Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Victims V's The M-16's
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Victims

It was great to receive so many comments in my absence - it's touching to know you care.

Something Old, Something New is one year old today and to celebrate I am re-posting my first ever track, Television Addict by Perth punk legends The Victims.

Plus to continue an earlier theme of posting cover versions, I am including a cover version of this definitive Perth punk track by The M-16's - these guys and The Volcanics put on a rocking gig in Perth on Australia Day eve.

The Victims - Television Addict

The M-16's - Television Addict

Thursday, January 19, 2006

As Is
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

Two Faces Of Culture's first gig

As Is existed between about 1992 and 1996, playing in many of the few pub venues available for original bands.

I was initially convinced to pick up an old bass guitar that was laying around the house, more of a piece of furniture than a musical instrument, by a friend who was starting a band and couldn’t find a bass player. My house was also our early rehearsal space.

We started rehearsing under the name “Two Faces Of Culture” playing covers by The Cramps, The Saints/The Aints, The Ramones, The Beasts of Bourbon, Iggy Pop and other similarly influenced tunes, plus some early originals. We progressed to more permanent rehearsal spaces, after complaints by some of the locals and the band slowly improved. We found another drummer when the first drummer started to lose interest and the friend who first asked me to join his band moved on to do some dj-ing (this decision was sort of forced upon him) as we found another vocalist and started gigging in earnest under the moniker As Is.

The venues we played included The Shenton Park (now an old persons home), The Lone Star (knocked down for a tunnel through the city), The Loft (went the way of many nightclubs and faded away into something else), The Grosvenor (still going strong), The Harbourside (dunno what’s happening there now) and many others I can’t think of at the moment.

We did two recording sessions during our time together, both with Laurie Sinagra. The first was recorded live to 8-track in our rehearsal room, with vocal overdubs added later. The second session was recorded, (with yet another new drummer) in the studio although the band was still pretty much recorded live, again with vocal overdubs.

But the rest of the band eventually decided that they wanted a new bass player - even though I was the one organizing all of the gigs, advertising and flyers, coordinating the recordings and who owned the master tapes and DATS. I was told in explanation that our musical paths were heading in opposite directions.

So I went off and joined The Hoovers and they never found another bass player, never played another gig together and eventually broke up. Sad story, huh? But it was (pretty much) fun while it lasted.

Thanks to all of my regular lurkers, I can see that counter slowly (yet constantly) climbing, but I don’t seem to get too many comments. What do you all think of the Perth music scene? Are there any bands here you haven’t heard of before but are interested in hearing more of? Or bands you are interested in hearing but haven’t seen out in the ether yet? Should I continue with this theme? I’ve hardly touched the surface of the vibrant music scene in my home town.

I’m off on holidays for a week or so, heading back home to Perth to see family and friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts while I’m gone.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with some recordings of my first band that managed to get into the studio (or at least to get the studio to us in a rehearsal room).

As Is - Count To Ten

As Is - Bury The Lie

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Volcanics
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Volcanics

I have already made a blog entry on the The Volcanics, it was one of my earlier entries, but while I am discussing Perth bands that I like I just had to mention them again. The Volcanics are one of my favourite contemporary Perth bands and I see them every opportunity I have when visiting Perth. Such as this time with The M-16’s (see the post below).

With influences including MC5, The Stooges, Rolling Stones, Radio Birdman, the Saints, the Ramones and the New York Dolls, the Volcanics play rock ‘n’ roll with (slightly) less guitar histrionics than The M-16’s, but equally as rocking.

Vocalist John Phatouros and drummer John Tombides had previously played together in Josephine Killen (their bass player was Dan Tarrant, aka Wally Walton from The Waltons) and they had been jamming for about a year in a band called Helena, with Mick Whitby on guitar. Helena were a no fuss, no frills, loud garage band, and only around for 18 months, who recorded 5 songs that were never released.

The Volcanics came together shortly after Helena ended, around November 2002, with the 3 guys deciding to continue playing together. The current lineup of the band includes Jason Cleary on bass and about a year ago Warren Hall replaced John Tombides on drums.

The band have released a 5 track E.P. “Nothin For You” and they also contributed four tracks to "Light The Fuse", with another four tracks from both The M-16’s and Fourstroke. A nice treat in this release is that each of the bands play a cover version of a track by a favourite Perth band (the Volcanics cover “Snuff” by another great Perth band, The Bamboos).

As I said in my previous post, with their classic line up of guitar, drums, bass and vocals, The Volcanics will get your head banging and your feet moving.

If you’re in Perth for the Australia Day Eve, get your ass down to the Amplifier Bar and shake it around.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The M-16's
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

Ken Killer Watt & Brad Miller

The M-16's were formed in Perth in the late 1990's by guitar maestro Ken "Killer" Watt (who had previously played in Valvolux and Asteroid B612) and bassist Brad Miller (who had played with Watt in Atom Smasher, the prototype band for The M-16's).

Two guys, bass and guitar, jamming together in rehearsal rooms with a shared addiction to Detroit rock (MC5, The Stooges, Sonic's Rendezvous Band) and similar musical influences from Sydney (Radio Birdman, The Celibate Rifles, Asteroid B612).

They jammed for a year or more and recorded some tracks with stand in drummer Brad Cleary (who had also played in Atom Smasher and is now playing in Superscope) until they eventually found a drummer in Adam Scuillo, who had previously played with fuzzed out rockers Fourstroke. The 3 piece band began gigging in September 2001 and recorded some more songs.

But the exploding drummer syndrome was to strike again as Scuillo moved east and the M-16's again had a “temporary” drummer with former Pb drummer Jamie Hamilton until Scuillo returned to Perth in late 2003.

In 2004 David 'Spiff' Hopkins, former lead guitarist with Sydney bands The Hellmen and The SC5 (a Sydney MC5 tribute band) joined the band, playing his first gig in June 2004 after only one rehearsal. I was lucky enough to be in Perth for this gig, and was later (jokingly) reminded and reprimanded for my drunken worshipping of this shit-hot performance.

The M-16's were finally locked and loaded.

The band released the 7" promo single, Losin’ Time in 2002, which received rave reviews from around the world. Limited to only 300 copies the single quickly sold out.

The M-16's debut CD Loose Bullets was released in June 2004 and they also contributed four tracks to Light The Fuse, with another four tracks from both the Volcanics and Fourstroke. A nice treat in this release is that each of the bands play a cover version of a favourite Perth band track (the M-16s cover The Victim’s Television Addict).

I’m heading home in late January and are very much looking forward to seeing my family and friends. But I have also heard that the M-16's and Volcanics will be playing a gig together, so I can see a long night of guitar and beer worship during the visit. I can only apologise to my wife, my friends and my family now.

The Hoovers

Woo Hoo!

The M-16's - Remains

The M-16's - Shivers and the Shakes

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Hoovers
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Hoovers play the Shenton Park Hotel

I played bass guitar in a few bands in Perth during the late 1980s and 1990s, some of which didn't even make it from the rehearsal stage onto the real stage, but by far my favourite such experience was playing in The Hoovers. Influenced by surf and spy guitar instrumentals, seventies power-pop, sixties soul and garage rock ‘n’ roll many of our live performances were as much parties as gigs.

Craig Weighell, ‘John Boy’ the singing drummer of eighties Perth legends The Waltons as well as Perth popsters The Daturas and many other bands during his decade plus of performing original music in Perth, took lead guitar responsibilities and shared the vocal limelight and harmonies with Justin Davies, who was the big bad mad-dancing leader of the Purple Pit Swingers. Justin would love to throw his old Maton guitar over his shoulder in the inimitable style of the true Elvis.

Henry Willoughby, a musical chameleon with over ten years experience in local original bands, is equally at home behind the drum kit as he is with a guitar or bass over his shoulders - all of which he mastered during his long life as a founding member of the seminal Perth ghoul band The Feends. Henry returned to his first love of caressing and beating the skins on his low-slung drum kit, ensuring that the rhythm is solid, so the punters can dance. Michael Bolger, formerly with grunge middle-weights As Is completed The Hoovers line up, casually avoiding the limelight behind his vintage Hofner bass guitar, content with ensuring that tight, danceable tunes were always the order of the day ... or night.

The Hoovers - depot

Well, that’s what our bio said anyway.

The Hoovers were only around for two years, as Henry moved overseas (Martin Moon from The Marigolds even sat in on drums for a gig or two) and I moved east, but it was great fun nonetheless. During this time we helped establish a new (if also short-lived) venue with our "The Congo Club" events staged in the upstairs bar of the red-velvety surrounds of Subiaco’s art deco Regal Theatre. This was done primarily due to the dearth of venues for original bands (or any bands not playing top 40 songs) to play in Perth.

The Hoovers only entered the recording studio once, with Laurie Sinagra behind the controls, and independently released a very limited number of copies of the five track E.P. Suck!. I’ve posted two tracks from those sessions here, one with Craig singing (I’m An Addict) and the other with Justin (Spanish Girlfriend).

The Hoovers - I'm An Addict

The Hoovers - Spanish Girlfriend

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Marigolds
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Marigolds

The Marigolds played a great mix of jangly 1960’s pop and garage rock with a smattering of country thrown in. They were lead by Jamie Parry, who would go on to sing in The Neptunes among other bands, and although the lineup would change, the other regular band members were Mark Hemmery (lead guitar and harmonica) and Dean Graham (rhythm guitar).

The original lineup also included one of Perth’s busiest drummers, Martin Moon, who has played or helped out in numerous great bands including The Neptunes, DM3, The Chevelles, The Feends, The Summer Suns, King Wasabi and probably dozens more.

The Marigolds played many excellent gigs from the mid to late 1980s, often with The Holy Rollers or The Waltons and they briefly toured east.

They released a couple of 7” vinyl singles during their original incarnation and a cassette when they reformed in the late 1980s, with production assistance from Dom Mariani and Kim Williams. These recordings were compiled on a CD release Wild!.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

(Bands from Perth, Australia)


Here's another post of an excellent Perth band where I have very little information, but really enjoy their music.

Valvolux were another mid-nineties Perth band who really rocked, and with the guitar maestro that is Ken "Killer" Watt, who went on to also play in Sydney band Asteroid B612 and Perth favourites the M-16's (who I will definitely be posting on during this "Perth band" phase), it's no wonder.

Valvolux put out two E.P. releases, "Supercharger" and "Chopper Squad", both of which are worth hunting down.

And the Valvolux photo shown above was taken by recent regular comment leaver, and a photographer regularly seen around the Perth band scene for many years, Nick Cowie - hey Nick, do you have any of your photos out there? I can't seem to find any.

Addendum - make sure you check out the comments if you want any more information on Valvolux - cheers Nick!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Flashing Tablet
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

Flashing Tablet

Here's the first of a few posts where I have very little information on a band, but really enjoy their music.

Flashing Tablet play '70's influenced guitar rock and play loud gigs - that's what I remember from the few drunken times I caught them.

They released their only CD "Venus Casino" in 1997.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Waltons
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Waltons

The Waltons created some great music between 1985 and 1992. As the name suggests, the boys liked a bit of country, but they also liked a bit of pop and rock and they sure had some great melodies. Plus they were always up for putting on a good show, of which they played many.

The band only released 2 singles, both of which were well received, but they recorded many more songs, which have made their way into a limited edition CD release.

Like a lot of bands from this era in Perth, there is very little information floating about in the ether regarding The Waltons, but “John Boy” (aka Craig Wheel) has played in and led numerous Perth bands since the Waltons rode into the sunset in 1992. I was even lucky enough to play with Craig in a band in the mid to late nineties.

The Waltons - My Husband Beats Me

The Waltons - Coca-Cola Is Coke

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Manikins
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Manikins

The Manikins were the first punk band I ever saw, probably in 1980 in a city full of cover bands, at a seedy little club called Adrians which was above the less than salubrious James St in Northbridge.

The Manikins were another short lived Perth punk-pop band, who were direct descendents of The Cheap Nasties - one of Australia's first punk bands originally formed by Kim Salmon.

When The Cheap Nasties broke up in December 1977, Salmon went on to create The Scientists, while most of the remainder of The Cheap Nasties went on to form The Manikins.

The Manikins formed in 1978 and consisted of Neil Fernandez (guitar); Ken Seymour (bass guitar); Mark Betts (drums) and Robert Porritt (vocals). They were later joined by Dave Flick (later known as Dave Faulkner who had previously formed The Victims and would go on to form the Hoodoo Gurus.

"The Manikins" have recently released a CD on Two Tribes Records which was recorded live in the studio in 1979 – buy it here.