Pleasure and Pain: My Life by Chrissy Amphlett

Many people will not be familiar with Chrissy Amphlett. And they should be. She was at the forefront of bringing in the second great wave of female singers after the deep lull between the early 70’s and early 80’s. She was the lead singer of the Australian band The Divinyls.

The big U.S. hits were “Boys In Town”, “Pleasure and Pain” and “I Touch Myself”. Her style is in the punk vein of the Runaways, Blondie and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders who she has often been confused with.

One of the things I found most revealing and true is that making a living in rock and roll is a bitch. While they made money, the band was more often than not in debt and simply working to get out of it. They were not living the fabulous glamour life of the super groups. Frankly, most musicians I know, professional or otherwise, live a hand to mouth existence and are willing to do it because they love the music.

Chrissy Amphlett was able to parlay her talent into musical theatre and had she lived longer, I think she ultimately would have established herself on Broadway as a presence. She did Blood Brothers and The Boy From Oz in Australia but she was right at the beginning of exploring this genre when she passed away.

She went through all the rock clichés as well as a gave a brilliant glimpse into life in the early seventies in the surfing culture in Torquay in Victoria. She traveled in Europe, she took drugs, and she spent some time in a Spanish prison.

I relived a lot of really fond memories of Kings Cross and time I spent in Sydney going to clubs, pubs and beer barns listening to amazing live music with friends. I had first seen the Divinyls in Seattle in 1983 before they broke big. I was a fan and stayed a fan.

Chrissy Amphlett passed away in 2013 due to breast cancer. This was a true loss to the music industry but the music lives on and this book is a great guide to both the woman and the band.


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