FLASHBACK: When Lipstick Killers stalked the earth

lipstick killers bondiDown to Kill: Onetime Filth bassist Martin Joyce with future Lipstick Killers Peter Tillman. Mark Taylor and Dave Taylor.

FLASHBACK: May 29, 2001 - Sydney music fans are in for a special treat. On May 11, one of the best bands of the late 1970s and early '80s Sydney "Detroit" scene, the Lipstick Killers, re-form for one show only. 

The occasion is a benefit for their original drummer David Taylor, who has been tragically injured in a car accident.

Taylor was also a member of the seminal punk group that spawned the Lipstick Killers, the Psychsurgeons, who were as raw and confrontational as bands come. As regular support to Radio Birdman at the latter's Oxford Funhouse (along with the Hellcats, fronted by Died Pretty singer Ron Peno), they grabbed what shows they could in a still resistant Sydney scene. That was until their singer Paul Gearside was set upon - mid gig - by a pack of Hell's Angels. He departed and the band picked up Peter Tillman, frontman for the even more extreme Filth. A change of band name later and the Lipstick Killers were born.

FLASHBACK: Wayne Kramer and the fight against mediocrity

wayne kramer epitath promoFLASHBACK: First posted October 16, 1999: It's been quite an odyssey for Wayne Kramer. From 1964 to 1972, he was point man and Fender guitar terrorist for the legendary MC5, the Ur-American garage band turned psychedelic radicals whose high-energy jams prefigured much of the next 30 years of rock and roll dementia.

Kramer sat out a couple of years at the end of the 70s in Federal penitentiary on a drug charge, but resumed his career when he landed back on the street in 1979, playing in Gang War with Johnny Thunders, recording with Was (Not Was) and others.

Then in 1995, when a lot of people had written him off, he roared back into action with an album on Epitaph entitled "The Hard Stuff". Since then there have been three more Epitaph albums and a plethora of side projects.

Brother Wayne joined me at the bar on three different occasions, twice from his home in Hollywood, California and once from the L.A. studio where he's currently producing an album for Damned founder member and former Iggy Pop sideman Brian James.

FLASHBACK: At Times, So Political. Ed Kuepper on the reformation of the Saints and the Laughing Clowns

edkuepper181Ed Kuepper. Photo by Richard Sharman of Blackshadow Photography. 

Posted October 29, 2008:  If the thought of re-convening the classic mid-'70s Saints line-up presents more problems than formulating a lasting Middle Eastern peace plan, the organisers of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival series must be among international diplomacy's canniest operators.

The improbable becomes reality in January 2009 when ATP establishes an Australian beachhead, with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds curating and the Saints a feature act.

Yes, you read right. The Saints. Not any old Saints or even The Aints. The Kuepper-Bailey Saints, fercrissake, will be part of a varied and eclectic line-up over three locations and four days.

Marky Ramone tells: Why I didn't punch Bono

marky ramone 2017 


Ex-Ramones and Voidoids drummer, author and sc-fi fan Marky Ramone starts his first Australian tour in almost a decade this week. Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg reprises the back catalogue of the Ramones with Marky driving the backbeat behind a crew of hand-picked punk rock players.

Pete Howlett of Adelaide band The Pro-Tools was given the chance to pitch him 10 questions. Here's the result.  

Tony Thewlis and stories of Weird Love, Blackadder and a re-possessed TV

Scientists Southern CrossTony Thewlis and Kim Salmon fronting the Scientists at Sydney's Southern Cross Hotel in 1982.

The Scientists at their peak were unmatchable. A glorious collision of droning, caustic, fuzz guitars, minimalist bass, anguished lyrics about alienation and ominous, funereal rhythms, they created something unique after landing in Sydney in 1981. 

Originally ragged New York Dolls-inspired popsters back in Perth, the re-constituted Scientists stripped their music back to its darkest roots, concoting their own brand of psychedelia and incorporating influences like Suicide, the Stooges and Captain Beefheart.

Too big for their own Surry Hills backyard, the band moved to the UK in 1982 and, in typical expatriate Australian underground band fashion, starved before going on to influence countless other acts into the ‘90s and beyond.

James McCann, the ramblin' man who's got a lotta moves

james marrickville kcJames McCann leads his New Vindictives through a set in Sydney. 

Before he was hanging out with The Drones in Perth, or touring through Europe with his own bands, James McCann cut his teeth playing in a local band in regional Western Australia.  It was a baptism of fire, an experience that instilled in McCann a resilience that’s benefited him ever since.

“There’d be bikers, surfers, shearers, hippies, all mixing into one crowd, and fuckin’ getting’ shitfaced,” McCann says.  “It could go real good, or it could go south really quickly. Heavy stuff would be happening, and you’d be up there watching. You had to hold your own. 

"So by the time we got to Perth, playing was a walk in the park!  The whole of my music career since then has been easy, crowd-wise.”

McCann grew up in the Western Australian town of Albany, 400 kilometres south-east of Perth. McCann’s father had moved from Scotland to Australia in the 1950s.  After marrying a local woman in Sydney, where McCann’s elder sister was born, the McCanns moved back to Scotland, where James and his younger sister were born. 

A track-by-track of "Rough and Ready" with Scott Morgan

After years of medical tribulations, Scott Morgan is taking the next step in his return to active musical duty. The former Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band, Hydromatics, The Solution and solo band artist with a career spanning five decades releases his first new album in seven years this month, the stellar "Rough and Ready" (Rouge Records).

Backed by The Sights, his band of choice on recent live outings, Morgan emphatically returns to his blue-eyed soul roots, laying down 10 songs of righteous beauty and grandeur.

Co-written with Eddie Baranek of The Sights and recorded by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders and Adam Cox at Hamtramck Studios, it's a refreshingly pure album and a reminder of why Morgan has long been regarded one of the best rock and soul voices in the business. We asked Scott to walk us track-by-track through "Rough and Ready". The photos are by Marian Krzyzowski.

He Blinded Me With Science

scientists compositeLeanne Cowie (nee Chock), Boris Sudjovic, Kim Salmon and Tony Thewlis. Collectively known as The Scientists. 

Ever have an attack of the stupids?

No? Must be me then. 

See, The Barman asked me to do this interview with Kim Salmon to mark an Australian Scientists tour with the classic "experimental" line-up. A phoner. I wrote back saying, I couldn't, I'd be in Melbourne. 

No answer.

They Just Want Their Fun: Why Exploding White Mice will walk again

mice album cover

Exploding White Mice burst on to the Australian musical landscape in 1983. They formed in Adelaide = the so-called City of Churches – and toured Australia constantly, releasing their “A Nest Of Vipers” EP in 1985.

Originally Paul Gilchrist on vocals, Andy MacQueen on bass, Gerry Barrett on guitar, Craig Rodda on drums and Giles Barrow on rhythm guitar, they made an immediate mark with their mix of Radio Birdman-meets-the-Ramones punk rock.