The establishment reacted predictably. There were many doors slammed shut, engagements cancelled after the first song, often with the threat of actual physical violence and destruction as club bouncers were let loose on the band itself. The band had to resort to putting on its own shows in small community halls and the like. Later, they found a pub upstairs in Taylor Square which allowed them to perform without restrictions. This was the Oxford Tavern. Later the band took over it's management, renaming it the Oxford Funhouse, and made it available for other like minded groups who followed.
An exclusive scene developed, at its center the couple of dozen friends and fans who had been there from the beginning. The Funhouse became the nidus for the incipient crystallisation of the Sydney "punk" scene even though the founders were not really a punk band.
Radio Birdman recorded an EP Burned My Eye and an album Radios Appear, both low budget recordings made piecemeal at the 24 track Trafalgar Studios on days when the studio had no paying clients. The band and the studio created their own label and the records were self distributed, at a low price, cutting out the middle men.
When Sire records president Seymour Stein was in Australia to sign the Saints, he saw a Radio Birdman show at the Funhouse and licensed Radios Appear from Trafalgar, signing the band to a recording contract as well. The band wanted to rectify some of the things they didn't like about the album for the US and European release, so about half of it was re-recorded and some new material was added. They then toured Europe and England, recording a second album, Living Eyes, in Wales. These albums were recently remastered with excellent sound quality and have been re-released by PolyGram Australia.
Radio Birdman were a volatile mix. The chemistry of the members: Rob Younger, Deniz, Chris Masuak, Warwick Gilbert, Pip Hoyle and Ron Keeley, combined to form a whole that was much greater than the sum of the parts. In effect, a new force was created, whose energy seemed to empower some of the members but corrode others.
The breakup occurred following a long slide into madness by certain members, while the others had not the wisdom or energy to help. They could only look on helplessly. As hot as the band glowed, it was inevitable that it would relentlessly burn out it's components. Given the inherent weaknesses and personality defects of the individuals involved, it is a wonder that it lasted as long as it did, finally giving up in June of 1978.
For years following this event, a wave of influence was unleashed which has encompassed the earth. An entire sub-subculture, tied loosely to the surf movement, with tiny enclaves all over the world, has formed based on the cult of Radio Birdman. They are considered seminally important in the development of music in Australia, and their most dedicated fans are often musicians in other bands that are successful today.
Radio Birdman reformed in January of 1996 with all original members, and to date have completed four national tours of Australia. Both critics and fans old and new feel that they more than lived up to the legend. They recorded a live album, Ritualism, on the first of these tours. Initially it was only available by mail order on their own Crying Sun Records label, another low budget but high quality DIY project which is perfectly consistent with their earlier work both sonically and philosophically.
Some excellent 16 mm film and video exists of the band. This material has circulated worldwide in the bootleg video market and shows the band in 1976 and 1977 at or near it's peak.
For readers interested in a more comprehensive study of the band it is suggested that they get hold of and read Vivien Johnson's Birdman biography.