Just Add Water was self-managed (by Nick's brother Alan), and booked their own shows. The band was run like a professional business, and everything from the promotion of their image to acquisition of the latest, state of the art musical gear was carefully evaluated. They rehearsed relentlessly, and developed a firm work ethic in terms of the number of live performances per week.
The visual appeal of Kate, the lead singer, was undeniable (which is not to say that the boys in the band were lacking in that department either), with her sultry good looks. Gone were the manic, Gothic stylings of her performances with Eep Of the Gra, and she was maturing into a smouldering, torch-style singer, making audiences sit up and take notice. This, coupled with the commercial-savvy, technical expertise of Adrian, plus the rock-solid musical ability and driving ambition of the original trio, all combined to meld into a formidable group with a lot of depth.
Kate's image on handbills, free passes and posters was often used to promote the band, helping to make Just Add Water an identifiable "brand".
In late 1984, the band convened at ABC Radio 6WF's studios on Adelaide Terrace in Perth to record a number of songs, engineered by Norbert Roth, for broadcast on Dave Ellery's program; "Inside You", "You've Been Selling Out On Me", "If I Wonder" and "Scott's Song". A fifth track, the instrumental "Wall To Wall", also recorded at the ABC studio, ended up on 6UVS-FM's compilation cassette "Perfect Travelling Companion".
In early 1985 the band recorded a single at Planet Sound Studios - "Inside You" backed with "Rhapsody To Blue". Around March, a promotional video was shot on 16mm film. With regular shows at the Subiaco Hotel, The Overflow and the Herdsman Hotel, Just Add Water was certainly staying very busy. In late April they appeared on Channel 9's Appealathon, performing both sides of their single, with Kate joining the panel to read out donations. They also performed on Channel 7's coverage of the West Australian Rock Awards, and received nominations for Best Original Band and Best Female Vocalist. The single "Inside You" saw release around the middle of the year.
1984 saw the band pick up where they had left off, playing inner city pubs, campuses, and supporting touring acts such as The Church and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. Around June, they recruited Kate Bent into the line-up. Kate, formerly in Scant Regarde, and Eep Of The Gra before that, gave the band a whole new dimension, and the band's musical styles had broadened considerably as well, incorporating blues, funk and electro-pop, and also straight guitar rock. Kate happened to played trumpet, which also augmented the band's sound.
In September, Adrian Wood, ex-German Humour, joined Just Add Water, and the band's sound developed even further, with Adrian's various synths added to the mix, as well as his trumpet, not to mention his sharp and engaging stage patter. The band's distinctive two trumpet sound began at this point, and they enjoyed a residency at The Wizbah (shared with Surprise Surprise), as well as regular gigs at the Shenton Park Hotel and The Equator.
Amidst the band's ongoing intensive rehearsing, new songs were coming thick and fast, morale was high, and they had decided to go with Sam Wenziker as their new lead singer. But on Thursday July 18, Alan Brown returned from Sydney with the news that Kate wanted to return to the band. After much discussion, the members decided to have her back, and the task of breaking the unhappy news to the new singer fell to Adrian.
It was business as usual, and Just Add Water played relentlessly through August - at one point playing on five successive nights. Then, in September, the band packed its belongings into a combi, and drove across the Nullarbor to Sydney, where they got gigs playing with I'm Talking at the Tivoli and the Dee Why, and entered discussions with MMA Music about a publishing deal.
Returning to Perth in November, Just Add Water continued their punishing schedule of live shows at venues such as Rockwells, the Subiaco Hotel, Shenton Park Hotel, The Red Parrot and the Nookenburra. Around this time they recorded demos of two new songs - "Cat's Cradle" and "One Good Reason". But the band was running out of steam, and in January 1986, Kate signaled her intention to leave the band once more. Sensing the end was nigh, Adrian also announced that he wanted to leave. With a final show at The Red Parrot on January 27th, Just Add Water quietly disbanded.
Adrian promptly joined Love Pump. Scott and Andrew formed a band called Happy Ever After with Graham Singh before eventually joining Greg Dear and Errol Tout to form the Beautiful Losers. Nick went on to form further bands in Perth before heading off to the UK with his girlfriend Helen and forming Blue, a very slick and polished outfit which sounded a little like Madonna of that period.
Immediately after the demise of Just Add Water, Kate Bent teamed up with Greg Dear with the intention of recording an LP together. But soon afterwards, pausing only to play a one-off reunion show with Eep Of The Gra and to pick up a Best Female Performer award at the Western Australian Music Industry Awards, she left Perth for Sydney, and virtually walked off the pages of history.
The band resolved to continue, Kate or no Kate, and, over the next week, auditioned three possible replacement singers - Vicki Newton, Helen Merrick (Nick's girlfriend) and Sam Wenziker. And rather than cancel a new Friday night residency at the Shenton Park Hotel, they hit upon a novel way of testing out these three potential new lead singers - they would use the gig as a way of audtioning them in a live setting.
And so, on Friday July 12th (the night before Live Aid), Just Add Water held its "Talent Night". The girls sang two songs each that they had quickly learned over the past few days, and then, as a finale, joined together to sing "Inside You" in three part harmony, as well as each taking turns singing a verse. The whole evening went very well infront of a friendly audience, and the band rose to the occasion. The girls performed remarkably well under the circumstances, but nerves perhaps prevented them from singing as well as they could have done.
Just Add Water continued to support high profile touring acts from Australia and overseas, such as New Order, The Tom Robinson Band, Midnight Oil, Australian Crawl, Machinations, I'm Talking, Goanna Band, Dynamic Hepnotics, The Allnighters, Hunters And Collectors, The Go-Betweens, The Laughing Clowns, The Triffids and Dragon. It was the support gig for the last band, Dragon, in late June 1985, that set off a chain of events that nearly broke the band up.
Dragon's sound mixer had persuaded Kate Bent that a bright future lay ahead of her if she was to go solo and relocate to Sydney (other sources also suggest she was infatuated with the drummer from Machinations, who was Sydney-based as well). At the start of July, the band had a meeting at manager Alan Brown's place, where he informed them of Kate's decision to leave the band. She continued with band commitments for a week - a Wednesday gig at Rockwells, then a final gig at the Shenton Park Hotel on Friday the 5th.
Just Add Water emerged from the suburb of Shelley, south of Perth, in 1982. At this early stage they were a three piece band consisting of Nick Brown, Andrew Watt and Scott Sloggett. They started performing live in January 1983 in Perth venues that hosted original bands, and attracted a "modest following". During this period they also recorded demos of four songs, including "E.I.E.I.O." and "Fashion". Their musical style at this point could be described as "new wave" - fast and poppy. Around September 1983 the band had to curtail their live performances, due to high school and University exams and commitments (Scott was still in Year 12 at this point).
E.I.E.I.O. / Fashion (& two other songs) (1983 demos)
Inside You / You've Been Selling Out On Me / If I Wonder / Scott's Song (recorded at ABC Studios, Perth, late 1984. Engineered by Norbert Roth)
Cat's Cradle / One Good Reason (1985)
Wizbah, Spring 1984: Wall To Wall / Scott's Song / Sanctuary / Bottle Blondes / Stare / Calling / If I Wonder / Rhapsody To Blue / Inside You
Shenton Park Hotel, Friday July 12 1985 "Just Add Water Talent Night": Adrian's Instrumental / Cat's Cradle / What's Wrong With You? / Bottle Blondes / That's Love / Scott's Song / You're On My Mind / Wall To Wall / Keep On / Rhapsody To Blue / If I Wonder / Stare / You've Been Selling Out On Me / Inside You
Other live and rehearsal tapes probably exist.
"Wall To Wall" was so named because of the dense instrumentation of the song.
On the night Just Add Water appeared on Channel 9's Appealathon, Adrian mimed playing trumpet for a performance with Perfect Strangers.
The song "Cat's Cradle" started life as a song with a different lead singer (Nick, not Kate), different lyrics and a different melody, but an identical musical structure.
Nick Brown's band Blue revived the song "Rhapsody To Blue" as "Rhapsody" in the late 80s
Notes: Recorded at ABC Studios, Perth.
Engineered by Norbert Roth
Mastered by Rob Muir
Digital remastering by Andy Priest (Shelter Studios)
Notes: Recorded at Planet Sound Studios, Perth.
Engineered by Graham Owens
Produced by Norm Parkhill
Saxophone: Joe Haze
Wall To Wall (from 6UVS-FM Drivetime compilation "Perfect Travelling Companion") (1985)
Inside You / Rhapsody To Blue (COR 703) (1985)