Husband-and-wife garage duo THE COURETTES follow the success of their summer tour with a new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Talking About My Baby’ is taken from their recent 10″ mini-album Back In Mono (B-sides & Outtakes) released earlier this year through Damaged Goods.
”’Talking About My Baby’ is a celebration of our transatlantic love,” says singer/guitarist Flavia Couri. “We met on a tour bus in Brazil almost ten years ago, and I’d be lying to say it hasn’t been a tough ride leaving my life and my former band in Brazil, taking a big step in the dark and moving to Denmark because of love. But I couldn´t have made a better decision and I´m happier than ever. We wrote this song during pandemics, when it was hard being away from my family for such a long time, with no concerts, no money, but at least we had each other. So, it’s also a celebration of having the guts to go out of your comfort zone, to take chances and to follow your heart. Life smiles right back to you when you don’t hold back.
“The video is made in 8mm film, black and white style, where we both appear for the first time as ‘crooners’, without holding our instruments. It was very fun to shoot it. Ike & Tina Turner, The Carpenters, Verner Panton’s iconic designs and the ’60s 007 films may come to mind as references to this cool short Courettes´ moving pictures directed by Morten Madsen.”
Back In Mono (B-Sides & Outtakes) is available here.
MARC VALENTINE has announced a handful of UK autumn dates.
The shows follow on from the success of the erstwhile LAST GREAT DREAMERS frontman’s debut solo album Future Obscure – which received a 9-out-of-10 review in Vive Le Rock! – and accompanying summer tour.
The seven shows include three as special guests to GINGER WILDHEART & THE SINNERS and two joint headliners with London powerpoppers THE SPEEDWAYS. Full dates are…
Fri 21 Oct – The Beehive, Swindon Sun 23 Oct – Star & Garter, Manchester (5pm) Tues 25 – Bush Hall, London* Wed 26 Oct – Brickmakers, Norwich* Thurs 27 Oct – Wedgwood, Portsmouth* Wed 23 Nov – Pipeline, Brighton^ Thurs 24 Nov – Hope & Anchor, London^
South Coast gothic Americana outfit FRANK FROM BLUE VELVET have a new video which they’re premiering with Vive Le Rock!
Shimmering with ghostly backing vocals and Duane Eddy Gretsch twang, ‘Everyone’s Got A Plan’ is taken from the Hastings quartet’s forthcoming self-titled debut album.
“Paraphrasing a Mike Tyson quote the band turn it to an existential quagmire,” says singer/guitarist Andrew J Davies. “‘Everyone’s Got A Plan (Until Their Face Gets Punched)’ taps into lives of shattered dreams, love affairs never to be started and life trapped in a small northern town. With drifting harmonies and guitar chords like paper-cuts the song swoons to its counterpoint ending. And like some dystopian zombie flick there was never a happy ending in sight.”
Formed in 2019 by Davies and Peter And The Test-Tube Babies’ drummer Og’s, the band’s line-up is completed by Karen Davies on vocals and percussion and Ruby Lyons on bass, although the live line-up expands to feature more guitars and banjo.
Set for release on 26 October, Frank From Blue Velvet is available to pre-order here.
The band have a bunch of shows lined up throughout the autumn. Catch them at….
Sat 29 Oct* – Jenny Lind, Hastings (w/ X-Ray Cat Trio) Sun 6 Nov – The Standard, Hastings (w/ Ingrid Pitt Orchestra) Fri 11 Nov – The Night Owl, Finsbury Park, London (w/ Message From The Ravens) Fri 25 Nov – The Cellar Bar, Worthing (w/ Son Ugly) Sun 27 Nov* – The Carlisle, Hastings (w/ Daemonik Fonce) Sat 3 Dec (afternoon) – Rye Christmas Festival Sat 3 Dec (evening) – The Sovereign, Bexhill
SLADE see their classic compilation album Sladest reissued in deluxe vinyl and expanded form this autumn.
Originally released in September ’73 at the peak of the chartbusting Black Country quartet’s fame, the album recapped on their career for the Christmas market which saw the classic ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ hit the top spot.
Going straight into the album charts at No.1, Sladest remained on the charts for twenty-four weeks, being certified Gold the following year. Featuring all the band’s hits to that point, the album’s fourteen tracks also revisited their earlier pre-chart catalogue.
The latest in BMG’s comprehensive series of Slade reissues, the latest edition sees the album presented on limited edition blue/white splatter vinyl, while the CD edition adds six further tracks, including ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ and the US single edit of ‘Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me’.
Set for release on 4 November, Sladest is available to pre-order here.
HUGH CORNWELL has unveiled a new video ahead of his forthcoming new album.
‘Coming Out Of The Wilderness’ is the opening track from the former Strangler’s Moments Of Madness, his first new album since Monster four years ago. The video is the work of award-winning US animator Jesse Bond.
Featuring ten new tracks, Moments Of Madness was produced by Cornwell who also played all the instruments himself. “It’s like I’ve got a stew pot of sounds where I’ve put in a bit of Joe Meek, a bit of Lou Reed, a flavour of The Doors, a bit of this, a bit of that and I mix it all up and it tastes good,” says Cornwell. “I’m like a cook when I make records in that I don’t follow any recipe.”
‘Coming Out Of The Wilderness’ is available to stream/download here.
Set for release on 21 October, Moments Of Madness is available to pre-order here.
Hugh Cornwell heads out on a full-band tour in November, where he’ll be playing tracks from his solo catalogue, as well as a set of Stranglers classics. Full dates are…
Fri 4 Nov – Milton Keynes, Stables Sat 5 Nov – Hull, Tower Ballroom Wed 9 Nov – Exeter, Phoenix Thurs 10 Nov – Southampton, The 1865 Fri 11 Nov – Cardiff, Y Plas Sat 12 Nov – Brighton, Concorde 2 Sun 13 Nov – Bristol, The Fleece Wed 16 Nov – Lincoln, Platform Thurs 17 Nov – Bury St Edmunds, The Apex Fri 18 Nov – Newcastle, Northumbria University Students Union Sat 19 Nov – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club Sun 20 Nov – Chester, Live Rooms Wed 23 Nov – Southend, Chinnery’s Thurs 24 Nov – Islington, Assembley Hall Fri 25 Nov – Bilston, The Robin Sat 26 Nov – Manchester, Gorilla Sun 27 Nov – Derby, The Venue Wed 30 Nov – Carlisle, The Old Fire Station Thurs 1 Dec – Edinburgh, La Belle Angele Fri 2 Dec – Glasgow, The Garage Sat 3 Dec – Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
Following a successful string of summer shows, THE JIM JONES ALL STARS have revealed details of their debut single.
Originally recorded by Louisiana R&B legend Charles Sheffield, ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working’ was recorded earlier this year at Memphis Magnetic Studios in Memphis, Tennessee and features guest vocals from local R&B and rock’n’roll singer Nikki Hill.
“Exciting times!” says Jones. “This will be first blood for both Jim Jones All Stars and Ako-Lite Records – and ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working’ is the perfect addition to any Halloween playlist.”
Released on 7 October through Ako-Lite Records, ‘It’s Your Voodoo Working’ will be available via all major streaming and download platforms.
The band have announced a brace of dates including a very special London Hallowe’en show at Walthamstow Trades Hall with a variety of special guests. “It feels great to be back on home turf,” says Jones. “The last London show sold out well in advance, so this time we’ve got a bigger venue. It’s a Saturday night and with buses and tubes running well after closing, this is going to be one hell of a Halloween! This is the one you’ve been waiting for!”
Catch them live at…
14 Oct – The Golden Lion, Bristol tickets 29 Oct – Walthamstow Trades Hall, London tickets
Old-school country-rockabillies THE BURNER BAND herald a string of dates with a new video.
‘Dark And Lonesome Street’ is taken from the Leeds band’s forthcoming second album Age Of The Liar, which follows on from their acclaimed debut Signs And Wonders, which was released last Autumn. The video is the handiwork of renowned Bristol rockabilly filmmakers, Bopflix Films.
‘Dark And Lonesome Street’ is available to download here, where you can also pre-order Age Of The Liar.
The Burner Band have announced a handful of dates, including a rare London headline show at Leytonstone’s legendary What’s Cookin’ club. Full dates are….
Friday 7 Oct – The Alder Bar, Sheffield Sat 8 Oct – What’s Cookin’, Leytonstone, London tickets Sun 9 Oct – Flying Circus, Newark Sat 4 Feb – The Grove, Leeds
London rockers RT-ZED are back with a new video that they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Black Heart Of Love’ is taken from ZedNation, forthcoming fourth album from the band led by Steve Grantley, simultaneously drummer with STIFF LITTLE FINGERS for the past twenty-five years. He’s also a man with numerous other stars in his address book and at one-time was considered for The Clash.
“I think certain people think drummers should know their place,” says Grantley. “Fuck it! Dave Grohl, Phil Collins anybody?!” Grantley has consistently written for Stiff Little Fingers over the years, and also co-wrote The Alarm’s last big hit ‘45 RPM’ along with lead singer Mike Peters. “I’ve been writing songs since I was 12, but I’m best known as a drummer,” he adds. “This album will hopefully change this preconception.”
South London post-punks GIRLS IN SYNTHESIS have unveiled another video from their forthcoming new album.
‘My Husband’ is taken from The Rest Is Distraction, the follow-up to their 2020 debut Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future, and features guest keyboards from former Fall member Eleni Poulou.
“I wrote it from the angle of someone living with a physically abusive partner, and the fear, isolation and anxiety they manage daily,” explains vocalist and bassist John. “I see this as a key track on the record. The intensity is created through minimalism, rather than full on noise. It’s a hard thing to pull off. And I think we really did.”
“With the video we really tried to capture the tension that hangs over the song,” adds guitarist Jim. “That isolation and vulnerability, with it being too literal. The subject matter of the song must be treated with respect, and we did that by presenting the viewer with a series of images that frame the outside world that exists alongside their internal, domestic reality.”
Set for release on 14 October through the band’s Own It label via Cargo, The Rest Is Distraction is available to pre-order here.
As previously announced, the band play a run of UK and European dates throughout the Autumn. Full dates are…
13/10/22 – NORTHAMPTON – Black Prince 14/10/22 – LONDON – The Lexington 15/10/22 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS – Sussex Arms 19/10/22 – BRISTOL – The Louisiana 20/10/22 – MANCHESTER – The Peer Hat 21/10/22 – NOTTINGHAM – Bodega 22/10/22 – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store 09/11/22 – GHENT – Bar Bricolage [w. Cocaine Piss] 10/11/22 – BRUSSELS – Magasin4 11/11/22 – TOURNAI – Water Moulin 12/11/22 – SIEGEN – Veb Siegen 13/11/22 – HAMBURG – Westwerk 14/11/22 – COPENHAGEN – Rahuset 15/11/22 – ODENSE – Posten 16/11/22 – BERLIN – Urban Spree 17/11/22 – FRIEBURG – Slow Club 18/11/22 – WURZBURG – Cafe Cairo 19/11/22 – NUREMBERG – Desi 20/11/22 – UTRECHT – Db’s 07/12/22 – GLASGOW – The Flying Duck 08/12/22 – NEWCASTLE – Zerox 09/12/22 – HULL – The Adelphi 10/12/22 – BIRMINGHAM – Dark Horse
Scottish garage-punksters REACTION have a new video which they’re premiering with Vive Le Rock!
‘All Aboard The Bad Trip Express’ is taken from the band’s third (and probably best) album Vigilantibus which is out now on Tarbeach Records of NYC. The album’s title is from their old school motto and means ‘remain vigilant’- an appropriate warning in this weird world we inhabit. One of twelve new songs, ‘All Aboard The Bad Trip Express’ closes out the album with a journey through punk, dub, ska and alt.country, all in a very strange four-and-a-bit minutes.
The album also contains a dub version of the song, remixed by The Warped Plan which is an even wilder mind-melt.
Moving on from the punk vibes of the first album Accelerator and the SubPop and angular-sounding follow up Keep It Weird/Keep It Wired, Vigilantibus has elements of Americana, Nuggets-style garage and even a pastiche of UK82 among the full-steam ahead pile-on of songs.
Keep It Weird. Keep It Reaction.
Vigilantibus is available now from Tarbeach or from the band.
Following their unexpected return at the start of 2022, East End post-punk legends WASTED YOUTH play their final show of the year in Hackney next month.
Having returned with sell-out shows at The Lexington and The Powerhaus – the first of these selling out in just three hours – the band were honoured to tour with Psychedelic Furs – including a date as the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, reprising their support slot on that band’s Talk Talk Talk tour in 1981.
Wasted Youth memorabilia is also heavily featured in a new BBC drama Mayflies, based on the novel by award-winning author Andrew O’Hagan, which is currently being filmed.
The band have been writing and recording new material and will be announcing a new release later in the year.
Wasted Youth will be appearing at Oslo, Hackney on Saturday 1 October. Support comes from Black Doldrums with special guest DJ Gaye Advert. Tickets are on sale here.
Fast-rising UK punks GRADE 2 have unveiled a brand new video.
‘Doing Time’ represents the Isle of Wight trio’s first new material since their Tim Armstrong-produced 2019 album Graveyard Island, their debut for Hellcat Records, since when they’ve been cutting their teeth onstage with the likes of The Interrupters, Social Distortion and Dropkick Murphys.
“Tongue in cheek, but delivered like a punch to the gut, ‘Doing Time’ is our response to the dead end, 9 to 5 rat race,” they say.
The video, directed by Ryan Mackfall and produced by Crashburn Media, ties in the announcement of the band’s first UK dates for next year. Catch Grade 2 live at…
7 Mar 2023 – The Lexington, London 10 Mar 2023 – Louisiana, Bristol 18 Mar 2023 – Classic Grand, Glasgow 19 Mar 2023 – Star & Garter, Manchester
RUTS DC return with a brand new video and news of a new album.
‘Counterculture’ is the first single and (almost) title track from the trio’s new album Counterculture?, which is set for release on 11 November through Sosumi Recordings. It’s their first album since 2016’s acclaimed Music Must Destroy.
“Counterculture? For us, it never went away,” says bassist/vocalist John ‘Segs’ Jennings. “We’ve always been on the outside and still are. It’s ok to be a freak. That’s why The Ruts started in the first place. If it’s still inside you, it’s time to light that flame again. Get to know what you don’t know. Come and borrow my lighter.”
The band head out on tour during November and December, culminating in a headline show at London’s Islington O2 Academy. Full dates are…
18/11- Exeter Phoenix 19/11- Southampton Brook 20/11- Cardiff Globe 21/11- Oxford O2 Academy 22/11- Stoke Sugarmill 23/11- Glasgow St Lukes 26/11- Liverpool Arts Club 28/11- Sheffield O2 Academy 29/11- Bristol Thekla 30/11- Nottingham Rescue Rooms 02/12- Birmingham Institute 03/12- London Islington O2 Academy
BUZZCOCKS are back with a brand new video which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
‘Manchester Rain’ is the second single to be taken from the band’s new album Sonics In The Soul, their first since the tragic death of Pete Shelley in December 2018.
“We were doing a gig in Manchester and it was pouring with rain,” says guitarist and singer Steve Diggle. “And these kids said to me, ‘We’re gonna start a band’. And I thought, that was me, like, forty years ago and here we are stood in the rain, and it took me back. But the song’s like a metaphorical rain, innit? It’s like your hopes and dreams. But it’s not about being a success. The thing was being able to find yourself and do something in life… we’re sayin’ what we wanna say and we’ve found some way of sayin’ something!”
Set for release on 23 September through Cherry Red, Sonics In The Soul is available to pre-order here.
Check out our exclusive Buzzcocks feature in the new edition of Vive Le Rock! out 10 October.
Leeds garage-rockers NOSEBLEED unveil a new video today which they’re premiering exclusively with Vive Le Rock!
Frentic buzzsaw frug ‘Dance With The Devil’ is the title track from the trio’s forthcoming second album, which follows on from their 2018 debut Scratching Circles On The Dancefloor.
“Like a lot of the album, the single is about breakups,” explains singer/guitarist Eliott Verity. “Between recording the music and the lyrics my life fell apart a little and I ended up re-writing the words to a lot of the songs. This one’s about that post breakup feeling of being torn about everything and wanting to give up and go feral, making some bad decisions for a little bit. We still wanted people to be able to dance to it though, despite what it was written about.”
Set for release on 11 November through TNS, Dance With The Devil is available to pre-order here.
Nosebleed head out on tour in support of the album, kicking off in Dundee this Friday. Full dates are…
16 Sept – Conroys Basement, Dundee 17 Sept – Retro Bar, Manchester 22 Sept – The Lady Luck, Canterbury 14 Oct – Matchstick Piehouse, Deptford, London (Till The Fest 2) 22 Oct – The Loft, Southsea 17 Nov – The Crofters Rights, Bristol 18 Nov – The Ostrich Inn, Peterborough 19 Nov – Tapestry Arts, Bradford 20 Nov – Little Buildings, Newcastle 10 Dec – The Escape Bar, Shepherds Bush, London 16 Dec – The Fulford Arms, York
Essex punk legends NEWTOWN NEUROTICS have announced a UK tour in support of their forthcoming new album.
The release of Cognitive Dissidents, the Harlow trio’s first new album since 1988’s gamechanging Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?, is set for 21 October through Cadiz Music. It’s available to pre-order here.
Famed for such 80s punk evergreens as ‘When The Oil Runs Out’, ‘Mindless Violence’ and the immortal ‘Kick Out The Tories’, the band took the opportunity presented by the Covid pandemic to write record the new album, returning this summer for a handful of dates including a storming performance at Rebellion.
The Neurotics are now set to follow up with eight dates across the UK during November, kicking off in Nottingham on the 8th and taking in a London show at The Lexington on the 22nd. Full dates are…
Tues 8 Nov – Nottingham , The Bodega Wed 9 Nov – Newcastle, The Cluny 2 Thurs 10 Nov – Edinburgh, Voodoo Ballroom Fri 11 Nov – Glasgow, McChuills Sat 12 Nov – Middlesbrough, Westgarth Social Club Sun 13 Nov – Todmorden, The Golden Lion Sat 19 Nov – Brighton, The Prince Albert (matinee) Tues 22 – London, The Lexington
Scots post-punk funkers APB are to have their signed a reissue deal with American label Liberation Hall.
Formed in 1979 in the smalltown of Ellon in Aberdeenshire, contemporaries of the likes of Gang Of Four, Au Pairs, The Higsons and fellow Scots, Boots For Dancing, the band’s second single for Aberdeen indie Oily Records, ‘Shoot You Down’, became a big hit on the underground dancefloors of NYC leading to extensive and successful US tours, opening for The Clash and James Brown before headlining in their own right. They would also become popular with BBC Radio 1 DJs John Peel, Kid Jensen and Peter Powell.
APB remain active and still include founder members singer/bassist Iain Slater, guitarist Glenn Roberts and drummer George Cheyne.
The first release under the new deal will an expanded edition of the 1985 singles compilation, Something To Believe In, set for release on 18 November.
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…!
ROAD TRIPS 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 some clothes?” 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 fucking Queensland!” 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.