Marketing the key to Divinyls' success


It's amazing what goes on behind the scenes at record companies and how it affects the music we hear on the radio and what becomes popular.

In the case of the Australian band, The Divinyls, it wasn't so much a lack of music -- they've recorded five albums since 1983 -- but instead who was marketing them to the American public.

After three unsuccessful works for Chrysalis Records, the band was dropped from the label and subsequently picked up by Virgin Records after putting an album together in France last year.

The new self-titled album was barely on the street in late winter when "I Touch Myself," a sexy, sultry piece of pop-rock innuendo, was all over the airwaves and the band had its first bona fide hit.

"I think it comes down to the matter of being associated with a label where people care about you and are willing to take the necessary steps to promote you," said guitarist Mark McEntee, who along with Christina Amphlett make up the band that will perform at Hammerjacks Saturday night. "They've been very enthusiastic from the beginning."

The band came out of Sydney in the early '80s, and not at all unlike others before them like INXS, Midnight Oil and Men At Work, it has taken time for them to gain a substantial following in America.

As for the song that has broadened The Divinyls' fan base, McEntee said it all started very innocuously.

"Christina and [songwriter] Billy Steinberg were sitting in a cafe RTC throwing these absurd lines at each other," McEntee said. "There were three girls standing behind them, listening in, who were sort of titillated by it all. But actually, Chrissy was just saying things to get them to laugh."

So was it or wasn't it entirely sexual?

"Chrissy writes a lot of songs that can be interpreted in many ways," McEntee said, almost dodging the question. "But it's the way she performs it and the way it comes across, that makes it sexual in some minds."


The concert calendar . . .

Guns 'n' Roses and Skid Row perform again at the Capital Centre tonight. Plenty of seats remain. Also coming to the Cap Centre, AC/DC and L.A. Guns (July 9) and Yes (July 20).

Merriweather Post Pavilion begins a heavier schedule this weekend with Crystal Gayle and T.G. Sheppard (tonight), Nelson and Enuff Z'Nuff (tomorrow), Don Henley and Susanna Hoffs (Saturday) and David Lee Roth, Cinderella and Extreme (Tuesday).

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