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


Blogger Rex Meneses said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat. Jan. 14, 07:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Nick Cowie said...

Now I have to go find the review and photos I did of the Hoovers at the Harbourside. I don't know if the review still exists, but the negatives do, I just need to find them.

Apologies Micheal, my memory is failing I thought Dan was the bass player that night, probably spoke to him that night. It was at least eight years ago, I remember Craig doing some solo stuff and the Hoovers playing a short set of surf influenced numbers, before they ran out of songs, I did enjoy it though.

Sun. Jan. 15, 12:12:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My blog is giving away some free stuff by 3 bands that fit in with the stuff you're reviewing here....hope you don't mind the plug.

I'm trying to get together a powerpop-type of podcast, and making the actual show is no problem for me, it's just figuring out how to post it online as a podcast with the RSS feed, etc. that's slowing me down. If you'd be interested in a podcast, let me know.



Sun. Jan. 15, 05:57:00 am  
Blogger MAB said...

Thanks for the comments folks

Jon, thanks for the invite for the podcast, i'll keep an eye on your site

hey Nick, i can understand the confusion with Dan - he was one of Craig's regular bass players.

i'd love to see The Hoovers photos ... i think i may have a copy of some photos of Craig and Justin and one of your reviews from a gig at the Depot (Harbourside in Freo) - but i think i have it laying around on a floppy disk somewhere .. hopefully with my stuff here and not in storage back in Perth.

Sun. Jan. 15, 03:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Nick Cowie said...

Michael, I found the photos of the gig at the Depot aka the Harbourside with the Hoovers playing as a five piece (you had a sax player), you can find the three of the best of them here

Also three photos from a gig on the 14th February 1997 at the Shenton Park are here

You feature in all of them, they are fairly big 100k and 900 pixels wide (except the vertical one 900px high) so you can grab copies on them. If you want better quaility ones, let me know I have a decent negative scanners, so they are sitting on my hard drive as 4000 by 2500 pixels 16 bit 20Mb Tiff files.

As for reviews, you have one more than me, I don't have any of my reviews. I am about to go get a copy of the old Bubblehead site, so I have at least a few of them.

Sun. Jan. 15, 08:12:00 pm  
Blogger MAB said...

hey Nick

thanks very much for posting those pictures on your web site

i found a text copy (on an old floppy disk) of your review from this gig:-

The Hoovers
The Depot Bar
Friday 22 November 1996
Review and photos by Nick Cowie (

What happens when you take away the hat and boots from a Walton and the make up from a Feend and give them Hawaiian shirts and a saz player? You get a fun five piece surf guitar garage band with a penchant for instrumentals. Who play a mix of originals and covers, mainly from the 6Ts.

A quiet night at the Depot was not the best place to see them play. With the rather thin crowd who just seemed to wander in and out, do nothing for a band’s confidence. It was no wonder the Hoovers sounded a little flat. Given a different situation, a party or the Congo Club with a 150 people, like last week, the Hoovers would be a totally different band, feeding of a crowd this band would be interesting. Given the tiny crowd, and lack of response, they did a pretty good job, but they are a party band that needs that atmosphere.

Any band that finishes their set with a cover of The Sonic “Boss Hoss” gets a gold star in my book.

The highlight of the evening, however came after they band finished early running out of songs to play. Craig Weighell (John Boy, the singing drummer from the Waltons, guitarist from the Dayturas and drummer with half a dozen other bands), traded in his Fender Strat copy for an acoustic guitar and treated the audience to an impromptu short solo set. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, from the pop side of R ‘n’ B, with the harmonica accompanied ‘Slip, Slip’, to the rather Nic Dalton like “Do You Remember School Discos’ to the finally number where he was joined by Mike on Sax. I was not they only one surprised/impressed by his performance, so were some other members of the Hoovers. An underrated singer/songwriter, who produce some quality work.

Overall if you want to have a good time, get a few friends, a few beers and go see the Hoovers. However, if you like music a little more personal, keep and eye/ear open for Craig Weighell.


it didn't sound like a great night, huh! but you get that sometimes


Craig was always good to see live. did you ever catch Deb? or the Burger Kings? they were playing after we left Perth.

thanks again for posting these pictures Nick!

it'd be interesting to see some of the old bubblehead site - i've been coming across some bits and pieces of bubblehead here and there in the ether of the www during my search for information on those great Perth bands that existed before the days of the internet, where gig posters and cassette tape covers were made by hand (or maybe on a friends what now seems archaic computer) and spread around the record stores by the bands (or friends)

great memories indeed



Sun. Jan. 15, 11:05:00 pm  

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