One Album Wonders: Bigstorm

BIGSTORM — LIVING IN EXILE (1989)

Bigstorm were an Australian band comprised of Bjarne Ohlin (Guitar, Vocals), Don Miller-Robinson (Lead Guitar, Bass, Vocals), Huey Benjamin (Drums, Vocals), and Stewart D’Arrietta (Lead Vocals, Keyboards). They released on album, Living in Exile, on WEA in 1989.

Bigstorm Living in Exile

The members of Bigstorm came from varied backgrounds. Ohlin had appeared as an actor in episodes of Bluey and Case for the Defence in 1976 and ’78 and played guitar with Divinyls from 1980-1986. Miller-Robinson had also acted, appearing in the 1982 film, Monkey Grip, and releasing one single as a solo performer, “There Was A Girl,” b/w “Ghosts Of Love” the same year. Benjamin had moved from Canberra to Sydney to play drums with G Force and later the Tasmanian band, The Innocents. D’Arrietta had released a solo album, Side Effects, in 1985 and had also been a member of The New Republic.


In 1988 Bigstorm released the singles “Rubber Love” b/w “Not Guilty.” In January 1989 they released “Happy New Year” b/w “Not Guilty (Live) followed, in February, by “Not Guilty” b/w “Rubber Love (Live).”


The full-length Living in Exile followed and was recorded at The Rockfort in Sydney (with additional recording at Rhinoceros Studios). It was produced by Miller-Robinson.The music is melodic, arena-ready vein of The Alarm, The CallHothouse Flowers, Noiseworks, Silent Running, Simple Minds, and U2. D’Arrietta’s vocals aren’t for everyone, though; he’s a belter with a distinctly gravelly shout that probably wouldn’t displease a fan of Bob Seger.

One more single followed, “Once In Bed” b/w “Not Waiting After that” and, like those which preceded, failed to sell significant numbers. Soon after Bigstorm dissipated and the members went their separate ways. Miller-Robinson went on to score several films, including 2005’s Tennis, Anyone…? in which he also appeared as an actor. Benjamin continued to perform as a session musician, including on Grant McLennan’s solo debut and with later Ian Moss of Cold Chisel and Yothu Yindi. He also went on to score films and ballets. D’Arrietta has worked as a musical director in theatrical productions and has scored television series including Ocean Star, The Cut, and Trapped.

 *****

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in AmoeblogdiaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art MuseumForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County StoreSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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