You can’t half tell the folks at Unbelievably Bad zine are Hard-Ons fans. So is anyone with a modicum of taste. So this edition of UB should sell its arse off. It’s wall-to-wall Hard-Ons. More Hard-Ons, in fact, than the US Navy on shore leave after six months at sea.
hard-ons - The I-94 Bar
The exhaustive program of bonus-packed re-issues by Australia’s favourite pop-punk shit-stirrers the Hard-Ons continues unabated with 1990’s “Yummy” getting the treatment.
Open Season - Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers
Firstly declaring an extreme bias and a conflict of interest with this one, Mick’s second offering from the Mesmerisers is even better than the last. The addition of ex-Tribesmen tub thumper Michael Charles has added muscularity to the band and they go from strength to strength. Some Sydney and Newcastle Birdman supports really won them some new fans. Brian Mann created a stunning sounding record. My fave album of the year.
Address to the Nation - Chris Masuak and the Viveiro Wave Riders
Again, another declaration as I’ve worked closely with Chris over the past thirty years. My second fave of the year… beaten by a short nose. Chris writes killer songs… plays guitar better than any player I have worked with and has a band so tight I couldn’t slide a fag paper between it. A great album, and it gave us a few wry smiles.
The Festival of Sue (X, New Christs et al)
The shock of Sue Telfer’s passing pulled together a stellar line up talent who delivered on an emotional night. There were some killer performances but my top two were the New Christs, whose emotion tinged performance left no doubt that they are a top echelon act… but man of the match for mine was Steve Lucas and X. It was a blinding performance, Steve sang and played better than I have heard the band in years, Kim Volkman & Geof Holmes snarled and snorted like a beast. The Barman and Tiffany Palmer did a great job getting it all together, and we raised a great sum of cash for Support Act. I’d like to think Sue would’ve approved.
TOP 11 ALBUMS
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - All in Good Time
Nine years is a long time between drinks, but this was well worth the wait. For my money the most important Melbourne band of the last 20 years returns with an LP up there with their first two albums. In true Eddy Current style this LP just all of a sudden dropped out of nowhere, with no shows and little media presence to promote it. Garage rock the way it should be, messy but tight, loose and fast and songs ending whenever it feels like that’s enough.
Hexdebt- Rule of Four
Punk meets shoegazing with social’political messages that come straight in your face. The long awaited debut LP of Hexdebt backs up their reputation as a killer live outfit
Cereal Killer – The Beginning and End of Cereal Killer
The first and last long player of this Geelong supergroup. I saw ‘em live a few years back with feedtime and was blown away, so was keen to hear the LP as I wanted to see how that stage show was put on record. The LP has plenty of the power of the live show, combining elements of garage, punk and electro, one of the most fresh and finest releases of 2019.
Plastic Section - Trouble is Our Business
Sun City meets John Spencer. Killer '50s guitar and vocals, two ripper instrumental tracks and only one song cracks the three minute mark. Its sounds old but in a new way, powerful but not flashy guitar. Singer-guitarist Ben Edwards sounds like he could ave played with the Killer himself.
Mick Trouble- Here’s the Mick Trouble LP
Thanks to Ritchie Ramone at Strangeworld for putting me onto this. Was amazed this came out this year as I thought it was a lost Television Personalities recording. One of those gems I would only discover via the man behind the record store counter. Buzzcocks style harmonies meets the storytelling of Wreckless Eric.
Imperial Wax - Gastwerk Saboteurs
Pete Greenway, Dave Spurr and Keiron Melling had been the core of the Fall for the last decade of the band's existence until the passing of Mark E Smith. The three lads hooked up with Sam Curran to make an LP their old taskmaster would ave been proud of. It’s not the Fall, but without MES how could it? Theres certainly elements of the Fall in there but the lads ave their own approach and ideas, much like the Fall, taking a simple idea and expanding, taking rock music to new places.
Wild Billy Childish & CTMF - Last Punk Standing
With the exception of Mark E Smith no one has given me more joy then Billy Childish. Pretty much every year theres an LP with the name Childish that appears in the top 10 list. The mans a hero of mine. On top of the massive discography of amazing albums, what I love about him is the fact the man just gets on with it. Bangs out two LPs a year, with just two, if that, chords and bangs out a record in one take. No overdubs no time for being precious, just doing it and doing it well. I wish I had this talent and discipline.
Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly bass player, chatterbox and all-round nice guy, Ray Ahn, has been telling entertaining yarns on his Facebook feed for eons.
They've irrevent, rollicking tales that have taken on a life of their own lately, generating a big following and constant comments to the effect that Ray should write a book.
He's done the next best thing and is putting his stories into a blog. You can read it here.
BARFLY TOP TEN: Sydney bassist for The Smart Folk and The Amazing Woolloomoloosers and avid gig goer Keith Claringbold
I couldn’t find a clear winner for Gig of the Year for 2018. Here are 10 that were special.
TODD RUNDGREN – Oxford Art Factory.
His Toddness, the runt ,the hermit of Milk Hollow. Backed by a cracking band Davey Lane’s Drunken Blue Roosters, Todd took us from The Nazz, through his AM hits and on a detour to play many songs he admitted to not having played live for some time, if at all.
Great songs, top musicianship and Todd really seemed to be enjoying himself.
So I Could Have Them Destroyed – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers)
We need to talk. Oh, yes, we do.
There were doubts about this one. I’d seen the songs played live. Whether it was unfamiliarity or just an off night, to these ears the set didn’t gel. It cried out for more light and less shade. Ease off that pedal-to-the-metal thing, baby. Not in a greatest hits way, but maybe with the odd well-chewed pop bone thrown in. It wasn’t bad. Just not earth shattering.
Then the album arrived and hit the disc player.
Fessin' up first: I didn't much like "Dickcheese" when it originally came out in 1988. You didn't need liner notes to hear the overt heavy metal influences. The album swung from catchy punk-pop with buried melodies to bottom-heavy stoner riffing. There was no lack of energy but the mix sounded muddy and bore little resemblance to the sound of the Hard-Ons live. Many years down the track and all that stylistic bouncing around makes much more sense.
It’s leading up to the Festive Season but don’t expect to hear Christmas carols at Sydney Rock 'n' Roll & Alternative Market on Sunday, November 26.
Hard-Ons - just back from a successful European tour and pictured above- and swamp rock elder statesmen Kim Salmon head the musical entertainment.
Yes, you’ll get the usual range of cottage and unique goods, records, Tiki mugs, art, homewares, food, drinks, fashion and Tiki mugs at The Manning Bar at Sydney University.
But you’ll also cop a double blast of Hard-Ons and Salmon, the latter in solo mode after hisnational tour by the classic line-up of his old band, The Scientists.
Joining them earlier in the day are Hanks Jalopy Demons, Keiron McDonald Combo and the usual array of DJs. Entry is $6 before 12pm and $8 after, with kids under 12 free.
The famed I-94 Bar podcast Drunk and Disorderly is back. Download it, stream it, do whatever the fuck it is that you do. Tracklist after the More button...
The Hard-Ons are vinyl fans. They believe, like many others who are a bit greyer, that vinyl records that were released before the digital age tell fascinating stories about the song/artist/record label, that streaming and MP3s can’t quite relay.
The band is playing two shows this month that celebrate vinyl. The big news is that the first 120 punters to arrive at the June 1 show at the Chippendale Hotel in Sydney and the June 2 gig at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle will receive a discretely brown paper-bagged seven-inch single from the personal collection of the band members
Says Ray Ahn: “There are 240 random records culled from our personal collections and the like. Some are GREAT. Some are good. Some are OK. Some are pretty shithouse. All are from another time and place, there will be records from 50’s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s. In addition, three mega-rare Hard-Ons records that are probably worth a fair amount from the HARD-ONS’ archive will be up for grabs to six lucky punters.”
The band promises loads of Hard-Ons seven-inch records will be on sale at the merch table as well, including some long deleted rarities.
FRI 1 JUNE: CHIPPO HOTEL with WHITE DOG + HELLEBORES
SAT 2 JUNE: CAMBRIDGE Hotel NEWCASTLE + Human Failure + Obat Batuk
And later this month, the Hard-Ons hit Europe again:
Hard-Ons in Europe
20 - TBA
21 – La Rochelle
22 - Clisson, Hellfest
24 - Orleans, Blue Devil
25 - Essen, Don't Panic
26 - Osnabrück, Bastard Club
27 - Hamburg, Port Klang
28 - Berlin, music & peace
29 – Tampere
The Mis-Made in fulll flight at Sydney's Lansdowne Hotel.
The Hard Ons + Arse + The Mis-Made
Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney
December 13, 2019
Didn't think I would get to see this gig but very happy I did. If anyone says that girls can't rock, they obviously were not at the Lansdowne tonight to see The Mis-Made.
Mis-Made kicked off the proceedings with a tight set of blitzkrieg killer metal tunes. This is the sort of set that gives you goosebumps. Guitarist-singer Jessamine Finlayson's vocal style reminded me of Patti Smith and the band was tight.
Arse came up next with a toxic concoction of brutal, kinetic energy. In your face rock and attitude. Always a pleasure to watch.
Those pop-punk-metal-psych-whatever legends the Hard-Ons are having a 30th birthday party and Australia (and anyone who wants to fly in from overseas) is invited.
Rose Tattoo’s "Never Too Loud", released in 1997 through Repertoire Records in Germany, was a compilation spanning the band's career at the time. Now, 22 years on, the Hard-Ons join Rose Tattoo on their "Still Never Too Loud" tour heading out across Australia in March, April and May.
Thirty-five years since their formation, the Hard-Ons have amassed an unprecedented and never-to-be-paralleled 17 consecutive number-one releases on the Australian alternative charts, making them one of Australia’s most commercially successful independent bands. Their cult following extends into Europe and the UK, and as of 2019, their brand of unapologetic punk rock has never sounded better.
The band are fresh out of the studio having just finished recording their 12th studio album due to be released later this year.
Angry Anderson’s Rose Tattoo recruits, considered some of the best in the business, comprise legendary bass player extraordinaire Mark Evans of AC/DC fame, iconic guitarist Bob Spencer of The Angels & Skyhooks, as well as unbelievably talented maestro of rock mayhem, Dai Pritchard.
Rose Tattoo hit the high seas on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise out of Miami in late February and headed straight into the recording studios in March.
STILL NEVER TOO LOUD
Friday 29th March 2019 - Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
Saturday 30th March 2019 - Waves, Wollongong NSW
Friday 5th April 2019 - Shoppingtown Hotel, Doncaster VIC
Saturday 6th April 2019 - Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights VIC
Friday 12th April 2019 - The Gov, Adelaide SA
Saturday 13th April 2019 - Capitol, Perth WA
Friday 26th April 2019 - The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Saturday 27th April 2019 - Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta QLD
Friday 3rd May 2019 - Diggers, Ettalong NSW
Saturday 4th May 2019 - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Tickets from rosetattoo.com.au
Here's where the affair ended, for a time - I never got into the sound of "Love Is a Battlefield…" There were some great songs (or singles) here, for sure ("Missing Me, Missing You", "Don't Wanna See You Cry", "Just Being With You") that were among the band's best, but there was something about the shiny, semi-polished metallic sheen (coming after the confusing "Dickcheese") that pushed this album to the back of the collection.
The Gov, Adelaide. Friday, April 12 2019
Photos by Somnambulist Dillinger
The morning after the night before I'm trying to make sense of it. My ears are still hissing like a grumpy king brown, so I guess it's time I used earplugs at gigs.
Here's a question for you. What does Angry Anderson, rough'n'tough rock'n'roller, taste like?
I'll come back to this.
His nearest and dearest might know him as Peter but you'll most likely recognise him as Blackie from the Hard-Ons. Not that this, his second solo album, bears much relation to that esteemed band's fast and furious output. "No Dangerous Gods…" is off-the-wall, whip-smart and often lush acoustic rock that suggests Syd Barrett more than Sid Vicious.
One of the most important people to come out of Perth's music scene since the 1970s is Dave Faulkner. Whether he’s playing punk, pop or electro music, he's always trying to create something new and exciting. The Hoodoo Gurus’ latest single “Hung Out To Dry” is a perfect example.
Faulkner picks a target in the current US President, someone who has been a punching bag for many people, and sticks it to him in a fresh and personal manner.
As well as the new Gurus single, Faulker's reconstituted former band The Victims had their first release in many moons this year. It was a physical EPfeaturing recordings of four songs (“Charlie”, “Horror Smash”, “I Wanna Be With You” and “Everynite”) that were written, but never recorded, when the legendary band formed in Perth in the 1970s.
The re-born Victims reunites Dave with original member James Baker and new recruit, the great Ray Ahnof the Hard Ons, who give a slightly modern touch to some classic tunes that were birthed at the dawn of punk rock. Dave spoke to me via Zoom in Sydney where he tells me he is fresh from mastering the next Gurus single.
This is the closest thing you'll see to a full-blown reunion of seminal Perth band The Victims.
For one night only, The Television Addicts will perform songs by The Victims with origional members Dave Flick (nee Faulkner), James Baker and Ray Ahn (Hard-Ons, Nunchukka Superfly) at Perth's Rosemont Hotel on August 9.
Tickets will be available from June 25 from www.oztix.com.au
It’s hard to work out when Hard-Ons ceased being just another band and evolved into an unstoppable force of nature. Thirty-four years after publicly emerging into the dim lights of an inner Sydney pub stage, this indefatigable trio keep punching out albums when most of their contemporaries have long put their own cues in the rack.
Ask any record tragic. There’s a tried and tested rule for albums. Most long-lasting bands deliver one or two gems at their high point and the rest are shit or on a plateau. “Peel Me Like A Egg” easily stacks up against most of the Hard-Ons’ 10 previous studio efforts. It’s not so much because the band has stayed true its composite punk, metal, speedcore and pop roots (it’s always good to know what you’re going to get) as much as they’ve managed to make each release sound fresh.