Sean Kelly (Australian musician)

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Sean Kelly
Sean Kelly in San Francisco, California with Models – 1986
Sean Kelly in San Francisco, California with Models – 1986
Background information
Birth nameSean Patrick Kelly
Also known asSean Kelly
Born (1958-11-09) 9 November 1958 (age 61)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresRock, new wave
LabelsSuicide, Mushroom, Polydor, RooArt, Columbia, Sony Music, Liberation Blue
Associated actsSpred, Teenage Radio Stars, Models, DUH, Absent Friends, The Dukes, Interchange Bench, Astrid Munday and Dystopia

Sean Patrick Kelly[1] (born 9 November 1958) is an Australian singer, guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of the bands Models, Absent Friends and The Dukes.[2]


In his youth, Kelly was exposed to a variety of musical genres that would eventually influence his own style.[3] Before developing a taste for pop music and the Top 40s, he would listen to his parents classical music and show tunes.[3] Growing up in an Irish Catholic family, he was exposed to music from an early age. His mother, sisters and cousins play the piano, and he too learned how to play before switching to the guitar and drums in his teens.[3]

At age 13, he took up guitar lessons and was taught by Ian Miller from JPY (John Paul Young) and the Allstars.[3][4] Although his first love was the drums, he shifted focus to the guitar to further his ambitions as a songwriter.[3] He met James Freud (Colin McGlinchey) in high school and the two of them got together with Ian McFarlane to form their first band.[3] At the age of 15, he left home and moved into a boarding house in St Kilda, busking at Kings Cross and Paddy’s Market in Sydney.[3][4]

Kelly started his professional career in 1977 in Spred, later called Teenage Radio Stars, alongside James Freud who would eventually join him in Models.[5][6] This was his first foray into the world of punk rock. Kelly joined the band when he was invited by Freud to replace another guitarist and even took on the role of a vocalist for the first time.[3][4] After leaving Teenage Radio Stars, Kelly and fellow band member Peter Sutcliffe (Pierre Voltaire) joined with former JAB members Janis Friedenfelds (Johnny Crash) and Ash Wednesday to form Models.[7] The Models continued, with many line-up changes, until 1988 when it disbanded.[2]

Kelly released a solo single "Thankyou Goodnight" in 1989 and formed Absent Friends with his partner Wendy Matthews and Garry Gary Beers that same year. After a top ten album, Here's Looking Up Your Address (#7), a top ten single, "I Don't Wanna Be With Nobody But You" (#4), and an ARIA award the band broke up in 1990. Kelly provided guitar on Matthews' debut solo album, Émigré (November 1990).

Sean Kelly and The Iron Dukes were formed in 1990, becoming The Dukes soon after. After releasing the ARIA nominated album Harbour City the band broke up in 1993.

Since then, Kelly has played with Interchange Bench (1993–1998) alongside Andrew Duffield, Billy Miller, Ken Firth and Cal McCalpine; and also with Astrid Munday and Dystopia (1996–1999), together with Astrid Munday (vocals), Stephen Moffat (guitar), Tim Cleaver (bass), Shamus Goble (drums), Rosie Westbrook (bass) and Craig Williamson (drums). Kelly toured with a reformed Models in 2000 and 2001 before releasing his first solo album Moons of Jupiter in 2006.[2]

In 2010, Sean Kelly was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame for his work with The Models, alongside his former bandmates (James Freud, Barton Price, Roger Mason, Andrew Duffield, Mark Ferrie and James Valentine).[8][9][10][2] Over the years, Kelly has led several reunion shows of The Models and toured with a reformed version of the band alongside Mark Ferrie, Barton Price and Andrew Duffield.[4] Most notably, the band reunited to perform at the Homebake Festival and the Countdown Spectacular in 2006, followed by a series of one-off concerts with varying lineups.[4][11][12]



with Models (1979 —1988)

with Absent Friends (1989 —1990)

with The Dukes (1990 —1993)

  • Harbour CitySony (December 1992)
  • I Fought the Law (EP) (1993)


  • "Thankyou Goodnight" single – rooArt (1989)
  • Moons of JupiterLiberation Blue (2006)


  1. ^ ""Two People Per Square Kilometre" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sean Kelly - Artist Profile". Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "EXCLUSIVE: The Pleasure Of His Company - THE MODELS' Sean Kelly. Part 1". Australian Musician Magazine. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Interview: SEAN KELLY (MODELS)". Rock Club 40. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  5. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "Sean Kelly". Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  6. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "Spred / Teenage Radio Stars". Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  7. ^ Holmgren, Magnus; Baird, Paul; Aubrey, Ross; Acosta, Lisa. "The Models". Australian Rock Database. (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 12 June 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Models inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame". TimeOut Sydney. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Old talent time: ARIA honours music legends". ABC News. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  10. ^ "ARIA Icons: Hall Of Fame". Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Models Reform for Homebake Festival". 28 July 2006. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  12. ^ "The Models To Reunite Next Week". 18 September 2008. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2019.

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