The last time I saw Stuart Gray was in Adelaide in 1990, at a grotty pub on Brighton Road which is now another craft-beer haven for the smug and pointless, and Bloodloss were playing what would be their last Adelaide gig, and the final with that line-up. They'd been hanging out with Stuart, and he'd been persuading Renestair EJ and Martin Bland to join his band Lubricated Goat.
It was quite an evening, somewhat bereft of punters, and The Goat promised, at the very least, overseas adventures. And, possibly, more punters. Frankly, it was a better opportunity for them than slugging out the gigs and LPs of great music to an uncaring town, so Ren and Martin left...
I'd seen Stu in several bands by that stage; The Bad Poets and The Brats, notably. Each time Stu joined an existing band, he'd lifted them mightily. Eventually, he left for Melbourne and Sydney, as all ambitious Adelaide artists did. I expect you know the rest; he was with Tex Perkins' outfit Salamander Jim and there was a stint with the Beasts of Bourbon.
Once upon a time, a review of the first album from Lubricated Goat could have used the line: “There’s something here to offend everyone” and left it at that. In these days of live-streamed jihadi beheadings, jaded millennials and older people with permanent confected outrage, however, you have to do better than that.
Most people will recall The Goat from their appearance on the Australian national broadcaster, nude and lip-synching a song called “In The Raw”. Yes, they flashed their wedding tackle. A media meltdown followed.
Of course the raison d’etre was to outrage. To go to a Lubricated Goat show in Sydney in the late ‘80s at Max’s Petersham Inn or The Evil Star you had to be severely disconnected from the rest of society, chasing the band’s offer of free beer for turning up naked or on smack.
Former Lubricated Goat frontman Stu Spasm (real name Stuart Gray) is the subject of a new short documentary, which focuses on his work as a sculptor of creepy cult figurines. Part of a series called New York Hustle, which was produced by New York-based Aussie expats Angelica Von Helle and Matt Reekie, and you can watch the doco after the fold below.
Spasm, who left Australia in the early ’90s and has been based in NYC for the best part of three decades, continues to make music with his latest outfit The Art Gray Noizz Quintet while supplementing his income by making and selling his sculptures. Sculptures shown in the film include Alice Cooper, Suzi Quatro, Charles Manson, Rowland S. Howard and Leadbelly.
Spasm spoke with Danger Coolidge about his work as a visual artist.
Art Gray Noizz Quintet - Art Gray Noizz Quintet (Bang! Records)
Bliss., Mr Barman. No duff tracks, kids. Classic tuff rock'n'roll.
It's been a while since I last saw Stu Spasm on stage (in Adelaide). I used to see him in bands like The Bad Poets and The Brats - he lifted both s into another game entirely. These days Spasm lives in New York and has carved out a following in the USA. From rock ‘n’ roll outlaw - which he always was - to something like a terrifying troll beneath a bridge, Spasm's later work has come to the attention of most of you, and if it hasn't, it's time it did.
The outfit consists of Skeleton Boy (from Woman) on two-string bass; Andrea Sicco (Twin Guns) on gittar; Bloody Rich Hutchins (Live Skull) on drums, with further depredations by Nikki D'Agostino and Nicholas John Stevens. Recorded and mixed by Martin Bisi, Bloody Rich, the Quintet and Michael Jung.
New archival footage of onetime Sydney ensemble Lubricated Goat has emerrged, to coincide with a US West Coast tour by onetime member Stu Spasm and his band The Art Gray Noizz Quintet. The clip of "He Moves in Mysterious Ways" was shot at Max’s, Petersham Inn in Sydney, in 1987 and features Spasm, bassist Guy Maddison (Monroe's Fur, Mudhoney) and late drummer Brett Ford (Kryptonics) and guitarist Peter Read (Thug). The Art Gray Noizz Quintet plays The Knock Out in San Francisco (June 8), Cafe Nela in Los Angeles (June 9), Turn Turn Turn in Portland (June 10) and The Funhouse in Seattle (June 12.)