The post punk landscape slowly
changed in Sydney at the beginning of the 80s with more emphasis being
placed on melody and rhythm. More funk, less experimentation and so on.
Wild West eased into this nexus with a taut style and a tidy little group
However, we couldn't think of
a name that we all liked. It started off as "Grab A Guitar" (my personal
favourite) and mutated through "God The Movie", "Grab a Garage" and "God
the Movie" (again) until we sort of decided upon "Wild West" which, if
not actively liked, seemed not to offend anyone too much.
The sound of the band was unique
without being startling. Peter's jangly, intricate guitar flitted around
Gordon's liquid, pneumatic bass lines and Phil's simplistic chords and
sometimes grating synth riffs. Peter Macgregor added a necessary driving
force although we all felt that those beloved roto-toms were a bit much.
Eventually Rae joined with some surprisingly elegant and playful synth
released the "Beat The Drought" EP in 1980
containing "Calling The House" (a somewhat hypnotic and graceful 5/4 that
garnered high rotation on 2JJ for quite a while); "Chinchilla" (a mesmerizing
verse drone with a punchy two note chorus); "We Can Do" (sort of shouted
funk with a climactic chorus change and a pots and pans percussion ending
based on "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough") and "Red Sea" (a slightly experimental
3 section piece with buzzing synths and a lovely short bass 'solo' at the
Peter M left soon after this
(to do a more African thing?) - drummers were always such a problem. He
was replaced for a time by Dave Weston, the extra physical drummer from
Newcastle's Pel Mel whose style was dissimilar to Peter's but still muscular.
Around this time we continued performing including a great night supporting
The Birthday Party at the Cell Block in Darlinghurst - possibly one of
our rockier evenings.
Dave's increasingly heavy duties
in extending the burgeoning Pel Mel popularity forced him to finally leave
poor old us in the lurch once again.
I seem to recall that we decided
to keep it all fairly open at this stage with more reliance on smaller
splinter groups whilst still keeping the Wild West name alive somehow.
There were a large number of 'Little' bands around at this time including
The Tame Omearas, Via Veneto and others who were all somewhat aligned to
the Pel Mel/Wild West axis. Lindsay Omeara joined us for drumming duties
and even I had a simplistic go at them as well on one song.
A large M-Squared recording
happened around this time, most of which never saw the light of day including
the tracks "Disappear", "New Associations", "Bhagwan Rhumba" and "Fascistic".
Here's a list of all the songs...
Peter left to go overseas late
in 1981 and that, finally, was that. Gordon continued on with Rod and others
in Hope Is A New Coat and Moral Fibro; Rae and Lindsay joined forces for
You Peghead You; and various people reconvened with new found friends for
Maestros and Dipso. And I played to an adoring audience of a 4 track tape
deck before joining Patrick in No Night Sweats.