From the Celibate Rifles Facebook.
I went to a Catholic boarding school, and that sort of team spirit thing and having the right attitude to what you do was drummed into you from day one. And I viewed any group enterprise the same way, life's too short for bickering and bullshit. If there's something you want to do, let's get to doing it. You can have fun on the way. but I used to watch most bands and it seemed that it was more a part of a look.
As soon as I met the Rifles I thought OK, there's something here. There's an energy and... there's something that sets them apart from a lot of the other bands. And that, nothing lasts forever. If you don't look after it it'll just dissipate and go. So yeah, I got into that. - Damien Lovelock in conversation with Earl O'Neill.
The magnitude of yesterday’s passing of Celibate Rifles frontman Damien Lovelock at the age of 65 is still sinking in. Lovelock died at his Sydney home after a protracted fight against cancer - a battle that was known to many but largely kept private out of respect for the man.
Damien Lovelock was one of the most articulate, witty and forthright figures to spring from the Australian underground music scene in the 1980s. His laconic drawl was a trademark element of the sound of the Rifles, perhaps Sydney’s ultimate anti-star complex band. As promoter and longtime Damo friend Tim Pittman remarked: "He was a unique human".
When drawn to writing about Tactics, their new album and their forthcoming Australian tour, I had a youthful flashback to being a 17-year-old and moving down to Sydney from the bush. Armed with smudgy-ink copies of RAM magazine, I was aware of so many bands that I knew mostly in name only: Midnight Oil, Hitmen, The Saints…and some weird shit (at least in my mind) like The Tactics, Thought Criminals and Dead Travel Fast. I was like a sponge and I wanted to see every one of them.
I had a hunger for a tapestry of sounds and new, sharp sonic edges - stuff that was so far from the bland radio fodder like Cold Chisel and Dragon. I left a live music scene centred on a dilapidated pub by a river that often flooded…a place with peeling paint and populated by old tradies with battered faces, professional alcoholics and underage kids. We watched the odd cover band and the place was home to weekend rock-stars playing poorly -delivered Chuck Berry riffs. The alternative was the local blue light disco that usually ended in a bloodbath by the end of the night.
So, I moved. I headed to Sydney.
It’s a bill to have fans of lysergic acid punk or Sydney-via-Detroit Funhouse jams reaching into the cupboard for their leather jackets and Cuban heeled boots, when the Green Spiders pair with the long, lost ME-262 for one gig only at Marrickville Bowling Club on September 28.
The Green Spiders come from the DNA of the Lime Spiders, Adolphus and The Most – all staples of the Strawberry Hills-Sydney Trade Union Club circuit in Sydney in the early ‘80s. They play the songs of the Lime Spiders that Green Spiders members penned.
Lime Spiders members Ged Corben (guitar), Tony Bambach (bass) and Tom Corben (drums) are joined by Ripley Hood (Mushroom Planet) on vocals to deliver a potent parade of hard rock and ‘60s punk gems.
Some 37 years after they last strode a Sydney stage, ME-262 are reforming to play this one show.
Comprising teenagers Mark Roxburgh, Andy Newman, Tony Gibson (one of the best guitarists of the era) and drummer Alan Marr, ME-262 (also known as Trans 262 and not to be confused with MEO-245) could be seen regularly around inner-city Sydney in the post-Radio Birdman years of 1979-82.
Heavily influenced by Birdman and The Visitors they played support spots to Sunnyboys, New Race and dozens of others. issuing an EP before fading away to form, or join, other bands like Decline of the Reptiles, Chris Masuak’s North 40, the Visitors and the Deniz Tek Group.
This show will draw from the band’s posthumous 2017 compilation "Original 7” Tracks/Demos" on boutique label Buttercup, which comprised their EP tracks and other songs drawn from a recording session with Rob Younger.
Th Green Spiders and ME-262 will be joined by a mystery band drawn form a range of bands from the Sydney underground of the late '80s and '90s. Tickets are on sale here at a special early bird price.