Cultures' for Spoiling Aussie Violence". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  33. ^ Thompson, Jeremy (23 March 2011). "Angry Anderson at Anti-Carbon Tax Rally in Canberra". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  34. ^ Johnston, Matt; Wright, Anne (23 March 2011). "Carbon Tax Protesters Rally in Canberra, Melbourne". Herald Sun. News Corporation. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  35. ^ MacKenzie, Bruce; Joyce, Jo (6 October 2011). "Rock Star Ponders Turning Political in Page". ABC News North Coast. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  36. ^ a b c d e "How an Angry Young Man Took a Right Turn". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  37. ^ "Throsby". ABC election guide. Australia: ABC News. 2013.
  38. ^ "Series 2: Episode 2 | Videos | Go Back to Where You Came From". SBS. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  39. ^ "Angry withdraws as Nationals candidate". The Land. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  40. ^ Boult, Adam (9 May 2016). "Anderson is now candidate for anti-Islamic political party". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  41. ^ McCabe, Kathy (6 May 2016). "Angry Anderson joins anti-Islam party to chase a Senate seat at the Federal election". Australia. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  42. ^ "Angry : Scarred for Life / Karen Dewey". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  43. ^ "Prostate cancer". Radio National. 4 June 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  44. ^ "Angry Anderson's son Liam dies after alleged assault on Sydney's northern beaches". ABC News. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  45. ^ Peak positions for singles in Australia:
  46. ^ "Bubbling Down Under Week commencing 17 December 1990". 17 December 2021. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  47. ^ a b "Discografie Angry Anderson" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  48. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 23. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  49. ^ "MO Award Winners". Mo Awards. Retrieved 16 March 2022.

External links[edit]