The Bowie Unzipped band features some of Australia’s best musicians including the legendary Jeff Duff on Vocals, Glenn Rhodes on Keyboards, Bass and Vocals, Jess Ciampa on Drums and Vocals and Jak Housden on Guitar and Vocals.
In a flamboyant and often controversial music career Jeff has released twenty-seven albums including a recent album with members of legendary british rock band Deep Purple. When Duffo took refuge in England in the eighties, he had, as they say, worn out his welcome in Australian rock. He was simply too much of a handfull, this ‘waif with a wharfie’s voice!’ camping it up out front of his trail-blazing rock ensemble ‘Kush’at the time, Jeff’s androgynous stage persona, dressed in leotards, garish make-up and a touch of the operatics was considered far too outrageous for many Australian audiences…
Jeff quickly established himself in the UK and became the darling of london’s new wave movement during the eighties staying one step ahead of his peers with his flamboyant performances. The exhibitionism and visual assault so integral to british punk culture could have been a sequence from Duffo’s own fertile imagination. Soon Andy Warhol was issuing forth his oft-quoted utterence: ‘Sinatra, Presley, Jagger, Popeye…and now Duffo. Duffo returned to australia in the late eighties to re-introduce his powerful voice and unique style to the local scene. His recording and accompanying video of Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the wildside’ helped re-establish his career in oz and has become an Australian classic.
Jeff’s leading role in the sc-fi movie ‘sons of steel’ also won many plaudits for his comical portrayal of ‘secta’, a space-age scientist . The movie has become a cult classic and is still being screened at major film festivals. A theatrical extravaganza called ‘Ground Control to Frank Sinatra’ which Jeff created and starred in, fused the music of Bowie with the music of Sinatra, became a huge hit with fans, selling out a season at the Opera House studio in 2005. Jeff’s recent lead role in ‘Genius’, the Ray Charles gospel show staged in Melbourne was acclaimed by critics. “Duff was truly magnificent!…How such an extraordinarily soulful voice can come out of such a skinny white guy is beyond me” [pbs fm radio melb] Jeff’s longtime admiration for David Bowie eventually led him to staging the first ‘Ziggy’ show in Australia in the nineties.
Glenn’s long list of credits is enough to showcase the diversity of his talent. His experience in performance and production provides a unique mix of direction, showmanship and musical talent. This mix combined with a commitment to perfection has helped him become one of Australia’s most respected musicians and director/producers. As well as working with some of the biggest names in the industry Glenn is an exceptional artist in his own right, performing, writing and recording locally and internationally. His latest CD is soon to be released bringing together his unique fusion of jazz, soul and R&B.
He has played guitar since he was about 10-years-old. He joined his first professional band, Show of Hands when he was just 16 years old. Jak was the guitarist for The Badloves before becoming a full-time guitarist for The Whitlams for the release of Torch the Moon in 2002. Before this Whitlams release however, Jak made an appearance on the 2000 album Love This City. Housden released a solo album Mad About Disco in 2004 through Boffin Records, which spawned his first single “To Die For”.
On his album, Jak demonstrated his many musical talents and varied his musical instruments to an assortment of things such as guitar, bass, roland synthesizer, drums, electronic harpsichord, cheese machine, shaker, cowbell, cabassa, tambourine, wobble bass, mellotron, Yamaha organ, Wurlitizer electric piano, fuzz bass, and the Casio keyboard submarine sound.
Jess Ciampa trained at NSW Conservatorium of Music 1983-’86, with a Bachelor of Music Education. Jess majored on Trumpet but changed to Orchestral Percussion in the 3rd year. Jess is a Multi Instrumentalist who has played and recorded in a wide variety of styles.
Jeff Duff is a flamboyant and controversial entertainer, whose career bloomed in London alongside some of rock music’s greatest stars. Known for his successful David Bowie tribute act, Duff insists he’s very much his own man.
The ‘David Bowie thing’ has defined Jeff Duff’s career in most people’s minds. He’s the Thin Aussie Duke, Sydney’s Major Tom, the Ziggy Stardust of Elizabeth Bay, the man who’s done a million Bowie tribute shows.