bob short - The I-94 Bar
Top Ten lists for 2019. Barman promises free rein. Let's test the limits. Top 10 questions you should want answered.
1. Was Donald Trump's 1980s application for a casino in Darling Harbour rejected because of hislinks to organised crime?
Answer: Yes. And very much on public record though no-one seems to remember.
2. Why was God's honest man, Scott Morrison, sacked from his position as head honcho at Tourism Australia?
Answer: Despite his prominence in the NSW Liberal Party, Scomo got dropped quicker than a turd burger in Macdonalds. Nobody is talking and sod all folk are asking.
3. What the fuck is the deal with Anthony Albanese?
Answer: Maybe he got dusted in the snap. Maybe Labor politicians need to embrace the left.
4. If Elvis faked his death, would he have died for real by now.
Answer: Statistically, it is extremely likely.
5. Why has everyone forgotten Trump was friends with Epstein.
Answer. See question 1
Filth, Blood & Roses, Dead Rabids, 4 Stooges, The Light Brigade et al
Twenty-twenty is a phrase used to demonstrate a standard of visual acuity. Providing a Top Ten list for the year of that name using normal standards of vision presents certain difficulties.
The harbinger of our civilization's downfall was, of course, the motion picture "Cats". This was a movie that spent its first hour-and-a-half introducing a series of characters played by celebrities in bad valley CGI mode licking themselves inappropriately whilst singing and dancing. Spoiler: It ends with the ritual suicide of the most downtrodden character by balloon.
Its similarity to the year it announced were too staggering to avoid. All year, we have been bombarded by celebrities entertaining (themselves) us from their living rooms in bad clothes and makeup whilst the poor and broken down die gasping for breath.
What stands out in the year that broke the world? And make no bones, the world is broken. Certainly, rock and roll is broken. It has been a long time coming but that bucket has been firmly kicked.
There has been illness for a while now. We've all been getting old. Most people stop adding new songs to their playlists in their early 20s. Some of us have kept our ears open much longer but that ultimately makes no difference. You could make the most stunning new music and no one would be there to listen. The old aren't interested in the new and the young aren't interested in the old.
Guitarist with Moonlight 5, Waxworks, Dwarfthrower
I-94 Bar reviewer
I am sure many will say the same: This has been a shit of a year. Even so, I included much more than ten. Who cares !!
The passing of Greg Sawers
One piece of news hit me in the guts: Greg Sawyers’ death. What more can be said about this real local legend and complete old school identity. He could be fit equally well at the Marrickville Bowlo or Annandale Hotel (R.I.P.) or the Wentworth Park dog track with his working -class dreams and love of supporting pure rock ‘n’ roll. Band manager Greg Sawyers took over when God got drunk. For Ian Rilen, Louis Tillet, Steve Lucasand Steve Balbi, he was their minder and advocate. He always had a couch for those in need and was willing to cook up his bacon and eggs when they woke sometime after midday. Greg was all heart and part of a Sydney music scene that is now gone.
There is a school of thought that suggests great art is the product of suffering. 2016 has largely put paid to that notion.
I mean, this year should have positively dripped genius. I couldn't come up with a full ten. Here's my Top Six.
The Barman has been pleading for a Top Ten list. I have a Top Ten list but everyone is gonna fucking hate it. For once I'm standing up and demanding some attention for something I believe in.
Normally, I let you ignore my records. Normally, I just go with the inferioty complex. But I bought my friend's in on this and I don't like them being ignored. Fuck you all. You're gonna listen to this fucking record. And you can happily call me a cunt.
I noticed that the way to actually push things through social media is by being a repetitive rude cunt.
If you ask me what the 10 most important things that musically consumed me, it was the ten songs on the album Going Underground by the Light Brigade. Which other songs did I dedicate 100 hours plus a piece to? A thousand hours. Forty days. A tenth of the year.
No songs more obsessed me. Musically, fuck all else actually mattered. Other new albums this year? James Williamson did a good one.
The easiest cop-out is to call this record a Velvet Underground tribute but tribute albums are inevitably piecemeal. A blur of people's visions. Someone inevitably always has to do a Ramones version of a slow song and someone else has to slow a fast one down into an overblown ballad to try and force meaning onto lyrics that have none.
Oh Christ. The Barman’s on the phone from Bondi. Says he’s gonna make me a star. David Essex once made me a similar offer which probably would have certainly given me a #metoo moment. A Top 10 list? Shit. Have you seen the state of Planet Earth?
Just when you thought the whole place couldn’t sink much further, they gave a pussy grabbing paedophile the keys to the kingdom and a button for his tiny finger. I tried not to write. Mother said something about “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” I’d been putting my foot in the truth for a long time and it was getting me in trouble. Hate mail. Death threats. I wasn’t allowed to attack their freedom to be dicks.
And it’s been a shit year with a whole bunch of old timers coming back to provide a less than memorable version of the past. I could name names but, let’s just remember I was there when those moments were something to throw your life behind. Best thing about saying that is anyone asking “Is he talking about me?” is probably right.
Noticeable Exception 1 is Top Ten 1.
1. PATTI SMITH plays Sydney 2017. How to grow old disgracefully…
You want more Bob Short? He's back with Episode 15 of The Complete History of Rock and Roll. It's entitled "More of the Same Old Same." What does that mean? You'll have to listen to find out. Tracklist after the MORE button.
After seven years, thousands of kilometres and innumerable demolished backstage riders, The Johnnys were Australia’s indisputable, rough riding champions of cowpunk.
Fresh from two gigs in New Zealand, The Johnnys – Graham Hood (bass and vocals), Slim Doherty (guitar) and Billy Pommer (drums) - will play their first Australian show in two years, headlining Marrickville Bowling Club on Friday, April 13.
They’ll be joined by The Four Stooges (Australia’s only Stooges homage band), Maximum Security (launching their debut album) and Bob Short & The Light Brigade.
The Johnnys formed in Sydney in 1982 when bass guitarist Graham Hood tried out for the Hoodoo Gurus after quitting the Allniters. He met Hoodoo Gurus' guitarist Roddy Ray'da and, with drummer Billy Pommer, they formed The Johnnys, playing their first show at Palms Disco on Oxford Street in Sydney.
New Zealand-born Spencer P. Jones joined on guitar and the four-piece released their single "I Think You're Cute" in October on Regular Records. Ray'da left and the band signed with independent label Green Records before joining major imprint Mushroom.
"This album is dedicated to a small club: the squatters of Campbell Buildings in 1979/80. Every year our numbers get fewer but the story lives on," writes Bob Short on the LP cover.
Yeah. Just like the 100 Club and the Sex Pistols, occupants of the Campbell Buildings in London now number in their mythological thousands.
Yeah right. Some pasts attract wanna-be’s like flying bugs to apricot jam, others … well, let’s just say you’d give some pasts a wide berth.
Rock and roll's fascination with the doomed is a story well told. From the members of the 27 Club of Janis and Jim to Johnny Thunders, Amy Winehouse and beyond, it's a love affair that's been going on a very long time.
On the other hand, you don't have to die to be an occupant of Rock's Pantheon of Lost Causes. It's much larger than any physical graveyard and my mate Bob Short is a proud tenant.
It's not that "Going Underground" or its makers are going out of their way to sell no copies or that its investor (Bob) wants to finish deeply in the red side of the ledger. Not when there are more guitars to buy.
Even Bob knows that "recouping" is not another word for a re-constructed chicken enclosure. He's also a realist who knows the sweet, abrasive sounds of this collective will never grace the airwaves of a commercial radio station.
Once upon a time I went to The Big Day Out. I can’t remember which, but the events themselves I always thought were a nuisance which one was obliged to endure in order to see the two or maybe three bands you actually went to
Anyway, it had dawned on me that “my generation” was utterly reviled by the one coming up. Which is understandable, of course, as every generation has to gain independence and identity, and the quickest route is to revile the old farts. ’Cause of course, we no nuffink.
Now that I am a card-carrying Old Fart who Shouts At Clouds and Doesn’t Like the Look of Those Teenagers, I have a blessed distance to view the rich landscape of modern music [Barman: insert vomit noisehere]. In 1987 Steve Albini made a passing comment: “Pointless teenage thrash bands”.
Bob Short's Complete History Of Rock and Roll returns with Episode 14 to wish you Merry Xmas and/or Happy New Year. Here's what the postman brought Santa Bob in the mail. Tracklist after the fold (click MORE)
Bob Short and Noel from Filth.
One of the trace elements of Sydney’s punk history will be exhumed on September 11 when Filth supports the Celibate Rifles at Oxford Art Factory, as part of the Sedition festival.
Filth sprouted from Radio Birdman’s fertile Oxford Funhouse scene and spawned the Psychosurgeons and the Lipstick Killers. Nihilistic and self-destructive, Filth presaged a richly diverse and extreme musical movement based in pubs like The Grand and The Civic.
Loud, fast and full of body fluids that were generously shared with audiences when the mood took them, Filth attracted fans who are even more deranged than them and were rarely invited back by venue operators. One show at Bondi with a nascent X remains infamous for both the repair bill and the number of fans sent to hospital.
Dead Rabids main man Bob Short was a member of seminal Sydney punks Filth before he fucked off to England to become a goth and live in abject poverty. He’s also penned the odd vituperative review for the I-94 Bar. So now it’s your turn. Do your best.
There’s no hint of hyperbole in you being told that the A side is a fantastic song. A stone classic. Dead Rabids are no more and never pulled a lot of people when they were a going concern, but don't let that stop you plonking down your hard-earned virtual cash and picking up a copy before it goes out of print.
The pathos runs deep on "The Sound of My Broken Heart" and it sounds like something the early Saints would have turned out in one of their more reflective moments. Put away any sharp objects and lock the medicine cabinet.
Flip the single and switch the mood to bathos: "Do the Harold Holt" is an old Filth song (I think) and you can imagine singer Peter Tillman spitting out its message for poliical leaders to jump into the sea three times and surface twice. A resuscitated classic. The Rabids' abbreviated take on "White Rabbit" sounds positively doom-laden and there's a harsh beauty in its acrid chords. Feed your head some squat food.
Along with half of once-underground Sydney, I know Bob Short. Unlike the rest of Sydney, it seems, I’ve only seen the scrote play once and, because he was rather brilliant, he rates a decent listen and a proper review of his first 7”.
This isn’t an essential purchase, not in this world of freebie downloads and rubbish music. Surely?
Well, actually I rather love this little record, and it looks super in my collection. And, as I understand from Bob’s accompanying pitiful blurb that there’s an LP in the works, all this is as far as I am concerned, most certainly essential. Why?
So settle back on Granfer’s knee and I’ll tell ye a story young feller …
The Professors were formed in 1978 and were part of a booming inner Sydney scene that developed following the departure of temporary residents The Saints and homegrown Radio Birdman. They took their name from singer, Stephen Vineburg’s friendship with Chris Bailey of The Saints.
Vineberg - was name-checked by their friend, Saints vocalist Chris Bailey, in the lyuics of "Know Your Product" ("Where's the Professor?/We need him now").
The Professors were a prime example of the DIY ethos. They were largely self taught and established a successful music venue at the corner pub: The Royal Oak Hotel in Chippendale. They also played at most of the popular venues in Sydney including The Civic Hotel, the Rex Hotel, Paddington Town Hall and Henderson Road.
Long term denizens of this scurvy establishment will need no introduction to the names Captain Sensible(nee Ray Burns) and Paul Gray. If there was such a thing as punk rock royalty (and I’m against it on general principle), these guys would at least be Grand Dukes or Princes or some such.
For those of you who are slumming it, Captain Sensible is the more fluorescent face of The Damned. His beret and toilet mat jumper has besmirched the covers of a good many picture covers of hit singles, including a surprise run as a solo star.
Paul Gray came to the world’s attention with fellow graduates of the class of ’76 Eddie and the HotRods. Paul has also had three runs as bass player in the Damned and the kind of resume that would have you blushing with jealousy. He played on Johnny Thunders’ “So Alone” so don’t you go comparing resumes. He’s Paul Gray and you’re not.