Pete Lusty, Australia Label Chief and Manager Who Guided Vines, Jet and Empire of the Sun, Dies of Cancer

Empire of the Sun
Jen Campbell

Empire of the Sun

BRISBANE — Pete Lusty, co-founder of independent Australian music company Ivy League Records and management company Winterman & Goldstein, passed away on the weekend after a battle with cancer.

“Words can’t describe our sadness,” reads a statement from Andy Cassell and Andy Kelly, his business partners at Ivy League, label home to The Teskey Brothers, The Rubens, Alpine and more. “It’s a loss that resonates throughout every single member of our Ivy League family – artists, staff past and present, friends, family, and fellow travellers. We just need to get it out right now: we love him so much. There is a hole in all of our lives that we will never, ever be able to fill.”

Lusty was well-liked across the industry, not just for his smarts but for his charm and good company. Though he shunned the spotlight, Lusty was a cooler cat than many of the artists whose careers he guided.

“To say that Pete was a true original dramatically understates the case. He was a maverick, a unique unit, a radical thinker,” recount Cassell and Kelly. “He came hurtling into our lives as a sharp-dressed, exotically handsome rock and roller with a jet-black quiff and pegged pants, playing with the John Reed Club (Ivy League’s first ever release, a seven inch). He loved music, and he loved bringing people along with him, dragging them up to his level of ambition. No-one ever made wanting to succeed so hilarious, or fun.”

Lusty had a wealth of international experience, splitting time between Australia and the United States to help further his artists’ careers. Some of Australia’s biggest international breakthroughs in the noughts came from his companies, with Jet, The Vines, The Avalanches, Luke Jackson’s The Sleepy Jackson and, later, Empire of The Sun among them.

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Peter Lusty 1970 - 2020

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A former legal practitioner, Lusty made music a full-time gig in 1997 when he co-founded Ivy League Records and Winterman & Goldstein with Cassell and Kelly.

The record label, a joint venture with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group, is often in the discussion as one of Australia’s premier indie labels, earning wins at the AIR and ARIA Awards for its lineup of releases, which has included Cloud Control, Bad//Dreems, Alpine, Josh Pyke, Youth Group, The Vines, Bad//Dreems, The Mess Hall and Lanie Lane.

Winterman & Goldstein built an enviable roster which has included Empire of The Sun, Jet, The Vines, The Sleepy Jackson, The Avalanches, Youth Group, Something For Kate, The Preatures, Alpine and others.

Lusty “was a master strategist with a genius intellect and an uncanny ability to read the state of play and predict the future. He was always in control,” continues the statement from Cassell and Kelly. “A thinker, a doer, a finisher, a winner. He was disarmingly frank. He was the epitome of ‘cool’. A puzzle to the unacquainted - an open book to those who knew him. Loyal and generous. Thoughtful and surprisingly transparent. Reliable, but never punctual. Ridiculously funny, audaciously irreverent. Shameless. A serial prankster. A cunning genius. Sharp as a tack. An hilarious beautiful mind. Pete was a great human and a dear, dear friend.”

Lusty leaves behind his wife Georgia and two children, Tom and Kitty.


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