happy - The I-94 Bar
Christian Houllemare (centre) with the reformed Happy Hate Me Nots, with the author, Matt Galvin, next to him, second from the right . Mark Roxburgh photo
It's hard to remember how I first got to know Chris Houllemare. Was I a fan, a friend or a bandmate?
I was 15 when The Happy Hate Me Nots released their first two singles, in 1985. I saw them by accident at the Strawberry Hills Hotel after walking down Foveaux Street (fuck, EVERYTHING is French this week) from a World Series Cricket one-dayer, and I used my bus pass as ID to get into a gig at Hurstville Master Builders club not long after.
I was smitten. It was kinetic, real lyricism, real heart, really fucking fast. All at once.
These four tracks on a 7” EP are from four members of the crew of U47, a German submarine that lay frozen under ice for 60 years only to re-surface, no doubt as a result of global warming. That the crew-members sailed up the Brisbane River and were washed up in the live music pubs is a stroke of luck, because local label Swashbuckling Hobo has been able to issue their vinyl.
Once upon a time, "Thee" was a prefix designating a pointy shoe-wearing band from the garage that only wanted to party like it was 1966. That it's 2014 and it's being worn by a bunch of hardcore punks Sardinia who have toured of China, South Korea and Japan (on a label from Reno, the Casino Capital of Nevada, USA,) is truly an indication that you can stick your preconceptions where the sun doesn't shine. These days the underground music world is spinning on a different axis.