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Tony Cohen: Half Deaf, Completely Mad


Event Status

As part of the Melbourne City Reads series, celebrate the life of influential music producer Tony Cohen and the release of his memoir with his closest friends and collaborators.

Please contact to join the waitlist.

About the event

Music producer-engineer Tony Cohen defined Australia’s punk and rock sounds from the late 70s through to the 90s. Working with the likes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Models, The Go-Betweens, Hunters & Collectors, Cold Chisel, The Saints, The Cruel Sea, Paul Kelly and so many more, Tony’s acclaimed career saw him work around the world, from Melbourne and Sydney to West Berlin and London’s Abbey Road, before his death in 2017.

Cohen’s story is told in his own words, with help from friend and fellow engineer John Olson, in this funny, insightful and moving new memoir, Half Deaf, Completely Mad: The Chaotic Genius of Australia’s Most Legendary Producer.

To celebrate the book’s release, join the Wheeler Centre, Triple R and Melbourne City Reads for a tribute to Tony Cohen, hosted by musician Dave Graney. The evening will feature photos, artwork and extracts from the book read by Cohen’s closest friends and collaborators, including Chris Thompson, Astrid Munday, Billy Miller, Mick Harvey and Kim Salmon, alongside live performances by Leah Senior, Grace Cummings, Martin Frawley and Charlie Owen.

This event is presented by the Wheeler Centre and Triple R as part of the Melbourne City Reads series.

The Melbourne City Reads series is generously supported by George and Rosa Morstyn.

Photo of Tony Cohen recording in Kongwak courtesy of Claudia Carey.


Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

About the book

The bookseller for this event is Readings.

About Melbourne City Reads

Celebrate local literary culture and the authors who shape it. Rediscover the world through writers’ eyes at monthly events, featuring authors discussing their new books.

The Melbourne City Reads initiative is a collaboration with Melbourne city bookshops Dymocks Collins Street, Hill of ContentMary Martin BookshopPaperback Bookshop, and Readings.

The Melbourne City Reads series is generously supported by George and Rosa Morstyn.

Melbourne City Reads


Phill Calvert

Raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Phill Calvert started learning the drums at four years of age. At the private boys school Caulfield Grammar in the early 1970s he met vocalist Nick Cave and guitarist Mick Harvey and formed a rock band with other students, playing parties and school functions with... Read more

Grace Cummings

A ‘soon-to-be-iconic voice’ (Rolling Stone), Grace Cummings is a contemporary folk musician from Melbourne, Australia. Her songwriting is influenced by 20th century poets and luminaries, from Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan to Brett Whitely and Van Gogh, reflecting a strong connection to the... Read more

Martin Frawley

Like most of us, Martin Frawley is busy trying to work himself out. He lives alongside the long shadow of his late dad, musician and songwriter Maurice Frawley, a cultural icon of the Australian underground and collaborator with Paul Kelly, Tex Perkins and Mick Thomas. Most of Martin’s 20s were sp... Read more

Dave Graney

Dave Graney started out IN the Moodists. Then there was Dave Graney ‘n’ the Coral Snakes. Then Dave Graney and the mistLY. Involved in the writing, production, recording, mixing and releasing of approximately 40 albums. Four books: It Is Written, Baby (1997); 1001 Australian Nights (2011); Works... Read more

Mick Harvey

Mick Harvey, renowned as a founding member of both The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and for his collaborations with PJ Harvey, has made a series of solo albums during the last two decades including One Man’s Treasure and FOUR (Acts of Love). He has also complet... Read more

Billy Miller

Billy Miller is best known as the singer of The Ferrets, who in 1977 had a number 1 hit (‘Don’t Fall In Love’) and gold album (Dreams of a Love). Between then and today nearly 10,000 gigs have passed under the bridge, with The Great Blokes, The Spaniards, The Gypsys, Dave Graney and Clare Moor... Read more

Astrid Munday

Astrid Munday is a singer, songwriter and painter. Her voice can be heard on the recordings of Paul Kelly (‘Before Too Long’), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (‘The Curse of Millhaven’) and Died Pretty (Free Dirt). As a solo artist she has released four albums, with the upcoming Bright-Eyed Wond... Read more

Charlie Owen

Charlie Owen is a renowned multi-instrumentalist who has recorded and toured with just about everyone. He was a member of The New Christs, Maurice Frawley and Working Class Ringos, Tex, Don and Charlie and Beasts of Bourbon, touring member of Divinyls, and as a session player has appeared on album... Read more

Kim Salmon

Kim Salmon’s most enduring legacy, and not one that he particularly tried for, will no doubt be that many blame him, or at least his band The Scientists, for ‘grunge’ in Australia. His expansive career has seen him traipse many of Australia’s most beloved stages, release a plethora of albums... Read more

Leah Senior

Leah Senior silences audiences with her ethereal vocals and unique lyricism. Hailed by critics as a divine masterpiece, her latest album The Passing Scene is a charming expansion on her previous two records lilting between springtime baroque-pop and 70s folk. The Passing Scene effortlessly weaves to... Read more

Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson has been recording, mixing, and producing music for decades, working with the likes of Paul Kelly, the Waifs, Augie March, and the Hilltop Hoods. He worked with Triple J recording many local and overseas acts.


Fringe Common Rooms

Corner Victoria Street and Lygon Street, Carlton 3053 Victoria Australia

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