This is going to be a very biased view and I’m not trying to hide it. I’ll make my own rules just so I can bend them to suit my agendas.
Best gig of the year - The Stew Cunningham Benefit night in Sydney at Marrickville Bowlo. All the bands were awesome but what won the night over was the atmosphere and goodwill of all the people that attended. A truly special night.
Best local live act - The Celibate Rifles. The Rifles slayed it in support of The Sunnyboys at The Factory, then followed it up with a couple of scorchers at The Marrickville Bowlo and The Narrabeen RSL. The old fellas have still got it. Honourable mention to Stiff Richards who tore the roof off in support of The Rifles at the Bowlo, great band.
Best local release - The Aints!, "The Church of Simultaneous Existence". Wonderful album from go to whoa. Honourable mention to Warped - "Bolt From The Blue" - brutal honesty at its best.
Best international gig - Señor No at The Botany View Hotel. It was wild, crazy and a helluva lot of fun. honourable mention to Los Chicos at the Rad Bar in Wollongong, they put on a show and a half, they were just pipped at the post.
I first caught the Celibate Rifles a few weeks after my 17th birthday in the upstairs room at the Paddo Green Hotel. They were loud, fast, made me grow long hair. I’d recently bought “But Jacques, the fish”, skipped the first few classes and went into the city; got back to school with that treasure. It was a passport to a different world.
There were a lot of Rifles gigs over the years. It’s remarkable now to think how damn LOUD they were in the ‘80s. Towering amps, double four-way PA, in an average pub or club. It was inspirational too. If they could do it...
Of course, the average teenage punter didn’t know how much time and effort had already been ploughed into that band. Thirty-one years after that first gig I put thistogether. Read it, it’s the key.
The private funeral has come and gone. There will be a public celebration of the life of one of the world's great characters in yoga teacher, sports commentator, writer, musician and waterman, Damien Lovelock, of the Celibate Rifles on Saturday, August 24 at Newport Surf Club in Sydney from 2pm.
Surfers wil conduct a paddle-out, followed by a gathering in the clubhouse of all who wish to pay their respects.
Damien Lovelock leads the Celibate Rifles. Shona Ross photo
It was a big week for rumours - and that’s not a reference to that awful Fleetwood Mac album being on high rotation.
Celibate Rifles were playing two successive nights in Sydney. A Friday at the near dormant ‘80s venue Carmens at Miranda in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, and a Saturday at one of their local stomping grounds, Narrabeen RSL.
It was about a fortnight before that the gossip started to fly.
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".
That sold-out Celibate Rifles-Filth show, being held on September 11 as part of the Sedition 2019 festival at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, has been cancelled. Organisers issued an online statement this afternoon:
We regret to inform you that we have had to cancel the “Do You Feel Lucky, Punk - Celibate Rifles + Filth” event. After the death of Damien Lovelock, the lead vocalist for the Celibate Rifles, we endeavoured to find an alternative line up however we couldn’t make it work. We deeply apologise for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation of the event. If you have purchased tickets for this event and have not yet received an email from us, don’t hesitate to get in contact and we can refund you the cost of your ticket/s.
Meanwhile, the Rifles will celebrate their late much-loved frontman with a tribute gig at the Factory Theatre in Sydney in September. Guitarist Ken Steadman told the band's Facebook page:
On Sunday September 22nd at the Factory Theatre, we'll be performing "Damo the Musical". We will do our best to say farewell in honour of him in our own style. Likely to run from around 4pm till 8pm with the music he loved, grew up with and contributed to. A few covers, some Wigworld tracks and plenty of Celies with guest musicians and multi media tributes to Senor Lovelock. Tickets will be available in a few days.
Detroit rock? It never sounded so Australian as this Queensland band. Tokyo Beef slams out nine original songs on their second album and it reeks of Fourex pots and durries on a Gold Coast Saturday arvo down at the old Birdwatcher's Bar on Cavill Avenue.
The cover imagery is a Japanese Zero winging it past a burning wreck and it's apt enough. These songs are above mid-tempo punk rock with no safety net. Played live in the studio, theyy're first or second takes, for the most part. One guitar, bass, drums and a stand-and-deliver drawl.
Guitarist Punk (yep, that's his band name and for all I know it's the tag that his cellmate gave him) doesn't stand for subtlety and his tightly-coiled leads and sharp licks are all over these songs, free of overdubs.
"Let There Be Rock!" brings together three long-standing heavyweights of the Australian underground rock scene: The Celibate Rifles, Hard-Ons - Official and The New Christs in celebration of the life of Andrew Gillies.
"Gillsey", as he was more affectionately known, was a fixture at shows by all three of these iconic Sydney acts for over 30 years - the first decade as a resident of Sydney and the remaining two in the Northern NSW town of Uki. Even the tyranny of distance would pose no problem to Andrew’s enthusiasm and drive to see, and support, his musical heroes.
In addition to being a major fan of all these acts, young Andy also served as stage tech for the Hard-Ons touring Australia, Europe and the USA from the late '80s through the early '90s, a role he also commandeered for Ratcat, Ed Kuepper, Died Pretty and others.
A slipped disc while working as carpenter reduced his participation in such activity reduced him to more domestic tasks, though, he still continued to tour Europe with his beloved Hard-Ons working as their merchandise seller right up until 2017.
There's some more news about that one-off show featuring Filth with the Celeibate Rifles at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on September 11.
A limited edition vinyl EP will be issued on the night, featuring four songs originally played by Filth in a run of just 150 copies. Roll-over the image to check out the tracklist. They are not recording by the original line-up.
"Do You Feel Lucky, Punk" is the name of the event and tickets are on sale here.
It's part of the broader Sedition 2019 Celebration of Public Art and Protest in Sydney during the 1970s, more of which we'll be bringing you soon. Check it out here if you can't wait.
One of the trace elements of Sydney’s punk history will be exhumed on September 11 when Filth supports the Celibate Rifles at Oxford Art Factory, as part of the Sedition festival.
Filth sprouted from Radio Birdman’s fertile Oxford Funhouse scene and spawned the Psychosurgeons and the Lipstick Killers. Nihilistic and self-destructive, Filth presaged a richly diverse and extreme musical movement based in pubs like The Grand and The Civic.
Loud, fast and full of body fluids that were generously shared with audiences when the mood took them, Filth attracted fans who are even more deranged than them and were rarely invited back by venue operators. One show at Bondi with a nascent X remains infamous for both the repair bill and the number of fans sent to hospital.
A heads-up that the Sunnyboys' February 2018 Australian tour is selling like wildfire with one Sydney gig (February 10) at Marrickville's Factory Theatre sold out in 36 hours, and tickets for a just-added extra date (February 9) now 85 percent gone.
Is it a surprise? No.
The fact is that the second all-oringal member incarnation of the Sunnyboys has now lasted longer than the band did in its first life.
The time around, without the pressure of recording schedules and the demand for chart hits and with a mutual love and respect for the music they made, Sunnyboys can just do what they do best; play live.
Joining the fun will be Sydney surf-punksThe Celibate Rifles, who have carved out their own indelible history in the Australian music scene over a 35+ year period. The Rifles will join Sunnyboys for their first show on the Sunshine Coast since 1982; the Sunnyboys' first Brisbane performance since 2015, and most other dates.
Melbourne fun-punksPainters & Dockers, will join the rejuvenated Sunnyboys for a massive Melbourne Zoo performance.
SUNNYBOYS SUMMER 2018
special guests: The Celibate Rifles and Painters & Dockers.
Vale Damien Lovelock, lead singer of the Celibate Rifles, raconteur and and sports commentator. The icon of The Australian underground music scene passed away this morning after a protracted health battle. A more fullsome tribute soon.