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Born to run and built to last, Roymackonkey are a Darwin music scene institution.

Formed in the long-ago halcyon days of the mid ’90s, and so steeped in all the classic alternative rock of that decade, they’ve spent two decades playing passionate music that goes for both the heart and the throat, with no end in sight. They are Darwin’s premier last-men-standing rock band.

Taking their name from a book found at a rehearsal space, Roymackonkey formed in 1997, releasing their debut EP, The Quality of Meat, a year later. Their volcanic, anthemic heavy rock quickly gained support with the locals, with Roymack becoming the go-to support band for just about every interstate band who came through town. They’ve never looked back.

After many years of upheaval and several personnel changes, the band’s line-up finally settled in 2013 when founding members John Coulehan (vocals), Darryl Barba (guitar), and long-time member Fletcher Kane Bowman (drum kit) were joined by Rudy Navin (bass) and Tristan Etherington (guitar). As Fletcher puts it: “This is the final line-up,
the one that lasts until the band breaks up.”

Their much-anticipated album, 2013’s, Abandonment Issues, spun off two genuine hit singles in Sleep Tonight and Great Divide, along with radio hits Illumination and Break. The album earned them two awards for Best Rock Song and People’s Choice in the inaugural NT Song Of The Year awards (for Sleep Tonight), as well as the Best Rock/Indie Award at the 2013 Australian Songwriters Association Awards (for Great
Divide). Sleep Tonight was also distributed nationally via the Jack Jill Coke 4 compilation, distributed via street-press magazines Drum Media, Inpress, Time Off and Rip It Up.

Other achievements include winning the Darwin round of the 2001 Jim Beam National Campus Bands competition (and coming 4th in the finals at the Corner Hotel Richmond, Melbourne), winning the Darwin round of the 2014 Global Battle of the Bands. Plans for 2016 and beyond call for more interstate touring, recording an acoustic album, and going wherever the music takes them.

Some of the bands they’ve shared stages with:
Wolfmother, the BeardsGay Paris, Dallas Crane, Grenadiers, Magic DirtSerina Pech, Sons of the Morning, Sietta, the Superjesus, Rollins BandShihad, GrinspoonYou Am I, Palace of the King, Powderfinger, Kingswood, Mammal, JebediahGyroscope, Birds of Tokyo, the Screaming Jets and, on one memorable night in 1998, Slim Dusty.


  • The Quality of Meat (EP, 1998)
  • Re-evolve (demo compilation, 2002)
  • A Legion of Me (demo compilation, 2004)
  • Themes for Drowned Lovers (live acoustic album, 2006)
  • Monuments and Minefields (demo compilation, 2007)
  • Cassandra Never Lies (EP, 2008)
  • Sleep Tonight (CD single, 2011)
  • Abandonment Issues (album, 2013)

Want to know more?

For more information, check out the band’s official website.


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