gun club - The I-94 Bar

Blues Trash - Reverend Beat-Man and the New Wave (Voodoo Rhythm) and In My Room - The Gun Club (Bang! Records)

beat man and the new waveYou've all been subjected to that “name 10 LPs in 10 days” stuff on Facebook like me, I suppose? 

I stopped partly because I had to go interstate and didn't think I'd have access to FB, and partly because, on the trip over I wrote down another list of those records which I considered to be watershed, groundbreaking, jaw-dropping and influential to me personally.

Noted thug-about-Sydney's-buses Bob Short is still going strong (at the time of writing he's approaching 50 days, and if he keeps going he might finish in 2021) and I think that's the problem.

Ex-Cramp Kid Congo back with new album

kid congo posterPacking their fourth and probably strongest album so far, Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds are heading back to Australia in August. 

“La Araña Es La Vida” summons the Mexican muse of The Great Spider Goddess of Teoticuhan, who sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld, or in Kid’s eyes, the world of underground music.

Recorded at The Harveyville High School gym in Kansas by guitarist-vocalist Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), bassist Kiki Solis (Baby Baby Dance With Me, Knife in The Water, Rhythm of Black Lines), drummer Ron Miller (Switch Hitter, Up The Academy) are joined by Chicano, Mosrite playing guitarist Mark Cisneros (Medications, Deathfix), it’s on In The Red Records.

Kid Congo and his band toured Australia to rapturous reviews in January 2016. The extensive tour just seven months later covers five states and the Northern Territory. 

KID CONGO & THE PINK MONKEY BIRDS AUSTRALIAN TOUR
THURS 18 AUG - Lighthouse Theatre, Darwin Festival, NT 
FRI 19 AUG - Mojo's, Fremantle, WA 
SAT 20 AUG - Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, SA 
WED 24 AUG - The Bridge Hotel, Castlemain, VIC 
THURS 25 AUG - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC 
FRI 26 AUG - Friday Nights @ NGV, Melbourne VIC
SAT 27 AUG - Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, VIC 
THURS 1 SEPT - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW 
FRI 2 SEPT - The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD - Tickets

Scenesters: Music, Mayhem & Melrose Ave (1985-90)

scenestersBy the time me and a flamehaired stripper with a sports car arrived in Hollywood, to look for the pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow Bar And Grill, it was mostly all over.

We were snorting up the last hours of sequins and vulgarity, mascara and laughter before the bad trip buzzkill of Cobain. We were squinting in the last blinding, big sprays of Aqua Net and final drunken caterwauls at Thursday night cattle calls, where a rogues' gallery of various whiskey sodden, speed freaky, Stars From Mars and Seaweed Eaters and Raw Flowers and Glamour Punks and Dawg Mafia and Queeny Blast Pop diehard, teased haired, Motley-Babies played their hopeless gutter-punk defiantly, even while Seattle was exploding into the mainstream.

It was the sad, last gasps of a cool and androgynous underground scene, as grunge and gangsta-rap and capitalist lifestyle unreality-tv programming were coming into vogue and all the faded  spandex stars of the strip had mostly got rich and sold-out, died, or gone straight.

The richest of musical lives that enriched ours

spj square carbieSPENCER P. JONES
1956-2018

In "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", Robert Pirsig interrogates the very nature of quality through the lens of motor mechanics. Care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who’s bound to have some characteristic of quality.

Spencer Jones knew a thing or two about quality - especially musical quality. Born in 1956, the Year of Elvis, Spencer wanted to be a working musician as long as he could remember. Spencer’s family moved from the regional town of Te Awamutu to Auckland in 1965, the same year the British invasion swept through New Zealand, with tours by The Rolling Stones and, infamously, The Pretty Things.

Spencer’s grandfather was a gifted musician; his mother, too, was born with a natural ear. Recognising Spencer’s musical abilities, Spencer’s elder brother Ashley recommended his parents buy Spencer a guitar.

Carbie Warbie photo

When giants strode the earth: Gun Club at the Strawberry Hills in 1983

jeffrey leeCelibate Rifles singer Damien Lovelock once said to me that the Sydney music scene between 1978 and 1985 was as strong as anywhere in world, at any time.

When a city’s musically on fire, it becomes the rock capital of the world…especially for the people that live there. It could been New York City in the mid-’70s, London in 1966 or San Francisco in the late ’60s. Sydney was right up there with them.

I remember I was out seeing bands every night of week. It could be every Wednesday with the Triffids’ residency at the Strawberry Hills Hotel, upstairs at the Trade Union Club for the Laughing Clowns, or some punk band down at French’s Tavern. You could finish with Paris Green at 3am in Kings Cross.

There were so many gigs that stood out: the Birthday Party, Scientists and X at the University of NSW Roundhouse, the amazing New Year’s Eve gig with the Celibate Rifles at the Trade Union…and The Gun Club at the Southern Cross, later re-named the Strawberry Hills Hotel.

The Strawberry Hills Hotel in Surry Hills was OUR pub. We were still aged in our late teens and we virtually lived there. There was cheap (or feree) beer and amazing music every night of week. I actually lived in a cheap shared house, a few blocks down the road.

One night in 1983, the publican told me to turn up on Monday. He said that “a Yankee band, The Gun Club, are playing.”