Motor Ace

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Motor Ace
OriginMelbourne, Australia
GenresAlternative rock, post-grunge
Years active1998–2005, 2018–present
LabelsSputnik/Festival Mushroom
MembersPatrick "Patch" Robertson
Dave Ong
Damian Costin
Matt Balfe
Past membersAlexander Reid

Motor Ace are an Australian alternative rock band. Formed in Melbourne around 1998 out of the remains of another band named Snowblind, their members are Patrick "Patch" Robertson (vocals/guitar), Damian Birchall Costin (drums), Matt Balfe (bass), and Dave Ong (guitar).


1988–2000: Early history[edit]

Motor Ace began recording their debut release, a self-titled EP, during April 1999. They worked with producer Paul McKercher, who had previously worked with bands such as You Am I and The Cruel Sea. Along with 28 Days, Machine Gun Fellatio, and NoKTuRNL, they were part of a collection of young Australian acts signed to Festival Mushroom Records' development label Sputnik, which launched in 1999. The eventual track listing of their self-titled release included "Chairman of the Board", "Chromakey", "Criminal Past", "Lowrider", and "Fluke". Triple J gave the band heavy airplay, assisting the band on their touring schedule. Afterwards, the singles "Death Defy" (which was later used as the title theme for TV show The Secret Life of Us), "American Shoes", and "Hey Driver" were released throughout the course of 2000. Some of them charted in the top 100 of the ARIAnet singles chart, while also gaining popularity on Triple J.[1]

2001–2004: Five Star Laundry and Shoot This[edit]

Motor Ace's debut album, Five Star Laundry, was released in March 2001. It was produced and engineered by Craig Harnath and Chris Dickie in February 2000 at Melbourne's Sing Sing Studios. Due to a heatwave at the time, the nearby power stations had been shut down, and the band were forced to record across the four-week period without air conditioning. During this time, Robertson also lost his voice. According to the band, vocals for the album were completed at 2am on the day both Robertson and Costin were due to fly to London to mix the album with Chris Sheldon, who had previously worked with the Foo Fighters and Therapy?.[2] The album entered the Australian ARIA Chart at number 4.

Motor Ace's second studio album, Shoot This was released in July 2002. The album debuted at number 1 that year and was certified gold. Two singles, "Carry On" and "Keeping Secrets" reached the top 30 in the ARIA Chart.

Motor Ace were put on hold after their 2003 Japanese shows for Shoot This, after the pressuring touring and work schedule was beginning to take its toll on the band – particularly Robertson, who suffers from Crohn's disease. During this period, Costin started a music management group, Fat Guy Management (FGM), while Robertson retreated to his home in Fitzroy and began to develop his songwriting and production techniques. Ong, meanwhile, put together a country-influenced solo album under the name Joni Lightning. Towards the end of this hiatus, the band's management denied that they had split up.

2005: Animal and break-up[edit]

Preceded by first single "Tomorrow's Gone" in May 2005, the band's third album Animal was released in August 2005. A second single, "A Little Closer", was released on 12 September 2005. Animal peaked at number 21 on the ARIA Charts.

In September 2005, Motor Ace announced that they would officially disband by the year's end, playing farewell shows in Melbourne and Perth during December.[3]

2006–2017: Post break-up[edit]

The individual members remained on amicable terms in the following years. Robertson worked professionally scoring for film and television, and also began working with Aesop. Ong still occasionally performed around Melbourne with his Joni Lightning project, before picking up work on an oil rig. Costin continued to work in the music industry, eventually founding the company 123 Agency. Balfe went on to play guitar in Melbourne band Five Mile Sniper, and also works for Yarra Valley Water.[4] Both Robertson and Costin were also a part of the band Nighthawk, which formed in 2016.

2018: Reunion[edit]

In August 2018, it was announced that Robertson, Ong, Costin and Balfe would reunite as Motor Ace for a headlining tour in March and April 2019.[5] The band also announced the release of both Five Star Laundry and Shoot This on vinyl, as well as releasing a compilation entitled B-Sides & Demos online.

In March 2022, Motor Ace released "Knock Knock", their first single in 17 Years.[6]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Five Star Laundry
  • Released: March 2001
  • Label: Sputnik (333402)
Shoot This
  • Released: August 2002
  • Label: Sputnik (335542)
1 40
  • Released: August 2005
  • Label: Sputnik (339012)


List of compilations, with selected details
Title Album details
Demos and B Sides
  • Released: 6 March 2019[11]
  • Label: Motor Ace

Video albums[edit]

List of video albums, with selected details
Title Details
The Time the Place
  • Released: March 2010
  • Label: Liberation (LIBDVD1095_1)
  • Recorded: At the Hi-Fi Bar, 23 December 2005

Extended plays[edit]

List of Extended plays, with selected details
Title EP details
Motor Ace
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Sputnik (SPUT00002)


List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"American Shoes" 2000 66 Five Star Laundry
"Death Defy" 66
"Hey Driver" 2001 53
"Carry On" 2002 13 Shoot This
"Keeping Secrets" 30
"Tomorrow's Gone" 2005 41 Animal
"A Little Closer" 99
"Knock Knock"[6] 2022 TBA

Awards and nominations[edit]

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards are a set of annual ceremonies presented by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), which recognise excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of the music of Australia. They commenced in 1987.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2001 Five Star Laundry ARIA Award for Best Rock Album Nominated [12]
2002 Shoot This Best Rock Album Nominated


  1. ^ Ace's High
  2. ^ Motor ace program RAGE
  3. ^ Songwriters: Motor Ace Archived 22 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "MOTOR ACE". Factory Theatre. Century Venues.
  5. ^ Mack, Emmy (14 August 2018). "Aussie Rockers Motor Ace Announce 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour". Music Feeds. Evolve Media. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "PREMIERE: Motor Ace Return With "Knock Knock", Their First Single In 17 Years". Music Feeds. 24 March 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  7. ^ a b Peaks in Australia:
    • All top 50 peaks: "Discography Motor Ace". Retrieved 30 August 2022.
    • Peaks 51–100: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 195.
  8. ^ "NZ Charts".
  9. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  10. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  11. ^ "Demos and B Sides". Apple Music (iTunes Australia). Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  12. ^ ARIA Award previous winners. "Winners By Award – 27th ARIA Awards 2013". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 11 April 2022.

External links[edit]