Rail (Australian band)

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Rail was an Australian band from Melbourne in the mid 1990s.[1] The members were Dan Vertessy (vox & guitar), Dave Sayer (bass & vox), Ian Williams (drums & vox), Ash Naylor (guitar & vox). Vertessy and Williams played together in The Wick Effect from 1990-1992.[2] They were originally named Sleeper and a self-titled EP was released in the early '90s. Triple J picked up the track Spinning Ball from the Sleeper EP which was also included on their debut album. They changed their name to Fragment to avoid confusion with a UK band. As Fragment they recorded a single track for Roo Art's Young Blood compilation before settling on the name Rail. They signed to Mushroom Records' White Label in 1994 and released two albums. Their debut album was titled Bad Hair Life and was critically acclaimed. It contained the single "Immune Deficiency" which received a lot of radio and TV airplay on the ABC, specifically Triple J. Rail were nominated for Best New Talent & Breakthrough Artist at The 1996 ARIA Awards.

The single "Immune Deficiency" came in at 72 in Triple J's Hottest 100 of 1995.

With record label interest in the US, Rail performed at the prestigious South by South West Conference & Festival in Austin Texas in 1996. The second album was titled Goodbye Surfing, Hello God, named after a Brian Wilson reference. Influenced by Neil Young plus (Alex Chilton/ Big Star, The Posies, Swervedriver & Teenage Fanclub), all of whom they supported,

Their second album Goodbye Surfing, Hello God was recorded at Sing Sing Studios Melbourne with New York producer Don Fleming (Teenage Fanclub, The Posies, Sonic Youth) in 1996. This was Naylor's final recording session with the band as he left to peruse his band Even.

Guitarist Dan O'Halloran replaced Naylor in 1997. O'Halloran left the band in mid 1998 & the band performed as trio for the remaining time with the occasional inclusion of keyboardist Craig Sayer. Rail performed at The Big Day Out Melbourne & The Falls Festival.

Television performances include Channel 31 Melbourne, ABC TV's Recovery (as the featured band) plus the programming of Rage in 1996. They split in late 1998. Drummer Ian Williams drowned in 1999.


  • Dan Vertessy
  • Dave Sayer
  • Ian Williams
  • Ash Naylor
  • Dan O'Halloran
  • Craig Sayer