Music

Behind-The-Scenes Stories About The Craziest ‘Rage’ Guest Presenters

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If you live in Australia and own a TV, you’ve seen Rage

That’s not hyperbole, it’s merely a case of probability. At 30 years old, Rage is Australia’s (and the world’s) longest running music TV show, airing on Friday and Saturday nights from late in the evening until midday the next day.

Part of the joy of staying up into the wee hours watching Rage — most likely while clutching a tea or, um, something stronger — is seeing the various guest presenters obsess over their favourite music and dish up wild stories from their careers.

Over the years, iconic artists like Courtney Love, Trent Reznor, Placebo, Bob Geldof, Cyndi Lauper, Sonic Youth, Moby, No Doubt and so, so many more have graced the famous Red Couch, bringing with them some excellent tunes and even better inside skinny.

So to find out what goes on behind-the-scenes with Rage‘s highest-profile guests — from hosts getting butt naked to A-listers rocking up five hours late — we asked producer Tyson Koh to give us the inside scoop on Australian TV’s best moments.

And before you ask — no, the guest presenters don’t sit around for 10 hours and watch all the videos in their entirety like the audience does.

“Sometimes I have to try and cram everything in 30 minutes, but I like to shoot at a more relaxed pace with the band so they have time to ease into it and really give the impression that they’re watching the show with the audience,” says Koh. “All in all, it takes about an hour, and we do most of the shoots at the ABC studios in Sydney, but sometimes we’ll go on location to either a venue or a hotel.”

Without further ado, here are some of our favourite moments from three decades of Rage.


When Courtney Love Rocked Up Five Hours Late

It’s well known that rock stars aren’t the most punctual of people, and Courtney Love is no exception. The Hole frontwoman casually rocked up five hours late to her band’s Rage shoot, much to the exasperation of the ABC crew.

“With an artist like that, of that calibre, it’s not like you can just cancel the shoot,” Koh says of the incident. “The producers will move heaven and earth and inconvenience themselves to the nth degree just to get her on the show.”

“When she did turn up, she was a complete live wire. Just really hilarious and disagreeing with her band members — and she introduced herself as Madonna just as a joke. So even though she was really late, I think she was worth the wait.”


When A Pre-Drag Race RuPaul Stopped By In The ’90s

Long before RuPaul’s Drag Race was a twinkle in her eye, RuPaul was tearing up the dancefloor with disco bangers like ‘Supermodel (You Better Work)’. In 1994 she was in our fair country off the back of her debut album Supermodel Of The World, and so dropped by the couch to deliver her video picks.

Of course, being RuPaul, she didn’t just sit down and talk straight to the camera… oh, hell no.

Sashay away, my queen:


When Mike Patton Made Rude Words Sound Good

Along with Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers, Faith No More’s Mike Patton holds the record for the most times spent on the Red Couch. He’s appeared three times over the years, and it’s clear why: he plays good tunes, has some startling stories to tell, and is funny as hell.

And we’ve also never heard anyone say the word “puss” with such vigour. See it yourself below, around the two-minute mark.


When Lemmy Really Just Wanted To Go Home

The late and great Lemmy from Motörhead programmed Rage wayyy back in June 1991.

There’s actually not much to say about his appearance on the show, aside from the fact that he categorically, gloriously, did not give a shit that he was there.

Vale.


When Marilyn Manson Proved The Critics Wrong

The Prince Of Darkness graced the Rage couch in 1999 — the same year of the Columbine shootings that his music would come to be associated with — and despite an initially terrifying presence, he revealed himself to be a thoroughly pleasant dude.

“He’s someone who has a very really strong aura about him,” Koh says. “He’s very commanding, he’s highly intelligent, really creative, and really off-beat. He’s the kind of guy where you’d look at him, you’d have a look at his repertoire and you’d think, ‘Oh, here’s a guy who’s really serious and really dark.'”

“But when you meet him in person, you realise that he’s actually a very affable and funny guy. He’s got a really wicked sense of humour and is also incredibly professional, so he understands that you’re there to do a job.”


When Giorgio Moroder Spilled The Beans On Daft Punk

Music royalty doesn’t get much bigger than Giorgio Moroder. The Italian musician and producer has shaped modern dance music more than any other single person; without him, we pretty much wouldn’t have modern disco and house music.

It goes without saying that he has a lot of interesting stories up his sleeve, from how he made the iconic track ‘I Feel Love’, to his more recent work with Daft Punk on ‘Get Lucky’. When he finally got around to dropping into the Rage studio in 2015, his stories nearly outshone his epic playlist.


When Cyndi Lauper Told Us To Take Our Shoes Off

Speaking of musicians with insanely great yarns up their sleeve, pop icon Cyndi Lauper has got a fair few of her own — whether it’s about singing along with The Cure’s Robert Smith, or how she started off her career opening for Split Enz.

But it was Lauper’s effortless charisma and charm in front of the camera that made her a dream to watch. Filmed inside her hotel suite, she lounged around on the couch — sometimes upside down — and pretended to be tired, an endearing mirroring of her audience.

Also, there’s something insanely comforting about hearing Cyndi Lauper drawl “take your shoes off darl” in her incredibly thick New York accent.


When Billy Corgan Tried To Get Everyone Laid

Probably nothing better sums up the colourful Smashing Pumpkins frontman’s time on the couch than his opening monologue. So here it is:

“Hell0. You’ve probably just returned from the pub, and you’re about to have a… tussle in the hay, as we say. Now, they put me in charge of this program, and I don’t want to interfere with your sex life. I’ve carefully chosen these videos to assist you to the height of pleasure. Because I love you that much. So frolic away.

“If you occasionally hear my voice, you may stop and listen… but don’t stop.”

The videos are definitely worth watching until the end.


When Malcolm McLaren Lived Up To His Reputation

If you thought that the spiritual leader of the UK punk movement would be a little… strange: you’re not wrong.

Wearing dark glasses, one hand constantly resting on his head, and speaking with the croakiest drawl this side of Tom Waits, Malcom McLaren certainly cut an arresting figure on the Red Couch. But it was his stories about partying with Afrika Bambaataa in the Bronx and encountering a young Eric Burdon in London that made his time on the show truly memorable.


Just Fucking Everything That Amanda Palmer Did

In the opening moments of her intro, Amanda Palmer pours a kettle of water over her head while singing ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’

She then spends the rest of her time sitting on her hotel bed in a towel, strumming various songs on a ukulele.

Enough said, really.


Jules LeFevre is the Staff Writer for Music Junkee and inthemix. She has fallen asleep watching Rage more times than she cares to admit. She is on Twitter