Save the Sando! Save Live Music! Part 2

“Since opening in 1957, the legendary Troubadour club in West Hollywood has helped launch some of contemporary music’s most talented performers. Greats such as Elton John, James Taylor and Tom Waits performed there early in their careers, and it continues to be a destination for cutting-edge acts from around the world.” Photo and venue description courtesy of the Troubadour official website. Copyright 2012.

“As long as there has been a Los Angeles rock scene, there has been the Whisky A Go-Go. An anchor on the Sunset Strip since it’s opening in 1964, the Whisky A Go-Go has played host to rock ‘n’ roll’s most important bands, from the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin to today’s up and coming new artists.” Photo and venue description courtesy of the Whisky a Go-Go official website. Copyright 2012

With ever-increasing frequency, banks and other lending institutions are closing iconic, important live music venues all over the world, ruining both the lives of everyday folk as well as robbing communities of their history, heritage and culture, all in one fell swoop of a pen.

Here in Los Angeles, we have-so far-been luckier than many other major cities in preserving many of our most treasured and  historic live music venues such as The Troubadour and The Whisky a Go-Go.  Sadly, this has not been the case for many other major cities both in California, the rest of the United States and overseas.

In the case of the Sando, the devastating Global Financial Crisis in combination with unchecked corporate greed is starting to rip at the the very heart of the city’s  music and art community.  As one of Australia’s oldest pubs (over a hundred years) The Sandringham Hotel became a fertile breeding ground for countless musical acts, many of whom went on to play major roles on both the regional and national arenas, influencing the music of many California artists as well.

Recently, rock music commentator and DJ Brian Giffin issued a lengthy commentary on the plight of the Sandringham Hotel. The following is an excerpt:

“Like a thousand or so other businesses, the Sandringham has fallen victim to the Commonwealth Bank’s ‘Operation Magellan’: a scheme to recoup the massive losses of the Bankwest Group by devaluing properties and pushing the owners’ mortgages outside the CBA’s own lending guidelines. In short, according to the advocacy group Unhappy Banking, the Commonwealth is basically just invalidating hundreds of loans and calling them in with virtually no warning. It’s the type of thing loansharks do, except the Commonwealth is Australia’s largest public bank and the second largest listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange.”

The people to whom the Sando means so much aren’t letting go of it without a courageous fight. Online petitions and Facebook groups have been initiated, but raising world-wide public awareness is the most direct and effective way to fight this type of battle: inciting the masses to a call for action. The event at the Marrickville Bowling Club on August 17, featuring Sando regulars like Spaceticket and the Dunhill Blues (headlined by ’90s band Salacious Crumb) helped to add some much-needed funds into this worthy campaign that is far from over.

However, it was the rally (with subsequent march) on August 26th that really grabbed the attention of the media. Literally thousands of supporters  turned out for a four-hour free concert in Sydney Park, where a string of Sando regulars and supporters (including legendary Doc Neeson of The Angels)  performed and addressed the crowd.  Tony Townsend addressed the crowd, as well as a spokesperson for the Financial Services Union.  Amazingly, the Commonwealth Bank isn’t only attacking its own customers, it’s also going after their own staff in a bid to squeeze out enormous profit margins…at any cost.

Description: Sandringham Hotel – Sunday August 26 2012
Members of AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, & The Choirboys playing on the back of a flatbed truck perform “It’s a Long Way to the Top.”

After the rally, the march included approximately 3,000 people marching along one of Sydney’s busiest streets and gathering right outside of the Sando, where they listened  to members of AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, & The Choirboys perform “It’s a Long Way to the Top” on the back of a flatbed truck.

The music-loving community of Sydney Australia are doing all they can to prevent the closure of The Sando-and any more Australian live music venues-because without the Sando and places like it then the backs of trucks are about the only place left for bands to be able to perform anymore! In the current state of our weakened global economy it’s now more important than ever that musicians have somewhere to perform. This is especially important for up and coming bands who have not yet become major stars who can afford to fill a large stadium or theatre.

Kim Townsend and her children join the street marchers at the August 26th ‘Save the Sando’ rally.

Sydney already has suffered the demise of way too many of its most treasured live music venues. If the Sando goes the way of the dinosaur then over 100 gigs a month won’t be happening anymore! Worse than that, a tradition spanning a full three generations will sadly come to an end, and all because of the greedy, questionable dealings of a multi-billion dollar corporation whose behavior is currently under investigation by a Senate inquiry. Yet this bank-the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (the CBA)-continues to deny any wrong doing while acting in a way that is both belligerent and counter-productive to the needs of the communities it claims to serve (as this Four Corners report reveals).

This is precisely the sort of behavior that last year’s Occupy protests were all about: banks can and do bring it down on anyone. The ‘Save Our Sando’ campaign isn’t just about saving one of Sydney’s most legendary live music venues. It’s about the disregard…outright contempt… that banks world wide continue to have for ordinary people like you, me and Tony Townsend.  We must continue to draw attention to it and to put an end to it NOW.  This is one battle we CANNOT afford to lose.

Sydney CBD – Tuesday 18th Sep 4PM –  TODAY!!!

Tuesday, September 18 is the “Eve of the Sale of the Sando” The last chance to gather and let the CBA know how much the Sando means to us all.


The plan: meet up at approx. 3:30pm onward, outside the CBA Money Box building at 48 Martin Place (the old head office Cnr Castlereagh & Martin Pl). Let’s save our Sando, the battle ISN’T over with yet!

What YOU can do to help save the Sando:

Read and sign the petition  created by supporters of the Sando:

Follow the daily updates on the ‘Save the Sando’ Facebook page:

Follow the daily updates on Tony Townsend’s Facebook page:

“Save The Sando!” photo  & posters courtesy of Tony Townsend

All photos copyright 2012.

Shirley Pena

About Shirley Pena

A native of Southern California, Shirley Peña began her career as a music journalist almost twenty years ago, writing for her websites "Stars In My Eyes: the Girlhowdy Website" and "La Raza Rock!" and progressed to creating various fan sites on Yahoo, including the first for New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn. From there, she became a free agent, arranging online interviews for Yahoo fan clubs with various music artists (Andy White, John Crawford, Debora Iyall, John Easdale, etc.). She also lent her support in creating and moderating a number of Yahoo fan clubs for various music artists from the 1990s-today. As a music journalist, Shirley Peña has contributed to a number of magazines (both hard copy and online), among them: Goldmine, American Songwriter, Classic Drummer Magazine and UK-based Keyboard Player (where she was a principal journalist). A self-confessed "fanatic" of 1960s "British Invasion" bands, Classic Rock and nostalgic "Old Hollywood ", she also keeps her finger on the pulse of current trends in music, with a keen eye for up and coming artists of special merit. Shirley Peña loves Los Angeles, and is thrilled to join the writing staff of The Los Angeles Beat!
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