Active until 1987
Members Kate Ceberano
|Years active 1983–1987|
Albums Bear Witness
|Labels Randelli, Regular, Festival|
Associated acts → ↑ →, Essendon Airport, Filthy Lucre
Past members Kate Ceberano Stephen Charlesworth Ian Cox Robert Goodge Barbara Hogarth Cameron Newman Zan Abeyratne Warren McLean Kevin Wiltshire John McAll Philip Jackson Tricky J
Origin Melbourne, Australia (1983)
Similar Zan Abeyratne, Models, Machinations, The Triffids, James Freud
I'm Talking was a 1980s Australian funk-pop rock band, which featured vocalists Kate Ceberano and Zan Abeyratne. They formed in 1983 in Melbourne and provided top ten hit singles "Trust Me", "Do You Wanna Be?" and "Holy Word" and a top fifteen album, Bear Witness, before disbanding in 1987.
After the break-up of Melbourne-based experimental funk band Essendon Airport in 1983, members Robert Goodge on guitar, Ian Cox on saxophone and Barbara Hogarth on bass guitar set about forming a band to create inventive, commercial, funk-pop music. I'm Talking's original line-up were Kate Ceberano on vocals (ex-Expozay, Hoagy Cats), Stephen Charlesworth on keyboards, Cox, Goodge, Hogarth and Cameron Newman on drums. They introduced sophisticated dance beat music to the pub rock scene, performing for a year before recording their debut release. The EP Someday was released in May 1984 on the independent Randelli label. They also contributed to the soundtrack of the short film More Sex Stories, they attracted the attention of manager Ken West and then signed to Regular Records. Zan Abeyratne (ex-Grand Wazoo, Bang) joined as a second lead vocalist.
I'm Talking released "Trust Me" in December 1984, which peaked at #10 on the Kent Music Report for the Australian singles charts. This was followed by "Lead the Way" in July 1985, then a cover of the Rose Royce song "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" in September, which both peaked into the top thirty. Although their songs were initially credited to the band as a whole (i.e. I'm Talking), in fact Goodge and Cox wrote virtually all the music and lyrics. The group won 'Best New Talent' and 'Best Debut Single' for "Trust Me" for 1984 at the Countdown Awards ceremony broadcast in 1985. On 13 July, I'm Talking performed "Lead the Way" in the 1985 Oz for Africa concert (part of the global Live Aid program). It was broadcast in Australia (on both Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.
I’m Talking recorded their debut album Bear Witness in Melbourne, it was released in August 1986. Produced by Fred Maher (drummer for Scritti Politti) and Martyn Webster, it peaked at #14 in the albums charts, and spawned three more singles for their Australian label Regular Records. "Do You Wanna Be", entered the charts in May and peaked at #8, this was their highest charting single. "Holy Word" in August featured solo vocals by Abeyratne and peaked at #9. "How Can it Be?" was released in October, and although it failed to enter the top 100, it was listed among a list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 in November 1986. They signed to London Records in the UK but disagreements between the band and that label lead to only one single ("Do You Wanna Be") being released outside of Australia. At least three of their songs later appeared in the 1988 film For Queen & Country.
After returning from their 1986 UK tour supporting Five Star, there were line-up changes, Warren McLean (ex-Machinations) replaced Newman on drums and Kevin Wiltshire was 'imported' from the UK tour as a second keyboardist. That line-up appeared on the national Australian Made tour of January 1987. By March, Abeyratne, Charlesworth and McClean had left. New members were John McAll on keyboards, Philip Jackson on drum machine and electronics, and rapper Tricky J. New material was performed live by this line-up, but none was recorded. Ceberano won 'Best Female Vocalist' for 1986 at the final Countdown Awards held in 1987. New material was performed live in 1987, but Ceberano departed to pursue her solo career and I'm Talking disbanded in July 1987. In 1988, a compilation, Dance was released by Regular Records.
After I'm Talking
After the break-up of I'm Talking, Ceberano launched her solo career; Abeyratne released three solo singles. Goodge, Cox and David Chesworth collaborated again in 1990 in the group "Power Trip featuring Mr Larry Weems". Goodge also went into partnership with Gavin Campbell in the '90s to form Filthy Lucre, specialising in remixes. They were responsible for transforming Yothu Yindi's folk-rock song "Treaty" into a dance-groove hit single. Goodge has also written and performed with Stephen Cummings since the 1990s. I'm Talking's manager, West, handled Ceberano for a brief time before going into partnership with Vivian Lees and launching their national rock festival The Big Day Out. John McAll went on to play and record with Goodge's former collaborator David Chesworth, and other jazz and rock acts.
In 2003 Goodge revived a trio of Essendon Airport with David Chesworth and Graham Lee. In 2007 Kate Ceberano appeared in the Countdown Spectacular 2 performing versions of I'm Talking's "Trust Me" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore". As of 2008 Cox is a conservator at the State Library of Victoria. In October 2010, Bear Witness (1986) was listed in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.
In 2014, Ceberano released her memoir, I'm Talking: My life, my words, my music, published by Hachette Australia. Ceberano co-wrote the book with Tom Gilling.
Holy WordBear Witness · 1986
Do You Wanna BeBear Witness · 1986
Lead the WayBear Witness · 1986