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f you’ve read a few rock zines in your time, you’ll know that somewhere within the first few pages it’s compulsory for the editor to offer an explanation as to why the issue took six months longer to get on the shelves than it was supposed to. The excuses they offer range from pancreas removal to severe paper cut to the old one about how “work has just been really flat out this year, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahblahblaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhh!!!” Fuck that. You’ll find no Rudd-style sorry speeches here (although in principal we do support the idea that the Prime Minister did say “sorry” to the natives of our land, so all you Right Wing organizations, please stop sending us your dim-witted propaganda!).
Great ) LY AB EV LI BE N (U Chad Morgan Album Covers THE CHAD MORGAN SONGBOOK With a set of top teeth that jutted out and overshot his lower lip, Chad Morgan was a country star that found his true calling in comedy. Wearing a beat-up old bush hat held up at the front by an overly conspicuous safety pin, Chad could play the clown with the best of ‘em. Yet for a bloke with a head like a dropped pie, he could also do a remarkable job of looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, especially in his younger days. When he dies they should put his fangs, his guitar, his hat (with safety pin) and every single one of his LP covers in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.
They Call Me The 'Sheik ‘
Known as “The Sheik of Scrubby Creek” after his howlin’ 1952 smash hit, Chad Morgan has traded heavily on the moniker throughout his career but pulled out all the stops with the Arabian-themed cover concept for They Call Me The ‘Sheik’. Firstly he dressed in Sheik robes, remembering to add the trademark safety pin through the top. Next, he paid some “sheila” to show up and swoon when he flashed those frightful fangs. Then he topped it off with one final flourish of lo-budget genius, someone in a camel suit. And not just any camel suit, but a camel suit with a peculiar resemblance to Chad.
Double Decker Blowflies There is so much to like about the Double Decker Blowflies cover it’s hard to know where to start. There’s the withered, dayold BBQ chook swarming with flies, the old Holbrook Worcestershire Sauce bottle and cans of Aeroguard and Mortein for nostalgia sake, the giant blowie on Chad’s nose, and the warning sticker placed in the middle of his fly-swatter – it’s pure Chad gold. What I particularly love about this one is just how genuinely wasted he looks. Not sure if he was just playing the part extremely well or if the photo was taken during one of his famous benders – either way, it’s a gem.
Sheilas, Drongos, DillsOther Geezers
A hardened road warrior who undertook his very first tour with Slim Dusty in 1956, Chad was also a notorious boozer. In the early seventies he took time out to clean up his act before putting his career back on track with a triumphant comeback in ’77 – ironically supporting Slim Dusty at the Sydney Opera House. 1981 saw EMI release the 20-track greatest hits compile, Sheilas, Drongos, Dills & Other Geezers. Though it was superseded in 2002 by the 65-track 3-CD set, Regal Zonophone and Beyond, the cover art to Sheilas, Drongos… is far superior. Featuring our unlikely hero in an array of bizarre guises, the most disturbing finds him in stockings and heels, drink in hand, with one leg hanging out of a coffin! The leather man (with safety pin through hat) comes a close second.
Chad Charms The Birds Chad went out on a high after more than thirty years at EMI with his last recording for the label, 1984’s under-rated Chad Charms The Birds. Finished in four days, including the photo-session that spawned the outer sleeve, Chad showed he still had the goods to deliver a crackin’ tune and could still ham it up with the best of ‘em. He hadn’t lost his magic touch when it came to choosing cover pics either. Wearing a sleeveless football jumper, old-man underpants and brown cowboy boots, aiming a cane up at a fake dove – even the dog looks confused by it all.
I look at UNBELIEVABLY Bad as being like a shit (which I admit doesn’t take a hell of a lot of imagination) – it comes out when it’s ready. This issue definitely suffered from constipation at times, but hopefully there’s enough shit in here to tide you over till the next flood of diarrhoea hits. We aim low around here, but we must be doing something right ‘cos even our detractors admit we suck. Danger Coolidge
We’re hoping to do a longer feature and interview with the 75-year-old “Sheik of Scrubby Creek” in the next issue, but for now let’s examine the brilliance of a few of Chad Morgan’s LP covers…
Postcard from Ian MacKaye
[This page is supposed to encourage good old correspondence, pens and paper, envelopes and stamps. Sadly, though, this issue we received little more than small scribbled notes on torn off pieces of paper saying, “Here, review our band’s CD would ya?” Aside from the usual postcard from Ian MacKaye, it’s all been quite lame. So we’ve had to resort to reprinting the best of our email correspondence over the past few months.]
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........................ Looking to meet up with the local bar slut? Well she is looking for you as well. Horny single girls in your area who are looking for no strings attached fun. Hop inside and find yourself a horny little fuck buddy. http:// ticklingwontstopit.com. Brett Chase
........................ Chapter Ten She decided to It was high time he brought Ju She hadnt minded his inattenti Now that she thought about it, It was time to right things be He wasnt sleeping in her chamb She understood Royces reasons Nicholaa didnt want to go on l She would start by finding out She dressed with care for dinn Nicholaa had been embarrassed. She didnt consider herself a v She decided to turn his attent Yet maybe the gold would be a I favor the blue, milady, but I dont know them, either, Nich http://www.scoelaw.net/ Daniel Young [Not sure what drugs you’re on Daniel but we’d sure love some. Unfortunately, you don’t win this issue’s prize pack. We’re gonna send it to Ian MacKaye instead. If anyone out there still owns a pen, paper and half a brain, please combine them and send your innermost thoughts, feelings, criticisms to: UNBELIEVABLY Bad. C/O Von Helle HQ. 10 Unwin Street, Bexley NSW 2207.]
Illustration: Steve Cohen
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Hello Mr. Helle, I haven’t had time to read #7 but it has arrived safely in my mailbox. I’m looking forward to sitting down with the Angry Anderson interview – I haven’t heard anything from him since he was complaining about cross-importation! All the best, Ian
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20 d Ba Y BL A EV LI BE UN 20 A
msterdam, The Netherlands. September, 2006. Jesse Margera, drummer for Pennsylvanian hard rock trio cKy, shares a bottle of absinthe with UK touring buddies Viking Skull. Formed four years earlier by members of Raging Speedhorn alongside their guitar tech Roddy Stone and merch guy Waldie, Viking Skull released a killer debut in the form of 2003's Chapter One EP, containing such headbangin’ stoner classics as “Rape, Pillage and Burn” and “Beers, Drugs and Bitches”. It famously scored an 11 out of 10 rating from Metal Hammer, and was followed-up the next year with the full-length Born In Hell, which roped in a fresh load of Skull lovers. From playing novelty supports with Speedhorn to touring with a plethora of other bigger acts, in just a few short years this fun little side-project had somehow become a quite serious proposition. But on this particular night in Amsterdam under the influence of Margera's absinthe, the four members of Viking Skull decided they hated one another far too much to be in a band together any longer. The next day Roddy Stone released a statement on the Viking Skull
MySpace blog that read: “Viking Skull in their present form is no longer due to fighting within the band. Gordon [Morison] and Darren [Smith] are concentrating on Raging Speedhorn and I'll be on the road with a new band very soon.” An unwitting catalyst in the break-up of Viking Skull, Jess Margera would also prove key to their resurrection. Not only did Margera convince remaining members Roddy and Waldie that it was worth continuing on without the 'Speedhorn guys, he also joined as their new drummer and persuaded his brother, Jackass star Bam, to allow the group to record their comebac k album in his personal Hobbit Hole studio in West Chester, PA. Released in September last year, Chapter Two is a fist slammin’ Sabbathmeets- Motörhead groove-rock rager that has completely rejuvenated Viking Skull. After an intense bout of touring, May 2008 sees them heading back to the States to record a new album, this time at the studio of Jess Margera' s cKy bandmate Chad I Ginsberg. Just before that we caught up with VS bass maniac Waldie for a fine bout of 20 UNBELIEVABLY Bad Questions...
questions forVIKING SKU
was the first song you ever wrote and 4What how did the chorus go?
“If love is a prison, I will never be free / ‘cos baby, when you left, you didn’t turn in your key.” – [age 28]
is the best / worst description you’ve 5What ever heard for what Viking Skull does?
Best were probably when Metal Hammer gave us 11/10 for our Chapter One EP and described it as “sounding like played by goblins playing bronze guitars in a leather castle!” or “more fun than a zero gravity lapdance”. Worst? Viking Shit! Hahahahaha!
is the greatest metal lyric ever 6What written? “Wang dang sweet poontang!!!”
Let’s talk perfect drug combinations... 7 What’s the best for writing? What’s the best for recording? What’s the best for playing live? And what’s the best for passing out? Writing - beer, coke, weed. Recording - beer, beer + beer. Playing - beer, coke, beer + beer! Pussing out – weed.
Viking Skull: (LtoR) Waldie, Roddy, Jesse, Jules
The new record, Chapter Two, has seen 1 Viking Skull rise from the ashes so to speak. What led to the break-up? We were all feeling frustrated around that time with a lack of shows and pressures on our everyday lives sucking the heart out of us. We was in Germany doing European cKy tour and we got fucked out of minds on absinth supplied by Jess and I guess all our demons came out at once and we had a fight on their bus and then carried it on in our van! When we got home Gordon told us he were leaving to concentrate on Speedhorn and Darren announced shortly after that he were giving both bands up and still hasn’t played to this day. We all still good friends and they both got up onstage with us on the last tour. Without Jess we simply wouldn’t have ever made Chapter Two. He got me and Roddy talking again and remembering what it was that the band meant to us. Jules [Cooper], as you can hear, is a bad-boy guitarist and we have known him and his funny face for a long time.
the following in order from the one 2List you’d most want to watch to the one you’d
least want to watch: a) Are You Being Served? b) Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em. c) George And Mildred. d) The Good Life. e) Paint dry. d, b, c, e, a.
If you had a time 3 machine and could go back or forwards in time, what gig would you most like to attend?
For me it would be Allman Brothers at Fillmore East or Maiden at Long Beach. Both records show what awesome talent for delivering great music these bands had back in a time when the world didn’t seem so serious and shit. Fillmore - lay back with a bird and feel the love. Long Beach - rock your fucking head off!
8What is the sexiest song of all-time?
I think what makes a sexy song is not just the loved-up sounds but more importantly the lyrics. Women love that shit, just look at Barry White and chums. They wanna hold you and look into your eyes and imagine its you telling them all the magical, romantic things their husbands done stopped telling them long ago. Therefore I vote for WASP – “Fuck like a Beast”!
Describe the biggest 9 musical high / low you've ever had. Biggest high for me personally were walking into a shop and seeing our record on the shelves. When I were a kid jumping round the house to Deep Purple playing broom guitar I didn’t know what work was, or tax, or pussy, or real life, so seeing that CD on the shelf were sort of like a innocent
childhood dream fulfilled. Worst would've been the breaking up stuff.
Chapter 10 Two seems to
have less over-the-top lyrical ideas than Chapter One/Born In Hell; not as much “Beers, Drugs & Bitches” so to speak. What prompted this move towards more “traditional” lyrics? Was it partly because people weren’t taking the band seriously before? We ain’t never been swayed by fashion and we’re serious as a death in the family! Yeah, the last album were different but the band was a different beast and we had all that bad ju ju still fresh in our minds so writing about banging chicks wouldn’t have reflected where we were at at that time. Plus, we only had two songs when we got there! Haha!
the stupidest tattoo you’ve 11Describe ever seen.
I once saw a guy with a tattoo of a guy fishing and a fish leaping out the water! Now maybe it did mean something deep and profound to him but fishing!? For fucks sake! Not even a zombie fish! I can’t talk, though, I only got one but Roddy and Jules are swarming with ‘em!
What song is most likely to leave you bawling your eyes out?
Black Label Society’s cover of “I Never Dreamed” by Lynard Skynard. Means a lot.
13Do you believe in ghosts?
Would like believe in ghosts in the traditional sense but until one makes me do a shit in my pants I'd say no. I do believe you can be haunted by your past though. For instance, I done fucked up about two years ago and everyday it’s there in the shadows and every night touching my dreams.
Imagine you’re Leatherface and you get 14 your own cable show where you travel about the place chainsawing politicians, Hollywood celebrities and other useless entities – who would be your top 5 most favoured victims for the whiz-bang season opener?
Them fucking crack-head bastards Winehouse and Doherty for a start! Every fucking day in the papers it’s the same! Then I'd have a pint and give old Morrissey a ring and ask him to help unblock me toilet. “Ok,” he says and gets down to have a look. BANG! He goes down like a sack of shit! Before he gets a taste of “Charlie” I get a load of his CDs and grind them into little shards then WOOF! blow the fucking lot into his fucking ears to see how he fucking likes it! Shithouse Cunt! Next I'd go back in a time machine and find the guy that invented onions and do him well nasty! Suppose I'd do myself as the grand finale! As the credits role the chainsaw could be lying among my remains still running until the juice runs out and then the screen fades to black.
Who is the 15 biggest arsehole you’ve ever met in your entire life?
I ain’t even gonna mention this usurping cunts name. If you gonna be man enough to do that shit then at least have the balls to admit it and clear the air.
What 16 is the best / worst cover version you’ve ever seen or heard performed?
Gotta be Killswitch Engage’s version of “Holy Diver”. Quality job while preserving the song’s dignity I thought.
Beer? Bitches? Drugs? Please place them in order of preference. Beer, bitches, drugs!
If I was going to hang out 18 in your hometown, Corby, for a week, what hot spots do you recommend visiting?
The taxi rank or the busstop so you could get the fuck outta there! We do have a speedway though.
is the greatest 19What Viking Skull song of all?
Gotta be “Beers, Drugs and Bitches”! It was the first song Roddy wrote and has been a life-truth song ever since. The band was founded on that song!
What is the greatest 20 Zodiac Windwarp song of all? Dunno.
GREAT PUNK SHITS PART VII OF AN IRREGULAR SERIES BY SIR DUGLESS
'77 an all that yeah? The wonderfully wrongheaded Stewart Home in his wonderfully wrongheaded tome, Cranked Up Really High claims that all great punk singles are, in essence, novelty songs. He's both right and wrong, of course. For whilst "Anarchy In The UK", "Blank Generation" and "Sheena (Is A Punk Rocker)" aren't necessarily the spiritual devil-children of "Purple People Eater" or "Alley Oop", the punk fad that rose from songs like these was ripe for parody, or a quick cash in, and the dumb/smart sneering terminology of punk was easy to assimilate, as was the seemingly lumpen three chord musical template. Some of these tunes are funny, some are vain attempts to garner a "punk" audience, all are worth at least sixpence from your nearest junk vendor. Bollocks-era Steve Jones), Norman groans his way through this tale of a little Aussie bleeder who wasn't too punk to fall in love with his sweetheart. Gunston's punk-record might not give "Dirty Lies" or "Television Addict" a run for their money in the Aussie New Wave Hall of Fame but it's better than half of the tracks on Lethal Weapons. The punkesque version of "Love Me Tender" on the B-side is less successful but as punk-parodies go this one’s a good‘un.
"<?G87"B;A “Jilted John”
“I Might Be A Punk (But I Love You Baby)”
Gunston (aka Gary McDonald) was an allout comic genius, part of the funny, overtly cerebral crew who grew out of The Aunty Jack Show. They wouldn't even get a
look in at SBS these days; such is the moribund nature of modern Australian comedy. Musical parody was at the heart of Norman's schtick and this is a prime example of punksploitation. Over a throbbing ‘Pistols inspired, sessionmuso faux punk chug (courtesy of Ross Wilson, the twin-tracked guitars are pure
This is the glittering jewel in the crown of punk-parody, a shuddering piece of New Wave genius and an hilarious tale of lost love (a jilted chap by the name of John and his former best gal, Julie) and hatred (for a chap by the name of Gordon). A big UK hit in its day, "Jilted John" has actually managed to stand the test of time and take a seat in the pantheon of UK punk classics, even though Graham Fellow's tongue was firmly planted in his cheek when he issued this single on Martin Hannet's Rabid Records. Clearly a pastiche of the new wave sound of the day, what makes this so great is that it’s imbued with same smell of Anoraks, Airfix Glue and Shoot Magazine that can be found on real teen-punk hits like The Undertones' "My Perfect Cousin". Fellows channels that post-pubescent turmoil wonderfully and his alter-ego is a pathetic chap ("I was so upset that I cried all the way to the Chip shop") who's heartbreak gives way to vengeful abuse (the infamous "Gordon is a Moron" refrain) before collapsing in self defeat and negation with the trailing finale of "It's not fair, I don't care". It is both a punk-classic and a classic punk parody.
.8AHF,;8 *4MBE?478F “Punk-A-Rama”
Kim Fowley is a legendary figure. In his mind he is responsible for every major twist in the rock ‘n’ roll trail from sixties garages to the present day. The truth may not be quite as kind to Fowley, but he is still a major figure in the landscape of popular rock ‘n’ roll culture. Venus & the Razorblades were this Svengali's stab
at punk rock success, but unfortunately this lumpy pastiche has more in common with grunting seventies rock than the new wave enfant terrible of its day. The song tries vainly to stake a claim for the Razorblade's punk heritage, a brief history lesson mid-song manages to name check the likes of the ‘Pistols but also a few Fowley-related no-marks, trying in vain to establish not only the band's but also their mentor's punk rock credentials. It fails miserably amidst a barrage of heavy rock moves and vocals that seem to be influenced far more by Ronnie James Dio than Joseph Strummer. Worth a laugh, but gimme Norman Gunston any day.
(?4FG<6 8EGE4A7 “Pogo Pogo”
Plastic Bertrand (aka Roger Jouret)'s first album, An 1, is a fine example of faux punkery. The worldwide smash "Ca Plane Pour Moi" is perhaps a better song, but "Pogo Pogo" is just pure Ramones simplicity done well for a pre-teen audience who may not be able to tell the difference between this and the real punk-rock thing. Of course the spectre of Elton Motello rises above it all, An 1 is basically Motello's tunes with not Plastic but apparently his manager, Lou Deprijck, singing in French over the chugging backing tracks. Deprijck has always claimed he wrote the songs (and is credited on An 1) but that never stopped Motello from releasing his superior versions worldwide on the Victim of Time album through RCA not long after. Debate has raged ever since, though most agree that Deprijck most likely bought the tracks from Motello (who was working in a Brussels studio at the time) but forgot to copyright them. “Pogo Pogo” does what the package says; it's fine brain-numbing Euro pogo punk that doesn't sound too dissimilar to The Kids or indeed Plastic's old band, Hubble Bubble. A future in late eighties Eurovision and a stage musical with Anna from ABBA beckoned, but for a brief moment, Plastic Bertrand was the whole world's favourite grinning, pogoing idiot.
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVY st. kilda's alright! mini lp man made records 1984) (
UNFORGOTTEN ALBUMS #8 BY DANGER COOLIDGE
licking back through the shit-stained Oz punk Rolodex you’d be hard pressed to find a frontman more tweaked than Fred Negro, a band more obnoxious than I Spit On Your Gravy, or a debut more controversial than St. Kilda’s Alright! With a rambunctious and ill-disciplined punk sound, off-the-wall offensive lyrics and headlinegrabbing stage antics, I Spit On Your Gravy smeared themselves across the Melbourne live rock scene in late-‘83. Taking their name from the 1978 cult raperevenge flick, I Spit On Your Grave, the original lineup consisted of Fred Negro (vocals/drums), Scotty “Stix” Simpson (vocals/drums), Jason “The Big J” Banner (guitar) and David Yob (bass). Negro, who had formerly played drums in the Editions, was the band’s incorrigible ringleader. A lovable larrikin to some, The Devil incarnate to others, Negro was known for outlandish behaviour such as copulating with roast chickens onstage, and for his obscene handbill graphics (or “grafix”, as Fred liked to call ‘em), which on several occasions saw him charged by police. Soon after the band’s formation, David Yob died in a tragic accident, at which point Mark “General Sausage Fingers” Carson was recruited on bass. Not long later, they added female backing singers The Spit-ettes (Sam and Viv), and it was this line-up that entered York Street Studios, Fitzroy to spew forth I Spit On Your Gravy’s thoroughly unwholesome debut, St. Kilda’s Alright! Co-produced by the band and their manager, Paul Elliott of Polyester Books/Records, the sixtrack mini-LP was released in 1984 on Man Made Records, a label run by Nigel Rennard, now the owner of Missing Link. A nihilistic rock ‘n’ roll abortion, St. Kilda’s Alright! sounds like one massive beer and acid orgy – a celebration of complete fucked-up-ness. Less like a stew, more like a spew, the wholly unsavoury lyrics throw in many local Melbourne references, while the cacophony of noise drags in influence from a wide spectrum – the Cramps, Grong Grong, alcohol, Johnny Cash, acid, the ‘Pistols, Flipper, speed, etc. Riotous segueways between each song deliver hilarious skits and mad mashes of soundbytes sourced from films and other places. It kicks off with the famous recording of a fired-up American zealot predicting “sex on the streets in every major city from coast-to-coast,” as he denounces “that rotten, filthy, dirty, loud, lewd, lascivious junk called rock ‘n’ roll.” A swing beat from Stix and a 12-bar walking bassline from Sausage Fingers help get the bastardised punkabilly of opener “Thursday Crawl” rolling, as several band members make wisecracks about how they’re “not s’posed to fuckin’ swear on the radio, mate.” Telling the tale of a senseless mid-week rampage through drinking establishments such as The Prince Of Wales and the Seaview Ballroom, “Thursday Crawl” achieves lyrical greatness with the line: “When I go out on the Thursday crawl, Think I’ll go and get a Chiko Roll.” You wanna talk about fucked-up, that’s it right there – a Chiko Roll on a drunken Thursday in St. Kilda is just one tiny stumble away from facedown in the gutter. Fast food remained a fascination on the next track, “Let’s Go Buy A Pizza”, a sick tale of pizza addiction set to an oom-pah beat gone hardcore with stand-out guitar strangulation courtesy of The Big J. A church choir and spoken prayer – “Our Father who art in Heaven, God you are a suck!” – introduces St. Kilda’s Alright!’s most controversial track, “Catholic Song”. Originally featuring a more controversial opening vignette ridiculing publicity-seeking Christian evangelist Rev. Fred Nile, the sample was removed at the behest of Festival Records, who pressed the vinyl. A grunged-up metal-edged punk grinder, “Catholic Song” careens along wallowing in its anti-religious message like a pig in the proverbial. With shoddily-recorded vocals by Negro and The Spit-ettes, the irresistible chorus of “I like to suck nun’s clits, ‘til they’re well and dry…” is catchy enough to have all but the most devout god-fearer singing-along with gusto. A cheesy cinema intermission-style outro to Side-1
advises you to flip the record over for more listening pleasure. Side-2, however, opens up with a scream-filled Texas Chainsaw Massacre intro, leading into “Chainsaw Shuffle”, a murderous new dance craze set to a mangled cow-punk and cabaret beat. “The Goink” begins with another hilarious sketch, a pisstake of Prof. Julius Sumner Miller’s famous “Why Is It So?” Cadbury chocolate commercials’, which suggests it’s a good idea to inject smack into primary school children. The song itself is a spacey psychedelic tangle of new-wave punk, with Scotty Stix on vocals emulating a choke victim. Closer, “Alright Peter”, throws in a dig at the Skyhooks: “I feel strange, I feel weird / But I definitely don’t feel like a schoolboy that’s grown a beard.” A fairly sedate tune in comparison to the rest, the lyrics explore a strange mix of emotions (“I feel mellow, I feel wild, I feel like returning to the womb, I feel like a still-born child…”), while the chorus spells out loudly and clearly that – just like their beloved St. Kilda – the Gravies feel “Aaaal-rrriiiight!” After launching St. Kilda’s Alright! with a typically debauched performance at the Prince Of Wales Hotel, the band were on the way to Adelaide when their van was struck by a drunk driver, leading to broken legs for both Sausage Fingers and Stix and an aborted album launch tour. Several months later, in June ’85, more shit hit the fan when St. Kilda’s Alright! was targeted by authorities who filed obscenity charges. Focusing more on the artwork in the zine-style insert, entitled Think For Yourself, than the actual recording, the material was classed as pornographic and the LP temporarily withdrawn from sale while Negro stood trial in Prahran Courthouse. Eventually the judge, Magistrate Graeme Golden, dismissed the case, stating rather presumptuously: “Anyone possessed of a reasonable intelligence would not buy it. If I said it was obscene it would probably increase sales and I don't want to do that.” Copies immediately went back on sale, minus the booklet. In the wake of the controversy, I Spit On Your Gravy were inexplicably signed to Virgin Records and recorded the Fruit Loop City LP, produced by Oz rock legend Lobby Loyde. After the abject failure of that album, they split, with Negro going on to other bands such as The Band Who Shot Liberty Valance, Brady Bunch Lawnmower Massacre, The Fuck Fucks, The Twits, among others. His weekly “Pub” comic strip has run in Melbourne street rag InPress for many years. St. Kilda’s Alright! was re-released by manager Paul Elliott on Polyester Records in 1989 after the original Man Made pressing sold-out. I Spit on Your Gravy reformed in 2001 for a one-off gig at their spiritual home, The Esplanade Hotel, St. Kilda, from which four live tracks were released as part of the 2002 Turkeyneck Records CD re-release under the title St. Kilda’s Still Alright!, which also included rare compilation tracks and impressive liner notes. Today, with the gentrification and sterilisation of St. Kilda in full swing, the title St. Kilda’s Alright! doesn’t seem quite relevant. As the scumbags and punks are steadily shifted outward and the cashed up yuppie set swarm in, it’s clear that never again will the suburb inspire anything as exciting, dangerous and vital as I Spit On Your Gravy. We, the UNBELIEVABLY Bad rock fans of the nation may shed a tear over that fact. Meanwhile, straight society breathes a huge sigh of relief.
Illustration: Steve Cohen
’day thy greasy amigo’s, come gather round in clusters with oily mustaches and bearded shoes. It’s particle 4 billion – Zen Bastardry with Overlord Belcher. I met a girl last night who spoke with a lisp. There was an awkward instant when she asked if she could shit on my lap. This month I’ve decided to take hostages and drive you cunts to the edge of sanity in my big yellow belcherado bus. Now strap on and flock gleefully with Prada bags and DG sunglasses in-tow... This issue’s stinky middle finger is being held aloft firmly in the direction of the Western public’s willful ignorance towards the shonky bollocks our leaders are up to. Is anyone else out there getting increasingly fucked off with the way this country is heading? Straight up the arsehole of America and England seems to be the tour’s final destination. I remember back in school when our teachers taught us about World War II. Back then the Nazis and the fascists were clearly evil cunts. Back then the Allied forces were saving the world from tyranny and oppression, and to this day the German people hang their heads in shame about their compliance to the whims of evil. However, I think they won’t be feeling so alone for too long. Today it seems as if the fascists didn’t lose the war at all; they simply swapped the boots and salutes for handshakes and suits. Sixty years later and the world is still under the threat of global tyranny and oppression, except this time it’s fuckin “A OK” because we’re the ones doing it. This situation depresses me more than most, and I’ll tell ya why. In the years prior to the war on terror I had no interest in politics. In my opinion, voting was a waste of time because all politicians are self-serving corrupt bastards and their rich paymasters could not give a fuck about the likes of you or me. After the 911 attacks I decided to start a voyage of research, simply so I could have a semi-intelligent understanding of how things stood. At first I laughed when I read the predictions of David Icke and saw the ranting clips on YouTube of Alex Jones, However, now it seems everyday I’m watching the events they write about unfold in our Government, police, newspapers, television and in our attitudes. It’s been said before that people don’t seek truth, they seek comfort. This is the sad reality the owners of the planet rely on as the terror show dances along and we clap like retards at the eXtreme Olympics. If the Australian public don’t stop and do a little research into what’s happening in the world, pretty soon this country will be a fucking miserable place to live. Travel to London or New York and sample the grim future – armed police patrolling public places and stopping ordinary people for random searches, CCTV cameras covering every inch of the public domain. This is the age of preemptive strikes, enforced democracy, oil security and carpet bombing via media propaganda. Tomorrow we can expect a World Government, and the World Army becoming the World Police to keep the global population’s paper’s in check. The rot is already set firmly in Australia. This week marks the end of our troop’s deployment in Iraq. They have all been welcomed back with a meaningless parade. I say meaningless because the people cheering them home know nothing about the reason for the war in Iraq. George Bush made up a bullshit reason to invade Iraq because Saddam wanted payment for oil in Euros not Greenbacks. America is swiftly on its way down the financial shitter and the only thing holding the US dollar at its current false value is the fact that
004 the US will blow the bollocks off any non EU country that expresses a desire to trade in Euros. In the last thirty years America has gone from being a producer to a consumer. The only thing America does produce on the global stage is US dollars. If these dollars suddenly lose their market value, America is fucked, and Bush knows it’s coming. George Orwell once said, “People ask me what the future will be like? I tell them to picture a human face with a boot stamping on it . . . forever!” My friends, I’m afraid this is the shitty tomorrow that awaits us. It’s not unavoidable, but it is running up behind us with a shiny dildo strapped on like a fat man having a heart attack. David Icke calls what we are experiencing “The Totalitarian Tip Toe” – this sneaky method governments covertly employ in order to convert a country into a fascist police state. No major sweeping changes on the front page of the paper or the six o’clock news, just hundreds of small changes to the countries’ oldest laws to enforce control and oppression upon the good, honest, subservient, blue-collar tax-paying voters. Today we have learned about a new law introduced into Australia which prohibits freedom of speech. Apparently now you need a police permit that approves your protest message. How the fuck about that! – “You have the right to say what WE say is OK. Anything YOU say without authorisation will cost $5500!” I love the way the nation’s media repeatedly conspire to present a united front in this big PowerPoint presentation, constantly pushing the divide between Muslims and Westerners. There was a time in this country when the media used to talk about “celebrating ethnic diversity”. Now it’s a constant barrage of fear and racial hatred. I also love these posters and adverts encouraging us to spy on each other and call in anonymously with our “valuable information”. What a load of cock! I feel like ringing up and speaking to one of these obese nocturnal security watchers with piles just to blow their minds. The call could go something like this.... “Hello, totalitarian info line, who would you like to frame?” Then I’d say, “Get on the net, go to YouTube and look up ‘Alex Jones, Michael Moore is a fraud’. Then look up ‘David Icke, predictions He made that have come true’. Then research Project for a New American Century. Also buy a book by Paul William Roberts called A War Against Truth. When you've done that call me back and tell me what you’re planning on telling your kids when they ask why you fucked the world up for them.” We are in an age now where Australians of different ethnic backgrounds are afraid to speak to each other about these issues. Nobody is speaking out. What happened to the real journalists. Where are the musicians of voice? Where are the artists that give a fuck, and who are willing to bring these issues to the public at large? As Gandhi said, “Even If you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” These are dark days, and until we turn off the nonsense and start paying attention they will only get darker. I hope someone gets a little proactive soon because if we don't snap out of it we can expect a massive war with China, a global financial meltdown and the 911 re-run world tour coming to a city near you. The media are already sowing the “China is a menace” seeds on a daily basis. Anyway, I hate to bring you all down so I’ll lighten the mood
a little. Here’s a newsflash for all these morally uncorrupt saintly ethical types regarding Bob Smeldof, Bono and African Poverty. There are in excess of thirty five million people on this planet being held in slavery. Forced to work every day just to exist. Half of these people are children. There are more slaves on the planet today then the entire combined amount of slaves in the last 500 years. All this wristband bollocks about ‘Drop the Debt’ and ‘Make Poverty History’, these are nothing more than catchy feelgood powerless phrases invented by trans-national business corporations in order to trick today’s generation into believing they are going to do something to fix the planet once and for all. The world’s poorest nations are currently being forced to sign over all their un-mined mineral wealth and undiscovered resources for all of eternity. In order for the loan shark governments of the worlds riches nations to ‘Drop the Debt’, these starving nations must first surrender any opportunity they will ever have to pull themselves out of the gutter. I fully intend to cash in on the wilful ignorance of the masses and combine all these bands into one multi-coloured three-inch thick rubber choker that women wear around their necks. For maximum prominence I’ll have my logo dangling between the cleavages of these dunces. My charity will be for poverty-stricken American children with AIDS whose mothers’ have breast cancer and fathers’ have been crippled by landmines. That way I won’t have to give a penny to anyone. I’ll sell these bands for fifty notes a piece and make a fuckin’ motsa! I’ll now pull over the big yellow belcherado bus and demand you all sing “Row Row Row your Boat” at gunpoint. I know I’m veering dangerously toward embankment here because the ASIO choppers are circling directly overhead as I type this. In closing here’s a Jerry Springer-type “Thought for the Day” regarding Iraq, Osama Bin Laden and 911. Most people fell for that “Bad Saddam” reason for the occupation of Iraq. I didn’t, but I at least thought we might get rewarded with a fair price for oil for our efforts. Howard sent our troops in order to secure a share of the spoils. And for our efforts we get bum-fucked on the price of oil by the same shit-covered-cock these neocons use to ass shank everyone who didn’t go to Iraq. Second point, Osama Bin Laden – here’s a guy that was trained, funded and set up by the CIA. The mythical boogie man of Orwell’s mass media, who’s always at hand to release a threatening video that helps Western governments scare their own citizens into surrendering their freedoms and handing them Carte Blanch to change the laws and increase surveillance as they see fit. Don’t expect that guy to turn up dead any time soon. Thirdly, 911. Regardless of “who did it”, let’s look at the global political power shift that’s been initiated in the name of the War On Terror. The world’s most powerful bullies have overruled the United Nations. They have banded together and decreed that their brand of democracy must be installed at all costs. Now the world’s most powerful nations are steamrolling the piss poor into submission. And while I’m on Bono, next time you are watching U2 on stage have a look at his shoes. I think he borrows them from Tom Cruise. If Bono ever turns his ankle while prancing along his ego ramp and his shoe flies off, the massive heel could cause multiple fatalities. I demand he sits through a long and boring OH&S session and rethinks his attire before again endangering the masses. He could sit beside George Clooney, Prince, Tom Cruise and Danny De Vito. Then they could all go and shoot some hoops aided by ladders, cranes, ropes and personal assistants. Finally, I know I sound like a mental cunt when I go on about this shite, but I am, so fuck it… If anyone is looking for me I’ll be hiding in the mountains of Pakistan with a kidney dialysis machine in my rucksack, so I shouldn’t be hard to find. Now Go Fuck Yourselves! Greasy
GLENNO'S FUNNY PAGES
GLENNO'S FUNNY PAGES
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hroughout the course of this never-ending Rodney goes electric interview weâ€™ve (Gruesome Twosome) already heard much about the resourcefulness of the great Herschell Gordon Lewis. Weâ€™ve heard about how he bought half a movie from some other guy and stitched it together with scraps of new footage to create 1965â€™s utterly perplexing Monster A-Go-Go; about the Italian animation he acquired on the cheap and stuck into the middle of the 1967 kiddie flick Jimmy The Boy Wonder after overdubbing most of the voices himself; and about his wholly forgettable appearance as an English seaman in 1967â€™s A Taste of Blood after the actor heâ€™d originally hired for the role failed to show up. But with the opening scene of The Gruesome Twosome, Herschell really outdid himself. Having re-entered the blood realm in â€™67 with the epic Dracula flick A Taste Of Blood, Lewis dove headfirst amongst the innards later the same year with his return to full-blown gore, The Gruesome Twosome. Starring murderous mother and son, Granny and Rodney Pringle, the film is most noteworthy for a sequence at the beginning, where two mannequin heads in wigs with faces stuck on using ideas lifted from primary school art and craft class discuss the terrors that are about to unfold. Pushing the barriers of human patience, this puppet show continues for seven surreal minutes before an invading hand stabs one of the heads and blood comes gushing out. Roll credits. Unarguably the most bizarre opening to a gore movie ever, the mannequin head marionettes were borne out of pure desperation on the part of Lewis, who, after shooting wrapped, discovered he had not shot enough footage for a full 70-minute feature. So he did what he had to do â€“ he dodgied something up. As if the mannequins werenâ€™t enough, later on, the film cuts to some random drive-in movie snippet where regular Lewis actor Ray Sagar stuffs food and beer into his mouth while a woman's voice pleads for a relationship â€“ more glorious time wasting. But funnily enough, itâ€™s these eccentric flourishes that have made the film so indelible down the years. Well, that and all the toe-curling violence! As I caught up with Herschell for Part Eight of our never-ending interview, he was busy basking in the light reflecting from this yearâ€™s smash hit indie flick Junoâ€Ś
The new hit film Juno pays you some very nice compliments â€“ have you seen it yet? Yes, I was surprised at that. What had happened was, many months ago I had a phone call from someone I had never heard of saying that they were going to make a movie and that they wanted to use a scene out of one of mine. Well thatâ€™s perfectly fine with me. As you know, I donâ€™t own these movies anymore. Jimmy Maslon owns these movies and he is one of the sweetest guys in this entire industry. So I simply referred the phone call to Jimmy and forgot about it. Then I guess it must have been three or four months after that I got a cheque from Jimmy with a note saying, â€œThis is your
ALEFN?F?> C<N@J@J6 Raking in over US$150million at the box office and earning an Oscar for former stripper-turned-screenwriter Diablo Cody, Juno is the smash hit indie flick of 2008. It stars Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff, a kooky, wisecracking 16-year-old who gets knocked up by one of her classmates then pledges to give her offspring to childless suburbanites Vanessa and Mark Loring (played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). Easily UNBELIEVABLY Badâ€™s favourite thing about this cutesy-poo melodrama with trainspotter cred was the exposure of Herschell Gordon Lewis to a new generation. One scene finds Juno discussing horror flicks with Mark. The knocked-up youngster insists that Dario Argento is â€œthe ultimate master of horrorâ€? but is set straight by the washed-up 30-something jingle-writer, who promptly sits her down and unveils the wonders of Lewisâ€™ 1970 splatterfest The Wizard Of Gore. Though Codyâ€™s script doesnâ€™t always ring true, and the comparison between Argento and Lewis is so general as to feel like little more than random name-dropping, itâ€™s nonetheless pleasing to see Lewisâ€™ work being validated in more mainstream circles. Prior to Juno, the biggest Hollywood exposure a HG Lewis film got was via John Watersâ€™ 1994 psychocomedy Serial Mom, which included the classic tongue-ripping scene from â€™63â€™s watershed, Blood Feast.
share of this thing”. We’ve had that before, but not in a movie that ever showed anywhere except on DVD. So I was surprised when after that I got a call asking me, “Have you seen Juno?” I said, “What’s that, a new planet?” I had no idea what they were talking about. Once I found out, of course, I had to rush to the theatre to see this thing. And it makes no sense to me but I’m delighted. I’m stunned, really, because here are a bunch of movies that cost very little to make, with casts that are totally forgettable, effects that are, to use a euphemism, primitive, yet years and years after these movies were made they still show. In fact for Halloween season here in the United States TwoThousand Maniacs (1964) regularly screens in theatres, forty-five years after it was made. While on the other hand you have movies that were made last year with a budget of a hundred million dollars or so, and, like the line in Hamlet, “They strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and then are heard no more.”
Family ties: Rodney, Granny and Napoleon (Gruesome Twosome)
In the chronology of our never-ending interview your next big picture was The Gruesome Twosome (1967). It was a return to all-out gore and it remains one of your most indelible films, yet as I understand, it’s one of your least favourites. I’ll tell you why. When we shot The Gruesome Twosome I had a young lady whose job it was to count the number of running minutes. Because on an independent movie, except for A Taste Of Blood (1967) in my case, which ran two full hours, you always have to watch the running time because every minute of extra running time meant extra money spent on prints. So on Gruesome Twosome this gal said, “OK, we now have seventy minutes of running time.” At that point we had to wind the production up. It turned out she was off by ten; we had only sixty minutes of running time. So when we began to cut this movie together and it became apparent that it was going to run short, by that time the cast had scattered and we were back in Chicago – we shot that one of course in Florida – and there was no way I could re-assemble everyone for re-takes. What to do? And that’s when the concept of those talking wig blocks came into play. I was always embarrassed about that for years until I went to some sort of a horror thing in Barcelona, Spain and they had some journalists there, of all people, who voted on their favourite movies – and mine, of course, has always been TwoThousand Maniacs – they voted The Gruesome Twosome as their favourite. So I thought, well obviously I’m mentally unbalanced… But you see my vote doesn’t count anyway because what I like is of no consequence. That lesson is one that, again, I think some directors and producers of major company products should learn. Some of them are making movies they like instead of making movies people want to watch. If you make a movie in this budget range that even begins to be congruent with that sort of value, you can’t lose. Enough people will look at it, enough video stores will stock it that you can’t lose. So The Gruesome Twosome does qualify in that regard.
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It pleases me to think that a whole lot of younger people are being exposed to your films though Juno. It pleases me as well, and I’ll tell you why. It shows that the kind of movies I was making, which had no foundation in major company production, had no foundation in any kind of civilized budget, but they did have a foundation where imagination was a substitute for money. It shows that that philosophy was, in fact, a sound philosophy. That pleases me.
What did you think of being compared with Dario Argento in the film – a slightly strange comparison I thought? I thought so too. But of course, it’s their movie so they can do what they want. If they want to compare me with Cecil B. DeMille they can do that too. I have no objection to being compared with The Devil – some people have done that!
The opening scene where the mannequin heads talk to one another has become one of the most indelible things about The Gruesome Twosome.
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making a movie called Color It Blood Red, and they have asked me to come to Ottawa and take a role. Itâ€™s just for one day; Iâ€™m going up there for one dayâ€™s shooting. Theyâ€™re paying me to come up, Iâ€™m gonna have a good time, but one of the big incentives the filmmakers gave me was that Ray Sagar would be there; he also is going to take a role in this movie. Itâ€™s the revival of the superannuated movie people.
Well it was done out of desperation, my friend. What else was I going to do? As it ran, even with everything Iâ€™d packed into it, it ran under seventy minutes. At that time, when we were showing double-features in the drive-in theatres â€“ and I was king of the double-feature â€“ you could not get a theatre to book you as the first of the two features unless it ran for at least seventy minutes. So what was I going to do? I had to artificially add running time to that movie. And yes, at the time, I did it with some embarrassment. But at this point in my life Iâ€™m not embarrassed by anything. I read somewhere that you were so economical that you used your alternate takes in the trailers to save on duplicating the original negative â€“ is that true? We used every inch of film we could find. Letâ€™s suppose we started a 1000ft roll in my ancient Mitchell camera and the first scene ran 100 feet and was spoiled, I would unload that camera and use that spoiled film as leader for the soundtrack. Because usually youâ€™d have three soundtracks running, one would be the voices, one would be music and one would be effects, so in between noises occurring they need leader film, so rather than buy stock for leader I would simply take it out of the camera and use it. It also saves money by not sending dead film to the laboratory. But nobody in the film business ever did that, it never occurred to anybody. I got a call from the lab saying, â€œWe got a roll from you and itâ€™s 640 feet, whatâ€™s that all about?â€? Nowadays that is very common because you can buy short ends. That was one of the problems I had on Blood Feast 2 (2002), was that the producer of that was buying short ends from this company called Dr. Rawstock, a fella who buys up leftover pieces of unused film from Hollywood. Thatâ€™s what we were using for Blood Feast 2, short ends. Itâ€™s a strange and wild business my friend. Another surreal piece of filler stuck in The Gruesome Twosome in the 'drive-in movie' segment with Ray Sager stuffing food and beer in his mouth while his girl complains. Well just off topic, Iâ€™m about to have a reunion with Ray. Somebody up in Canada is
REVIEW THE GRUESOME TWOSOME (1967)
fter dipping his toes back into blood with the epic Dracula flick A Taste Of Blood, Lewis once again fully immersed himself in carnage and comedy with his next film The Gruesome Twosome. Based on the thin premise of a mother and son running a wig store and murdering young girls for their scalps, the humour inherent in Lewisâ€™ early gore work was amplified in order to set him apart from the bigger budget splatter films that had started to invade his gory turf. As the poster screamed: â€œThe most barbaric humor since the guillotine went out of style!â€? Mrs. Pringle (Elizabeth Davis) and her mentally retarded son Rodney (Chris Martell) run a wig store. Speaking constantly to a mangy stuffed bobcat named Napoleon, the mad Mrs. Pringle keeps a steady supply of wigs coming in by luring co-eds from the nearby college with a â€œroom for rentâ€? sign in the front window. When they arrive to check out the room, she pushes them through a door and into Rodneyâ€™s lair, where they are mercilessly (and unrealistically) scalped in lingering Lewis close-up. Meanwhile, over at the local college, nosy student Kathy
Are you playing yourself in the film or what role do you have? The name of the character they gave me, since itâ€™s sort of sâ€™posed to be a parody of my old movies, Iâ€™m going to play the role of Fred Sandy. Now Fred Sandy was my partner on a couple of movies. He was an old man at the time. His son, Jerry Sandy was the American International distributor in Washington, D.C. and Fred was a crony I guess youâ€™d say of this cigar-chomping character who ran American International. Iâ€™ve forgotten his name. Arkoff? Yeah Sam Arkoff. So Fred Sandy was gonna show Sam Arkoff that he was also a movie producer. So Fred was my partner on She-Devils On Wheels (1968) and Miss Nymphetâ€™s Zap-In (1970) and a something else, Iâ€™ve forgotten. Anyway, for some reason in this movie theyâ€™re making, the name of the character Iâ€™m supposed to play is Fred Sandy. Iâ€™ve got six lines of dialogue, which I suspect even with my Alzheimerâ€™s Iâ€™ll be able to remember six lines of dialogue. Rodney and Granny Pringle were such excellent bad guys, they were both pure evil and yet so sympathetic â€“ just like Two-Thousand Maniacs, it seems even more chilling that the killers are so polite and accommodating. Thatâ€™s a very astute observation, I salute you my friend, because that was absolutely the intention in both those movies. Grannyâ€™s stuffed bobcat, Napoleon, was a clever device to employ because he not only helped give a glimpse into Grannyâ€™s insanity but also was there for her to bounce dialogue off. Was there something in particular that inspired Napoleon? We originally planned to have a live cat but couldn't find one sufficiently trained. The stuffed one turned out to be a superior gimmick as, yes, a bounce-mechanism. A taxidermist rented it to us. He had even more formidable creatures but this one seemed to be in sync with Mrs. Pringle.
Baker (Gretchen Wells) is determined to get to the bottom of all the strange disappearances in the town. But her over-zealous nature and false accusation of several innocents begins to alienate her posse of go-go dancing girlfriends and her boyfriend Dave. Containing all the sickening violence, decapitations and disembowelment youâ€™d want from Lewis, The Gruesome Twosome is perhaps most memorable for its inexplicable intro sequence, where two wigged mannequin heads with stuck-on faces sit side-by-side discussing the horrors that are about to unfold. This goes on for seven full minutes, until a hand comes down and buries a knife into the crown of the more cynical of the two heads and the opening credits start to roll. This sequence, and also another â€œfilm within a filmâ€? snippet where regular Lewis actor Ray Sagar stuffs food and beer into his mouth while a womanâ€™s voice pleads for a relationship, were added to bump the film up to full feature-length after Lewis accidentally ran short of footage. As amateur sleuth Kathy continues her pursuit of the killers, we are treated to an array of diversions
â€“ go-go dancing with Kentucky Fried Chicken (as part of a product placement agreement Lewis made in exchange for feeding his cast and crew), a bikini beach party and a stock footage speedway derby. Put that together with all the blood, muck and extended scenes of scalpings your stomach can handle, and you got yourself a certified UNBELIEVABLY Bad classic. With business booming at the wig shop, Mrs. Pringle buys Rodney an electric knife, and it seems thereâ€™ll be no stopping the diabolical duo. But then Kathy gets suspicious when her friend Dawn Farrell goes missing after vowing to visit the shop and inadvertently stumbles upon the butchery taking place in the Pringleâ€™s back room. Boyfriend Dave simultaneously alerts the cops, and as they converge upon the shop they soon discover Kathy has gouged one of Rodneyâ€™s eyeballs out using a hairpin extracted from her murdered classmate Dawnâ€™s scalp. Offering all the violence and humour your guts can take, topped with a few totally off-the-wall moments, The Gruesome Twosome is a delicious slice of HG Lewis gold. Or should that be red?
2 % , " " ) 2 # 3 # ) . / 3 2 ! % , # 5 . / 4(%2 H. BEN BROWN INTERVIEW BY B.C. RIC
s ex-frontman of eighties Sydney thrashers The Hellmenn and one of Australia’s most renowned rock poster artists, Ben Brown needs no introduction. Of course, we’ll give him one anyway… The Hellmenn formed on Sydney’s Northside in 1986, a young crew of tearaway surf rats mixing elements of hardcore, power-pop, psych-garage and Detroit rock. Possessing an obvious talent for art, blonde longhaired singer Brown helped define the band’s surfskate-punk image through his striking record cover and handbill designs, which he also provided for other local groups, most notably Massappeal. To this day arguably Brown’s most indelible piece remains the cover art to Massappeal’s 1987 debut, Nobody Likes A Thinker, which became an enormously popular T-shirt print in the late-eighties and early-nineties, even among folks who had never heard of the band. After several seminal releases for the Waterfront label – none better than ‘87’s surf-thrash blast Herbal Lunacy EP – The Hellmen broke-up in the early-nineties, only to reform in ’92 to play the very first Big Day Out and sign a deal with Phonogram development label Id Records, for whom they issued several more EPs before calling it quits in ‘94. The demise of The Hellmenn saw Brown give up music for good, but on the art-front he continues to scribble away furiously. For the past two decades he has remained in demand as a commercial artist, turning his hand to everything from major tour posters to basic CD covers to children’s books, garnering critical praise for his work on posters for the Vibes on a Summer’s Day and Good Vibrations events. In recent times he’s made a slight return to his roots in skate-thrash, as reflected in his T-shirt designs for boutique clothing label Supply and other
brands like Globe, O'Neill and Insight. And he continues to churn out righteous rock art for promoters and bands, as well as contributing toons and sketches to many credible publications including Monster Children, Mad, Stab and UNBELIEVABLY Bad (OK, so maybe that last lot ain’t too credible). One Friday night not long ago, Brown invited UB over the Harbour Bridge to check out the Manly-based studio space he shares with fellow artists, scribble-twin Marty Schneider, painter Marcie O'Neill and photographer Jason Ierace. From the outside, the brick building looks fairly nondescript – you’d walk straight past and not even wonder what went on inside – but stepping over the threshold you suddenly find yourself in an alternate universe, a cubby house-meets-hip art nerve-centre. With Apple Mac set-ups at various desktops, eye-searing designs adorn each wall of the cosy space. Half-done artworks lay strewn about, while on one bench sits a taped-up wad of blank skate decks due to be gnarlified by Brown and Schneider for an upcoming exhibition. Much more than simply a place to work, Brown says the rich creative environment fostered inside this little inspiration factory has given his work a serious arse-rocket of late. After stowing our beers in the mini-bar fridge we head up a narrow staircase to the upper level, an area cluttered with large metal filing drawers, easels, canvases (including a painting by Brown of the classic Nobody Likes A Thinker motif), paint-cans and other ephemera. Somewhere amongst it all there’s a nice spot for Brown and I to plonk our arses, sink a few tins, blaze a few scoobs and talk shit for a few hours...
Did you start drawing before you started surfing? I was into drawing when I was a kid and I always drew. We were Mosman kids so we didn’t live right near the beach but my older brother surfed and he’s about five years older. We all went to Mosman High School and Brett [Curotta – Massappeal guitarist] was a couple of forms above me and Brett’s younger brother was one of my good mates that I played footy with. So I started surfing when I was about twelve and turned into an instant surfing nut – stopped playing footy and everything like that. Then I moved down to the beach when I was eighteen and I’ve always hung around in this area where we are now. I used to live in a house across the road for years. I’ve only really lived in three places over about fifteen years, we just keep getting forced back further from the beach ‘cos it’s fucking expensive. Manly was a slum years ago; it was good. I wish it were like that now. I might be able to buy a house. Anyway, so I was into surfing and I always liked that style of classic seventies surf T-shirt with waves and suns and dolphins and palm trees and things. There was one guy, Rick Griffin, who used to do all the San Francisco rock posters for the Grateful Dead and all those guys but he was a surfer. Griffin was stated as being one of your key influences in the book Plastered: The Poster Art of Australian Popular Music – you liked his little walking eyeballs and stuff. Rick Griffin is one of the greatest designers of the 20th Century. Both his music stuff and his surfing stuff, there’s not really anyone else like him. Since he died – he got killed in a motorcycle accident – his stuff has mostly become museum pieces. So if anyone says like, “Ah, you like Rick Griffin?” It’s more that thing of like, “Well, actually, I’m trying to rip him off!” I think with anything, whether it’s music or art, skateboarding or surfing, it’s the nature of the culture of those things that you have your heroes and that’s partly how your own style gets set.
Who were the fashionable inner city Sydney heroin bands? You’d go see someone like the Screaming Tribesmen and he [Mick Medew] was really this emaciated junkie but heaps of chicks loved it
Pic: Rod Hunt
When did you discover punk rock? It was Curotta that I would have to credit with turning us on to a lot of stuff. By the time we moved down to the beach we were smoking dope and going and seeing the Scientists and le Hoodoo Gurus when they were still a swamp band with James Baker on drums. So we were seeing those kinds of bands and then Curotta came back from overseas in maybe ’82 or ’83 and he brought back a lot of music and made up a mix tape that he gave to everyone called Septic Yanks, and that turned all of us on to hardcore. The guts of The Hellmenn had already been formed by a bunch of my mates and a guy I was living with called Simon [Jones] on vocals. They were called Fourth Degree and sounded more like Scientists and early-Joy Division when Joy Division were a really rockin’ band. Then that evolved into The Hellmenn some time after Brett’s tape turned everyone onto West Coast hardcore. ‘Cos at the time everything was all about fashionable, heroin, inner city Sydney. And when you saw the hardcore guys, they were just skateboarders and surfers just like us. At the time it seemed there was no real fashion thing that went along with it.
and youâ€™d be like, this is fucking stupid. I thought they were an OK band but it didnâ€™t have the punch that hardcore had. When you heard Black Flag, yâ€™know, you had no time for this skinny junkie guy trying to pick up girls. What was the scene like over here on the Northside? Mosman Hotel was good originally â€˜cos it had two or three good shows a week. It was a good place for what I guess people would call indie bands these days to get gigs. And there was the Manlyvale Hotel as well, which was good for bigger shows. But then by the time The Hellmenn got started there was really nowhere over the Northside to play. We used to almost never play over here, or if we did weâ€™d play at parties or weâ€™d support bands at The Venue at Dee Why but youâ€™d never play your own shows there. There used to be some really cool big parties back then. Some mates used to rent a big house on the harbour at Fairlight and weâ€™d play and thereâ€™d be us, the Hard-Ons and World War XXIV and three hundred people in this house. Psycho parties, they were better than shows. We played Manly Youth Centre a bit actually. Itâ€™s funny â€˜cos my son, Harrison goes there for day care now and I walk in there to drop him off and little kids are running round and Iâ€™m thinking, I played with Fugazi and Redd Kross and quite a few other bands right here where you guys are playing!
Were you gung-ho about singing in a band or was The Hellmenn more something you fell into? I was already doing handbills for bands, but Simon, the guy I was living with, was singing in the band but he was a removalist and he used to start really early on weekends so after a while he wouldnâ€™t be able to make it to rehearsals. So I was like, â€œIâ€™ll have a go.â€? So basically I ripped his band off him! He was a pretty good frontman as well, he was a pretty big guy and we were into the Beasts Of Bourbon and the Olympic Sideburns from Melbourne. Weâ€™d listen to anything from swampy and
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"% !",% 4/ "59 ! (/53%Â˛ ÂŻ "%. "2/7. rockabilly stuff through to Radio Birdman to hardcore, and I was into metal but not in your typical way. Everyone will be going on about Sabbath and Iâ€™ll go, â€œWell, I was quite into Deep Purple actually.â€? Bad keyboards. But we always had a lot of input from everyone in the band. We had Andrew [Polan] drumming in the beginning, who was pretty much into punk but then Steve joined and he was a jazz drummer but he was into more sort of cornball metal of the eighties but he had really broad taste. He could hear something and not give two fucks who was doing it, just know whether he liked it or not. Whereas Iâ€™d probably be more of the mentality of, â€œWhat do they look like? Thatâ€™s not cool.â€? And Spiff [David Hopkins], the guitarist who wrote most of the stuff, was into MC5, Pink Fairies, Radio Birdman, yâ€™know Detroit was it as far as he was concerned. Was it fast progress getting gigs and building up the name of the band? We played one or two parties and then we did a show at Yugul Soccer Club and Chris Dunn from Waterfront was there â€“ It was our first gig basically â€“ and he said, â€œYou guys can make a record. Weâ€™ll pay for it and everything.â€? When I look back on it
I think we were so lucky, compared with what I see bands doing these days. And while I wouldnâ€™t say we took it for granted, it was really easy. Like we just played a few more shows and made that first record [Herbal Lunacy â€“ 1987] real quick, and you can tell because they are the best records. More often than not I think a bandâ€™s first record has gotta be their best, and in this case I can hear that now. It was our initial idea nailed down. Like any musician, for years and years I couldnâ€™t listen to it with any perspective â€“ all you hear is yourself. I even hear the stuff now and listen to the lyrics and itâ€™s like, â€œCan you hear what youâ€™re saying in those lyrics? Pretty fuckinâ€™ weird, what are you singing about?â€? The band started off kinda focussed into a thrashy thing and then really expanded the sound later on after Mourning Of The Earth . About a year ago I found some reviews on the internet, â€˜cos everything is on the internet now, and this guy had written reviews of our first three records and the first record review is like, â€œThese guys are all over the shop and it sounds fucking unreal.â€? Then the next one [Bastard Sons of 10,000,000 Ma-
Pic: Rod Hunt
Was it much different here to across the [Harbour] Bridge, the mentality at gigs or the style of bands that came from here? No, I donâ€™t think so. I think people liked to make a point of it, like, â€œYouâ€™re from the Northside. Youâ€™re surfies.â€? Whatever. I never found the scenes to be that different. It was just like-minded people in those days because it wasnâ€™t a popular thing like today. But like I was saying, there wasnâ€™t many places to play over here by the time The Hellmenn got started. Often for gigs weâ€™d have to play either in town at The Landsdowne or The Annandale, The Hopetoun, or The Trade Union Club, which was a great place that you donâ€™t hear much about these days. It was the most awesome of places. Or weâ€™d play out in the suburbs at like The Den in Penshurst or Forest Inn, Bexley. Steve [Heald], our drummer, used to live just across the street here in one of those places that has now been all done up and gentrified and weâ€™d drive back after a show, get back at like two or three in the morning, and all hang out. But it wasnâ€™t like we were over here doing something vastly different to what was happening in the city. The Hellmenn was made up of guys from Mosman, Balgowlah and Manly. Massappeal werenâ€™t from around here, only Brett was. So of the other bands around here there was The Inchmen, we used to play with them a lot, and Ratcat were all from the Northside, we were good mates with them. Ratcatâ€™s original bass player, Victor [Levi], was in The Hellmenn for a year or two after leaving them. Later there was Dr. Fruitworld, Mergatroid, Gumption... But whenever weâ€™d go anywhere to play we got called â€œSilvertailsâ€? â€“ we were marked by the reputation of the Manly football team! People would call us Silvertails and weâ€™d be like, â€œYouâ€™re parents are probably richer than mine. My parents never owned a fucking house, I bet you your parents own a fucking house.â€? But it was all in fun; it was just a payout.