LIke Shifting Sands through the hourglass, these are the days of their lives

izzy and geoffIzzy Mellor and Geoff Corbett. Cyrille Bellec photo.  

Sydney rock and roll fans are in for a special treat on November 17 when a roadshow of diverse but related Brisbane acts rolls into town. Marrickville Bowling Club will bear witness to the spectacular, self-destructing antics of Six Ft Hick, fronted by Geoff and Ben Corbett. The undercard is full of quieter moments, with Gentle Ben & his Shimmering Hands - a vehicle for Ben - and Shifting Sands, led by Geoff.

A Whole Wide World of love for Rocket Man

wreckless zac bonnellWreckless Eric. Zac Bonnell photo. 

“I will never have anything said against that man!” Eric Goulden, aka Wreckless Eric, is waxing lyrical about a fellow traveller in the English rock’n’roll and pop scene.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Eric might be talking about the late Ian Dury, the iconoclastic poet-cum-musician who provided a rough template for Eric’s own career, or maybe one of the sundry punk rockers who attached themselves to Stiff Records around the same time Eric bounced into popular consciousness with the now classic "Whole World World". Maybe even Joe Strummer? Pete Shelley?

Oh you Pretty Things: Phil May looks back without sorrow

pretty things sepia

In the middle of 1968 The Pretty Things were seated in a conference room with EMI executives and production engineer Norman Smith at EMI’s corporate headquarters in Manchester Square, London. The Pretty Things were presenting their new album, and their first with EMI, a concept album based around the story of a fictional character by the name of Sebastian F Sorrow: SF Sorrow.

Standing at a lectern in the conference room, Smith, in-house engineer at Abbey Road studios where the album was recorded, read snippets from the story before the corresponding song on the album was played. But it was apparently immediately that the corporate stiffs had no empathy for The Pretty Things’ ground-breaking album.

“They’re all sitting there in their suits, looking a bit bemused,” recalls singer Phil May. “We weren’t sure how well it went down, so the next morning I get a phone call. Because we were going to have both the story and the lyrics on the cover, they rang me and asked me I really thought the story was important enough to print on the cover. I was gobsmacked. Why did we read it to them? What was the point of that whole exercise, and now you’re asking me ‘Was it important?’ Imagine if it came out with the story – it would have been really confusing! What the bloody hell is going on?”

Don't let The Animals of 2018 be understood

the animals 1964The Animals in 1964 with John Steel behind the kit.

By now you will have heard that The Animals are returning to Australia in October-November.

Now, this isn't the version of The Animals which features Eric Burdon; Burdon also uses the name, which is handy because, like many a frontman who wants a solo career, Burdon's solo career didn't quite end up the way he'd hoped, so he can use The Animals name to get a bit more attention.

But really ... the way things have turned out, when you see The Animals name, most of us aren't thinking of Eric's LPs, however they're badged. 

Are Friends Electric?

electric guitars green landscape

Intrigued by their frequently-played, Paul (Rocket Science) Maybury-produced, new LP, "Sideways Changeling", and given that they're playing Adelaide this week (The Metro on Friday and the Crown and Anchor on Saturday), I thought it might be a good idea to ask Melbourne's psychedelic space rockers The Electric Guitrars a few questions.

After all, they're on a national your to launch this, their second album, and are, or have been, playing shows with luminaries like The Scientists and Tumbleweed.   

In typical high-energy "you can go your own way" style, they ignored every question put to them and, instead, wrote a track-by-track dissection of the record. Here's the result:

Forty years after the not so great "Lethal Weapons" rock and roll swindle

lethal weapons frontCorporate con or well-meaning act of benevolence? History tends to deliver a verdict of the former. for "Lethal Weapons", the 1978 compilaiton album of Australian "punk". 

"Lethal Weapons" was a product on an offshoot of major Australian label Mushroom (the same people who brought you Chain, Skyhooks and the Sunnyboys) and it was clearly a cynical attempt to commercialise underground music scenes then burgeoning in Melbourne and Sydney, especially.

Compiled by would-be A & R man Barry Earl, the album was notable for its eclectic cast which included The Boys Next Door (soon to become The Birthday Party), JAB, The Survivors,  whose members would go onto Sacred Cowboys, The Moodists, Radio Birdman, Teenage Radio Stars and the Bad Seeds. 

Trevor Block went in search of many of the original protagonists in bands that signed to Suicide. We're reprising his article to mark 40 years of "Lethal Weapons", and the decade since its CD re-issue. 



Aussie troubadours take their brands of darkness on the road

plater live fawniaMichael Plater live. Fawnia photo. 

Now, there are a few of you out there who read The I-94 Bar regularly. You may have noticed I'm rather a fan of Australian musician/songwriters Michael Plater and Tim Hudspith.

Plater's music spans various indie, gothic folk, country and “noir” influences, and his first two albums “Exit Keys” (2012) and “Mythologies” (2016) have received worldwide critical acclaim. Hudspith plays guitar with  Goldentone, Colourhweel, The Low-Fi Cowboys, Death Valley PTA and Dead Eyed Seraphim and is a solo artist in his own right. 

This month Melbourne-based Plater and Adelaidian Hudspith (a Ballarat expat) will be touring select interstate venues with intertwining dates, plus some shows in their own right at the end. So, Sydneysiders, Brisvegas residents, Canbrites and Newkies, get out of the house. Dates are at the bottom of the article.  

I was hoping to see the two Sydney shows, but ... as you know, Adelaide's electricity bills aren't what they used to be, so I had to content myself with doing an interview with both Plater and Hudspith..

It's 2018 and we still need Lunch

LYDIA 1 by Jasmine HirstJasmine Hirst photo.

Lydia Lunch doesn’t particularly care whether people are offended by her art.

From her beginnings in New York no wave outfit, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, to her spoken-word performances, to her collaborations with Rowland S Howard in Shotgun Wedding, Swans’ Michael Gira, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Bob Quine (Richard and the Hell and the Voidoids), right through to her more recent profane expositions on the United States under Donald Trump, Lunch’s self-defined brief has been deliberately and avowedly confrontationalist.

In her own words, Lunch is a conceptualist, exploring concepts that highlight the exploitation and marginalisation of the individual in contemporary society, the typically patriarchal and oppressive discourse wielded by institutions of power.

If you can’t stand the heat in Lunch’s artistic kitchen, go find yourself a fast-food media joint and starve on the processed, intellectually bankrupt crud that masquerades as entertainment.

In May 2018 Lunch returns to Australia with her Retrovirus concept, trawling across her 40-year career with the aid of Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Chrome Cranks), Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers) and Algis Kizys (Swans). I spoke to Lydia Lunch in her sometime home town of New York City.

Doll Dreams and Heartbreak: Jerry Nolan biographer Curt Weiss and that wild ride

Jerry Nolan

Telling the tempestuous and tragically short life story of ex-New York Dolls and Heartbreakers drummer Jerry Nolan was always going to be a formidable challenge. American author Curt Weiss has succeeded with "Stranded in The Jungle. Jerry Nolan’s Wild Ride", the unvarnished biography of one of New York rock and roll's most mercurial figures. 

It's an account of a man whose flaws were seemingly as large as his talents. Nolan was the pre-eminent rock and roll drummer of his era but his life was scarred by drug addiction. His death at 45 - almost certainly AIDS-related, according to "Stranded In The Jungle" - came hard on the heels of that of his bandmate Johnny Thunders, and closed a time in NYC that we won't see again. The book's theme is that Nolan's playing skills and style were admirable; his addiciton and treatment of others much less so.  

Weiss' book takes us  through the underbelly of rock and roll on a trail littered by used syringes, stymied ambition and squandered opportunities. Importantly though, "Stranded in The Jungle" makes the place of the Dolls in punk rock's continuum crystal clear. And is impossible to put down.

Curt Weiss consented to talk about his book from his Seattle home. Here's the lowdown.