During 1976 a group of school
friends coalesced from the remnants of those wonderful 'not garage more
lounge room' bands "Guudz Bak" and "Wally and the Shepherds".
There was a lot of free-form
psychedelic/Krautrock experimentation interspersed with art rock cover
versions and, eventually, some actual songs with melodies and choruses
and such (this disparate approach to influences and style continued until
the end). We played sporadically throughout 1977-78
and, spurred on by
the DIY attitudes of British punk and post-punk and many sweaty Friday
nights in front of Radio Birdman at 'The Fun House', recorded 4 songs at
Axent Studios in Kogarah, near where we lived.
We hawked the tapes around venues
and, finally, got a 'proper' gig at French's in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
where our sub-psychedelic light show and garb garnered us a 'hippy' tag
that we never really shook off.
Bruce couldn't take the violent
reaction we received and left the band. He, eventually, pursued a successful
career as a joke writer for commercial radio, last I heard. On a more positive
note Birdman's singer Rob Younger, seemed to enjoy, not only the music,
but the heckling as well.
We released 2 of the 4 songs
double sided single in late '78 :
"State" - a psyched up, accelerated, pop, love song and "A Secret West"
- a 3/4 droney riff with a great cod-German ending. It was one of the first
totally self financed releases in Australia at this time.
Whereas Bruce was straight ahead,
4 on the floor drummer, our new acquisition, Mark (originally a friend
of Lindsay's from Wollongong) was trippy, all over the place and startling.
His playing seemed to fit in well with the rest of us but, to some small
extent, we lost that backbone which we sometimes needed.
During the next few months,
we played almost every Wednesday night at the Sussex Hotel plus various
other venues around Sydney and even went to Melbourne for a short tour
that was weird, even by our standards. We got tighter, slightly more professional
and, predictably, less friendly with one another during this creative time
although the song writing continued unabated.
We were highlighted as the 'band
of 1979' in Clinton Walker's "Inner City Sounds".
Eventually, for one reason or
another, the band broke up but we decided to record all of the songs before
Lindsay left to join Crime and the City Solution in Melbourne. We again
recorded this at Axent with long faces, inexpert engineering and desultory
ears but it got done and we released a limited edition of the LP "Slights
Unspoken" in late '79.
This LP showed the unsettling
mixture of song driven rock elements and free-noise experimentation that
made an encounter with us so intriguing and, sometimes, exhilarating.
There are some great performances
: Rod's blistering guitar solo on "Imprint", the whole band, tight and
efficient, on "P" and the energy displayed at the end sections of "Is New
Is" and "Winchsoul". There are some hairy moments as well : Rae's excoriating
vocal screeches mirrored by Lindsay and Rod's electronics on "F1". And
there's some awful bits where we made songs that sounded so good live into
somewhat dull and lifeless entities. However, it pretty much documents
how the band was at the time.
The first small pressing sold
out almost immediately (obviously to all of those people who used to go
to the Sussex) but we got a bigger run done for the second pressing. Unfortunately
these failed to sell at all, really!
Lindsay moved to Melbourne but
disliked playing in Crime and so came back to Sydney and, later, joined
Pel Mel. Mark went south as well to, eventually, be married and raise Pip
: I'm not sure where he is now. Rod and Rae tried to start something else
together but drummers were always hard to find. I went on to Wild
West as did Rae, a bit later.