Christian Houllemare (centre) with the reformed Happy Hate Me Nots, with the author, Matt Galvin, next to him, second from the right . Mark Roxburgh photo
It's hard to remember how I first got to know Chris Houllemare. Was I a fan, a friend or a bandmate?
I was 15 when The Happy Hate Me Nots released their first two singles, in 1985. I saw them by accident at the Strawberry Hills Hotel after walking down Foveaux Street (fuck, EVERYTHING is French this week) from a World Series Cricket one-dayer, and I used my bus pass as ID to get into a gig at Hurstville Master Builders club not long after.
I was smitten. It was kinetic, real lyricism, real heart, really fucking fast. All at once.
It was 35 years ago - May/June 1978 - when the two greats of high energy Detroit rock ‘n roll, Fred Smith and Iggy Pop, got together to bring a roadshow to Europe.
Consider the Sonic's Rendezvous Band saga...
Arisen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of four of the Motor City's finest proponents of high-energy rock -- the MC5, the Stooges, the Rationals, and the Up - the Rendezvous steadfastly refused to bank on their illustrious pasts (which, granted, might have been more of a liability than an asset at that point in history). Rather, they insisted on a more original kind of expression -- hardly a guarantee of steady employment for a local band in the mid-to-late '70s.
I'm going to tell you about a little quest of mine; a search for the (not so) Holy Grail. It's a mountain size molehill of my own making and I admit it. But in these dire days of corporate mediocrity - where the alternative has been bought up by the same guys who brought you the thing you were supposed to be the alternative to – a man is defined by his obsessions.
Here’s my Lou Reed story. It’s long, but I’ve never written it down before, and so you’re getting the whole thing.