dave faulkner - The I-94 Bar

Cultural desert spawned The Victims' punk brilliance

victims ray dave jamesThe Victims are now Ray Ahn, Dave Faulkner and James Baker. 

Given the current restrictions on social gatherings, there is a certain irony in the story of The Victims’ first gig in Perth in early 1977. Perth, by some calculations, the most isolated capital city in the world, didn’t have a big punk rock scene. After all, this was the era of bland commercial radio, flaccid cover bands and conservative social attitudes.

When drummer James Baker, guitarist Dave Faulkner and bass player Dave Cardwell set up at the sharehouse in one of Perth’s light industrial inner suburbs to play in front of 50 enthusiastic garage and punk rock fans, they’d pretty well captured the entire Perth punk market. But get that many people in a house right now, even to listen to a Ramones record, and you’d be breaking the law. Back then, all the audience cared about was that there were other people who felt the same way about music.

“Music for us was rebellion against the conformity of the city, being so isolated. Because everything we loved was so far away,” Faulkner says.

Gurus back to their punk roots on RSD release

hoodoo gurus 2020

Amongst the silly hype that Record Store Day now brings there are glimmers of hope. The Hoodoo Gurus will release their latest single, "Answered Prayers", as a limited edition 7" for RSD on April 18 and it's said to hark back to the band's punk rock roots.. Its release will coincide with the digital issue of an expanded Deluxe Edition of their 2004 album “Mach Schau”, which will combine the track listings from both the local and US editions in a new 16 track running order.  

The RSD single, which is already available digitally, is the first new music from the band in 10 years, not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a newly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days. "Answered Prayers" is a said to be a stark and visceral track addressing a certain type of abuse propagated by a particular type of male. It's also a reminder of the Gurus' roots in the original punk rock of the '70s.

Indeed the track follows the release in the US of both old and new material by The Victims, the band that head Guru Dave Faulkner formed with drummer James Baker in Perth in 1977, some four or so years before the pair reunited in Sydney to form the Gurus.

"Song of the Year", which will feature on the RSD single's B-side. Written and sung by guitarist Brad Shepherd, the flat-out screamer of a song obliquely references in its chorus two of Brisbane's legendary punk-era bands, The Fucken Leftovers and The Survivors. Brad, of course, fronted his own group as a teenager in Brisbane at the time, who begun as The Aliens, before evolving into the legendary Fun Things. "Song of the Year" will also appear on the digital Deluxe Edition of “Mach Schau”.

Nobody's Victim: Taking aim with Dave Faulkner

dave faulkner in a hatOne of the most important people to come out of Perth's music scene since the 1970s is Dave Faulkner. Whether he’s playing punk, pop or electro music, he's always trying to create something new and exciting. The Hoodoo Gurus’ latest single “Hung Out To Dry” is a perfect example.

Faulkner picks a target in the current US President, someone who has been a punching bag for many people, and sticks it to him in a fresh and personal manner.

As well as the new Gurus single, Faulker's reconstituted former band The Victims had their first release in many moons this year. It was a physical EPfeaturing recordings of four songs (“Charlie”, “Horror Smash”, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Everynite”) that were written, but never recorded, when the legendary band formed in Perth in the 1970s.

The re-born Victims reunites Dave with original member James Baker and new recruit, the great Ray Ahnof the Hard Ons, who give a slightly modern touch to some classic tunes that were birthed at the dawn of punk rock. 

 Dave spoke to me via Zoom in Sydney where he tells me he is fresh from mastering the next Gurus single.

This Victimisation is smashingly essential

horror smash ep“Horror Smash EP” - The Victims (In The Red)

“Horror Smash” is four old songs re-recorded in two sessions over 2017 and ’18 by a tweaked version of The Victims. They were Perth’s (almost) first punk band and a launching pad, of sorts, for Dave Faulkner (nee Flick) of the Hoodoo Gurus and James Baker of the Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon et al. Hard-Ons bassist Ray Ahn is the new third wheel and this single - on blood-spattered clear vinyl - has come out on revered US label In The Red.

The first thing to say is that it sounds like The Victims. No airs and graces. No frills. Downstrokes and rawness. No solos. No backing vocals. Black humour lyrics. Strap yourself in and hope you make it to the end. At which point you’ll get up and flip the thing over. 

Your prayers may be answered as Gurus jump the gun

answered prayersNot content to wait for a Record Store Day stifled by Coronavirus disruption, the Hoodoo Gurus will release their new single in limited edition, vinyl form. 

"Answered Prayers" is out on June 12, along with an expanded, digital edition of their 2004 album "Mach Schau" combining tracks from the Australian and US editions in a new 16-song running order.

"Answered Prayers" is already available digitally and is the first "new" music from the band in 10 years - not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a freshly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days with former members. 

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