The Label Said To Sack The Boys: The Secret Behind The Chantoozies’ Line-up Change

9 March 2023 | 3:06 pm | Staff Writer

"We should have really been a bit more diplomatic. I cried, I was really sad."

Pic via YouTube

Pic via YouTube

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When The Chantoozies emerged from Melbourne’s nightclub scene in 1987 with a top 5 remake of Witch Queen and followed it a year later with self-penned smash Wanna Be Up, they established themselves as one of Australia’s top pop acts and earned industry cred for their relentless touring schedule. 

Notable at the time was their large line-up: four female singers (Tottie Goldsmith, Ally Fowler, Eve von Bibra and Angie La Bozzetta) and four male band members (David Reyne, Brett Goldsmith, Scott Griffiths and Frank McCoy). 

“There were a lot of personalities, a lot of opinions,” Brett Goldsmith said in a new two-part special of podcast A Journey Through Aussie Pop

By the time of their final hit, a cover of Love The One You’re With in 1991, the group had been reduced to an all-girl trio. In the podcast, the seven surviving members of The Chantoozies – McCoy passed away in 2021 – explain how eight became three. And it’s a topic that hasn’t ever been fully discussed among the band members, who are all still on good terms with each other.

On A Journey Through Aussie Pop, Tottie Goldsmith, Griffiths and Reyne explained their various reasons for leaving after The Chantoozies’ self-titled debut album had been released.

“I didn’t think we were on the same page, and it was starting to get bitchy,” Tottie said of her decision to jump ship first. “Also, I felt like I had so much more to offer creatively.”

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Griffiths, who was the most experienced and gifted musician in the band, wanted to return to his musical education and found the experience of being in a pop group not for him.

As for Reyne, who would return to TV work after the band with a role in The Flying Doctors, the simmering tensions among some of the band members got too much for him.

“I spent so much time calming everything down… and sorting things out and getting everyone on the same page,” he recalled. “I got exhausted from being the diplomat in the band.”

But it was the decision to sack Brett Goldsmith and McCoy and have Fowler, von Bibra and La Bozzetta continue as a three-piece that is the elephant in the room that hasn’t previously been spoken about.

“The record company approached us and said, ‘We think this would work better with just the three of you,’” Fowler said. “First of all, they were our friends and we loved them dearly. And secondly, I remember us being a bit worried about messing with the formula. Look, they probably thought it was going to be easier to handle the three of us.”

Von Bibra added: “It was just, ‘I guess if we want to stay doing this, this is what they’re recommending.’” 

La Bozzetta (now Arnott) revealed another factor: that the split between what the guys and the girls wanted had reached breaking point and “it was just time” to make the change. “I don’t think we handled that as maturely as we probably could have. We kind of handed it over to our manager at the time. We should have really been a bit more diplomatic. I cried, I was really sad – I didn’t like doing it.” 

The Chantoozies past and present – Fowler and von Bibra continue to perform and record under the bank moniker – also explained a few other mysteries concerning their time in the spotlight. For one thing, how the head-to-head battle between The Chantoozies and The Party Boys with rival versions of He’s Gonna Step On You Again came about. Also, why the band’s song Slightest Notion was also released by James Reyne as Motor’s Too Fast. And the existence of two romances among the band members are revealed.

Listen to A Journey Through Aussie Pop on Apple, Spotify, Amazon and all major podcast platforms or at