damo the musical cvrDamo The Musical – The Celibate Rifles (self released)

Sunday, September 22, in the year 2019 P.P. (Pre Plague) was the date when The Celibate Rifles took to The Enmore Theatre stage in Sydney to pay tribute to their late frontman Damien Lovelock. The show was originally scheduled for The Factory Theatre, but demand for tickets outgrew the room. And it sounded something like this…

This LP is a dozen songs from the night and a fitting tribute to the man widely known as Damo. With his place at the centre stage mic vacant, some friends had to fill it. More on them later, but first some observations.

The instrumental mix is as punchy as fuck; with an big bottom-end. The vocals are up and down - but put that down to the vagaries of varying mic technique. It was a round robin of singers without the luxury of extended rehearsals. The Rifles excelled in accommodating the rotating cast which gave its best in return.

MVP award goes to…the envelope please…Mr Bill Gibson (most notably of The Eastern Dark) and Mr Jello Biafra (ex-Dead Kennedys.

Billy’s contributions book-end the record. His “O Salvation” channels Damo so well that you can forgive yourself thinking it’s an overdub of The Man Hisself, and “Wild Desire” is delivered with a suitable touch of tenderness. Jello’s “Let’s Get Married” adroitly captures the smartarse-ry of the original. “I Shoulda” is wry and sharp. Damn, doesn’t he nail “Back In The Red”.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear ex-Hellmen (and ace artist) Ben Brown bring home “Gonna Cry” like a good Northern Beaches boy should. Lloyd Gyi usually drums for Joeys Coop but puts on his best Bon to lead the Rifles through a ragged and righteous “Dirty Deeds”. And big props to original Rifles vocalist Ian Martin for “Tubular Greens” from the “But Jacques, The Fish?” EP.

The full track listing with guest vocalists (which you oddly won’t find with the album) is as follows, as kindly supplied by a participant:

O Salvation - Bill Gibson
I Shoulda - Jello Biafra
Spirits - Ben Brown
Let’s Get Married - Jello Biafra
Sweet Jane - Jeff Duff
Back In The Red – Jello Biafra
Gonna Cry - Ben Brown
Cold Wind - Dick Richards
Tubular Green - Ian Martin
Rainforest - Kent Steedman
Dirty Deeds - Lloyd Gyi
Wild Desire - Bill Gibson

It’s a tribute by fans and friends for friends and fans. If you were either, you’ll want it. It’s also an artefact that likely won’t appear on CD. A digital audio-visual download is in the works, but meanwhile you need to go here to order your vinyl.