kim volkman - The I-94 Bar
2019 was first year for a while that I wasn’t doing a radio show and being in Canberra for work, I felt I was little bit out of the loop. Nonetheless, it was another memorable rock ‘n’ roll year and here’s my top10 in no particular order.
Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests at Marrickville Bowlo in Sydney
This took me back to when I first started seeing bands in Melbourne in the mid ’70s. It was no-nonsense loud rock. Two really good guitarists on top of a solid rhythm section. I loved how the band occupied half the stage and hardly broke formation through the gig. The record’s pretty good, too.
Sue Telfer Tribute in Sydney
It was really sad to lose Sue. She was seriously special and it was great to see so many people come out and so many good bands turn it on. All the bands I saw were great with X as a four piece the standout. I reckon it was the best gig I’ve seen Steve Lucas do.
Open Season - Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers
Firstly declaring an extreme bias and a conflict of interest with this one, Mick’s second offering from the Mesmerisers is even better than the last. The addition of ex-Tribesmen tub thumper Michael Charles has added muscularity to the band and they go from strength to strength. Some Sydney and Newcastle Birdman supports really won them some new fans. Brian Mann created a stunning sounding record. My fave album of the year.
Address to the Nation - Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders
Again, another declaration as I’ve worked closely with Chris over the past thirty years. My second fave of the year… beaten by a short nose. Chris writes killer songs… plays guitar better than any player I have worked with and has a band so tight I couldn’t slide a fag paper between it. A great album, and it gave us a few wry smiles.
The Festival of Sue (X, New Christs et al)
The shock of Sue Telfer’s passing pulled together a stellar line up talent who delivered on an emotional night. There were some killer performances but my top two were the New Christs, whose emotion tinged performance left no doubt that they are a top echelon act… but man of the match for mine was Steve Lucas and X. It was a blinding performance, Steve sang and played better than I have heard the band in years, Kim Volkman & Geof Holmes snarled and snorted like a beast. The Barman and Tiffany Palmer did a great job getting it all together, and we raised a great sum of cash for Support Act. I’d like to think Sue would’ve approved.
In no particular order, The Barman’s Top 12 albums of 2019:
“So I Could Have Them Destroyed” – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers)
You could say “What a comeback!” but only if they’d really gone away. So much variety yet it hangs together so well.
“The Devil Won't Take Charity” - Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests (Beast Records)
Kim and his band have that Stonesy-Keef vibe down pat. Raunch and roll.
“Mystery Train” – Chickenstones (Crankinhaus Records)
Sydney’s best kept secret. Doc might be driving the bus but Preacher Phil really steps up. Soulful and abrasive tunes played with heart.
“Shake Yer Popboomerang Vol 3” - Various Artists (Popboomerang)
Some of the material back-tracks but it’s a collection of rolled gold. Aussie power pop for the ages.
“Black Door” – The Volcanics (Citadel)
High-energy, passion and variety. Their best to date. The Volcanics are truly a world class band.
“The Aints! Play The Saints” - The Aints! (Fatal Records)
Will we ever see their faces again? Maybe. Maybe not. This is a white-hot snapshot of what they delivered live.
“Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” - Scott Morgan’s Powertrane featuring Deniz Tek & Ron Asheton (Grown Up Wrong)
As historical artefacts go, this is as good as they get. It’s a generously appointed re-issue of a stellar, all-star show.
X in full flight in Sydney. Murray Bennett photo
Forty years of X and there’s a national tour to celebrate. Who would have thought? Certainly none of the original members, of which Steve Lucas is the only one remaining alive.
Lucas and bassist Ian Rilen were, of course, the only constant members of X. Almost. Even Ian was went briefly MIA from one line-up. The pair’s tumultuous relationship has been documented in many places and they were the heart and soul of the band.
Top 10 not in any order:
1) White Stripes –Vault #33 Icky Thump X
Third Man Records Vault only release, 10 year anniversary edition. Includes a wacko coloured vinyl re-press of the double album plus two bonus albums containing all the non-album b-sides and the full demos housed in a way out box. The demos are furious ! Only released for a few months via Third Man Records.
2) Shy Impostors CD (maxi EP/mini album CD)
Unleashed by those God-loving folks at Citadel Records. Seven demos recorded 1980 and now finally after a loving re-mix by Jason Blackwell sound truly fab. The songs, vocals and rough as guts musicianship by these proto legends are gold. Melodic and dirty.
3) Buffalo Revisited gig at Brewtality Festival in Melbourne
Is it truly an honour for me after being a Buffalo fan since 1974 to be playing with their mighty vocalist Dave Tice with some fellow Buffalo maniacs (Troy and Marcus). And to be playing those great songs (a mind melt to learn btw). We hit our cosmic groove at the Brewtality Festival in Melbourne; more to come for sure.
Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kim Volkman has been part of Melbourne's live music scene for 38 years.
He's played in bands like The Severals, Ian Rilen & the Love Addicts, The Patron Saints and Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests. He's currently treading the boards nationally, as bass player for the current line-up of X.
His autobiography "The Devil Won't Take Charity" will be launched at Robarta, St Kilda on September 3, 2017 from 2-5pm. Join the Facebook event here.
“For Those That Dance with the Skeleton”
by Kim Volkman
It was George Bernard-Shaw who said: “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance” and it’s a maxim St Kilda musician-turned-author Kim Volkman has applied exceptionally well.
Kim’s first book, the autobiographical “The Devil Won’t Take Charity” (2017), was a rip-roaring Harley ride through his own back pages that hung out enough dirty laundry to keep 10 dry cleaners in work for a month.
“For Those That Dance with the Skeleton” is occasionally more of the same but in vignette form. These are short stories about OCD girlfriends, workmates, dentists, rostered days off, kicking smoking and indulging addictions (like guitars and heroin) all rendered in unique style and peppered with dry humour.
KIm Volkman and the Whiskey Priests come from Melbourne. No shock there. Most of the best Australian rock and roll does. And this is a record - like most of them - with a beginning and an end. No shit again, Sherlock. The distinction is that the songs at each end book-end and define what's inbetween - and it's pretty fucking great.
The slightly frayed vocal of opening track "I'm Still Standing (Alive and Well)" and its swaggering, Oz Rock chug suits its survivor sentiment to a tee. And the cover of the Jagger/Richards classic "Silver Train" that closes the album is pulled off with consummate, ragged ease.
Stones and Oz Rock. They're children of the blues. Throw in the inevitable Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts comparison (more on that later) and you'll appreciate how "The Devil Won't Take Charity" nails its colours to the masts.
It’s been said that everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that's where it should stay. Melbourne musician Kim Volkman begs to differ.
Now, he’s not exactly a household name so you could well ask what business Volkman has writing an autobiography. If you do I’ll not-so-respectfully point out that Justin Bieber has five (allegedly) self-penned books against his name on Amazon right now.
It helps that Volkman has led an interesting musical life. Guitarist with Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts - one of the most underrated, raw and real bands to appear on Australian stages in the last 30 years - he’s also had three stints filling his late ex-band leader’s bass spot in X.
Volkman’s played with many lesser-known bands - including his own very good Whiskey Priests. Unlike Justin Bieber, he’s never had notable success. That’s probably a good thing in Kim’s case - on his own admission, it might have killed him.