Guitarist with Moonlight 5, Waxworks, Dwarfthrower
I-94 Bar reviewer
I am sure many will say the same: This has been a shit of a year. Even so, I included much more than ten. Who cares !!
The passing of Greg Sawers
One piece of news hit me in the guts: Greg Sawyers’ death. What more can be said about this real local legend and complete old school identity. He could be fit equally well at the Marrickville Bowlo or Annandale Hotel (R.I.P.) or the Wentworth Park dog track with his working -class dreams and love of supporting pure rock ‘n’ roll. Band manager Greg Sawyers took over when God got drunk. For Ian Rilen, Louis Tillet, Steve Lucas and Steve Balbi, he was their minder and advocate. He always had a couch for those in need and was willing to cook up his bacon and eggs when they woke sometime after midday. Greg was all heart and part of a Sydney music scene that is now gone.
Featuring tracks from Molting Vultures, Datura4, The Stooges, The Dry Retch, Peter Black, Mick Medew, Johnny Casino, Smalltown Tigers, The Bot Bots, David Johansen, Paul Collins’ Beat and Sunnyboys.
CHRIS KLONDIKE MASUAK’S TOP SEVERAL OF 2020
Guitarist, Viveiro Wave Riders
Ex-Radio Birdmnan, Hitmen, Screaming Tribesmen, New Christs
Viveiro, Galicia, Spain
We were having fun at the start of 2020.
The Viveiro Wave Riders had already been hither and yon … around the country and up to Breizh (“Yec’hed mad!” with the emphasis on “mad”) when it all came to a shuddering halt.
Life abruptly became somewhat more complicated, confusing, and occasionally alarming, but that’s not to say it stopped being entertaining.
We jumped on protocols pretty quick-smart over here in Spain, even as our hospitals became alarmingly overwhelmed and morgues literally over spilled.
We were heartened, encouraged, and edified by the sage advice that flooded social media from other apparently more civilised and informed countries.
We hardly even scratched our heads in wonder at their oblivious dawdling procrastination and general goldbricking, or as they gathered in teeming proliferation to demonstrate in support of their “rights” even as their “leaders” unequivocally let them know Just What The Priorities Actually Were.
PETER “BLACKIE” BLACK
Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly guitarist and solo artist
My "top ten" is a mess and i know some of the records i'm yakking about, i only got this year. OK? Sometimes, ya gotta play catch up,
1. Canine – “In Dog Years Ya Dead”
Came out last year but i only scored it half way thru this year…really progressive in parts, top notch! And at the same time i brought Concrete Lawn’s “Aggregate”. Saw ‘em live and thought, "Fuck yea". Played the record and thought "FUCK YEA!" The singer Maddiso sounds like Cal from “Grave New World”-era Discharge.. ..there's no complaints from me :-)
2. Dead – “Raving Drooling”
HUGE actually they sound slicker yet heavier than ever before.. love it.
3. Some killer sludge from both Lucifungus – “Derek” (check out the track “Quintro”) and Witch Skull's third album, “A Driftwood Cross” \\m/
4. Rivers Of Snake – “Sleight of Hand”
Go straight to track two “Black and Gold”…then you may start the album again.
5. Owen Guns – “Violating Community Standards”
Remind me of the wonderful Aussie punkers, Rocks.
Guitarist, Howlin' Threads and ex-The Fools
1. It’s great to see that Stew "Leadfinger" Cunningham of Leadfinger is recovering well from cancer and getting back into rock n roll with an album recorded. Thankful also to see that the New Christs emerged from lockdown (much appreciation to Dave Curley for the great live footage!). Tumbleweed’s blistering return to earth with killer new material is cool. Plus, Covid restrictions has often meant enjoying bands vicariously through images/video, so a big thank you to the great work of photographers like Matt Houston, Kaza Black and Keith Claringbold who allow us all to enjoy live shows.
2. 2020 did a good job scuttling so many gigs and opportunities that bands need to promote new music. Despite this setback, Howlin’ Threads pressed on and released a new EP and a separate follow up 7” vinyl single ("Edge on the World") this year. It was a real privilege to have Lenny Curley (Tumbleweed/Pink Fits) contribute lead guitar to our recording of "Professional Againster"; a feature track on a European compilation tribute to the New Bomb Turks (release Feb 2021). And, working with Cub Callaway (ex-Saints) is always a pleasure. Howlin’ Threads CDs, vinyl, digital downloads can be ordered via Bandcamp.
Bogan Rd – The Monaros (self-released)
Hello I-94 Barflies. The Monaros’ “Bogan Rd” is the latest release from Warnambool’s hardest working band. Shit, this must be their seventh or eighth long-player and it’s chock-a-block full of humour and wit.
Just listen to “Parma”. It’s a classic tune about, well, a Chicken Parmigiana. “Ring A Root’,”Kick It Long” and “Dunlop Volleys” are all so bloody Australian. This is a CD to get drunk to, stoned to and maybe not get fucked to – although the track “King Brown” is kind of sexy.
Rock'n'Roll Undead – Mad3 (Rock'n'Roll Kingdom)
Upon the Dentigire - 2yago: (Zygeltigit)]
These albums by Japanese bands Mad3 and 2yago were pressed into my hands by one, Paul Slater, who runs the 3D Radio show ”'It's Always Rock'n'Roll” out of Adelaide on Monday nights (and whose adverts occasionally send him to Facebook Jail.) Paul is one of those music nutters who often knows the people who make the music, and has travelled overseas (France, Japan, UK) just for the bands (rather than the touristy T-shirts, towels and gastro).
Mad3 is built around guitar hero Eddie Legend (I-94 Bar readers will know him from the 184.108.40.206s) and are simply incredible. They're one big, bad, really sharp and clever rock'n'roll rollercoaster road trip - you're dragged kicking and squealing into a comic-character world of underground surfer/phantom/doom guitar noir. Play very fucking loud. Eddie has an incredible guitar sound.
It's said great songwriters know to write about the things they know about. Johnny Casino has a new 45 imminent and it reflects the strange times in which we all live.
“Twenty Twenty” was written and recorded in the early days of COVID-19 as the expatriate Australian was stuck in Philadelphia, trying to work out a way to get back to his adopted home of Spain. The flip, “People Say”, is a Bored! cover recorded in Spain in stripped-back style as a tribute to that band’s late frontman Dave Thomas, who passed away in 2020.
The vinyl single is out on Spanish imprint Folc Records on January 15 and available for pre-order here.
“’Twenty Twenty’ explains how i was feeling during the months of March and April 2020,” Johnny says. “I had just touched down into Philadelphia International Airport and my brother-in-rock Billy was waiting to pick me up, and his first words were: ‘Brrother I´m surprised they let you in.¨
“I had no idea what he was talking about!”
Casino explains: “Me and my wonderful wife Mayra live in a smallish seaside town called Denia in Spain and we knew there was ¨something¨ happening but not exactly what! We ain’t much for watching news or current affairs programs.
Bassist - The Smart Folk, The Amazing Woolloomoolloosers
Inveterate live streamer of gigs
2020 Top Ten
1.) Sunnyboys warm up gig, The Pink Fits in support at the Factory Floor in Sydney
A big thank you to Steve Teece for tipping me off about this one. That sound, those songs, up close! The Pink Fits were great too.
2.) Nunchuka Superfly/Bitchcraft/White Knuckle Fever/Baby Machine/Beijing Bikini – Marrickville Bowling Club
As someone said to me, ”so great to see so many women on and off stage”.
3.) PopBoomerang night- Ups and Downs/Halfway/ The Aerial Maps – Marrickville Bowling Club
|A full house at the Bowlo. Halfway had one of the best live sounds I’ve ever encountered. Ups and Downs the icing on the cake.
4.) The Schizophonics/The Fangin' Felines/The Drop Offs- Marrickville Bowling Club.
Exciting garagey fun. The Drop Offs twin drum attack! The family that drums together. This was the last gig before the Covid-19 Sydney lockdown.