Thirty Years Of Anger by Marquis HK is the story of one man's journey through the hardcore punk and extreme metal scenes of Australia. Read this exclusive extract, then buy the book...!
Things had changed in the two months I’d been away from Brisbane. Construction was well under way for the new underground bus tunnel on Albert Street, and the new Myer Centre complex between the Queen Street Mall and Elizabeth Street was almost finished. Back home, my parents welcomed me with food, beer and one of my favourite movies, Creepshow. It was good to be back.
I took a trip into town early in the week to see who was still around. The first person I spotted was Zaid.
“You took yer time, ya tosser!”
“Great to see you too,” I replied.
The rest of the gang began to meander in to the Rotunda: Robbie, Boring Greg, Sheridan, Judy, Acid Neil. Yep, they were still there.
On Friday night, everyone was heading to Cryptronics, a new alternative club that had opened at the now demolished National Hotel on the corner of Adelaide and Queen Streets. I arrived in town and was greeted by the rest of the crew, Mick Weder, Dave Skillitter, Helen Grainger, Dave Smith, Adrian, Jody, Whyalla Steve, who was wearing a shirt adorned with a huge swastika and the caption “Joh For PM”. Even Smithie was there trying to recruit numbers to take on the skinheads.
The new club was pretty cool, playing mainly gothic rock—Alien Sex Fiend, The Sisters Of Mercy and so on. When Motörhead’s Ace Of Spades came on the dance floor cleared and we all got up and started slamming. This would become a weekly tradition. The DJ would play Ace of Spades and we would start slamming, mirrors would get smashed, Steve would get totally pissed and want to fight the bouncers for throwing him out. To say he could be obnoxious when drunk is an understatement. I ended up in the watch house after a night out at Cryptronics. The club was run by none other than Peter Mogg, The Triple Zed DJ that put me onto some of my favourite bands with his new imported releases show.
Shortly after I got back from Adelaide, Dispute played a show at The Outpost. We didn’t know it at the time but it was to be our last gig as we all moved on to pursue individual projects—AIM for Dave Smith and me, while Paul and Vincent formed a band with John from The Printed Shirt called The Cursed, which was basically a tribute band to The Damned. I’d see Paul years down the track working at Myer in the Indooroopilly Shopping complex. He always hinted at doing a Dispute reunion show but it never
happened. Paul passed away of a complicated illness in 2011. RIP, Paul Hawker. It was fun.
Interstate bands were starting to tour in Brisbane now. The Hard-ons had been up in recent weeks and Sydney thrash metal band Mortal Sin visited here for the first and last-for-a-long time. I’d purchased Mortal Sin’s debut album Mayhemic Destruction and was impressed by its all-out thrash assault. The band was supported by Bad Ronald and Insane Hombres. Bad Ronald took the piss and donned wigs and leopard-print tights with cucumbers stuffed down the crotch. Then Mortal Sin took the stage, singer Mat Maurer sporting long frizzy hair and spiked wristbands to the elbows. He bellowed to the crowd. “Are you aggro tonight? Are you violent?”
There was a big skinhead turnout that night and they saw the singer’s intro as a bit of a challenge. So they pelted the band with cans. Matt Maurer left the stage, walked up to the skinheads and asked them to refrain. The band carried on with its set but the next thing I knew the skinheads stormed the stage and started laying punches into the singer. The band-members dropped their instruments and came to his aid, but that was it, the show was over.
I hear a guy behind me yell, “If you can’t handle violence, don’t ask for it!”
The singer hadn’t meant it literally. He just meant for everyone to go fucking crazy and have a good time. But thrash metal was new in Brisbane and people just didn’t get it yet.
By this stage I’d taken up two hobbies that would play a huge part in my life for the next two decades. The first was my infatuation with comics. I started off avidly collecting Judge Dredd then moved on to Marvel titles new and old. Master of Kung Fu was one of my picks but my favourite character was definitely The Punisher, a vigilante with a huge skull adorned on his chest. He was an ex-special forces guy whose family was killed in a mob shoot out and he used his knowledge of weapons and hand-to-hand combat to deal with criminals. It was quite violent for a Marvel title.
After two months in Adelaide drinking black-and-tans (half-Guinness, half-lager) and pizza or whatever fast food we could get our hands on, I had gained some weight and people were commenting. My brother Lee did taekwondo and I decided to join him to get fit. This was the second passion
that came into my life at this time. I quickly became addicted and was training outside of class. Before long I was copping comments on how much weight I’d lost, which was definitely more soothing to the ear. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a vain bastard.
I was also obsessed with the action movies of the eighties: Cobra, Commando, Death Wish and anything with Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
September 23, 1987 was my nineteenth birthday and time for another interstate trip. The annual Melbourne Punk Pub Crawl was a bit of an institution. It had been going for ten years or so and was organised by Peter McGrath from Death Sentence and his partner Maureen. People came from
all over Australia for it and Dave, skinhead Mark Patterson and I wanted part of it this year.
After birthday drinks at a bar at the back of the Lord Albert Hotel followed by further drinking at Donna’s place at Norman Park, we set off for another 20-hour coach ride. On the way, one of the bus drivers gave Dave a grilling about the clothes he was wearing.
“Mate I wouldn’t wipe down the engine with that thing. If you were my
son I’d give you a hiding. The shops are open now. Why don’t you go buy
We named him the Nazi Bus Driver for the rest of the trip.
We crossed the Victorian border and started singing The Doors song 'Roadhouse Blues', changing the words to suit our situation.
“Can’t wait to get to Melbourne so I can get myself a beer!”
We had no arrangement for accommodation. Staying in a hotel back then was unthinkable. The deal was you’d rock up and find someone to put you up when you got there. We boarded a train to Carnegie for our first option, Hardcore House, home of the band Depression. No one was home but we befriended two metal heads in a car also waiting for someone to show up. Before too long Paul Waste rocked up from the band Human Waste and let us in. The place was adorned with metal and hardcore posters. I saw the inhouse studio where Depression and GASH would rehearse and record all their demos. It was quite an experience, being a fan and all.
Paul Waste proved to be very helpful, making multiple phone calls to find accommodation for three guys he’d never even met. Back then the scene was our social network. We knew we were all outcasts despised by most and someone would almost always put their hand up to accommodate interstate visitors. We would’ve done the same for them but no one wanted to visit Brisbane being the police state it was!
We ended up at some house thanks to Paul Waste. There was a bunch of people drinking there including the pub crawl organiser Peter McGrath, sitting there with a bandana on his head. He was very friendly saying that we could stay at his and Maureen’s place in Caulfield, no problem. He told us we could rock up there and have a feed. We stayed at the house drinking for a while where we met various people. One guy was trying to call us “trendites” because we all had the same black ten-hole steel-capped Doc Marten boots. I told him politely that what he was saying was a load of bollocks and the fact we had the same boots meant nothing. He ended up shaking my hand while going into a spiel about how we had the power to change whatever we wanted, based on the fact the Australian public had marched in the streets
and said “no” to an Australian ID card being introduced by the Hawke government. We had marched against it in Brisbane.
He was a nice guy, a bit strange but okay. He demonstrated how to deal with yobbos: “Just look them in the eye and tell them to get fucked, it almost always works. The reason they’re confronting you in the first place is they’re afraid of you already. But once you show you’re not afraid of them they shit their pants.”
And you know what? He was absolutely right.
Saturday September 25 was the day for drunken chaos! We met a few more people as we were getting ready, one we would end up spending the whole week with was a guy named Paul Battellegne, or “Batto”. He and Dave spent the morning putting their mohawks up. I had short, cropped blonde hair at this stage, just one less thing to worry about. We boarded the tram and ran into Nicky Pills from Brisbane. He’d been
living in Melbourne for the last three years. The first pub was packed. There were punks with twelve-inch mohicans and studded jackets, shaven-headed American style dudes wearing bandanas and some old-school punks who were now sporting long hair.
There was a good Brisbane turnout. We met up with Chris Converse, Skinhead Anne, Stephanie and Malibu Mick who was to join us at Peter’s place. We’d met Mick at Morticia’s and the reason we called him “Malibu Mick” was because he had a really bad stutter. Where does Malibu fit in? The liqueur had an advertising campaign on TV at the time featuring the song Blue Moon and you know how that starts: “Ma Mama Ma Ma Mama Ma”. Hence, Malibu Mick. He was a great guy, another one who looked relatively
normal. He wore normal jeans and Sex Pistols t-shirts but fit right in with us. After all it wasn’t about wearing a uniform. It was about what was inside your head and your heart.
Four pots of beer in, the organisers shouted, “Drink up, next pub!” And off we went. With each pub we accumulated more and more people. It was a fantastic day. I’ll even go so far as to say it was one of the best days of my life. Everyone was on fine form and in high spirits. There was no trouble even when the skinheads joined in. By late afternoon everyone was well and truly tanked. People were on the street with beers in hand and skinheads were guzzling casks of goon. Dave and I were pretty well smashed
by this stage.
The Melbourne Punk Pub Crawl falls on the same date as another event that pretty much serves as a religious holiday for Victorian sports fans: the Australian Football League Grand Final. This attracts a lot of Australian yobbos, or “bogans” as they’re now known. So when you have a pack of pissed punks combined with drunken football bogans left, right and centre, some shit’s bound to go down, right? We were warned about this when we arrived so we had the heads up.
Late in the afternoon, the game had finished and the crowds were starting to spill out of the pubs and onto the streets. A car of yobbos started yelling some shit out the window. We couldn’t make out what they were saying but we thought it was directed at us, so myself, a Melbourne punk called “Borgy” (now deceased) and another guy ran up and proceeded to kick their car. I don’t think any of our kicks connected as we were all that wasted but the car sped off. It turned out they were just cheering for their team who’d won. I feel kinda bad. I guess it was a combination of alcohol and all the run-ins with yobbos over the years that sparked that reaction. I just hope the same dudes didn’t take it out on some innocent punk kid down the track.
The cops, too, were out in force. They grabbed Dave for some reason and threw him in the back of the paddy wagon. I protested and of course went in the back too, along with several others. Upon arrival at the Melbourne lock-up they took our mug shots, which they let us keep as souvenirs. They also threw all us punks from the pub crawl in the same cell, which was pretty cool. To pass the time we played games
like running around the perimeter of the cell in single file. They detained us for four hours and sent us on our way. We were headed to a post-pubcrawl gig on the other side of the city. A car pulled up and two guys asked if we needed a lift. They said they’d take us wherever we wanted to go. The passenger introduced himself as Dean; he was a freaking loose cannon, telling his mate the driver to pull up outside of nightclubs so he could pick fights with the bouncers. He asked if we’d ever seen a .357 Magnum and was opening the glove compartment when the driver told him not to. Somehow, we made it to the gig in one piece.
The next day, walking up the street, I heard someone call my name: “Marky!”
Well fuck me, it was our old mate from Brisbane Phil Grainger. I hadn’t seen him for nearly a year and had no idea where he was. He joined us and we picked up a couple of casks of wine from the bottle shop. We all went out that night to a show and Phil was on top form. Some yuppies cruised passed in a flash car and yelled something so Phil took off his shirt, ran over and sank his boot into the panel. The cops were right there and hauled him in so that was the end of Phil for the night.
Peter and Maureen put us up for that whole week and treated us really well, Maureen playing tour guide and taking us to visit a house full of Brisbane punks. I was amazed at Peter’s comic collection. He’d been
collecting for years and had a lot of rarities. We’d go on adventures to various people’s houses and every day we’d have lunch at a place everyone called “Pasties”. I’m not sure if that was its real name; it was like a soup kitchen where they gave out free vegetarian Cornish pasties. All the punks ate there.
None of the bigger Melbourne bands like Depression, Vicious Circle or Renegade were playing; the biggest band on the Melbourne scene at this time was a band called Arm The Insane. I had two of their releases, the Virus EP and their debut album Remember.
Alas our week came to an end and it was time for the long haul back to BrisVegas. Batto scored us a little something for the journey, Serepax sleeping pills. We thanked everyone for their hospitality, boarded the bus, dropped a couple of pills each and slept all the way back to Brisbane. We were stuffed from the journey but I couldn’t resist going out to Cryptronics that night to tell everyone about our adventure. That night I started dating a girl who lived in the Highgate Hill flat where we all hung out. Her name was Sheridan. We’d got with each other on a couple of occasions prior and but I thought, fuck it why not?
My relationship with Sheridan was short-lived. We were too different; she didn’t dress punk or get into the music. She even listened to the soundtrack for the hippy musical Hair. We did have some good times,
though. One weekend Shayne organised a camping trip down to the Gold Coast for a couple of days. Sheridan and me, Shayne, and a couple, Mark and Deanne, were in one car and the rest of the crew was meeting us at the campsite. We set up camp and headed into Surfer’s Paradise for a look around. Surprise, surprise we end up at the Surfers Paradise Tavern beer garden where they were serving 20c pots of beer! We stayed there for a good couple of hours and met up with some local skinheads. We then
decided to head on down to the beach. To say we looked out of place is a gross understatement. Here we were, a pack of punks sitting in a shady spot wearing jeans, jackets and boots on a glorious sunny beach.
I took my boots off when Sheridan and I went for a paddle in the sea. We were joined by two yobbos who were also pissed but seemed okay at first. I’d gone to the roadside to put my boots back on when Deanne came running up. “Quick, Mark’s about to get in a blue!”
Apparently one of the yobbos had made a crude comment to Deanne, something along the lines of, “Girls with green hair should be beaten up and raped.”
Mark wasn’t having a bar of it and grabbed him by the hair yanking his head back. I arrived to see both of them shaping up to Mark. It happened so fast no one else had time to jump in. Mark took the first one out, knocking him to the ground kneeing him in the face knocking him out cold. I ploughed into the other, knocking him to the ground with two punches and putting the steel cap into him. We didn’t hang around. We thought we better get the hell out of there before the cops came. We headed back to the
campsite where we celebrated our victory.
Come late November, we were off on yet another road trip, this time to Sydney to see US hardcore thrash legends DRI (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles). We left on the Thursday evening to get there in time for the show, which was on Friday night. This time it was me, Dave and Darren Bland from Mitchelton. Darren had the DRI logo of a thrash figure tattooed on his upper arm so he was definitely keen to see the band. After another long bloody haul we finally arrived in Sydney on Friday afternoon. This was to be one of the most adrenaline charged weekends of my life; it didn’t stop from the moment we arrived. We had to make our way out to Cronulla where Brisbane ex-pat Madonna, a friend of ours, was living with her boyfriend Craig. We’d met him before when he’d visited Brisbane on a couple of occasions and he was a cool guy. We got out to the southern beach suburb and proceeded to find the address. To say the atmosphere was uncomfortable is an understatement. All the local yobbos, bogans and surfies were giving us the you-boys-ain’t-fromround- here look. We walked past a beer garden and got jeered at though we
couldn’t make out what was being said.
We finally found Craig and Madonna’s flat but as soon as we got there we had to dump our gear and split straight away as Seven Hills, where the show was to be held, was a long way from Cronulla. We arrived back at Central Station and were greeted by a bunch of very loud metal heads who introduced themselves as the Wollongong Thrashers. Their claim to fame was being included in the acknowledgements list on Mortal Sin’s Mayhemic Destruction LP. Well done, boys. A proud achievement, I’m sure. They were friendly and harmless enough, if a bit enthusiastic. There were around ten of them sharing a carton of throwdowns, singing all their favourite Slayer, Anthrax and Kreator anthems all the way to Seven Hills. We finally arrived at the venue after what felt like a two-hour journey. The crowd was
predominantly metal heads and skate punks. There were very few Mohawksporting, leather-jacket-wearing punks in attendance. DRI pioneered the whole punk/metal crossover movement and the metal heads had pretty much claimed them as their own here in Sydney.
Support act Mortal Sin was tearing through their set when we arrived. Dave and I laughed, we hadn’t seen these guys since they kicked off with the skinheads in Brisbane. At least we got to see them play this time!
Next up were DRI and the place exploded. There was stage diving and moshing, and the pit was going nuts. They played everything, recent stuff from the Crossover album and their early hardcore punk songs from the Dirty Rotten LP including one of my favourites, 'Blockhead'. They were just about to play 'Reaganomics' when everything stopped. The PA was shut off and there were the cops in full riot gear with batons and dogs. The cops stormed the venue and shut the whole show down. The crowd responded with a mass chant of “Pigs Suck”.
Someone jumped on stage and shouted. “What the fuck? This isn’t
It seemed we had brought the police state with us!
We got the train back to Central and found a pizza joint. There was a table of yobbos sitting next to us.
“Gee I wish I had no direction in life,” remarked one bravely as he left the restaurant. We just shook our heads and laughed, expecting no less from such a fuckwit.
We got back to Cronulla around four in the morning and figured we’d better get some sleep if we wanted to meet and greet DRI the next day at Utopia Records.
The next day we cruised in and the band was already there. The guys were signing albums, drinking beer the store had provided and genuinely mingling with the fans. I asked drummer Felix what he thought of the pigs trashing the show.
“Oh man that sucked,” he responded.
“So you’re not heading up to Queensland then?”
“Nah, but I heard there’s a lot of crocodiles up there, right?”
“Yeah,” I replied.
I couldn’t make out what his next question was but according to Dave he asked if I’d ever been attacked by a crocodile.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Really? And you’re still alive? Oh my God!”
I just gave him a strange look. I scored an autographed DRI tour poster and a killer Slayer Reign In Blood poster so I was happy.
We were making our way past Sydney Town Hall on our way to the station when we noticed a big pack of skinheads sitting on the stairs sussing us out. There were only five of us so we were greatly outnumbered. We kept walking as if we hadn’t noticed them.
“We’re being followed, guys,” said Dave.
Sure enough, when we got to the concourse down the escalator we heard it.
“Oi! Punk shit! “
“What’s going on?” I asked Craig from Cronulla.
“It’s Garth. Just go. Get out of here.”
We’d heard a lot about this guy Garth and his mates, and how they despised punks. They made a beeline for Dave and Darren but seemed to miss me. Dave and Darren ran straight down the platform and from the corner of my eye I saw Craig talking to two of them as if he knew them. Anyway I didn’t know where the fuck Dave and Darren were so I took a chance and headed down the first platform. Thankfully there they were waiting.
Next thing Darren yells, “There they are, jump on this train!”
We got on, then jumped off, of all places, at Redfern. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire! It was just like the street-gang movie The Warriors! We were being chased and were stranded, trying to get back!
I couldn’t resist a bit of humour, quoting the movie: “We’re wearing our colours—we can’t hide!”
We made it back to Cronulla safe and sound and spotted Craig walking along the platform as we pulled in. He had been separated from Madonna in the fracas. It turned out he knew one of the skinheads, Corey, who’d told him the one with the mouth was just some little wanker trying to prove himself. We headed back to Craig’s joint and grabbed our gear as our coach to Brisbane left in a couple of hours. We were walking to the station to board the train and here comes Madonna with—you wouldn’t read about it—Phil Grainger!
“Can’t keep away from me, can you?” he said.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to live in Sydney for a while,” Phil replied.
“Well, it’s a case of hello and goodbye cos we gotta go!”
We boarded the coach and shortly after the journey was underway we succumbed to uncontrollable giggles. We just couldn’t believe what an intense weekend it had been! It literally didn’t stop from the moment we arrived. We were on our way home, ecstatic that we’d survived.
Nineteen eighty-seven ended with a big New Year’s Eve show at East’s Leagues Club with UK hardcore thrash band The Stupids alongside The Hard-ons. Not a bad way to end an action-packed year.