Scene News: The inaugural Missing Link mini-fest

The inaugural Missing Link mini-fest: a tribute to Link Wray on the anniversary of his passing

Cherry Bar, Sunday 5 November 2017


On 5 November 2005, legendary guitarist (not to mention the coolest man ever to set foot onstage) Link Wray swaggered off this mortal coil. Twelve years later, on the anniversary of his passing, five of Melbourne’s most rockin’ guitar bands will join forces at Cherry Bar to celebrate the man Pete Townshend of The Who called “the king”.


On the bill, playing a mix of their own stuff and their favourite Link Wray tunes, are:

  • The Exotics
  • The Vibrajets
  • Ben Rogers’ Instrumental Asylum
  • The Beat Taboo

Plus, making their debut at this killer show will be the world’s first all-girl Link Wray tribute band, THE WRAYLETTES– whose four members also happen to play in the bands listed above.

DJ Lady Bladeswill be spinning the platters that matter between bands.


No rock’n’roll fan would dispute the fact that–nearly 60 years since the release of his cataclysmic instrumental ‘Rumble’ and 12 years after his death–Link Wray’s music remains as fresh, tough, inspiring and important as ever.But whereas it’s traditionally the alpha-guitar boys channelling their inner Link by playing his music or trying to emulate his style, here in Melbourne it’s the gals! (see over to learn more…)


Mixing up a potent potion of Link’s better-known numbers and more obscure gems, The Wraylettes are:



Wraylettes’ lead guitarist Yolanda DeRose is finishing up her Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Studies, but when it comes to the crunch, she’s a garage-rocker at heart. Having graced the stage as lead guitarist with DollSquad, Mass Cult and currently The Beat Taboo, she’s been compared to Poison Ivy of The Cramps and Johnny Thunders–but make no mistake, people: Yolanda has a boss-bitchin’ style all of her own. Mind you, her ear for mimicry is well honed (she once played Ziggy Stardust and Suzi Quatro in a tribute show), which comes in handy when conjuring up that unique (and uniquely unhinged) Link Wray sound. When asked which Link song she loves most, she doesn’t hesitate: ‘Rumble’.



It’s hard to resist a female drummer – especially when she’s the rockin’ sockin’ Susan Shaw. Sue is best known around town for drumming in local legends, The Exotics, but her illustrious pedigree spans Girl Monstar, The Wet Ones and even Andre Williams’ Australian band. And her talents aren’t limited to the drumkit, either: she also plays guitar and sings with the Johnny Can’t Dance Cajun Band and the Flying Engine String Band. Susan’s destiny as a Wraylette was set back when she walked down the aisle to the romantic strains of ‘Rumble’ — and naturally, she names that song as one of her fave ‘Wrayves’, along with ‘Hidden Charms’, ‘Run Chicken Run’,’I’m so glad, I’m so proud’ and ‘Poppin’ Popeye’.




For Nikki Scarlett, it’s all about the bass – vintage, of course. Proud owner of several 1960s four-stringed beauties, she rocks her 1965 Hofner Beatle bass in The Wraylettes, making the most of its big bottom end and swampy, primordial edge to capture that potent Link Wray vibe. The Hofner also gets a run in her surf/spy/guitar-noir power trio Ben Rogers’ Instrumental Asylum; while she opts for her 1964 Maton Sapphire when stepping out as her groovy pop alter-ego Paula McCarthorse in Dusty Springclean & The Pops. Meanwhile, just to keep things interesting, Nikki jazzes it up with a Hofner double bass in The Jasmine Mahon Trio. Her favourite Link Wray tune? ‘Hidden Charms.’



Formerly singer/guitarist for trashy girl-garage combo The Shimmys, and currently playing in old-school twangmeisters The Vibrajets, Sammy-lou is a hopeless sucker for the wild wayback sounds of the 50s and 60s, and the larger-than-life personalities who created them. So when she was struck by the random thought that an all-girl Link Wray tribute band would be just about the coolest thing ever, she took it as a message from the rock’n’roll gods! The choice was clear: take action or forever wonder, What if?…. And so, The Wraylettes and the Missing Link mini-fest were born. Sammy-lou’s favourite Link tunes vary daily, but ‘I’m so Glad, I’m so Proud’, ‘Fire and Brimstone’ and ‘Black Widow’ feature prominently.



What:Missing Link: a tribute to Link Wray

When:from 7pm, Sunday 5 November (Melbourne Cup weekend), 2017

Where:Cherry Bar, AC/DC Lane, Melbourne

Who:The Wraylettes, The Exotics, The Vibrajets, Ben Rogers’ Instrumental Asylum, The Beat Taboo, DJ Lady Blades

How much:$15 before the show; $20 at the door


Oh, and one final word from The Wraylettes:

“As for those squares at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame who won’t induct Link? SHAME! Obviously, they’re so threatened by his genius and eternal cool they can’t find it in themselves to acknowledge his monumental rock’n’roll legacy. Far more important is the love of his fans – and that is stronger than ever.”




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