Hardly anyone heard No Night
Sweats outside of our circle of friends.
We didn't fit easily into the
mould of what a band performance should be like. There were no instruments
on stage, except for a cassette player and, even when the music was playing,
there were very few highly rhythmic numbers. We often played in battered
suits and dirty bow ties and, when not actually frightened to death on
stage, were sorta lounge-like : Sinatra with a synthesiser big band backing,
coming to a dive near you, real soon.
West slowly dissolved, I bought a 4 track reel-to-reel and started
recording a series of multi-tracked instrumental numbers. All of these
were in pale imitation of Robert Wyatt's "Rock Bottom" of which I'd been
enthralled for years but replacing his whirling, reedy organ sound for
the slightly harsher, ring-modulated growl and whomping bass of my Arp
Odyssey. They sounded great to me, even as I recorded them, with some gorgeous
chord changes backed by massed, buzzing synth drones and frills.
I didn't really know where to
take these pieces until it became apparent that my (somewhat thin) mid
range voice blended seamlessly with the fluid upper bass displayed by one
Patrick Gibson, esq. I'm not certain of how we actually decided to do it
or even how we determined the final format of the band. I do remember a
couple of rehearsals in Patrick's Darlinghurst bedsit where the duo plus
cassette player theme echoed fantastically off the thick walls.
Although I'd written a lot of
that were either quite heartfelt or were obviously just stream of consciousness,
we slowly made them funnier ("Harry Wong's Cat" or "C.S.I.R.O.") or added
some humorous little moments ("Salad Days" or "Come and See The Silly Work").
We just wanted to be loved, I suppose. We were also fond of quoting popular
artists or songs of the time including the nascent rap scene in "Green
Tea" ("It's like a jungle, sometimes it makes me wonder, how I keep from
going under") and that almost classic "Fever" (ahhh) in "Mucky Wishes".
Our small selection of cover versions was superlatively silly as well -
"Who's Gonna Help Me Now" (originally a cod-C&W song by the fantastic
Slapp Happy to which we added a more loping feel and some ridiculous lyrics
concerning types of American cars) and "SSSSSingle Bed" (originally a breathy,
sexy pop number by Noosha Foxx to which we added a sub-Kraftwerk beat and
a strident delivery).
Because Patrick was involved
with M-Squared, we were actually able to record and mix all of these marvellous
songs properly before I left to travel overseas in 1984.
A couple of note-worthy performances
Supporting John Cooper Clarke at
the Trade Union club in Surry Hills where we played on a small stage-ette
amongst the crowd to a somewhat subdued response
A party in my (and Lindsay's) flat
above King Street, Newtown which was just getting drunk and rowdy where
we turned off the indie pop records, wandered around amongst the throng
and sang to each and every person there.
The last gig at some club on Oxford
Street where the crowd went ape whilst we jumped on tables and imitated
the cod-yodellng of Holly Johnson singing 'Relax' (aowwwwww!)
After I returned from Europe,
well, I just lost heart and lost contact with almost everyone. With the imminent
release of "Cant Stop It" I did manage to contact many, many people
again. But we had all drifted too far to remain close. Except... I still see Pat
every month or so - which is just plain excellent, really.