RVG’s Love Letter To The Go-Betweens

Melbourne musician Romy Vager considers herself a Go-Betweens tragic – but it wasn’t an instant love. The singer/guitarist from the jagged rock band RVG was first exposed to the iconic Brisbane outfit by an ex-partner when they were “obviously breaking up”.

“They just have that ability to sneak up on you and get inside you,” she says.

Formed by Robert Forster and Grant McLennan in the late-1970s, the band have become hugely influential on a new generation of literate Australia bands including Twerps, Dick Diver, Rolling Blackouts C.F and The Creases. And it’s not hard for Romy to see why.

“They’re just really good,” she says. “They cover a lot bases and they make quite simple music which is quite approachable to all kinds of people.”

Here are her favourite eight songs.

Spirit of a Vampyre

Tallulah, 1987

There’s a couple of mystical undertones to this, It’s a bit sexy too. I think if Aleister Crowley wrote pop songs he’d write something like this.


Just A King In Mirrors

Before Hollywood, 1983

A beautiful sounding song, but the lyrics are a pretty brutal character assassination. I love it.


Dive For Your Memory

16 Lovers Lane, 1988

You know that feeling when you break up with somebody and it’s still so new and raw that you don’t want to remember the good things yet? That’s what I feel when I hear this song.


Apology Accepted

Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express, 1986

So moving. It sounds like Grant is having a heated conversation with somebody’s answering machine.


Unkind Unwise

Live At Vienna Burns, 1987

Before RVG started, I was listening to this live album non stop. I wanted to be in a band that sounded half as good live as they would have been.


Darlinghurst Nights

Oceans Apart 2005

Every word is perfect in this. It’s a very difficult thing to do to write a song with lots of words and keep everyone’s attention.


One Thing Can Hold Us

Send Me A Lullaby, 1981

It doesn’t really sound like all the other songs of the first album. It’s a bit more fragile and not as angular.


Rock & Roll Friend

16 Lovers Lane, 1988

A song that Robert Forster wrote from his girlfriend’s perspective. I think it’s important to look at things from all angles when you write songs. People who can’t see outside themselves make the most boring music.

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