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NIGHT LIFE THE CLUB SCENE

Hot Divinyls : Titles like 'I Touch Myself' sung by Christina Amphlett give this Down Under band a lusty reputation.

July 18, 1991|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Fire season is almost here. In fact, it'll be here Saturday. It has nothing to do with that silly drought, dry brush, or any of that.

The Divinyls, featuring the steamiest, sexiest female in all of rock 'n' roll, Christina Amphlett, will be bringing her own personal brand of infernal combustion to the stage of the venerable Ventura Theatre on Saturday night.

Call the Fire Department--this Divine Miss A has already made blood boil within the veins of every male who likes girls because of the sexy video of the band's hit "I Touch Myself," which reportedly is melting television sets from sea to shining sea.

"Well, I don't think it's as steamy as it could be," said Amphlett in a recent phone interview. "It's quite tame really. It's very accessible--MTV plays it a lot. I guess I shouldn't complain. I don't know why the song is such a big hit, I guess it just stimulates the imagination.

"Sometimes I get these young boys hanging about after the show, these stage-door Johnnys, but it's not really a problem. Sometimes, I wish it were more of a problem."

Amphlett and her musical accomplice, guitarist Mark McEntee, started the band about 10 years ago Down Under where there are few people, many good bands and reportedly, great beer. Amphlett has one of the most original voices in rock--sort of like a critter in melodious heat-- and she strides, slinks and slithers across the stage with the determination of Stuart Anderson chasing a herd of beef with a meat cleaver.

"About 10 years ago, I was in a religious choir. I wasn't religious or anything, I just wanted to develop the top range of my voice," Amphlett said. "Mark had heard of me and came out to see me sing. I was asked to leave the choir that day.

"Then Mark and I began to write some songs--our first one was "Boys In Town," which we still play. I sing the way I do because I'm in a loud rock 'n' roll band. The music is rowdy, energetic with some pop edges and lots of melody as well. We do some ballads, but we're definitely a rock 'n' roll band."

The band has seemingly been on the road constantly since the 1983 worldwide release of the "Desperate" album, playing at the giant US Festival and in every room with an electric plug since.

For the Divinyls, the fifth time was the charm--the previous four albums made a few ripples, then vanished without a trace. But this time, the Divinyls are headlining the show, and, of course, Amphlett is headlining the band.

"We've been out on the road about four or five months this time," Amphlett said. "The album has gone gold in America, is in the Top 10 in England and the audiences have been really responsive. This country is just so vast. There are 250 million people here and just 16 million in Australia with the same land mass."

But Amphlett is undaunted at the thought of facing 234 million more people than she is used to. In fact, she claims to like the feeling of rubbing up against the masses. "It's good to travel and go overseas. While the music scene is very healthy in Australia, playing music, I suppose, is the only ticket out of there. We've been living out of suitcases for the last several months. Now, I get my bed made every day, but I wish I could have a pet."

Divinyls music basically avoids the Big Issues and not surprisingly, focuses on lust, love, and more lust. The photos of Amphlett on the current album's bio sheet add fuel to the fire and prove that sex sells.

With songs such as "Lay Your Body Down," "Love School" and "If Love Was A Gun," one can look for that Save the Whales preachiness elsewhere.

"Some of the musicians that make the music are very sincere and some of them have done some good work, but I don't like politics," she said. "I just want to keep true to myself. I'm not a cynic--I'm more of a romantic."

Opening will be local rockers Ariel and Clyde, a rock/funk group from Thousand Oaks. The line outside the stage door will be the army of stage-door Johnnys hoping for a miracle.

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