brad shepherd - The I-94 Bar
Noise for Heroes Complete 1980-83 Vol 1
Noise for Heroes Complete 1988-91 Vol 2
Noise for Heroes Complete 1991-2004 Vol 3
Edited by Steve H. Gardner
Imagine a decade like the 1980s without zines. For the uninitiated (because they weren’t born then) zines were self-produced magazines, often photocopied and sometimes hand-drawn, focused on subjects that the authors were passionate about. More often than not, the topic was music.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of zines in a pre-Internet world. Along with college radio, they powered the American underground music circuit. In Australia, they connected underground bands, and fans across a country of disparate cities and gave insights into scenes overseas in a way mainstream music papers could never reflect. In Europe, they were oxygen for a culture considered low brow that fought to find an audience.
Zines were lapped up by people into punk, high-energy and left-of-centre music that didn’t manage to gain exposure elsewhere. They were the epitome of DIY culture, making the passion of others tangible. You’re “consuming” the digital equivalent of one right now.
One of the best was “Noise for Heroes” from San Diego, USA. The very lanky Steve Gardner kicked it off with some like-minded friends in 1980. It initially had a focus on punk rock. In its second life, it moved onto the Aussie and Scandinavian underground scenes with Gardner its writer rather than editor. Steve drummed in bands, ran his own record label, NKVD, and had a mail order music business.
Amongst the silly hype that Record Store Day now brings there are glimmers of hope. The Hoodoo Gurus will release their latest single, "Answered Prayers", as a limited edition 7" for RSD on April 18 and it's said to hark back to the band's punk rock roots.. Its release will coincide with the digital issue of an expanded Deluxe Edition of their 2004 album “Mach Schau”, which will combine the track listings from both the local and US editions in a new 16 track running order.
The RSD single, which is already available digitally, is the first new music from the band in 10 years, not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a newly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days. "Answered Prayers" is a said to be a stark and visceral track addressing a certain type of abuse propagated by a particular type of male. It's also a reminder of the Gurus' roots in the original punk rock of the '70s.
Indeed the track follows the release in the US of both old and new material by The Victims, the band that head Guru Dave Faulkner formed with drummer James Baker in Perth in 1977, some four or so years before the pair reunited in Sydney to form the Gurus.
"Song of the Year", which will feature on the RSD single's B-side. Written and sung by guitarist Brad Shepherd, the flat-out screamer of a song obliquely references in its chorus two of Brisbane's legendary punk-era bands, The Fucken Leftovers and The Survivors. Brad, of course, fronted his own group as a teenager in Brisbane at the time, who begun as The Aliens, before evolving into the legendary Fun Things. "Song of the Year" will also appear on the digital Deluxe Edition of “Mach Schau”.
Not content to wait for a Record Store Day stifled by Coronavirus disruption, the Hoodoo Gurus will release their new single in limited edition, vinyl form.
"Answered Prayers" is out on June 12, along with an expanded, digital edition of their 2004 album "Mach Schau" combining tracks from the Australian and US editions in a new 16-song running order.
"Answered Prayers" is already available digitally and is the first "new" music from the band in 10 years - not counting 2014's "Gravy Train", a freshly-recorded EP of lost tracks from the band's early days with former members.