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V SPY V SPY brings an anthem of the times to Shoal Bay Country Club

"Don't you wonder why? They're tearing all the the old houses down Can't they see? That they're the best places around Don't tear it down There's life in it yet..."

First released in 1986, the V Spy V Spy hit Don't Tear It Down was written about the then government's bid to tear down a number of iconic terrace houses lining the Sydney suburb of Glebe. They wanted to build a freeway.

At the time, front man Michael Weiley and a very green V Spy V Spy were squatting in the abandoned terraces, living rent free and trying to make it as a band.

As residents battled the government, trying to protect the rich heritage of the buildings, an artistic take on the impending loss of history soon became Don't Tear It Down, a song that would embed itself in Australia's own history of pub rock.

30 years later, the freeway remains unbuilt. V Spy V Spy is a household name.

And a song written about protecting and appreciating our history once again begins to resonate, as live music venues across the state close down, making way for residential development.

"Don't you know that History

Is written there deep in the walls

But the march of progress

Just wants to pour concrete over us all..."

Off the back of a tour with The Radiators and ahead of the band's upcoming show at Shoal Bay Country Club on Saturday 7 April, Michael says he too can see the relevance of the song in today's world, and how it resonates with current challenges faced by musicians and live music venue owners.

"Many of our live music venues are closing," he said.

"I heard recently The Basement in Sydney, a jazz venue near the Opera House, is closing down and sometimes these things happen.

"But if we can protect our heritage buildings for the future, then I think it's worth holding on to them rather than just tearing them down.

"We need to hold on to what we've got for the generations to come so they can see the history.

"It's how we learn about things, and how we learn about ourselves."

"Eviction notes, in business coats

Never renovate, they just tear it down

A nation's heritage

They want to bring down without a sound

Another new town

On top of the real town..."

While the later years saw Michael and the band living in Sydney, and writing about government intervention, the genesis of his music career and relationship with original V Spy V Spy band member Craig Bloxum (bass guitarist/lead vocalist) originally occurred in Port Stephens.

Back when he was a student at Nelson Bay High School.

"It was the year (1976) I immigrated as a Pommie from England and went to Nelson Bay High School," he said.

"In a way I grew up there and I believe Shoal Bay Country Club was the first place I ever experienced an alcoholic beverage in fact.

"It was at that school I met Craig. He was from Fingal Bay and we knew it was a good fit right from the start."

"I believe the Shoal Bay Country Club was the first place I ever experienced an alcoholic beverage..."

Introduced by the headmaster of the high school due to their mutual love of music, the pair soon became fast friends and according to Micheal, spent more time planning to form a band than focusing on school work.

"Craig was actually thrown out of our economic class because he wouldn't shut up, talking to me non-stop about music," he said.

"He just wouldn't listen and so he was ejected from the class. They were good days back then at the Bay."

Today, Michael says he is looking forward to heading back to Port Stephens for the gig.

"It's a great area and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"And the audience has a lot to look forward to as well because the Spies were always a really good live band.

"We were exciting and energetic. I know that was true throughout the 80s and 90s, but it's really important to me that we still are.

"Spies were always a really good live band. We were an exciting and and energetic and I know that was true throughout the 80s and 90s, but it's really important to me that we still are..."

"To keep the songs alive I've got a young band behind me and we really want to just kick arse, that's what it's all about.

"We'll be playing all the old favourites like Sallie-Anne, Don't Tear It Down, and Clarity of Mind which was a big hit for us. Hopefully it's just a rip snorting live gig."

V Spy V Spy will play a free live show at Shoal Bay Country Club on Saturday, 7 April.

Nikki Taylor is Australian Hotels Association, Newcastle Hotel Representative.

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