ABC Australian Story – aired Feb 18 2013
Stevie Wright became an international superstar at the age of sixteen, with the iconic 1960s rock band The Easybeats. He went on to win another generation of fans as a solo artist. But along with the exhilarating highs, he has experienced devastating lows which on several occasions could have been fatal. Now in precarious health, Stevie Wright has rallied to give Australian Story an exclusive interview, reflecting candidly on his life, to air on Monday, February 18 at 8pm on ABC1.
So Much To Say examines the highs of Stevie Wright’s fame, and also gives a deeper insight into the downsides — the heroin and alcohol addiction, sleep and shock therapy at the notorious Chelmsford hospital, a year-long stint in a mental home, and much more.
It is ultimately a story of friendship and survival. At 65 and in modest circumstances, Stevie Wright is supported by his long-term partner Fay Walker. His legend will live on through his friendship with his greatest fan Scott McRae who with co-producer Chris Keeble has created and personally funded the stage show Stevie: The Life and Music of Stevie Wright and the Easybeats.
Scott McRae’s interest in Stevie Wright dates back to his childhood in the 1970s when he snuck out from home to see one of the Aussie music legend’s remarkable comeback concerts. He was a huge fan and overwhelmed by Stevie’s energetic performance at the famous Concert of the Decade at the Sydney Opera House where he sang his solo career hit ‘Evie’ to a massive crowd of 250,000.
Fast-forward three decades. Scott met Stevie for the first time and was overcome to see the terrible toll that life had taken on the former star. He became intrigued to know how someone so vibrant could become like this. Scott researched Stevie’s background and discovered a history he knew little of.
In the 1960s ‘Little Stevie’ Wright was the teenage frontman of The Easybeats, the biggest Australian band of the era and credited with putting Australian music on the international map. They were the first Australian band to rocket into the Top 20 charts in the UK, USA and Europe, writing and performing their own material.
An accomplished musician himself, Scott decided to write a ‘rockumentary’ stage show in which he performs many of Stevie’s hits and also narrates an overview of what became a turbulent life.
So Much To Say includes interviews with Stevie Wright, Snowy Fleet (drummer, The Easybeats), Gail Baxter (Stevie Wright’s former wife), Fay Walker (his long-time partner), Scott McRae and Chris Keeble.
Australian Story has recorded what is probably Stevie Wright’s final public performance – a poignant rendition of Evie (Part 2) in a special encore of Scott McRae’s Stevie.