AREA-7 first started out as a Mad Not Madness cover band in 1993 - with Dan Morrison (drums), Dugald McNaughtan (keyboards) and Charles Thompson (guitar). Chuck and Dugald were writing their own songs, and wanting to play their own songs instead of covers - they decided to form AREA-7. In 1994 they recruited Walter Eskdale to sing, Rohan - a school friend of Dugald on bass, and Alistair Shepherd to play saxophone. Toby Dargaville played trumpet at a few of the shows.
AREA-7's name comes from a line in the old English 70's ska band The Specials song, "Dawning of a New Era". It refers to Area-7 being the bad side of town. 1995 saw the band record a 9 track demo, titled "No Logic", featuring the track No Logic (Cains Lament), which is very different to the No Logic on the "No Logic" EP. Towards the end of 1996 AREA-7 picked up a new singer, Stevo from Melbourne rockabilly band Yeah Yeah!, as former singer Walter Eskdale left the band, and trumpeter, Toby, became a regular fixture in the band. In 1997, they released their debut 7 track EP titled "Road Rage". This is a classic cd with songs, "Road Rage", "Disarray", "Skin Deep" and "Peter Mac" still getting played at gigs. 1998 saw the release of the "No Logic!" EP. This is where the 7 boys broke through to the National Audience. JJJ played the No Logic single on high rotation and got a good reaction from the Australian fans. In '98, the 7's toured with The Living End on their "Save the Day" tour. This tour got Area-7 a good name around the country. They also got to play on national TV shows such as ABC's Recovery and Channel 9's Hey Hey it's Saturday.
In this time, Area-7 had supported some pretty big name bands. NOFX, Citizen Fish, Mighty Mighty Bosstones... and heaps more! They were amassing a huge live reputation around Melbourne and other capital cities, and building a big fan base. At the start of January, the single "Bitter Words" was released. This coincided with the festival circuit and Australian punters got a treat at all the big festivals over summer, from the Big Day Out, The Falls, Warped '99, Pushover and Offshore. Bitter Words was an extremely popular Triple J tune with huge success in the NET50, peaking at #7! As AREA-7 were becoming more and more popular, the demand for a new CD release grew more and more. "Second Class Citizen" was the next anthem guitarist Chuck wrote. In its first week in the charts, it debuted at #29, not a bad effort by a band with no commercial radio play - definitely a must if you wanna strike it big in Australia, or anywhere else for that matter. 1999 was a big year for AREA-7, seeing them tour extensively, covering almost every part of Oz (except bloody Tasmania!). Playing the Homebake festival for the first time, doing a national tour with Reel Big Fish and 22 Jacks, the Livid Festival in Brisbane and playing huge shows in pubs and clubs. AREA-7 got on the Livid Festival by popular demand. They weren't asked to play the festival, so The Bitter Weekly got all the fans signed up to the list to email Livid and ask them to put AREA-7 on the bill, as a result they were asked to play on the Loudmouth Stage (ska/punk) early in the day - and pack out the whole venue!! In February 2000, "Start Making Sense", the next single off the forthcoming album "Bitter & Twisted". This debuted at #35 in the ARIA Charts and spent considerable amount of time at the dizzy hights of Triple J's NET50 program. The video clip for this song featured Hey Hey it's Saturday and Skyhooks guitarist, Red Symons - as he is a fan of the band! AREA-7's debut album "Bitter & Twisted" was a long time coming, but well worth it! With the singles Second Class Citizen, Bitter Words, Let Me Down and Start Making Sense, the LP was going to a destined hit! It debuted on the National Albums chart at #6!! Not too bad at all and spending 6 weeks in the top 30!! With the release of the album came a national tour supporting one of Australia's best live bands, Jebediah along with US's The Get Up Kids and Mach Pelican as opening supports. This tour went to every state (inc. Tassie - at last) and with many sold out shows, they won over heaps and heaps of new fans.
During the early part of 2000, AREA-7 were the flavour of the month around the Australian Music Industry. They got to
guest program their favourite videos for ABC's RAGE Program, play Triple J's live at the Wireless and many appearances
on national TV and radio programs. Triple M picked up on this 'new' Aussie band, and in June made AREA-7 their Aussie
Band of the Month. In June, AREA-7 set out on their first National Tour as headline band. The "Bitter & Twisted National
Tour 2000" started in Towoomba, QLD and finished up in Darwin, NT in August. AREA-7 had Sydney girl rockers Skulker
as their main supports for this tour. This helped confirm their live reputation and how the fanbase has grown over the
last couple of years with big crowds at many venues.