|Birth name||Martin Murphy|
|Also known as||Martin Plaza|
|Born||1 January 1956|
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Associated acts||Mental As Anything
The Rock Party
Martin Plaza and The Lost Vegans
Martin Plaza is the pseudonym of Martin Edward Murphy (born 1 January 1956), who is a vocalist/guitarist/songwriter with Australian pop/R&B band Mental As Anything. Plaza also has a solo music career and in 1986 had a #2 hit in Australia with his cover of the 1960s Unit 4+2 song "Concrete and Clay". Plaza has worked in other bands and is an accomplished artist.
Plaza was born Martin Murphy on the North Shore of Sydney, New South Wales. He attended St. Pius X at Chatswood, excelling in sporting and artistic pursuits but showing little interest in other subjects. After attending Hornsby Technical College he switched with fellow student Steve Coburn to what was then known as the East Sydney Technical College (now known as the National Art School) in Darlinghurst in the mid-1970s where he met Chris O'Doherty. Around this time he was working part time at KFC. With O'Doherty (later known as Reg Mombassa), Coburn and another student, David Twohill, he formed the pop/rock band Mental As Anything in May 1976. Mental As Anything went on to become one of Australia’s most popular bands touring widely in Australia and overseas.
All early members of Mental As Anything are also artists and have exhibited their artworks since 1982. Whilst not being as acclaimed as Mombassa or Reg's brother Peter O'Doherty, Plaza has certainly become quite prolific in recent years, holding numerous solo exhibitions working with a variety of media and has entered the Archibald Prize, notably with a self-portrait and a portrait of Mombassa. In the mid-1990s his artwork appeared on his own line of Dodgy brand clothing as well as his designs appearing on Mambo clothing. Many of Plaza's artworks have had a Hawaiian or Hula flavour.
In the early days of Mental As Anything, band members would often invent pseudonyms for each other that combined an exotic last name with a common Australian first name. Martin Plaza was one of the products of that amusement whilst obviously being inspired by the famous Sydney pedestrian mall Martin Place. He has in the past jokingly stated that his full name is Martin DeJesus Plaza.
In 1986 Plaza performed with The Rock Party, a charity project initiated by The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), which included many Australasian musicians such as Crowded House members Neil Finn, Tim Finn, Paul Hester and Nick Seymour; GANGgajang members Geoff Stapleton, Robbie James and Mark Callaghan; Models members Jenny Morris and Sean Kelly; Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything), Eddie Rayner, Mary Azzopardi (Rockmelons), Andrew Barnum (The Vitabeats), Lissa Barnum, Michael Barclay, Peter Blakely, Deborah Conway, Danny De Costa, Greg Herbert (The Promise), Spencer P Jones, John Kennedy, Paul Kelly, Robert Susz (Dynamic Hepnotics) and Rick Swinn (The Venetians). The Rock Party released a 12" single "Everything to Live For", which was produced by Joe Wissert, Phil Rigger and Phil Beazley.
In 1986, Plaza had a #2 hit in Australia with the 1960s Unit 4+2 song "Concrete and Clay", the subsequent solo album Plaza Suite also charted. Further singles were not as successful. In 1991 another planned solo album morphed into a collaboration with former member of Models, James Freud. Entitled Beatfish, it became one of the very first Australian Dance or House flavoured albums. Another surprising turn was his 1994 album Andy's Chest, which comprised almost entirely of Lou Reed covers, it divided the critics at the time. Another collaboration with Freud in 1996 produced the Hawaiian inspired Moondog project however Plaza only appears on some tracks.
Beatfish with James Freud