“Monday Evening Gunk” My favourite thing to do on a Monday night. Props to Jill, Wax, Pat and Sonjaat MoshPit, News and Brews co-pilot Rossy, tech-head Zac, photographer/chronicler of choice Shona Ross, and the many guests and hosts involved. My original Top Ten was going to be a chronological list of Gunk episodes because it would be like picking a favourite child.
Adjust your expectations. This is not a collection of Celibate Rifles-styled pyrotechnics -although some (notably, “Lockdown Shuffle” and the title track) could have worked for them.
Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Kent Steedman has never been just about flamethrower rock. His work outside the Rifles has spanned the oblique, avant noise of Crent, the proto-boogie blues of Jim Moginie and the Family Dog, sonic adventurism with the Deniz Tek Group and live shows using Tibetan singing bowls.
This is going to be a very biased view and I’m not trying to hide it. I’ll make my own rules just so I can bend them to suit my agendas.
Best gig of the year - The Stew Cunningham Benefit night in Sydney at Marrickville Bowlo. All the bands were awesome but what won the night over was the atmosphere and goodwill of all the people that attended. A truly special night.
Best local live act - The Celibate Rifles. The Rifles slayed it in support of The Sunnyboys at The Factory, then followed it up with a couple of scorchers at The Marrickville Bowlo and The Narrabeen RSL. The old fellas have still got it. Honourable mention to Stiff Richards who tore the roof off in support of The Rifles at the Bowlo, great band.
Best local release - The Aints!, "The Church of Simultaneous Existence". Wonderful album from go to whoa. Honourable mention to Warped - "Bolt From The Blue" - brutal honesty at its best.
Best international gig - Señor No at The Botany View Hotel. It was wild, crazy and a helluva lot of fun. honourable mention to Los Chicos at the Rad Bar in Wollongong, they put on a show and a half, they were just pipped at the post.
I first caught the Celibate Rifles a few weeks after my 17th birthday in the upstairs room at the Paddo Green Hotel. They were loud, fast, made me grow long hair. I’d recently bought “But Jacques, the fish”, skipped the first few classes and went into the city; got back to school with that treasure. It was a passport to a different world.
There were a lot of Rifles gigs over the years. It’s remarkable now to think how damn LOUD they were in the ‘80s. Towering amps, double four-way PA, in an average pub or club. It was inspirational too. If they could do it...
Of course, the average teenage punter didn’t know how much time and effort had already been ploughed into that band. Thirty-one years after that first gig I put thistogether. Read it, it’s the key.
The private funeral has come and gone. There will be a public celebration of the life of one of the world's great characters in yoga teacher, sports commentator, writer, musician and waterman, Damien Lovelock, of the Celibate Rifles on Saturday, August 24 at Newport Surf Club in Sydney from 2pm.
Surfers wil conduct a paddle-out, followed by a gathering in the clubhouse of all who wish to pay their respects.
Damien Lovelock leads the Celibate Rifles. Shona Ross photo
It was a big week for rumours - and that’s not a reference to that awful Fleetwood Mac album being on high rotation.
Celibate Rifles were playing two successive nights in Sydney. A Friday at the near dormant ‘80s venue Carmens at Miranda in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, and a Saturday at one of their local stomping grounds, Narrabeen RSL.
It was about a fortnight before that the gossip started to fly.
Home, James And Don’t Spare the Horse Power - Anytime James (self released)
The dictionary defines “raunch” as “energetic earthiness; vulgarity”, and the second album from Anytime James has it in bucketloads.
Anytime Who? Read on.
Anytime James is an outfit of musicians from the Far North Coast of New South Wales, assembled and led by former Asteroid B612 guitarist Michael Gibbons. At the risk of (more) accusations of hype, let's toss caution to the metaphorical breeze and say Anytime James might be the best band you've never heard of. Here's why.
Chasing Chocomel – The Celibate Rifles (self released)
Don’t let the fact that these are cassette dubs of live-to-air radio recordings deter you. A bit of compression never hurt anyone. This posthumous 22-track collection from Europe and Australia is prime-time Celibate Rifles from the “Roman Beach Party”/“Blind Ear”/”Heaven on a Stick” period, and it burns like a kerosene spill on a barbie.
As a fan of the Rifles from the get-go, I thought it was “Roman Beach Party” that showed they’d really come to grips with the studio. Foot-to-the-floor Rifles got the crowds shaking live, but sometimes the wry observations were buried under all that Sturm und Drang. You had to listen hard to appreciate what they were saying on the early records too. From here on in, you could hear Damo’s words - loud and clear.
I went to a Catholic boarding school, and that sort of team spirit thing and having the right attitude to what you do was drummed into you from day one. And I viewed any group enterprise the same way, life's too short for bickering and bullshit. If there's something you want to do, let's get to doing it. You can have fun on the way. but I used to watch most bands and it seemed that it was more a part of a look.
As soon as I met the Rifles I thought OK, there's something here. There's an energy and... there's something that sets them apart from a lot of the other bands. And that, nothing lasts forever. If you don't look after it it'll just dissipate and go. So yeah, I got into that.- Damien Lovelock in conversation with Earl O'Neill.
The magnitude of yesterday’s passing of Celibate Rifles frontman Damien Lovelock at the age of 65 is still sinking in. Lovelock died at his Sydney home after a protracted fight against cancer - a battle that was known to many but largely kept private out of respect for the man.
Damien Lovelock was one of the most articulate, witty and forthright figures to spring from the Australian underground music scene in the 1980s. His laconic drawl was a trademark element of the sound of the Rifles, perhaps Sydney’s ultimate anti-star complex band. As promoter and longtime Damo friend Tim Pittman remarked: "He was a unique human".
The Damien Lovelock tribute aka "Damo The Musical" has outgrown Sydney's Factory Theatre and moved to the Enmore. Headliners are the Celibate Rifles, with special guests including Jello Biafra, plus Wigworld and the Centrelink Surfers. Tickets are on sale here.
High Tides, More Crimes – MD Horne (Outtspace/FOLC/La Villa Nova)
Only a shit stirrer would start a review of an album with the rhetorical question: “How do you know you’re getting old? You start listening to bush bands”. Guilty as charged – on the shit stirrer charge, that is. Lock me up.
Yes, the second solo album from Sydney’s MD Hornecontains mandolin, didgeridoo, his own bass, a sprinkling of bush balladry, and even a sea shanty of sorts but, thankfully, no lagerphone. It’s also damned good.
That sold-out Celibate Rifles-Filth show, being held on September 11 as part of the Sedition 2019 festival at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, has been cancelled. Organisers issued an online statement this afternoon:
We regret to inform you that we have had to cancel the “Do You Feel Lucky, Punk - Celibate Rifles + Filth” event. After the death of Damien Lovelock, the lead vocalist for the Celibate Rifles, we endeavoured to find an alternative line up however we couldn’t make it work. We deeply apologise for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation of the event. If you have purchased tickets for this event and have not yet received an email from us, don’t hesitate to get in contact and we can refund you the cost of your ticket/s.
Meanwhile, the Rifles will celebrate their late much-loved frontman with a tribute gig at the Factory Theatre in Sydney in September. Guitarist Ken Steadman told the band's Facebook page:
On Sunday September 22nd at the Factory Theatre, we'll be performing "Damo the Musical". We will do our best to say farewell in honour of him in our own style. Likely to run from around 4pm till 8pm with the music he loved, grew up with and contributed to. A few covers, some Wigworld tracks and plenty of Celies with guest musicians and multi media tributes to Senor Lovelock. Tickets will be available in a few days.
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, theypowered 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.
As expected, the Celibate Rifles are marking the loss of their frontman Damien Lovelock with a suitable tribute. “Damo The Musical” will feature a star-studded cast at The Facroty Theatre on Sunday, September 22 from 4-8pm.
The Celibate Rifles are performing "But Jacques The Fish" and assorted Rifles hits with a range of guest vocalists – including former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. Supergroup The Centrelink Surfers will play the music of Damien’s solo band Wigworld, plus some of the man’s jukebox faves.
There will be testimonials, visuals and more. Tickets are on sale now via Feel Presents.
Detroit rock? It never sounded so Australian as this Queensland band. Tokyo Beef slams out nine original songs on their second album and it reeks of Fourex pots and durries on a Gold Coast Saturday arvo down at the old Birdwatcher's Bar on Cavill Avenue.
The cover imagery is a Japanese Zero winging it past a burning wreck and it's apt enough. These songs are above mid-tempo punk rock with no safety net. Played live in the studio, theyy're first or second takes, for the most part. One guitar, bass, drums and a stand-and-deliver drawl.
Guitarist Punk (yep, that's his band name and for all I know it's the tag that his cellmate gave him) doesn't stand for subtlety and his tightly-coiled leads and sharp licks are all over these songs, free of overdubs.
"Let There Be Rock!" brings together three long-standing heavyweights of the Australian underground rock scene: The Celibate Rifles, Hard-Ons - Official and The New Christs in celebration of the life of Andrew Gillies.
"Gillsey", as he was more affectionately known, was a fixture at shows by all three of these iconic Sydney acts for over 30 years - the first decade as a resident of Sydney and the remaining two in the Northern NSW town of Uki. Even the tyranny of distance would pose no problem to Andrew’s enthusiasm and drive to see, and support, his musical heroes.
In addition to being a major fan of all these acts, young Andy also served as stage tech for the Hard-Ons touring Australia, Europe and the USA from the late '80s through the early '90s, a role he also commandeered for Ratcat, Ed Kuepper, Died Pretty and others.
A slipped disc while working as carpenter reduced his participation in such activity reduced him to more domestic tasks, though, he still continued to tour Europe with his beloved Hard-Ons working as their merchandise seller right up until 2017.
Damo 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.
There's some more news about that one-off show featuring Filth with the Celeibate Rifles at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on September 11.
A limited edition vinyl EP will be issued on the night, featuring four songs originally played by Filth in a run of just 150 copies. Roll-over the image to check out the tracklist. They are not recording by the original line-up.
"Do You Feel Lucky, Punk" is the name of the event and tickets are on sale here.
It's part of the broader Sedition 2019 Celebration of Public Art and Protest in Sydney during the 1970s, more of which we'll be bringing you soon. Check it out here if you can't wait.
There's new music from Celibate Rifles guitarist Kent Steedman out today. Radio KSG is the group and it also features Russell Baricevic from Bored! on bass and Stew Cunningham from Leadfinger on vocals and guitar. "Place of Care" is the song and is available online only and is a preview for an album to be released next year. Go listen in iTunes or on Spotify.
Pete Bourke, Phil Van Rooyen and Pete Trifunovic from Sonic Garage.
Sonic Garage Pocketwatch Bayley and the Liquid Squid Marrickville Bowling Club, NSW Friday, 11 March 2022
You can say “Boring Old Fart” but it’s good to stare rheumy-eyed into the middle distance, drool into a beer and recall much less complicated times in hushed tones. Times like the early 1980s, when the biggest challenge on a Friday night was to decide which two or three rock and roll shows you were going to attend, all of them within a short distance of each other.
If they were local bands, the door charge was free or modest, and if the headliner was on the national touring treadmill, entry might set you back a ten spot. At least one of the supports was a band you’d never heard of, but paying your money and taking your chances was all part of the ritual. You got to conduct a post-mortem as soon as their set was over or over a hair of the dog at your local the next day.