DAVE WARNER was born in Bicton, Western Australia, in 1953.
He was educated at Aquinas College and grew up an ardent supporter of the East Fremantle Football Club. Between 1971 and 1974 he attended the University of Western Australia, graduating with a B.A. (Hons.), majoring in Psychology.
Author of nine novels, including the winner of the 1996 WA Premier’s Award for Fiction, City of Light, and six other non-fiction titles, Dave Warner originally gained national recognition as a musician-songwriter in the late 1970s. In 1973 he formed Australia’s first punk band, Pus, playing early versions of tracks such as Suburban Boy and Hot Crotch which he was later to record with Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs.
In 1975, Dave went to London and wrote many new songs which expressed a clearly-defined vision of Australia, including tracks such as Convict Streak and Oklahoma. Suburban Boy become the cornerstone of this new style of music, which Dave labelled suburban rock. Warner’s music is probably best described as Lou Reed meets Tomas Pynchon, while Bob Dylan has referred to Dave and Richard Clapton as his “favourite Australian artists”.
Dave formed The Suburbs in January 1977. The group developed a huge underground following, which led to Dave signing with Australia’s Mushroom Records in 1978. His first album, Mugs Game, went gold within a month of release. Dave’s second album, Free Kicks, was released in 1979.
After the original Suburbs disbanded, Dave followed up with Correct Weight (1979), This is My Planet (1981 – reissued as This is Your Planet in 1996), Meanwhile in the Suburbs (EP – 1989), Dark Side of the Scrum (1989), Suburban Sprawl (1990), Surplus and Dearth (1995) Loose Men, Tight Shorts (1996) The King and Me (2016) and WHEN (2017). Dave also reissued the original three-set of no-label live tapes from 1977-78 as Suburbs in the 70s. The original Mugs Game album has been reissued as a double CD with a CD or London demo versions of various songs included. Correct Weight and This Is Your Planet have also been reissued as double CD named Correct Planet.
From 1982 Dave Warner stopped touring full-time and broadened his creative outlets to writing plays, novels and screenplays. The Sensational Sixties, an enormously successful revue toured through large suburban hotels with Warner directing, producing and compering.
With Suburbs’ stalwart Johnny Leopard, Dave began writing sketch comedy both live and for radio. Dave, Johnny and David Zampatti, Dave’s partner in the Sensational Sixties teamed up for Australia’s first Murder Mystery Weekends. In 1985 Warner wrote, and appeared in, the barn-storming musical The Sixties and All That Pop and followed up with the full-scale rock-musical Planet Pres performed by the WA Theatre Company. One reviewer called it the “best Australian rock musical ever”.
In 1987, Dave wrote and performed his one-man show, Australian Heroes in Sydney, and made his screen debut with a small part in Boundaries of the Heart as well as working on new songs with Greg Macainsh (Skyhooks). Some of these songs found their way onto the mini-album Meanwhile In The Suburbs and others on subsequent albums and cassingles. Dave then released the comedy Rugby League album Dark Side of the Scrum.
In the early 90s Dave wrote plays The Boys Gotta Bond and Bondi By Bus, and after a long break writing film and TV returned in 2015 with the smash Fringe musical The King and Me. A soundtrack album was recorded in 2016.
Dave’s first novel, the crime opus City Of Light, was published in 1995 and won the award for Best Fiction Work at the WA Premier’s Book Awards in 1996. That year also saw the release of Footy’s Hall Of Shame, a humorous look at Australian Rules Football. In 1997 Dave published another hard-edged crime novel (Big Bad Blood) and edited an anthology of Australian humorous writing called Great Australian Bites.
The first in a serious of humorous, Agatha Christie-style novels starring rock-star-turned-detective Andrew “The Lizard” Zirk, Murder In The Groove, was published in 1998, along with Cricket’s Hall Of Shame and 25 Years of Mushroom Records. September 1998 saw the release of three AFL footy-related CDs, featuring tracks paying tribute to the Sydney Swans, the Western Bulldogs and the St. Kilda Saints football clubs respectively.
The final year of the 20th century saw Dave take part in a number film and TV projects, including the completion of the feature film Cut which was directed by ex Hoodoo Guru Kimble Rendall and starred Kylie Minogue and Molly Ringwald.
Horse Racing’s Hall of Shame, co-written with Nicolas Brasch, was published as was the second “Lizard” Zirk novel, Murder In The Frame, and shortly after Dave’s critically-acclaimed novel eXXXpresso.
Dave began writing for TV at this time and was also one of the chief writers on the daily SBS drama Going Home. Following this he wrote numerous episodes for the Channel Nine TV series McLeod’s Daughters, and has since written for such shows as Packed To The Rafters, Rescue Special Ops, Sea-Patrol and Wild Boys. He was a co-writer on Never Tear Us Apart, the INXS TV telemovie.
2003 saw Dave co-write the screenplay for the feature film Garage Days with filmmaker Alex Proyas (I Robot, The Crow, Dark City). He also wrote the short TV feature Roll, directed by award winning director Martin Wilson. Two years later his dark thriller Restraint was shot starring Travis Fimmel (Vikings) and Trueblood star Stephen Moyer. Dave currently has a number of other feature film screenplays at various stages of development.
In 2017 Dave’s novel Before It Breaks won the Ned Kelly Award for best Australian Crime Fiction, and his follow up Clear To The Horizon was longlisted for the Dublin Impac Awards. 2019 sees him publishing a new novel River Of Salt and continuing to perform and record.
Dave is a member of the WA Rock and Roll Of Renown (1992) and in 2016 was named a Living Treasure of the West Australian arts.
Dave lives in Sydney with wife Nicole, daughters Violet and Venice and son Gus.