x band - The I-94 Bar

By Request - Steve Lucas & Friends (SL Express)

by request vinylThis four-song single and accompanying 10-track CD is a labour of love, a mission completed at the request of the late Chris Wilson, the celebrated Melbourne singer and X collaborator who was claimed by cancer in 2018.

Steve Lucas is backed by a San Diego band on the single, and augmented by Melbourne players on the rest. The majority of instrumentation is by Lucas, The CD includes the vinyl tracks so you're good to go in whatever format you please.

This is the X singer as you haven’t heard him - unless, of course, you’ve been to one of his thoroughly entertaining solo shows where he does away with stylistic boundaries and sings whatever takes his fancy. Mostly-acoustic, largely recorded live but augmented by sympathetic players, it resonates with raw spontaneity.

“By Request” has a distinctly Americana mood to the music. That should not surprise - the EP tracks were recorded with Mexican musicians in America, as Chris Wilson asked. Their number includes Hector Penalosa of The Zeros but they are all accomplished local players.

A Festival of Sue tickets go on sale

festival of sueTickets for The Festival of Sue, the tribute to late Sydney music booker Sue Telfer, are now on sale here.

X, the New Christs, The Johnnys, Kim Salmon, Front End Loader, The Mis-Made, Penny Ikinger, The Holy Soul and The On and Ons have been announced in the first wave of bands on the bill.

Proceeds from the October 20 show - featuring a dozen bands over two stages at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney - will go to Support Act, the charity for music industry members who have fallen on hard times.

It's a dazzling line-up with more names to be added and will run from 2-10pm. It will sell-out so don;t delay.  

After 40 years, it's not time to say goodbye

x factory theatreX 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.

Book a launch date with Kim Volkman

Devil Wont Take CharitySinger, 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.

Pre-orders are open and you can score yourself a copy of the limited edition, signed book for $30 plus postage by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. There are also copies on sale at X shows.

 

Forty years of X-treme doings

earlyx

Before there was punk rock there was Ian Rilen. Then there was X.

X weren't punks in the sense of the term that the skinheads understood but they were primal, punk rock and roll in one combustible package.

Sydney had never seen a band like X whose wrecking ball power centred on Rilen's bass-played-as-a-lead-instrument, the massive backbeat of fellow veteran Steve Cafeiro, the slashing guitar of Ian Krahe and the shredding vocals of Steve Lucas, the latter two rookies.

Living a quiet life wasn't part of the X creed. Krahe's submission to a heroin overdose left the already outlawed X even more out on a limb, but they grimly continued as a trio and proceeded to record their debut album with legendary guitarist Lobby Loyde producing.

"X-Aspirations" became an instant classic, setting a benchmark for a whole legion of new, uncompromising and minimalist bands.

These words (and those that follow) were written for the liner notes for the 2009 re-issue of X’s debut album “X-Aspirations” but were inadvertently shelved. We’re reviving them to coincide with the 40th anniversary tour by the X line-up that lives on after the passing of all original members except guitarist-vocalist Steve Lucas. Lucas has crowd-sourced a Best of and Rarities collection ("X-Citations") on vinyl, copies of which will be available at the gigs. Read on.

Scuttlers & Scoundrels and Barrels of Death - Geof Holmes (self released)

scoundrels boxGeof Holmes is a name you should know, but the reality is that he’s unfamiliar to anyone outside a tight circle of Sydney musicians and followers of a certain vintage.

Holmes was one of the guitarists with Evil Roomers, the 1977 precursor to seminal Australian band X. With his close mate Ian Krahe on guitar, Steve Lucas on vocals and Ed Fisher on drums, they were in rehearsals when joined by bassist Ian Rilen, already on his way out of Rose Tattoo.

For various reasons, that line-up of Evil Roomers never got out of the practice room. Rilen, Krahe and Lucas would hook up with ex-cop Steve Cafeiro on drums to form the first line-up of X. Holmes went on to join Lucas, Rilen and Fisher in a potent 21st Century line-up of X. Last year, he sat in with the Lucas-only version of the band in Sydney for one song.

Sounds like it will be Epic

epic brass

Jack Howard’s Epic Brass has already blitzed hometown Melbourne and he's taking it north to Sydney's Factory Theatre on June 2 with an all-star cast.

Jack Howard’s Epic Brass is a celebration and an exploration of the great horn hits and hidden gems of Australian rock – from Hunters and Collectors and the Oils to The Saints, The Laughing Clowns and Wet Taxis, the show features an incredible set list of killer brass tunes.

The Epic Brass band features a mighty four-piece horn section. Jack is joined by a terrific cast of guest singers and players – Ron Peno (Died Pretty), Paulie Stewart (Painters And Dockers), Steve Lucas from X, Penny Ikinger (Wet Taxis) and Melbourne sensation, Fiona Lee Maynard, who bring their style and energy to this uniquely powerful show.

Sydney music champion Sue Telfer to be celebrated by all-star line-up

sue telfer

Friends of Sydney music scene legend Sue Telfer have banded together to assemble a line-up of bands to pay tribute to this much-loved lady at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville on Sunday, October 20. Over eight hours and two stages, a line-up that includes X, the New Christs, The Johnnys, Kim Salmon, Front End Loader will crank up the volume for Sue.

Sydney’s live scene suffered a monumental blow in June when long-time administrator, venue booker, confidante and den mother to countless bands, Sue Telfer, passed away suddenly at her Sydney home.

Sue grew up in in the halcyon days of Sydney’s inner-city scene of the 1980s. A employee of musicians’ rights organisation APRA-AMCOS for 32 years, Sue was around Surry Hills’ vibrant music pubs and clubs for even longer, most notably as the long-time booker for its legendary Excelsior Hotel.

The Devil Won’t Take Charity - Kim Volkman (self published)

Devil Wont Take CharityIt’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.

The twisted, ordered sounds of feedtime

feedtime at the bowlo

Belated reviews are the best reviews. You know, better late than never. 

Eleven days have elapsed since feedtime played Marrickville Bowling Club. The excuse for the late review is that the tinnitus needed time to subside. No, there are never excuses, only reasons. After experiencing two - Two sets! Count ‘em! - sets by feedftime in one night, you need time to get over it.

Not time to analyse it. Music like theirs should never be picked over like an insect that ends up pinned to a back-board in a display case at the Australian Museum. As if you didn’t know, feedtime plays music from the guts, not the head. 

Allow me a brief Robert Brokenmouth-style digression. 

X-Citations: Best of X and Rarities Vol 1 - X (Radio Rock)

x citations vol1Whatever your view about recent and current line-ups of the band (and there are naysayers of the Rilen-less version), X in their prime were The Real Deal. On a good night, no other act in Australia could match them for raw intensity with an underlying musicality.

There was something dangerous about X and it wasn’t just the lunatics that followed them, leaving a trail of smashed glasses, broken furniture and self-inflicted flesh wounds behind them.

That’s why the 40-year anniversary package of “X-Citations Vol 1” is so welcome. Picking up on the earliest days of X - the four-piece with Steve Lucas on vocals and Ian Krahe on guitar - and pushing through to the end of original drummer Steve Cafeiro’s tenure, this vinyl collection of 14 songs serves as a perfect reminder - or an introduction for the unaware - to their unique music.