Music

The ABC Has Shut Down A ‘Recovery’ Revival Just As We Got Our Hopes Up

#BringBackRecovery

It’s been 22 years since Recovery, the ABC’s iconic Saturday morning live-music show, first aired, and fans are still clinging onto hopes of a reboot. But just as local musicians and live-music lovers have created an online groundswell for a new season, the ABC has dashed all our hopes and hangover dreams.

Murmurs of a reunion have been slow and steady since the show’s 20 year anniversary in 2016, with co-host Jane Gazzo saying she and fellow co-host Dylan Lewis were “approached” about a reboot. We even tried to will something into existence last year when we asked Gazzo and Lewis to imagine what music Recovery would play now.

Then Adelaide band Bad Dreems got our hopes up when they started an online petition of sorts on Instagram this week, saying they’d try and help reboot the show if they got over 500 likes.

Which it did, though that doesn’t mean too much by itself. Given that last year Bad Dreems made a Recovery-inspired music video featuring Lewis for ‘Feeling Remains’, it’s clear that the four-piece are just big fans — the band’s drummer Miles Wilson told Music Junkee the post was essentially putting some feelers out into the world.

Recovery (and Rage) were entry points into alternative music and culture for us,” he said. “They’ll always have a special place in our heart. We got to know Dylan when we were filming ‘Feeling Remains’ clip, and he’s a massive legend.”

“The irreverence and weirdness of Dylan, Jane and The Enforcer (et al) are something that seems to be missing in today’s scene. But maybe it’s just nostalgia speaking.”

The feelers worked, to an extent. Within a day of Bad Dreems’ post, Lewis and Gazzo expressed support on social media: Lewis re-posted the pic, and Gazzo tweeted that she’d been inundated with messages. Gazzo even dared the ABC to do a reunion, saying “If only Aunty had the guts to at least agree to a one-off spesh!”

Soon enough, The Preatures had thrown their weight behind the reboot too, saying they’d definitely play if Bad Dreems did. And so the first episode was born, right?

Nope. When approached for comment, the ABC has doused the flames before the fire spread, telling Music Junkee that they have no plans to reboot Recovery, but ensured that live music remained a focus in their programming.

“We are looking at ways to continue to share content from Recovery, through social media and elsewhere,” said an ABC spokesperson. “More broadly, we have lots of great live music content coming up, as it remains a priority to us.”

“The ABC is focused on new concepts for music on TV and video, such as the recent Splendour In The Grass TV special on Rage and iView, the upcoming triple j One Night Stand on ABC TV, the ongoing success of triple j Like A Version on YouTube and Facebook, and some new live music plans for this year’s Ausmusic Month, which will be announced soon.”

Wilson said he wasn’t planning on releasing a proper petition anymore (“We were conscious of ‘flogging a dead horse’, so to speak”), but maintained there was something special about Recovery that’s worth revisiting beyond nostalgia.

“ABC seems to have their finger on the pulse,” Wilson said. “And it was awesome to see they’re doing some great live music initiatives — however, the ABC’s cited examples are very different telecast disciplines to Recovery because of the format.”

“[Recovery had a] live studio audience and personable interviews with the band in a magnified format, with less emphasis on the show or brand presenting the music and more emphasis on the band itself. But, any televised Australian music is inspiring and encouraging.”

It’s not just the ABC whose recently invested in live music on television, either. Channel 9 recently launched Jam Live, an Adelaide-based live music show which has so far featured San Cisco, Jet and Boo Seeka, while last month MTV Unplugged made its long-overdue Australian debut with performances from Amy Shark and Gang Of Youths.

But if you still need to sate the eternal question “What if Recovery was still on TV?”, there’s always Bad Dreems’ excellent ‘Feeling Remains’ video.