Punk turned peace activist Ivan Suvanjieff - originally known as Mark Norton from the Ramrods - is a former Cream writer and film maker as well. Here's episode one of his series, Detroit Punks, featuring interviews with pre-eminent Motor City music names.
is with John Brannon of Easy Action and Negative Approach.
Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Eagle head PeaceJam, a multiple Nobel Prize-nominated organisation working for social justice. More information at Peacejam.
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.
Consider the Sonic's Rendezvous Band saga... Arisen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of four of the Motor City's finest proponents of high-energy rock -- the MC5, the Stooges, the Rationals, and the Up - the Rendezvous steadfastly refused to bank on their illustrious pasts (which, granted, might have been more of a liability than an asset at that point in history). Rather, they insisted on a more original kind of expression -- hardly a guarantee of steady employment for a local band in the mid-to-late '70s.
I'm going to tell you about a little quest of mine; a search for the (not so) Holy Grail. It's a mountain size molehill of my own making and I admit it. But in these dire days of corporate mediocrity - where the alternative has been bought up by the same guys who brought you the thing you were supposed to be the alternative to – a man is defined by his obsessions.